Articles on Horse racing

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Whipping race horses inflicts pain but is exempt from animal welfare laws. Yet research suggests it does not increase their pace at the finish. Amethyst Photography

Cup Week leaves racing law looking like a prize-winning ass

Beating and overriding a horse is deemed cruel under Victoria’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. You would never guess that from a day at the races, including Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival…
Admire Rakti finished the race last, but died in his stall soon afterwards. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Sudden deaths are rare in racing despite the Melbourne Cup tragedy

The tragic deaths of the favourite Admire Rakti and seventh placegetter Araldo soon after the Melbourne Cup has focused attention on some of the risks involved in racing horses. The Japanese horse Admire…
The unicorn is an icon of our contemporary love affair with escapism. Rob Boudon

Would you whip a unicorn? The Melbourne Cup and imagination

This is not an article about unicorns or virgins, but about the power of imagination, both wonderful and terrible. As an academic and equine artist I work between creative imagination and scientific epistemology…
Damien Oliver (left) rides Fiorente to victory in Race 7 the Emirates Melbourne Cup at the 2013 Melbourne Cup. AAP Image/Hamish Blair

Do historical trends in Melbourne Cup champions point to a winner?

If you’re looking for a definitive answer on who will win the Melbourne Cup – the world’s most prestigious two-mile handicap – I’m afraid I’m going to leave you sorely disappointed. What I can offer is…
Trainer Gai Waterhouse with 2013 Melbourne Cup winning horse Fiorente. AAP/Julian Smith

Horses for courses: the science behind Melbourne Cup winners

It’s the race that stops a nation … and is worth a cool A$6.2 million. So what goes into the raceday preparation for the equine stars of the show? Thoroughbred racehorses have unique anatomy and physiology…
A galloping horse puts four tonnes of pressure on lower limb joints with each stride. AAP/Hamish Blair

How trainers keep horses in winning form – and injury-free

In elite racehorses, biology is pushed to the limit – about four tonnes is placed on the joint surfaces in a galloping horse’s lower limb with every stride, and these repeated loads have the potential…
How much of Black Caviar’s racing prowess will be passed to her foal? AAP/Georgina Lomax

How to hit the genetic jackpot and breed a Melbourne Cup winner

The win of Japanese stayer Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup, followed by Irish bred colt Adelaide‘s win in the Cox Plate last Saturday, has brought into question the stamina (staying) credentials of Australian…
Today horses are still whipped in public, but only in the name of sport. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Whips hurt horses – if my leg’s anything to go by

It’s not just the horses that wear blinkers during the Melbourne Cup, the so-called “race that stops a nation”, which takes place next Tuesday. Perhaps it’s the excitement, the champagne or the extraordinary…
That one needs more galloping powder. EPA

No, the Queen isn’t doping her prized racehorses

Exciting news from the world of horseracing: the Queen’s racehorse Estimate has tested positive for morphine. With the Lance Armstrong and Tyson Gay doping scandals fresh in their minds, reporters are…
Gai Waterhouse wants everyday punters to ‘live the dream’. Marianna Massey/AAP

Gai Waterhouse’s ‘Living the Dream’ is gambling writ large

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be the part owner of a Melbourne Cup winner? Horse trainer Gai Waterhouse says you could be, by investing in a new company called “Gai Live the Dream” (GLD). The “live the dream…
Gai Waterhouse and John Singleton in happier times: their acrimonious split and subsequent stewards’ inquiry has typified the culture of Sydney. AAP/Paul Miller

A trainer, a bookie and a ‘drunk’: the Waterhouse saga simply screams Sydney

The Gai Waterhouse-John Singleton horse racing imbroglio has the feel of fiction. Its cast of characters could easily spring from the treatment for a new Underbelly series or the pages of a Peter Corris…
Black Caviar is given a kiss by trainer Peter Moody ahead of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. AAP/David Crosling

The greatest ever, or will Ascot be a Lap too Phar for Black Caviar?

At 12.45am on Sunday (AEST) wonder-mare Black Caviar, the Antipodean racehorse with the highest public profile since the immortal Phar Lap, will contest the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot racecourse…

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