Research Papers
Council Inc

Discussion Paper - Your Opinions Sought


1:  The Need is for a Concerted National Approach   7:   Race Programming - An Important Tool
2:  A National Approach Under Development   8:   Promotion and Marketability of Trotters
3:  Should an International Perspective be Adopted?   9:   Development in Non-Trotting States - A Start
4:  Encourage Australian Breeding of Trotters   10: Recognise and Reward Achievement
5:  Future Programs   Other Areas?
6:  Training, Development & Education - Horses & People   Trotters - The Future - Final Report On Nat Priorities


  • The objective of this Discussion Paper on "Trotters - The Future?" is to obtain comment from interested industry parties on the Trotter and on the issues/points outlined. The trotting gait is the predominant gait in the World today, particularly in Europe.

  • A range of opinions and comments have been sought directly from the various Square Trotters Associations and other harness racing administrators in framing this Discussion Paper. Their co-operation and assistance has been appreciated and their thoughts have been thoroughly integrated into this Discussion Paper.
  • The Members of the Australian and Inter Dominion Harness Racing Councils have progressed a number of initiatives for Trotters as part of their ongoing programs for Australian Harness Racing. It should be stated that unless stated no decisions have been made on any issue but are rather advanced to gain opinion.
  • Submissions are now sought from our Industry to further advance, encourage and further promote the Trotter and its continuing establishment throughout Australia. Submissions are requested on any or all parts identified of this action point issues paper. This Discussion Paper is designed to further consolidate that process by going out to a wider industry audience for comment. A report will then be prepared for Council.
  • The Closure Date for receipt of submissions on this Discussion paper is Friday, 5th March 1999.**

Rod Pollock
Chief Executive
January 1999

** Following a number of requests from individuals and discussions with industry organisations the lodgement of submissions has been extended to the end of March 1999.  In doing this, all interested persons who wish to submit a paper can do with more time to consider this important industry paper.  I would like to thank those who have already rung this office and lodged submissions.

Rod Pollock
Chief Executive
2 March 1999



1.1      Preparation and circulation of a Discussion Paper for general distribution to our industry nationally on a formal basis through State Controlling Bodies and other interested industry organisations.

1.2      Place for Research
Commence Research Brief on both International and Australian Trotting Gait to define, identify and inform the Australian market through the various Square Trotting Associations and other interested individuals or groups.

1.3      Utilise the collated opinion, data and information from the preliminary Surveying to issue the Discussion Paper for further comment then presentation to State Controlling Bodies for consideration.

1.4      Produce a standard National Glossary of Terms used specific to the trotting gait.

1.5    Status
It should be highlighted that over the last year, Victoria has further consolidated its position as the national base of the trotter through pro-active encouragement through many initiatives. New South Wales through the New South Wales Harness Racing Club now regularly runs trotting races at the metropolitan venue Harold Park and has consolidated its Foundation Series. South Australia is considering a Foundation Series of its own and has enhanced its SA Bred for locally bred trotters. Queensland has now programmed and runs races at the Gold Coast Harness Racing Club and Western Australia is considering similar action.

1.6     The Australian and Inter Dominion Harness Racing Councils and its Members are actively encouraging the development of the trotters and all of its ancillary activities.



2.1     Australasian Trotters Grand Circuit
The Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council has agreed in principle to the development of an Australasian Trotters Grand Circuit for the 1999/2000 Season.

2.2    The Inter Dominion Trotters Series is the Flagship event of the proposed Grand Circuit with the Australasian Trotters Championship as its close ally. It should be noted that following recent review the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council has adopted the Policy that Members should be encouraged to run both the Pacers and Trotters Series concurrently.

2.3    The Australian Harness Racing Council has established a Programming and Co-ordinating Committee from amongst its Chief Executives to develop and co-ordinate industry product co-ordination at the State and National level.

2.4    A Co-operation Committee between Australia and New Zealand from amongst Council Members has been implemented to discuss and implement policies and practices to the mutual benefit of both countries at the international level.

2.5    The selection of events for the proposed Trotters Grand Circuit will be based on the Group and Listed Racing Policies of both countries. Ideally the events will be Group One (that is minimum stakemoney threshold of $50,000 and other conditions) but some transition arrangements maybe necessary in the establishment phase of the Trotters Grand Circuit.

2.6    By integrating Australian and New Zealand programs it is intended to  broaden the scope for all Trotters and make available significant opportunities for participants for all racing age groups.

Victoria as the Building Block

2.7    Consider and identify strategies to encourage the Trotting Gait using Victoria as a building block which will compliment other individual State development.

2.8    Identify and implement strategies to re-examine and re-position South Australia and further develop New South Wales to implement growth and development opportunities integrated with Victoria’s programming by consultation.

2.9    Identify and prepare strategies to develop and implement trotting in developing currently non-trotting States.

2.10    Identify and promote a range of public relations, marketing, and exhibition races to bring trotting to States outside Victoria including race series, exhibitions etc. through the Principal and other Clubs Structure in each State.

2.11    Identify and consider a range of pro-active promotional and concessional mechanisms to encourage development of trotters on fees, transport etc. Consider industry investment in various aspects on a developmental basis.

2.12    Means to Achieve Progress
Provide assistance to State Square Trotters Associations and encourage other States to form such Associations.

2.13    Promote the role of Square Trotters Associations in States to be a consultative mechanism and to be representative of all segments of owners, trainers, breeders etc. Develop national body at a later stage.

2.14    Request that each Member of the Australian Harness Racing Council consider identifying a Director, Board Member interested in Trotters to be involved in this matter. Particularly in States where Industry Advisory Councils are not available to liaise and ensure planning is complete and developed through to implementation through existing organisational and administrative channels.

2.15    Define the Australian Market in all parameters for Trotters.



Just what are the International Standards!

3.1    Identify and Research the International Trotting Environment and disseminate this information throughout Australia and New Zealand.

3.2    Align and program current racing conditions, types and standards to current international benchmarks.

3.3    Take a publicity/media presence in overseas publications to spread the message.

Breeding is the Key to the Future

3.4    Develop an inbound importing market in the areas of frozen semen to improve the breeding of the herd by facilitating access to quality stallions.

3.5    Develop an export market for Australian product based on our drug free race environment and race performances provided international quality product is available.

3.6    Consider the breeding, purchase and/or importation of young, unraced stock of weanlings and yearlings to supplement breeding and racing.

3.7    Consider the provision of promotional and concessional arrangements to encourage local breeding with incentives (undefined) by further developing of local State based breeding schemes.

Taking the Message Internationally

3.8    Develop publicity and marketing information in various forms to promote Australian trotting racing for overseas markets and press.

3.9    Cross-subsidise owners/trainers to want, wish and have the ability to travel and compete internationally as a marketing and development measure.

3.10    Commission a professional video on current Trotters competing at the highest levels of Australian racing to capitalise on the recent efforts of Knight Pistol, Pride Of Petite, Noopy Kiosk, National Interest and Buster Hanover and provide overseas trotting organisations with the video material to promote our Australian product.



Roger Meulan, Victoria
Debbie Wicks-Moss, NSW
David Jones, SA
Denis Smith, Queensland
Phone: 03 5367 2971
Phone: 02 4587 8098
Phone: 08 8529 2264
Phone: 07 5464 6823



The 1999 World Drivers Championship will be run in New South Wales and Victoria 1999 at selected venues in November 1999.  It is the intention that as many trotting races as possible will be programmed for the World's Representative Drivers.  These races are Penalty Free but you can't win them, if your Trotter is in the "spelling paddock".   Be ready for this opportunity, your help is needed.



4.1     Adopt an international perspective on our Breeding to focus future "value added attractiveness" to the Australian product and develop the quality of the herd of stallions and broodmares through acquisition or importation of stallions or the more cost effective approach using frozen semen.

4.2    Obtain quantitative information of Australian Breeding market to focus research findings on areas of the breeding market which require attention.

4.3    Determine and identifying the breeding pools of stallions and broodmares with their geographic location.

4.4    Utilise Victoria’s breeding strength in trotters to benefit both Victorian and interstate breeders of the Trotting gait.

4.5    Gain consensus from all State Controlling Bodies that the Trotting gait is to be actively and positively encouraged. Adopt a national industry basis for development based on the individual requirements.

4.6    Given that Victoria and South Australia are the only States to run a Sires Stakes Series consider the inclusion of specifically nominated Trotting stallions resident in other States into the Victorian Sires Scheme for development purposes based on the growth of usage of transported chilled semen. However, they would not be eligible to participate in the VicBred Scheme.

4.7    Consider and provide defined pro-active incentives and encouragement to all in the industry for a defined developmental period at the State level.

4.8    Given the limited number of stallions outside Victoria consider relocation and transplanting broodmares as "seeding" strategies to promote breeding nationally given the expanding use of transported chilled semen.

4.9    Provide the industry with up to date statistical information on the performance of trotting stallions.

4.10    Through the co-operation of Studmasters, Semen Controllers, Artificial Breeding Technicians utilise frozen and chilled semen transportation in breeding activities in all States.

4.11    Have consideration for the existing Trotting Studmaster to assist his environment given the current lower level of investment/return and the international difficulty in sourcing quality trotting stallions financially.

4.12    Promotion of a Trotting Gait Only Sale for Weanlings and Yearlings. Consider inclusion of older stock, maybe in conjunction with a major event to highlight the trotting gait.

4.13    Determine a "rapid" method of identifying potential trotting gaited foals from pacing bred stallions/mares for relocation on a equitable basis to increase racing inventories of stock, where trotting race opportunities are not available in the source State. A mechanism of communicating available horses must therefore be developed to facilitate this transfer process.

4.14    Definition required of promotional "Free Service" to enable use in promotional activity of Trotters where Studmasters utilise this marketing technique.


Contact the State Secretary of your State's Breeders Association for information
on how to make it happen:

Des McQueen, Victoria
Don Clough, New South Wales
Bob Lutherborrow, Queensland
John Graham, Tasmania
Mrs Lyn Browne, South Australia
Mrs Pat Borg, Western Australia
Phone: 03 9435 4208
Phone: 02 4732 1506
Phone: 07 5465 6729
Phone: 03 6393 1581
Phone: 08 8520 2879
Phone: 08 9387 5464



5.1    Identify all futurity programs to map catchment and timing of horses on a geographic basis which would normally be available under a National Registration System.

5.2    Identify gaps in existing programs to eliminate weaknesses and duplication by re-scheduling race programming for industry benefit.

The Need for One National ‘High Value’ Futurity for Trotters

5.3    The development of the Australasian Breeders Crown enables Australian and New Zealand trotters in the 2, 3 and 4 year old sections to have the opportunity to participate in a ‘high value’ futurity series designed to compliment and consolidate a range of other now redundant series or feature events where trotters sections are unavailable or thinly patronised.

5.4   Identify and encourage further the growth of State Bred and Sires Schemes with segments for Trotting gaited horses in conjunction with 4.6 and 5.3.

5.5    Encourage recognition and the payment of bonuses and incentives where possible to encourage ownership entry into Futurity Programs at the trotting maiden level to increase participation by more owners/breeders.

5.6    Clearly define a committed percentage of funding by all parties in the promotion of futurity series into stakemoney and limit other costs.

5.7    Endeavour to program Series and Finals of Futurity races to ensure a defined and clear program throughout the season given the individual development time of the trotter as futurity programs compete for the same pool of owner/breeder funds.

5.8    Progressively schedule a program to achieve equality and comparable parity with pacers in all areas.

5.9    As trotting breeders, "breed to race" rather than "breed to sell" utilise this factor in constructing futurity programs and their financing.



6.1      In acknowledging the premise that trotters take more time to develop and mature together with more time to educate, develop a specific training program with intensive "hands on" training capacity.

6.2    Develop a range of educational and training material suitable for distance education by internet distribution for those unable to attend formal education, training and/or seminars and continuing career education.

6.3     Develop training relating to specific Farrier techniques necessary to train and shoe trotters.

6.4     Gain access and promote information distribution to those preparing trotters for racing. This can be facilitated through the inclusion of trotting gait specific information in industry publications, education and training programs, seminars and other opportunities.

6.5     Create panels of trotting expertise to spread the word through a variety of presentation means.

6.6     Educate trainers to try for a trotter first where the horse being educated shows a natural trotting gait and not just throw the hobbles on as a matter of course to make it a pacer.

6.7     Educate owners in the pride of owning a trotter and promote success stories.

6.8     Focus, develop and promote methods by which owners and trainers can determine whether to breed, lease or buy trotting stock as an entry point into our industry.

6.9     Obtain and provide ongoing information as part of a continuing education training course for current participants on local and overseas developments for trotters through effective distribution means.

6.10     Consider identifying that trotters may require specialist breakers and handling in the early education and development preparatory for a racing career. Determine whether this specialist area is capable of training course construction as a specialist course.



7.1     Focus on Victoria to co-ordinate and plan programs of key events using their feature races as basic building blocks.

Plan and Co-ordinate Opportunities

7.2    Construct a staged program for 2, 3 and 4 year old races to promote and foster an organised schedule enabling all States to plan and program events, thereby enabling and providing owners/trainers with enhanced opportunities.

7.3    Devise and construct the Trotting Grand Circuit around the Inter Dominion Trotters Championship and Australasian Trotters Championship to be raced in conjunction with the Pacers Grand Circuit in Australia and New Zealand.

7.4    Incorporate and co-ordinate the New Zealand Trotting Racing Calendar with the Australian program for all Age groups.

7.5     Develop and encourage Nursery and Foundation Series Racing throughout and run them irrespective of numbers. These are an investment in the future and encourage breeding activities and horse acquisition.

An Australian Trotters Derby & Oaks

7.6     Consider the establishment of an Australian Trotters Derby and Oaks and fix its location with one Club for a specific time as a key event designed to attract the best young trotters at the time of running. Consider its location in a State other than Victoria for developmental reasons. Can a ‘Triple Crown’ concept be developed?

7.7     Anchor its establishment to a State Pacing Derby/Oaks to attract greater participation given travel logistics.

7.8     Encourage and promote series of heats and finals for regular defined race programming for all classes.

7.9    Ensure that racing opportunities are provided for:

        i. All classes of trotters particularly for FFA and Maidens.

        ii. Opportunity to race against their own age, sex and class.

        iii. Opportunities for maidens to encourage ownership cost recovery.

        iv. Opportunities for fillies and mares to enhance breeding program.

        v. Construct specific programs for 4 and 5YO trotters to boost the future aged pool of horses and provide opportunities not currently available. (Important).

7.10     Construct racing programs of One Mile events for trotting product promotion and vary other distances up to 2 miles as event promotion opportunities or as preparatory to feature events. Ensure the programs cover both starting methods.

7.11     Consider and advise over what distances should we race in Australia and for what age groups? Should races be programmed for longer or shorter distances?

7.12     Eliminate any restrictive clauses or conditions which do not allow trotting gaited horses to compete against pacers as part of their trainer’s racing program.

7.13     Identify and rectify any racing conditions in the home State of horses which would impact on their ability to compete in a feature race interstate e.g. 3YO trotter declared ODS Mobile but can’t have bar removed as there are no races/trials available to perform before Stewards.

7.14     Consider the reasonableness of all racing and programming conditions to ensure that trotters are treated equitably recognising trotters may require different stewarding, programming practices etc.

7.15     In developing States ensure that Stewards Panels are fully conversant with a uniform national approach to the area of administering the trotting races through networking, conferences and training, if deemed necessary.

7.16    Ensure the relevance and uniformity of State handicapping rules to enable the greatest pool of horses is available to the needs of race programming. Handicapping and front progression needs to be consistently applied throughout Australia in terms of the National Uniform Handicapping System.

7.17     Utilise the Restricted/Graduation Stakemoney criteria under the NUHL to specifically program races at scheduled race meetings for young trotters (2, 3 or 4 year olds) to gain racing experience either before or during a scheduled race meeting.



The "Use of Speed" Opportunities

8.1    Importantly in developing the Trotter from a marketing viewpoint we can utilise Events Marketing strategies and link them together, for example, in formulating the proposed Trotters Grand Circuit and other Key Events program. The Australian Trotters Derby and Oaks can be linked to other industry events together with Age Feature Races and State Restricted Races. The Programming and Co-ordination Committee will play a key role in this area to promote marketability.

8.2.   The emphasis internationally is ON TIME. It is only through racing over one (1) mile that comparisons can be made. Promotion of this distance to establish Australian Industry benchmarks should be encouraged on tracks suitable to conducting feature racing over that distance.

8.3    Utilise all opportunities, particularly our Speed tracks, to create records as a conscious decision for top class trotters in their age groups.

8.4    Exhibition Time Trials and Match Races could be utilised to market and/or spotlight the trotter in various locations.

Dedicated Trotters Sales

8.5    Monitor and develop sales to facilitate transfer of product from breeding to racing. In addition, create a range of suitable claiming races and series to foster this area and assist movement between States by this means. Consider providing a handicapping concession to horses claimed and transferred between States. Determine whether it is feasible to conduct sales in developmental States or promote sales through the national internet site.

8.6    Align Sales and Auctions with major Industry events.


8.7    Promote and circulate a dedicated newsletter to trotting fans through Square Trotters Associations and their membership or generally by alternate means particularly consider using the National Internet Site for this purpose.

8.8    Obtain the services of a dedicated journalist to prepare and 'seed' stories on trotters and their successes with the people involved through Industry and other publications.

8.9   Promote the uniqueness of trotters together with their speed and performance, breeding sense and place of history.



The Cornerstone of Breeding

9.1    The establishment, encouragement and advancement of local breeding is considered a crucial factor.

9.2     All areas of our industry must be prepared to invest time, money and resources in the establishment of trotting breeding and racing. A favourable environment maybe facilitated through incentives and concessions if the objectives are to be realised.

9.3    The establishment of Foundation Trotters Programs must be facilitated in conjunction with local State based trotting breeding schemes. Races should be programmed and run without exception, irrespective of numbers.

9.4     Race programming should be conducive to equal competitiveness where possible taking into account availability of racing stock within a geographic area.

9.5    Ownership arrangements through leasing, sales with options, syndications can be utilised to develop options for the provision of trotting horses in that State. Similarly the Square Trotters Associations should encourage and provide through networking or the Australian National Harness Racing Internet Site the availability of potential racing and breeding stock, which may be suitable to transfer between States rather than being lost to the industry.

Mobility between States is part of Racing Development

9.6     Provide young trotting horses who develop through a racing season the opportunity to compete in other State Feature/Classics by time scheduling their Foundation Series earlier in the season.

9.7     Ensure that the racing operational side of trotters from trialing through handicapping to racing is conducive to encourage participation. Frame conditions to achieve this. It may be an opportunity to centralise programming of trials at one or more specific venues. Trials are critical for trotter education and in allowing trotters opportunities to gain access back into the barrier or mobile draw for stewarding or racing purposes. Where the pool of trotters is limited it may well be useful to integrate trials and races alternating them weekly.

9.8     Ensure that participation of identified persons/bodies associated with the development of the trotter are given access to State Controlling Bodies. Assign an accountable person to be responsible for the development of this important segment who can recommend the removal of obstacles, where discovered to State Controlling Bodies.

9.9     Encourage the formation of a National Square Trotters Body thereby providing networks of contacts and entities to disseminate information on any formal activities and policies.

9.10     Project through networking of the Square Trotters Associations, a network of contacts and entities an information kit of persons and places to contact for information.

9.11     Initiate the training and education requirement described elsewhere in this document ensuring that they are commenced and developed to implementation.

9.12     An innovative ‘greenfields’ proposal has been advanced by the WATA. The paper has the following requirements:

            a. A controlled licensing arrangement between 30 horses, trainers and owners (licensees) using a defined purchasing method.

            b. Dimension of racing environment and special conditions required to operate including guaranteed starts and a discretionary handicapping framework.

            c. Closed licensing arrangement for a three year establishment period with all parties having the opportunity to obtain a return on their initial investment.

(A copy is available on request).



10.1     Gather and spread information on the Trotter, key events and personnel involved regularly with suitable celebrations as a means of recognition.

10.2     Create relevant awards and present them covering all types of achievement for breeders, owners, trainers, drivers and others.

10.3     Encourage both harness racing clubs and sponsors to provide attractive/functional trophies for owners of winners of maiden trotting races.

10.4     Establish a direct media plan to facilitate journalists and media covering stories on trotting and its characters.

10.5     Provide awards/prizes for media journalists, commentators, photographers who cover trotting specific news.

Experienced and Knowledgeable People are Valuable Resources

10.6    Foster and develop an interest in trotting history and its older persons to retain their interest and enthusiasm in trotters. Record their contribution for retention.

10.7     Identify the horse stars and profile them at every opportunity with enthusiasm through all avenues of communication.


Are there other issues/areas of Local, State and National interest and significance that you wish to comment on?

Could you please consider and write to me.

Thank you for your assistance.

Rod Pollock
Chief Executive

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