TBV Executive Officer, Charmein Bukovec (left). Image: Racing Photos.

It is pleasing that racing continues with everything that is occurring in the world. I would like to congratulate all industry participants for keeping the industry going.

To achieve this, there have had to be certain initiatives to adjust to ensuring that the industry continues to operate.

We are all in this together.

In the last few days, you would have heard Racing Victoria announce prizemoney reductions. These include Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold.

The purpose of these prizemoney reductions is to ensure that we can continue to enable a viable and sustainable industry.

TBV supports the announced reductions of prizemoney including the VOBIS program as measures like this will ensure that the racing and breeding industries are in the best possible position to provide the support required if a shutdown of racing occurs.

From my conversations with Racing Victoria it has been made clear that they view the sustainability of the racing and breeding industry as intertwined.

We are pleased to advise that Racing Victoria support TBV’s recommendation to extend the Super VOBIS deadline to help with cashflow for Victorian breeders. The Super VOBIS deadline for 2018-born foals will be extended to July 31, 2020.

TBV raised your concerns with the Government and Racing Victoria regarding the accommodation and welfare of horses, should racing be suspended for any period of time.

Late last week, TBV submitted a document to the State Government to address these concerns.

I have received feedback from breeders about different issues, such as impacts to cashflow, concerns about potential restrictions with horse movement, including internationally and locally and market decline. I encourage you to communicate issues so that we can continue to advance these with the appropriate Government departments, Racing Victoria and stakeholder bodies.

And as always, you can contact me directly on 0459 510 506 or at tbv@racingvictoria.net.au

Until we next speak, stay safe.

Kind Regards,





Charmein Bukovec, TBV Executive Officer (Left) (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)
I write to you tonight to provide you an update in relation to COVID-19 and the Victorian-breeding industry.

TBV are working with Inglis in relation to the Gold sale to represent the Victorian Breeders position. Kayley Johnson, Jenny Moodie and I spoke with as many vendors as we could to understand what your positions are and what you believe would represent the best outcome for your farm. TBV President- James O’Brien, then put forward the collective response to Inglis. The response was that vendors felt that the sale should be postponed given the current climate.

After our conversations with Inglis, it has been confirmed that the Gold sale and will be run in conjunction with the Great Southern sale, which will run from the 12-15 July. This will be reviewed on April 30, to ensure it reflects any conditions we may face at that time. However, Inglis have been clear, that regardless of what does happen the sale won’t be moving to earlier than this date. Inglis tonight have also released a revised 2020 schedule, which you can find here.

Additionally, you have raised concerns that in the event of racing being suspended, how the breeding industry will be supported, and the welfare of horses be maintained in the current climate.

In this regard, yesterday we met with the Minister of Racing’s office to talk through those challenges we face. We are currently preparing a paper which will be submitted to the Government to address these challenges, to ensure the welfare of the horses comes first and making sure that breeders also don’t end up in a tougher position.

Today, I met with Racing Victoria, the Minister’s office and other industry stakeholders to talk about the situation as it currently stands. Post this meeting, the TBV Board met to discuss issues that have arisen due to COVID-19. We will continue to have meetings regularly as a team to address the current situation.

We have only just learned tonight at 9:45pm, that Mark Zahra’s COVID test has shown he is negative to COVID-19. This is a great result for both the racing and breeding industry.

Finally, have you checked on your friends, or your neighbours today? A phone call or text can go a long way, I personally am trying to flick a text to people to see how they are going.

Sometimes, people need a little more support, which in this case Racing Victoria have extended their Stableline program to those people employed in the Victorian breeding industry. It is an independent counselling service which anyone can call 24/7 on 1300 520 122.

We will get through this if we support each other and build one another up.

And as always, you can call me direct on 0459 510 506 or email me at tbv@racingvictoria.net.au, should you wish to share ideas or concerns.

Kind Regards,




Charmein Bukovec


Dear Victorian breeder,

I write to you today, to update you on the latest regarding COVID-19. As we all know, this situation continues to evolve and does so at an alarming rate.

Today, I will once again meet with Racing Victoria, the Victorian State Government, and other key racing stakeholder groups to talk about racing and the impacts COVID-19 has had on our industry.

Following this meeting, while I have no doubt Racing Victoria will provide an update, I too will keep you updated.

These meetings are beneficial as they have provided invaluable recommendations which can be adopted in the breeding industry and provide another line of communication to the Minister. These meetings have helped me to provide recommendations which I sent to you last Monday.

On Friday, I also had a discussion with the Minister’s office about the Victorian breeding industry and how COVID-19 will impact our farms, businesses, and employees. I will continue to speak with the Minister’s office and Racing Victoria.

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) has released guidelines for your farm in the wake of COVID-19. I encourage you to share this through your networks, forward the email on to your neighbour, share it on social media. Sometimes emails get overlooked. You can find the guidelines by clicking here.

This country was built on community and helping one another get through the tough times. Kindness and checking in on your neighbour go a long way (while maintaining social distancing protocols).

If you or anyone you know, needs to reach out for support in this time, Racing Victoria have extended their Stableline service to those who are employed in the Victorian breeding industry for the period of the COVID-19 outbreak. The service is a free, independent counselling service and is available 24/7 to you on 1300 520 122. Should you wish to utilise other 24/7 support services, you can find a list of them in the table below.

Never in our lifetimes have we experienced something of this nature. There is no rule book as to how we should make decisions, but one thing is crucial and that is we must listen to those in charge and take their messages seriously to get through this period.

And as always, you can contact me directly at tbv@racingvictoria.net.au or on 0459 510 506.

Kind Regards,




Charmein Bukovec

Today, our Premier, Daniel Andrews announced that Victoria is in a State of Emergency.

We must comply with the Government’s position and while it may be of an inconvenience to our lifestyle and livelihoods, it is imperative we get this right in the interests of our staff, families and our industry.

Over the weekend, breeders have reached out to Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria expressing concerns about the pandemic and what the plans are to manage the situation.

The recent global events are unprecedented. The situation is constantly evolving, as are our conversations, plans and advice.

The Inglis Easter Yearling sale and the Inglis Gold sale, as well as other sales are on our doorstep. We have contacted Inglis and Magic Millions and we will work with both sales companies to determine the best options for staff and horses, while considering Government advice.

In doing so, consideration will be given to the economic impacts of decisions.

We recognise it is important to you, that a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later.

This afternoon, I met with the CEO and Executives of Racing Victoria, other Victorian Racing industry stakeholders, and Victorian Government representatives to discuss how we can best protect our people and our industry as we work through the crisis.

Breeding and racing’s collective objective is to ensure we keep our people safe and healthy, and minimising any negative impacts to the industry.

Some of the things that you as a breeder can do in the current climate, are the following measures:

  • Where possible, staff work should from home remotely. Given the nature of our business is labour intensive, this is not always possible and therefore, we recommend farms to consider alternative working arrangements.
  • Staff temperatures should be tested on arrival at work. Anyone with an abnormal temperature should be sent home.
  • Any staff member who displays any signs of a cold, should remain at home for 14 days.
  • Practising of social isolation and social distancing should occur, you can find full details in the recommendations below.
  • Good hygiene methods should be engaged and avoidance of shaking hands and refraining of touching one’s face is recommended.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, here are some summarised recommendations to help you make your work environments safe.
For businesses:

  1. Install hand sanitisers in prominent places around the workplace.
  2. Disinfect surfaces regularly.
  3. Hold a briefing to discuss hygiene and general practices to keep everyone safe.
  4. Put up posters to encourage regular and thorough hand washing. You can download posters on the WHO website, click here.
  5. Promote good respiratory hygiene. Cough and sneeze into elbows or tissues.
  6. Open doors and windows for good ventilation.
  7. Brief your employees, contractors and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home. They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection.
  8. Keep communicating and promoting the message that people need to stay at home even if they have just mild symptoms of COVID-19.
  9. Where possible, provide face masks, tissues and closed bins to dispose of tissues.
  10. Post-pone conferences, large meetings and other social events that are not necessary.
  11. If you are travelling, read the government advice for travellers, click here.
  12. Develop a plan if someone in your workplace becomes sick with COVID-19.
  13. Read the full WHO fact sheet on getting your workplace ready for COVID-19. Click here.

For individuals:

  1. Ensure all staff practice high standards of hygiene. Good hygiene includes:
    • If you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
    • Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
    • Washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
    • Disposing of tissues properly.
    • Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue.
  2. Practice social distancing:
    • Staying at home when you are unwell.
    • Avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential.
    • Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible.
    • Minimising physical contact, especially with people at higher risk such as older people and people with existing health conditions.
  3. If you have a confirmed case, you need to self-isolate to prevent spreading it to others. 
    • If you are sick, wear a surgical mask. If you are healthy, there is no need to wear a surgical mask.
    • Do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university.
    • Ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
    • Do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home.
    • If you are a confirmed case, inform your employer and anyone that you have come into contact with.
    • If you develop shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately.

For information about symptoms, when to get tested and more, click here. If you are concerned about coronavirus, there is a 24 hour hotline that you can call for advice:1800 020 080

As I have updates, I will communicate them with you. In the meantime, I do want to hear your opinions and thoughts on the current situation and I invite you to contact me directly on 0459 510 506.

Kind Regards,


Charmein Bukovec – Executive Officer