Hot Topics: Altrenogest, and the drought

Posted on Posted in News

We thought it would be useful to provide some information to our stable clients, regarding two topics that are in the racing news this week.


On 19 June, Racing Victoria (RV) issued a warning to all Trainers that products containing the drug Altrenogest may contain levels of the banned steroid Trenbolone. Until further notice, RV advised all trainers to stop the use of any product containing Altrenogest.

We use the branded product Regu-Mate, which is Altrenogest, for some fillies and mares in full training. Regu-Mate regulates breeding cycles is fillies and mares, particularly during the transition from Winter to the phsyiological breeding season, Spring. We have found the administration of this product beneficial, limiting the instances of mares being “in-season” on raceday and thus maintaining higher levels of consistency in race performance.

Since June 19. we have not used Regu-Mate and have noticed a couple of instances of inconsistent performances in mares, later proven to be in season on the day of racing.

On 27 June, Nigel emailed head RV veterinarian Dr Grace Forbes to highlight this evidence and suggested that RV adopt the Racing NSW (RNSW) approach of allowing the oral administration of Regu-Mate (which we use) as all the evidence was pointing to the injectable version of Regu-Mate containing trace amounts of the steroid Trenbolone.

Nigel has not received a response nor has Nigel or veterinarian Dr Emma Nicol been invited to provide further insight.

We note with further interest today that RNSW have taken their flexibility one step further, by establishing a Local Rule (NSW) providing RNSW discretion to dismiss “non-consequential” levels of the steroid Trenbolone (up to a low threshold) where Altrenogest is also present. This is a practical approach at this time of year until the problem with Altrenogest containing Trenbolone can be eliminated.

So, we just wanted to explain this to our clients, and especially owners of fillies and mares, that we have been monitoring this situation closely and Nigel has been trying to provide feedback to RV leading into Spring.

RV today announced that they have not yet made any determination, so we are still not using Regu-Mate. We only hope it does not affect the consistency of race performance in the fillies and mares racing this Spring. In Nigel’s view, it is probable that we will encounter some inconsistency if this question remains open.

The drought and its impact on feed supplies and costs

Also discussed on this morning’s RSN’s Racing Pulse program, was the drought that is currently affecting large parts of Australia. Its impact on feed supply and costs for the racing industry are being noticed in some regions.

For many years now, Blackiston Racing have been supplied high quality feed by a trusted supplier, Pet Horse & Farm.

The van de Pol family has owned and operated the stockfeed business for nearly 50 years and have maintained long-term relationships with growers of grain, hay, lucern etc. Sourcing predominantly from farms in Victoria, less affected by the drought than other states, Pet Horse & Farm have been able to reliably supply quality feed with only minimal increases in prices recently – restricted mainly to hay and chaff.

Due to our long-term partnership and the van de Pol family’s relentless focus on Supply Chain efficiency and procurement control, we have a high level of confidence in feed supply and costs in coming weeks.

Nigel’s approach to order customised pre-mixed feed is also an important factor. Nigel and Assistant Trainer Kasey Loftus maintain a custom feed program for each horse and have custom pre-mixed feed delivered for efficiency in our feeding program. So far we have been spared significant increases in costs that some manufacturers of branded, “off the shelf” pre-mixed feed are apparently passing on to Trainers.

As always however, Nigel and Susanna are monitoring this situation and regularly discuss with Pet Horse & Farm. We are just one consumer in a national market and prices are susceptible to supply and demand forces. But at this point we are proud to provide a high level of confidence to our stable clients that all horses continue to be fed high-quality feed, sourced by Pet Horse & Farm’s procurement team from good farms (mainly in Victorian regions less affected by drought compared to NSW), and delivered at prices which are not currently inflationary.