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Horse racing in Australia was a regional spectator sport long before the advent of online race-books and horse racing wagering sites; racing fans were given very little exposure to horse racing from other countries.
Today, things are very different as fans living anywhere in the world now have ample access to bet on horses from Europe, Asia and the United States.
What Horse Racing Fans Were Missing
Unfortunately, the lack of exposure to horse racing in other countries deprived racing fans of watching and wagering on some of the greatest thoroughbreds of all time. Great jockeys and trainers were largely left unknown outside of their home countries. Worst of all, horse players were led to believe that the sport was inferior in other jurisdictions.
In recent years, American horse players have been given exposure to racing in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia and New Zealand).
What they are just now discovering is that horse racing in Australia is a quality sport with horses, jockeys and trainers who can compete on par with the same from any other country in the world.
The only discernible difference from one jurisdiction to the next is the terminology and wagering menus.
Quick Guide to Horse Racing in Australia - 101
For American horse players who have yet to be exposed to some of the best racing in the world, here is a quick guide that will hopefully inspire Americans to give some extra attention to racing "Down Under."
Unlike racing in the US and Europe, all racing is conducted on grass courses. With warm weather conditions year-round, the turf is easy to maintain and it stands up well to year round racing. Some of the most popular race courses include:
● In Victoria - Flemington, Caulfield, Moonee Valley and Sandown
● In New South Wales - Randwick, Warwick Farm, Rosehill Gardens and Canterbury Park
● In Other Provinces - Doomben, Victoria Park, Cheltenham, Belmont Park, Ascot Racecourse and Eagle Farm.
As a testament to the quality of racing in Australia, the country currently has three of the most prominent races is the world based on purses. These three races draw top talent from all over the world and include the:
● Melbourne Cup - A$6,200,000, 3200 meters (2 miles) on turf for three-year-olds and up at Flemington in early November
● Caulfield Cup - A$3,000,000, 2400 meters (1 1/2 miles) on turf for three-year-olds and up at Caulfield in early October
● WS Cox Plate - A$3,000,000, 2040 meters (1 1/4 miles) on turf for three-year-olds and up at Moonee Valley in mid October
Other important Group 1 races include the Blue Diamond Stakes, Golden Slipper, Victoria Derby, Victoria Oaks, Caulfield Guineas, Randwick Guineas, Rosehill Guineas and the Perth Cup.
Horse racing in Australia has a long and rich history dating back almost 150 years. During that time, some of the greatest race horses to ever grace the planet have done most if not all of its racing in Australia. The following list represents just a very small selection of Australian based horses that have made a significant impact on the sport as a whole. Phar Lap, Might and Power, So You Think, Sunline, Makybe Diva (A$14 million in purses), Black Caviar (retired undefeated 25-25 as a crack sprinter), Kingston Rule, Black Knight and Empire Rose.
The next time you get a chance to watch and wager on races down under, do yourself a favor and do so. The beautiful sweeping race tracks and glorious pageantry are all representative of horse racing that is every bit as good as that found in the United States or Europe.
This article was written by horse racing enthusiast and author Tony Samboras. Tony has been actively promoting horse racing in Australia for several years and has recently written a few guides for people in the U.S and the U.K to help others understand the world of horse racing in Australia.