The 2002–03 statistics reveal that a total of 413 active thoroughbred race clubs—metropolitan, provincial and country—conducted 20,525 races on 379 racecourses throughout Australia. The race clubs are non-proprietary, are run by honorary committees, and return their profits back into the industry. During that year the horses were owned by about 300,000 people, were trained by 5,558 trainers, and were ridden by 1,304 jockeys and apprentice jockeys. Horses in training totalled 31,639, and the race clubs paid out $331,472,666 in prize money to the winners and placegetters in their races. An additional $15,539,310 was paid in incentives to owners and breeders.
The breeding industry in Australia continues to strengthen with a total of 1,010 stallions serving some 22,941 broodmares in 2002–03 (5,868 mares not served). There were 17,676 foals born resulting in a ratio of 61% of live foals to mares returned, which was the highest level in our breeding history. Australia has the second largest stallion and broodmare population in the world behind the USA. Australian horses are predominantly sold and raced in Australia, although there is a significant export of Australian-bred horses overseas, particularly to Asia.
The thoroughbred racing industry is one of Australia’s top income providers. According to a study by independent research providers IER (The Size and Scope of the Australian Thoroughbred Racing Industry), the racing industry is source for full- or part-time work for approximately 249,000 people, the equivalent to 77,000 jobs.
Among the industry occupations are the trainers and their staffs, breeders and their staffs, farriers, jockeys and trackwork riders. But a lateral journey uncovers the feed suppliers who are the farmers who grow the feed; the racing equipment manufacturers and their retailers; the vast army of caterers, cooks, waiters and bar attendants; the multitude of bookmakers and their staffs, and the behind-the-scenes equipment suppliers; the crowd of professional punters and their suppliers of computers and software; the host of veterinarians and the manufacturers of therapeutic substances; the racing analytical laboratories and their professional staffs; the scientists conducting equine research from funds provided by the racing industry; and the manufacturers of racing equipment, ranging from boots to saddles.