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QOTT appoints Program Manager

The Queensland Off-The-Track Board has appointed Samantha Phillips as its inaugural Program Manager.

Established following last year’s Martin Inquiry, the QOTT Board is responsible for the policies, programs and reporting relating to the retirement of horses from racing and breeding activities in Queensland.

Earlier this month, Ms Phillips, who boasts considerable program management experience both locally and abroad, commenced in her role as the QOTT Program Manager.

“I’m delighted to announce the appointment of Samantha Phillips as our inaugural QOTT Program Manager,” QOTT Chair Sharon Cowden said.

“Samantha boasts extensive knowledge with off-the-track horses – along with complementary tertiary qualifications – and I look forward to her leading the day-to-day operations of our QOTT Program.”

Having met monthly since December, the QOTT Board has reviewed the various off-the-track programs operating domestically - and internationally - and has drawn on the successful elements of those programs to establish its Queensland model.

This includes the adoption of a number of world-best practices - underpinned by the ‘Principles of Aftercare’ which is set by the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses.

The first initiatives supported by the QOTT Board will begin being implemented prior to the end of the financial year.

In addition, the 2021/22 programme has also been approved and is currently being designed.

The QOTT Board’s key priority remains the retraining and rehoming initiatives for thoroughbreds and standardbreds, with inception planning for an ‘Acknowledged Retrainers Program’ underway. 

A pilot program will launch in the first quarter of FY22 to support the Acknowledged Retrainers Program.

A ‘Subsidised Lessons Program’ will also commence in June, which will support retired racehorses as they transition from the racing industry into the community.

The Subsidised Lessons Program will enable new owners of retired racehorses to receive tailored support across a range of areas including horse care and husbandry, nutrition, behaviour, groundwork and ridden components.

Furthermore, an ‘Off-The-Track Grants Program’ has also been confirmed for 2021, which will assist existing rehomers within the community to support retired racehorses who come into their care.

While an additional Program, which will assist with stimulating demand for retired racehorses, has also been confirmed for 2021.

Finally, the QOTT Program will partner with eligible organisations who assist the community and use retrained OTT horses as part of their programs.

The QOTT Board recognises the strong community support for the work being undertaken by the QOTT Program and have resolved to provide industry updates on a quarterly basis.

These will be published in Racing Queensland’s industry magazines, RACE and PACE, as well as developing a dedicated sub-page for QOTT Program communications within RQ’s webpage, which is currently in early design.

All information pertaining to the QOTT Program’s operations, funding contributions and expenditure will be reported annually in RQ’s Annual Report and financial statements.

QOTT Background

In February 2020, the Martin Inquiry released its report titled ‘Inquiry into animal cruelty in the management of retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses in Queensland’ (the Martin Inquiry), with the Queensland Government fully supporting, or supporting in principle, all 55 recommendations made.

The Queensland Off-The-Track Board was established and governed by Racing Queensland and the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

It has been established to operate and manage the QOTT Program and will be responsible for the policies, programs and reporting relating to the retirement of horses from racing and breeding activities.

RQ’s one percent racing prize money levy for thoroughbred and harness racing from January 1, 2020 will be used to support equine welfare and build better futures for Queensland’s retired racehorses.

This includes the establishment of the Queensland Off-The-Track Program, which will support the transition of retired thoroughbreds and standardbreds from racing and breeding activities to retirement.

On December 17, 2020, the QOTT Board had its inaugural meeting and reviewed the Martin Inquiry recommendations within its remit relating to the establishment, design, funding, education and reporting of the QOTT Program.

Click here to see a media release issued following the inaugural QOTT Board meeting in December.