Unit of competency details

RGRPSH505A - Select horses for racing (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 24/Sep/2008

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Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  24/Sep/2008 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency specifies the outcomes required to evaluate the conformation, temperament, pedigree, general health, performance and previous history of horses to determine their suitability for racing.

This unit of competency operates in work environments of racing stables, paddocks, yards, racecourses and public areas.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit of competency supports trainers and others to select horses for racing.

The unit focuses on the competencies associated with preparing horses of various ages and abilities for Australian racing programs. Harness and thoroughbred racing occurs under different conditions consequently when performance criteria are applied they will relate to harness or thoroughbred horses and statements of attainment for this unit will reflect this distinction.

This unit can be contextualised for other industries while also maintaining the integrity of the unit.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



Profile a racehorse.

1. Characteristics  of racehorse types are identified.

2. Features of conformation are evaluated.

3. Race times and track records are researched.

4. Racing program aims are determined.

Evaluate pedigrees.

5. Pedigree information is interpreted.

6. Racing breeding theories are evaluated.

7. Features of prominent racing lines  are identified.

Evaluate horses available.

8. Options for racing horses are identified.

9. Specialist advice  is sought to evaluate horse health and fitness for racing.

10. Input from staff regarding horse performance is gathered.

11. Horses available are ranked based on racing program aims, pedigree, general health and price range affordability.

Re-evaluate horse's racing career.

12. Horse's progress in racing program is evaluated.

13. Options for horse's future are discussed.

14. Horse's future  is determined with consideration to animal welfare issues.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • analysing information provided by staff
  • applying safe handling and work practices when dealing with horses
  • communicating with horse specialists and others using assertive communication techniques to gather and relay information related to selecting horses for racing
  • complying with animal welfare policies in care and management of horses
  • decision making
  • determining desired extent of participating in racing and how this may influence the type of horse selected
  • evaluating conformation features of nominated horses
  • evaluating potential influence of ancestors to characteristics and potential of nominated horses
  • evaluating racing breeding theories and rationalising influence of pedigree and other factors to potential performance
  • identifying current popular sires
  • identifying current prominent racehorses
  • identifying prominent racing family lines
  • interpreting basic genetic terminology
  • interpreting statistical racing information, including breeding performance, track times, race sectional times and winners
  • listing track records for major feature races
  • rationalising horse's future in racing based on performance, health and injury status
  • relating horse's temperament to racing potential
  • reading and interpreting racing pedigrees and breeding theories
  • reading and interpreting workplace documentation, including relevant rules of racing
  • relating pedigree and conformation to potential performance in various race distances and types
  • relating to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities
  • written communication skills to complete workplace documentation and reports.

Required knowledge 

  • basic genetic theory of inheritance of traits
  • characteristics of successful racehorses of various racing types
  • common horse behaviour, social traits and vices
  • features of healthy and fit racehorses
  • features of conformation of racehorses
  • illnesses and injuries that may impact on a horse's potential in racing
  • industry terminology related to breeding and racing horses
  • life span of horses and likely length of racing career
  • popular racing breeding theories
  • racing industry animal welfare requirements
  • role of horse temperament in racing potential
  • statistical information related to breeding performance
  • track records for prominent races
  • types of pedigree layout.

Evidence Guide


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 of 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 processes that are to apply when determining a horse's suitability for racing
  • preparation and timely application of criteria for the safe, effective and efficient selection of horses for racing or alternative future options
  • working with others to select horses for racing that meet required outcomes.

Evidence should be collected over a period of time and be focused on selection and decision making processes applying to a range of racehorses of different ages and sexes, at different stages of their racing career and housed in a racing stable. Theoretical components can be assessed in a simulated situation but must be related to racing industry conditions and contexts.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Competency may be assessed in an actual workplace or simulated environment that provides access to 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.

This unit includes practical aspects as well as the research, interpretation and evaluation of data. 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 or thoroughbred horses
  • materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to assess conformation, pedigree and race type features of horses for racing
  • 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, documented and firsthand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • inspection of completed work
  • simulation exercises.

Where performance is not directly observed any evidence should be authenticated by supervisors or other appropriate persons.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • RTE3148A Assess conformation of horses.

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).

Range Statement


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 select horses for racing. Workplaces include harness and thoroughbred racing stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.

Profiling  a racehorse may include:

  • assessment of pedigree and performance of close relatives
  • conformation evaluation
  • health and injury status
  • performance if any of nominated horse.

Characteristics  of racehorse types include:

  • climate adaptability
  • horses that prefer to lead versus those who prefer cover
  • racehorse types:
  • all weather runners versus particular weather specialists
  • distance versus sprinting types
  • track direction preferences
  • track type preferences
  • temperament and ability to settle into training and racing
  • variations in behaviour and management requirements, based on age and sex.

Features of conformation  may include:

  • balance and proportion of body
  • conformational faults that may affect racing performance
  • front leg structural features
  • hind leg structural features
  • structural features of feet and hooves.

Racing program aims  may include:

  • longer term performance in feature races
  • race class
  • race distance
  • race location, including:
  • country
  • metropolitan
  • picnic
  • provincial
  • race start type.

Pedigree information  may include:

  • dam line pedigree styles
  • methods used in pedigrees to identify race performance, such as black type
  • personal knowledge of family is used, such as previous close relations in stable or similar
  • sire line pedigree styles
  • suffix details commonly used in pedigrees for horses, for example import country
  • terminology used in describing relationship between ancestors and other relations for horses.

Racing breeding theories  may include:

  • Bruce Lowe
  • cluster mares
  • cross-breeding
  • dosage pedigrees
  • inbreeding
  • influence of dam on progeny performance
  • influence of environment on performance potential
  • influence of sire on progeny performance
  • line breeding
  • nicks
  • outbreeding
  • race records and statistical information
  • taproot pedigrees
  • Tesio
  • Varola.

Features of prominent racing lines  may include:

  • consistency of type within progeny of nominated sire or dam
  • consistency of race performance of nominated sire or dam, for example producers of 2 year old winners
  • current successful dams based on:
  • dam's race record
  • number of foals to race
  • number of winners to starters
  • prize money earned by progeny
  • current successful sires based on:
  • number of runners for winners
  • number of winners to starters
  • prize money earned by progeny
  • sire's race record
  • sale price of yearlings
  • race performance of related progeny within a three generation pedigree
  • reputation of stallion as producer of successful broodmares.

Options for racing horses  may include:

  • affordability of price range
  • racing as an owner-trainer
  • leasing horses to race
  • syndicating horses to race
  • purchasing a share in a horse
  • purchasing a horse and engaging a trainer
  • selecting a horse with racing performance versus selecting a yearling
  • breeding a horse to race.

Specialist advice  may include:

  • bloodstock agent assessment
  • farrier assessment
  • trainer advice
  • veterinary advice and testing, including:
  • x-ray
  • blood test
  • endoscope
  • suitability for racing assessment, including:
  • metabolic efficiency
  • respiratory soundness
  • structural soundness
  • racing fitness testing.

Options for horse's future  may include:

  • changing racing location:
  • to change climate
  • to change quality of competition
  • to change racing direction
  • changing trainer
  • retiring horse from racing
  • selecting appropriate race distance
  • selecting appropriate race type, such as country versus metropolitan start
  • spelling horse.

Horse's future  may include:

  • ensuring adequate provision is made for feed, water shelter, exercise and companionship if horse is to be retired
  • euthanasing horse with serious injuries or poor prognosis
  • identifying potential other uses for horse that is retired from racing, such as re-homing to equestrian or pleasure riding or driving situation
  • leasing horse to other racing team
  • reviewing horse's needs after retirement if horse does not cope with paddock life
  • selling horse to other racing home
  • sending horse to stud.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit Sector 

Harness and thoroughbred racing codes

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Functional Area

Functional Area 

Racing performance services

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