Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) president Basil Nolan has labelled Racing Australia’s proposal to bring breeders under the rules of racing a “power grab”.

“It tells you everything about Racing Australia that they made the announcement without even bothering to first inform TBA and while they were still supposed to be considering a proposal from us,” Nolan said.

“This is nothing more than a power-grab by Racing Australia, a body which is totally unaccountable. It’s as if the butchers suddenly decided they wanted to regulate farmers.”

As part of a wide-ranging list of reforms issued on Friday, Racing Australia will add a clause to the Stallion Return, Mare Return and New Breeder Registration Form of the Stud Book wherein owners acknowledge that they will come under the rules of racing if they have an ownership interest in a foal or thoroughbred.

The TBA Board and the wider breeding industry are totally opposed to the new clause. “The rules of racing and Racing Australia are there for the regulation of racing rather than breeding, which is a primary industry,” Nolan continued. “They’re not relevant to breeders. In the 101 pages of the rules of racing there is only one reference to breeders.”

Racing Australia chairman John Messara and chief executive Peter McGauran met with breeders at the Inglis Easter Yearling sale to put forward the case for the proposals announced on Friday. “At the end of that meeting a vote was taken of the more than 90 breeders present,” Nolan revealed. “No one was in favour of the proposal.”

Racing Australia said protocols for the enforcement of the rules will be developed with TBA input given the commercial and reputational concerns held by breeders in the event of any action by stewards.

Racing Australia considered at length TBA’s submission that these reforms be enacted under the rules of the Stud Book, but enforcement of the rules of racing is the responsibility of the State Principal Racing Authorities (PRA).

TBA has already sought legal opinion on the new policy and will now consider all options in relation to this new rule by Racing Australia.