Our vision is to see science deliver positive change to the lives of Thoroughbreds during and after their careers in racing. We are aware that the public in Hong Kong and around the world share the same passion to enhance animal welfare and we are enthusiastic to see outcomes from the work that we support help to realise this ambition. Ultimately, we want to see new knowledge translated into real improvements to the lives of horses, such as the reduction of injuries and disease, promotion of racehorse safety during training and racing and improved quality of life for horses after they retire from racing. We also hope to help cultivate young talent and professionals pursuing equine welfare research and to share information with the public on horse health and welfare.

We expect that the research benefits will raise the overall standard of equine welfare in Hong Kong, Mainland China and elsewhere. We will also share the research outcomes and knowledge with our international industry peers and the public to benefit the racing and equine industry around the world. Therefore, we require that the findings of all studies that we fund be presented openly, published in academic media and disseminated to relevant stakeholders in the racing and equine industry and members of public. Furthermore, we plan to organise a conference every four years that will bring researchers, racing officials, trainers, horse owners and those involved with caring for retired racehorses together to explore how the latest research findings can be applied to best effect.

The Foundation received many excellent research proposals from around the world in response to its initial call for applications in March/April 2021. We are delighted to announce that 13 of these were selected for support and the Foundation will contribute HK$14 million to fund these projects, each of which focuses on important welfare-related topics. The research teams that will undertake the work are from six countries. Findings from each project will be shared widely and summaries will be published here upon completion of the projects.

Relationship between Thoroughbred racing and training workloads and the fatigue life of equine subchondral bone
Chris Whitton, The University of Melbourne, Australia (Major Research Grant: AUD 243,404)
Project Summary
Effect of surface and predominant direction of training and racing on movement symmetry and hoof shape in racing Thoroughbreds
Thilo Pfau, University of Calgary, Canada (Major Research Grant: CAD 236,303)
Project Summary
Unravelling the genetic mechanisms underlying fracture risk in horses
Debbie Guest, The Royal Veterinary College, UK (Major Research Grant: GBP 164,850)
Project Summary
Real-time risk prediction for Thoroughbred racing at The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Tim Parkin, University of Bristol, UK (Major Research Grant: GBP 39,211)
Project Summary
Immunomodulatory effects of equine chondroprogenitor cells in an animal model of osteoarthritis
Laurie Goodrich, Colorado State University, US (Pump-prime Funding: USD 37,935)
Project Summary
Investigation of equine fetlock joint immunopathology and the immunomodulatory effects of intra-articular therapeutics
Heidi Reesink, Cornell University, US (Research Training Scholarship: USD 186,055)
Project Summary
Prediction and prophylaxis of EIPH during racing by on-board monitoring of horses during training – a pilot study
Emmanuelle Van Erck, Equine Sports Medicine Practice, Belgium (Small Research Project: EUR 13,488)
Project Summary
Defining a transcriptomic signature for equine recurrent laryngeal neuropathy
Richard Piercy, The Royal Veterinary College, UK (Research Training Scholarship: GBP 169,393)
Project Summary
Applying novel multi-omic approaches to investigate the impact of training on airway immunity and molecular pathways underpinning MMEA and EIPH
Scott Pirie, The University of Edinburgh, UK (Major Research Grant: GBP 181,243)
Project Summary
Mapping the equine cardiac channelome – elucidation of molecular targets of electrophysiological function in horses with and without cardiac rhythm abnormalities
Rebecca Lewis, University of Surrey, UK (Major Research Grant: GBP 179,036)
Project Summary
The development and validation of novel behavioural assessment methods for equine welfare
Catherine Dwyer, The University of Edinburgh, UK (Pump-prime Funding: GBP 24,627)
Project Summary
The effects of short-term omeprazole on serum gastrin and chromogranin A, as markers of rebound gastric hyperacidity, in the horse
Benjamin Sykes, Massey University, New Zealand (Pump-prime Funding: NZD 33,235)
Project Summary
Equine influenza virus epigenetically imprints airway basal cells and alters chronically the airway epithelium repair potential
Caroline Chauche, The University of Edinburgh, UK (Pump-prime Funding: GBP 27,582)
Project Summary