Australian Harness Racing Rules 14-20


Please Note:   All forms mentioned in the Rules are available from State Controlling Bodies.  

Please Note:  On 1st March 2008 Harness Racing Australia Inc (HRA) replaced Australian Harness Racing Council Inc (AHRC) as the organisation's name.  All AHRC's formal structures, rules, regulations, policies, processes etc., now pertain to HRA, and any reference to Australian Harness Racing Council Inc, AHRC, Council or The Council shall mean Harness Racing Australia Inc or HRA.


14.  (1)  The Controlling Body may appoint Stewards.

(2)  One steward shall be appointed Chairman of Stewards and others may be appointed Deputy Chairman of Stewards.

(3)  The Chairman shall be the Chief Steward at any meeting or race officially attended by the Chairman unless the Chairman otherwise directs.

(4)  The Deputy Chairman shall be the Chief Steward at any meeting or race officially attended by the Deputy Chairman unless the Chairman is also in official attendance or the Deputy Chairman otherwise directs.

(5)  At any meeting or race attended by Stewards one shall be the Chief Steward including the case where only 1 steward is in attendance.

(6)  At any meeting or race attended by more than 1 steward the Chief Steward shall have a casting as well as a deliberative vote.

(7)  The Controlling Body may substitute other names for Chairman of Stewards and Deputy Chairman of Stewards and these rules will then be read accordingly.


15.  (1)  Stewards are empowered -

(a)  to direct and control at any meeting or race the activities of officials, owners, qualifying/requalifying supervisors, trainers, drivers, bookmakers, clerks, persons attending horses and anyone else appointed, employed or engaged in or about the meeting or race;

(b)  to entertain and determine all matters under question or in dispute at or arising out of a meeting or race, or concerning the meaning or application of these rules, or concerning any aspect of the harness racing industry;

(c)  at any meeting or race to appoint or remove any person from or to any office, position, responsibility or task;

(d) to exclude or direct the removal of a person from any property being used for any aspect of the harness racing industry;

(e)  to suspend or disqualify any person from participating in or being employed or engaged in or about the harness racing industry;

(f)  to furnish information about any person excluded, directed or warned off any racecourse to such persons and in such form as they consider appropriate;

(g)  to stop, restart, rerun, postpone or abandon any race;

(h)  to declare any race void;

(i)  to postpone any meeting;

(j)  to make announcements or issue publications or notices;

(k)  to inspect, examine or test in such manner as they consider appropriate any person, horse, racetrack, stable, stud, artificial breeding station or other place, item, document, equipment, vehicle or substance;

(l)  to provide reports and recommendations about or arising out of any inquiry, investigation or determination or upon any subject connected with the harness racing industry to the Controlling Body;

(m) to impose fines;

(n)  to impose any other penalties provided for in these rules;

(o)  to utilise any equipment;

(p)  to confiscate or take possession of any substance or equipment or item or document permanently or for a period;

(q)  to substitute any driver at a meeting or race;

(r)  to suspend or disqualify any driver;

(s)  to control the number of starters in a race;

(t)  subject to sub-rule (2), to withdraw, bar or disqualify a horse from a race, or declare a horse to be a non starter, or late scratching;

(u)  to reinstate a horse withdrawn or scratched or direct that a horse start in a race;

(v)  to exclude a horse from a barrier draw;

(w)  to handicap or rehandicap a horse;

(x)  to take possession of a horse, alive or dead;

(y)  to order the removal or destruction of a horse;

(z) to authorise or direct an autopsy of a horse;

(aa)  to bar a horse from racing;

(ab)  to make declarations and orders with respect to betting;

(ac)  to engage the assistance or services of any person as a deputy or in any other capacity;

(ad)  to order payment by a person of costs or expenses incurred by the Stewards in the performance of their duties; and

(ae)  to do anything else reasonably necessary to the performance of their duties.

(af)  to direct a driver to drive in a designated number of trials and to their satisfaction prior to driving in a race other than an official trial.

(2)  A horse which is placed first, second, third or fourth including after the determination of any protest shall not be declared a non-starter.

Entry Upon Land

15A.  (1)  Without limiting Rule 15, the Stewards are empowered to enter upon land and premises owned or occupied by a licensed or registered person, or occupied by permission or licence of a licensed or registered person or where any registered horse is kept in the performance of any of the Stewards’ powers under these rules.

(2)  A steward who enters and remains upon land or premises under this rule shall not thereby commit a trespass thereon and no action shall be brought or maintained against the Stewards or the controlling body for any damages or relief in respect of such entry or remainder.

16.  The Stewards may, at races, official trials and time trials, exercise the powers conferred upon them by these rules. 

17.  (1)  The Stewards may require a horse to be trialled.

(2)  If the Stewards are not satisfied with the performance of a horse trialled pursuant to sub rule (1), they may declare it ineligible to race for such period as they think fit.

Presence of Stewards at meetings

18.  Except with the approval of the Controlling Body or Stewards, a club shall not conduct a meeting or race in the absence of the Stewards.

Cadet and assistant stewards

19.  (1)  The Controlling Body may appoint cadet and assistant Stewards.

(2)  Persons appointed under sub rule (1) may exercise such powers of a steward as the Controlling Body may determine and are subject to the provisions of rule 20.

Conflicts of interest

20.  (1)  No steward shall exercise any power conferred by these rules in respect of any matter in which the steward has a financial or family interest or which in any other way gives rise to a conflict of interest.

(2)  No steward shall bet or have a financial interest in any bet on a race.

(3)  No steward shall be engaged, whether alone or in any type of association with others, in any business or activity involving the ownership, breeding, sale, lease, training, racing or management of horses connected with the harness racing industry.

(4)  Unless the Controlling Body directs otherwise, the office of a steward is vacated if the steward does any of the things mentioned in this rule.

(5)  Unless the Controlling Body directs otherwise, a steward’s office is vacated if the steward's spouse or domestic partner becomes involved in or acquires an interest in any business or activity described in sub rule (3).


Rules Effective from 1st September 1999 (State Controlling Bodies must adopt)
Rules Approved - 16th March 1999 (AHRC Meeting)

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