Australian Horse Racing

1. History of Australian Horse Racing

Australia has a long-standing horse racing tradition that dates back to October 1810 when racing was officially established in Sydney. During the establishment of the racing industry, it is estimated that Australia housed roughly 1100 Thoroughbred horses, who were imported from either India or South Africa. It is believed that the first horses to arrive in Australia were a stallion, a colt, three mares and two fillies in 1788. During the early 1800’s more Thoroughbred horses were imported, with the first bloodstock auction to take place in 1805. 1814 is marked as the year of Australia’s first official races in Tasmania, with other areas commencing races during the mid 1800’s. The official Australian Jockey Club was was founded in 1842, and by 1883 almost 200 country clubs had registered to race under the rules of the club.

2. Horse Racing in Australia Today

Today horse racing continues to be a popular sport to take part in and spectate. Thoroughbred racing has become the third largest spectator sport in Australia, with Australian Rules and Rugby the second and first. Horse racing is taken charge of by the Australian Racing Board, with each state ensuring they abide by the Australian Rules of Racing. Horse racing has become a large industry that provides permanent and temporary employment to roughly 250,000 people with over 2,600 registered trainers, more than 1,000 jockeys and 374 race clubs in the country.

3. Major Group 1 Races

The major races that take place in Australia are the Melbourne Cup, the Victorian Derby, the Victorian Racing Club (VRC) Oaks, the Golden Slipper, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and the WS Cox Plate. Known as “the race that stops a nation”, The Melbourne Cup is currently Australia’s most prestigious thoroughbred racing event held by the Victoria Racing Club for horses three years and older. The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861, and is a total of 1,988 miles. As of 2016, the total prize money for this race was $6,200,00 Australian Dollars.

4. Major Race Tracks

Australia’s major race tracks are Flemington, Moonee Valley, Royal Randwick, Rosehill Gardens, Doomben, Eagle Farm and Ascot. Flemington racecourse in Melbourne is the largest and most prestigious inner city course, that hosts the biggest annual thoroughbred race, the Melbourne Cup. This course provides a straight track and optimum surface, preferred by many overseas jockeys. Royal Randwick is the most is the most prestigious racecourse in Sydney and is host to The Championships each Autumn (late March, early April). The Championships features 8 x G1 races across two consecutive weekends and is the jewel of the Sydney Racing Calendar.

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