Major Horse Racing Events to Watch Out for in Australia

Same as in the UK, horse racing is a big thing in Australia. In fact, it is the third most attended spectator sport in the country – just behind rugby league and Australian rules football. According to statistical sources, there are 360 registered racecourses throughout Australia during the 2009-2010 racing season.

The Aussie horse racing season begins each year on August and ends on July with races taking place on a weekly basis on most racecourses. There are also daily meetings organised in most metropolitan, provincial and country race clubs. On top of these, there are a number of major horse racing events in Australia that attracts horse racing enthusiasts worldwide.

Golden Slipper
Where: Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, Sydney
When: March
The Golden Slipper Stakes is a Group 1 sprint race for two-year olds. With a prize money of AUD$3,500,000, it is the country’s premier race and the world’s richest race for two year old horses. It is run over a distance of 1,200 metres. The first race that took place in 1957 was won by the famous Star Kingdom whom in turn became the leading sire for two year olds in the next five years. However, the most famous victory in the history of this event was that of Belle Du Jour way back 2000. Belle Du Jour started badly and almost unsaddled the jockey, but managed to take the lead during the final stages of the race to win it.

Manikato Stakes
Where: Moonee Valley Racecourse, Melbourne
When: September
This event is being held yearly in September as part of the Melbourne Spring racing Carnival. Horses race to compete for AUD$1,000,000 worth of prize money and run under weight-for-age conditions. The race was originally run over a distance of six furlongs but was changed to a distance of 1,200 metres since 1972. It is named after the famous race horse Manikato who won the same race in 1979 and 1982. Last year’s winner of the Manikato Stakes was Hey Doc.

Caulfield Guineas
Where: Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne
When: October
Held in Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in October each year, the Caulfield Guineas is a Group 1 horse race open to 3-year-old horses. It is worth AUD$1,000,000 and is run under set-weights conditions over a distance of 1,600 metres. The race is widely known as “The Guineas” and starts the three-day Caulfield carnival and forms a part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

Caulfield Cup
Where: Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne
When: October
Held during mid-October of each year, this event is open for horses aged three years old and older and is run over a distance of 2,400 metres. This is considered as one of the richest Thoroughbred horse races in Australia and the richest in the world for its type (for 2,400 metre races) with AUD$5,000,000 worth of prize money. Boom Time was the winner of last year’s race.

W.S. Cox Plate
Where: Moonee Valley Racecourse, Melbourne
When: October
During late October each year, the W.S. Cox Plate takes place in at Moonee Valley Racecourse, Melbourne. This race is open to horses aged three years old and older and run over a distance of 2,040 metres. Same as the Caulfield cup, the race is worth AUD$5,000,000 of stake money. It is named after W.S. Cox, the racing club’s founder. The 3 most recent races (2015-2017) were won by Winx creating a record of most wins in the event.

Melbourne Cup
Where: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
When: November
Known as “the race that stops a nation”, The Melbourne Cup is widely regarded as the most prestigious thoroughbred horse race in the country. The event starts at 3pm on the first Tuesday of November. It is run over a distance of 3,200 metres and open for horses 3 years old and older. It is the richest and most prestigious two-mile handicap horse in the world – attracting some of the best horses from around the world competing for the total prize money of AUD$6,200,000 (recent races). However, for the upcoming 2018 Melbourne Cup, the Prize money will be at AUD$7,300,000.