Horse welfare took a giant leap forward on Saturday with the announcement Racing NSW will buy a 1050 hectare property in the central tablelands to help re-home retired thoroughbred racehorses.
“Bandanora” at Capertee north of Lithgow has only had two owners in its 170-year-history, and has been home to generations of the Corlis family. But it is now home to the future of the state’s racehorses.
The property will be used as a “ready to go resource” for ex-racehorses, with families able to stay and enjoy the farm, with horse rides, trout fishing or clayshooting, and then if they want, select a horse as their own.
“You can stay with your family at Bandanora and then come home with a horse,” said Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’Landys.
Other satellite racehorse re-homing centres in NSW in partnership with other groups are due to be announced by Racing NSW in the next few months.
The purchase of Bandanora, which at the moment runs about 300 cattle and 2000 sheep, and has a state-of-the-art equestrian centre, is the first step in NSW racing’s $5m horse welfare program. Each year one per cent of prize money is set aside to make sure every horse that races in NSW is rehoused or re-homed or looked after.
Racing NSW will take over Bandanora in three months. Some of the retired horses will be re-homed as showjumpers or used for the NSW Mounted Police. All the other horses will be re-homed to appropriate people. There will also be an area on the farm for retired champions, such as has been created with great success in Victoria. One of the early “retirees’’ at Bandanora is expected to be the weight-for-age champion Hartnell.
Both the horse and greyhound industries have faced pressure from animal rights group over treatment of animals. The NSW Government actually banned the greyhound industry last year, but had to reverse that decision after a public outcry. The racing industry has also had to adapt, recently bringing in stringent whipping rules for jockeys in races.
Mr V’Landys said the purchase of Bandanora showed Racing NSW was serious about horse welfare.
“We’ll re-home every horse that is born and bred in NSW,” he said.
“Bandanora will be at the shopfront for horse welfare. We are taking horse welfare to another level.”
He said major new joint ventures to do with horse welfare will be announced shortly that will be “groundbreaking”.
Racing NSW said in a release: “Horses will be retrained to find new homes in equestrian sports, pony club, polo and as pleasure horses or paddocks mates. All horses will be afforded the best of care and opportunity to find a suitable new home. The property will also be used as a location for industry training for future participants and as a home for retired champions of the turf.”
“This is a major investment, not only for the rehabilitation of racehorses which is a paramount objective of the board, but also as an investment for the future as a land bank that could have a multitude of uses for the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry in the future” said Racing NSW Chairman Russell Balding.
An 1890’s built nine bedroom farmhouse will be converted to a Bed and Breakfast and there are ten authentic shearers huts for a unique accommodation experience. A former major shareholder of Sunbeam owned the property and there are many Sunbeam relics on Bandanora.
Racing NSW said it has established a dedicated Equine Welfare team, including an Equine Welfare Veterinarian, exclusively for the rehoming of thoroughbreds after their racing careers.