NZ Thoroughbred Racing Meetings

NZ Thoroughbred Racing Meetings

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing annually holds more than 300 race meetings at 52 racecourses across New Zealand. Meetings can range from high profile festivals, such as Auckland Cup Week, to small 'once a year' country meetings, which are very community focused and great fun with racing often of lower standard.  St John has been providing event medical services for thoroughbred racing for many years.

The medical coverage for races ten years ago was locally organised. This was changed in 2007 to a contract for the entire country, to ensure standardisation of coverage. This plan has worked very well for the customer and for St John. 

Our reason for attending these events is twofold. We are there for the jockeys and we are there for the spectators and workers. Horse racing, by its nature, is a dangerous sport. The large and enthusiastic crowds that gather for these events present the possibility of injury, as people bunch together and become excited during the race.

Key risks: 
Generally most meetings have very few, if any, patients. However, the potential for serious injury is high due to the risky nature of horse racing, particularly steeplechases and hurdles. Weather conditions can also increase the risk.

The smallest race meetings require at least one paramedic, a primary care officer and one ambulance.  If larger crowds are anticipated, or the meeting has jumping races, St John will provide additional primary care officers, as required. Sometimes St John needs to cover as many as eight events in a week. Races can’t start without a paramedic and ambulance on the course, so it’s essential that the St John team is reliable and punctual. The ambulance follows along behind the horses racing, so medics are immediately available to assist jockeys if required. With some weather or track conditions, a 4WD ambulance is required.

Cases treated include skin injuries, sprains and strains, contusion or bruising, fractures and dislocations, eye injuries, asthma, head and neck injuries, headaches, blisters and occasionally cardiac chest pain or cardiac arrest.

“St John provides an invaluable service to the Thoroughbred Racing Industry in New Zealand through the providing of pre-hospital emergency services at race and trial meetings.

The health and safety of all of the industry’s participants and the public who attend meetings is of paramount importance to New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, hence the excellent service provided by St John is a vital component of our operations.”
Ross Gove, Racing Services Manager

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