Imagine sitting on a picnic blanket, champagne in hand and surrounded by thousands of people with some of the most beautiful hats and extravagant fascinators. Suddenly the crowd starts cheering and screaming as 15 or so of the greatest horses sprint past you to cross the finish line. Where are you? At one of Australia’s several fantastic racing carnivals held throughout the year of course!
Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival
Whether you live in the racing capital of Melbourne or on the other side of the country at Perth, each state hosts some of the biggest calendar events of the year. The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is undoubtedly the biggest racing event on Australian soil. Home to the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup, the carnival is worth more than $30 million in prize money and has brought fame to the likes of Phar Lap and Makybe Diva. The four day Flemington Carnival is the major section of the Spring Carnival and features the Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup, Crown Oaks and Emirates Stakes.
Sydney Spring Racing Carnival
Following closely in stature is the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival which features the Group 1 Epsom Handicap, The Metropolitan and the Spring Champion Stakes. Held predominantly at Rosehill Gardens and Royal Randwick, the Sydney carnival prepares many of Melbourne’s hopeful contenders through the George Main Stakes and the $1 million Golden Rose event for three year olds.
Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival
The Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival is one of the few carnivals to host races during the cooler months of May and June. Featuring the highly anticipated Stradbroke Handicap, the carnival is known for bringing about racing legend Rough Habit which won the Stradbroke Handicap twice in 1991-92. The Queensland event is held at two major locations, Eagle Farm Racecourse and Doomben Racecourse.
Magic Millions Carnival
The other major racing carnival held in Queensland each year is the illustrious Magic Millions Carnival on the Gold Coast. The premier racing event run by the Gold Coast Turf Club takes place over two weeks in January at the Gold Coast Racecourse with its major raceday featuring the Magic Millions 2yo Classic and the Magic Millions 3yo Trophy as the headline events. Both races, worth $2 million and $1 million respectively, are open only to Magic Millions purchased horses, with the Magic Millions yearling sales another massive drawcard of the carnival.
Perth Summer Racing Carnival
The Perth Summer Racing Carnival follows straight after the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and is ideal for horses which are eager to continue their success from Victoria. Home to the Railway Stakes, the carnival kicks off in late November and concludes on New Year’s Day with the Perth Cup.
Adelaide Racing Carnival
Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival
Melbourne also hosts an Autumn Racing Carnival, which features the Newmarket Handicap and the Blue Diamond Stakes. All three major racecourses; Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley are used during the event which commences on New Year’s Day and concludes in April with the Easter Cup Day.
Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival
The Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival is equally as big as the Melbourne version and features the prestigious Golden Slipper Stakes. With over 12 major race days, Sydney race-goers will definitely be able to find a day which suits them!