This unit of competency supports licensed drivers to drive harness horses in registered races.
Elements and Performance Criteria
Follow an appropriate pre and post-race routine.
1. Race gear is prepared and checked for safety prior to race day and immediately prior to a race.
2. Pre and post-race procedures are followed.
3. Starting procedures are followed.
Plan and use appropriate race strategies and driving skills.
4. Form and racing behaviour of own horse and other horses and drivers are studied .
5. Horses are warmed up to and down from racing pace according to trainer instructions.
6. Driving skills are appropriate to a variety of track conditions and situations.
7. Strategies are modified appropriately as required during races, and according to pace and how race is being run.
8. Whip use and technique are appropriate and consistent with rules of racing.
Report on race.
9. Horse's race performance is evaluated and reported.
10. Critical incidents of races are recalled and reported.
11. Protocol for communicating performance is applied.
12. Post-race assessment of own performance is undertaken.
anticipating and responding rapidly to changed circumstances in a race, including emergency situations
applying safe handling and work practices when dealing with horses
assessing own performance
communicating with stewards, racing officials, horse trainer and others using assertive communication techniques to gather, interpret and relay information related to driving horses in races
completing duties in accordance with safe operating procedures and nominated time frame
controlling a variety of horses during races at different tracks, and under different circumstances and track conditions
driving horses in races
evaluating track features
following rules of racing
identifying horse behaviour and action
identifying and correctly using different items of personal protective equipment
identifying, preparing and correctly using different items of gear and equipment and assessing condition of same in terms of safe use and need for repair
implementing sound race strategies and meeting contingencies during race
judging and maintaining pace
reading and interpreting workplace documentation, including relevant rules of racing
relating to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities
reporting problems promptly
using whip effectively, following rules of racing and animal welfare guidelines
written communication skills to complete workplace documentation and reports.
Australian and local rules of racing and regulations pertaining to race driving
communication procedures with race meeting personnel and wider racing industry
common racehorse behaviour traits
drug testing procedures
form of racing horses
industry terminology related to handling and racing horses
personal protective equipment and purpose for its use
pre and post-race procedures
predicted behaviour or racing style of opposition horses in race
race driving strategies
race injury to horses
race meeting documentation
racing industry animal welfare requirements
racing industry safety requirements, including safe operating procedures
starting procedures for standing and mobile starts
types and classes of races
The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.
Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit
The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit and include evidence of the following:
knowledge of the requirements, procedures and instructions that are to apply when driving in races
demonstration of driving skills suitable for race driving and making appropriate judgement calls on driving strategies based on a range of common racing scenarios
implementation of procedures and timely techniques to complete race driving tasks safely, effectively and efficiently
working with others to undertake and complete race driving tasks that meet required outcomes.
Evidence should be collected over a period of time using a range of horses of different ages and sexes, in different circumstances and in different racing stable and track environments.
Context of and specific resources for assessment
Competency must be assessed in a racing workplace that provides access to horses that are being educated and trained in a commercial racing stable under the care of a licensed trainer and the required resources. Assessment is to occur under standard and authorised work practices, safety requirements and environmental constraints. It is to comply with relevant regulatory requirements or Australian Standards requirements.
Assessment of the practical components of this unit will be by observation of relevant skills.
The following resources must be available:
a variety of harness horses that are currently in training
commercial racing training establishments, racetracks and registered race meetings
materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to demonstrate race driving skills
work instructions and related documentation.
Method of assessment
Assessment methods must satisfy the endorsed Assessment Guidelines of the Racing Training Package.
The suggested strategies for the assessment of this unit are:
written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
observed and firsthand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks.
Evidence is required to be demonstrated over a period of time, therefore where performance is not directly observed any evidence should be authenticated by supervisors or other appropriate persons, at least one of whom should be approved by the State Principal Harness Racing Authority.
This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.
Guidance information for assessment
Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).
The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording in the performance criteria is detailed below.
The range statement provides details of how this competency can be used in the workplaces of the racing industry to prepare to drive horses in races. Workplaces include harness stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.
Race gear will include:
pull up or down blinds
race bridle and saddlecloth numbers
removable ear plugs or removable hood
personal protective equipment:
Race gear preparation and checking for safetymay include:
checking fit of gear
cleaning gear, including:
cleaning and oiling leather
washing plastic, rubber and towelling
recognising wear and breakage, including:
frayed girths and surcingles
perished elastic, rubber or plastic
split or cracked points
recognising approved gear
replacing worn or broken gear.
Pre and post-race procedures may include:
attending protests and inquiries
checking for track obstacles or possible distractions
complying with drug testing procedures
discussing horse's chances and likely race style with owner
discussing race instructions with trainer
evaluating surface of tracks
evaluating track rating
following parade yard procedures
knowing colours of other drivers
making and announcing a decision to protest
observing distances between turns and straights
observing length of straights
presenting to the start
providing documentation, including:
horse identification documents
driver identification documents
relating weather conditions to possible racing conditions
reporting horse performance post-race to trainer and owner.
Starting procedures will include:
asking for assistance when required
following officials' directions
listening for name to be called
moving into and maintaining position at mobile barrier or standing start.
Form of own horse and other horses may include:
assessing performance of horses at a range of distances and on different track surfaces
predicting stages of race where favourites are likely to move
reading form guides
understanding handicapping system
watching horses trial and race to ascertain performance.
Racing behaviour of own horse and other horses may include:
appearing to falter
laying in or hanging
not finishing race strongly
score-up and start manners
Appropriate driving skills may include:
adapting driving styles to suit individual horses
controlling and changing speed
considering variables that influence behaviour of horses, such as:
fences and equipment
other persons or animals
wind and noise
dealing with pressure from other drivers for position in field
following rules of racing
interpreting trainer instructions
identifying emergency situations, for example:
horse getting loose
judging pace and position in field
maintaining control of position and speed
using aids, including:
judging and maintaining pace, including:
knowing sectional times for varying race distances
following trainer instructions
slowing or quickening pace
using speed maps before race to estimate:
own place in the run
which will be hardest to beat
which will be running first, second and third
whether there will be speed in the race
who to follow
using own judgement when race is not truly run.
Strategies may require modification because:
horse not performing as expected
opportunity appears to improve position
horse is slow away from start.
Evaluating and reporting horse's race performance may include:
how horse travelled throughout the race
incidents in the race
reason for not finishing closer
whether horse had cover
whether horse was boxed in
whether horse was caught wide.
Critical incidents may include:
injury to or distress of horse
loss of stamina or reluctance to race
missing the start.
Protocol for communicating performance may include:
reporting honestly, factually and tactfully
providing information using appropriate language and terms of address
reporting to trainer
providing information to stewards or other officials.
Post-race assessment of own performance may include:
discussing drive with trainer or employer
discussing drive with other drivers or mentor
identifying areas where improvement could be made, including:
driving horses of particular classes, experience and racing styles
driving racehorses at trackwork not just at race meetings
practising driving horses working close together
viewing race videos.
Harness racing code
This unit contains employability skills.
Refer to Unit Descriptor