Australians are known around the world as some of the biggest racing enthusiasts in the industry with this great nation hosting thousands of different races each year. Since the first official horse race meeting in 1842, Australian race tracks have produced legendary horses including the king of horse racing, Phar Lap, and the most prized mare in the country, Makybe Diva. Horse racing is embedded in the Australian culture and for many it is their whole life. There will never be another trainer like Bart Cummings. The “Cups King” has more wins to his name than any other trainer in the history of Australian racing.
Group and List Races
Horse racing in Australia is divided into different statuses which are determined by the Australian Group and Listed Races Advisory Board. The four largest divisions are Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 and Listed Races. Commonly referred to as “Black Type” races, the Group 1-3 events are deemed the most prestigious and important in the world of racing. Australia currently has approximately 550 Group status races with a total of 21,000 races during the season.
The Melbourne Cup – The Race That Stops A Nation
The biggest race in Australia is unmistakably the Melbourne Cup held in November. This $6 million dollar race is the richest handicap in the world and literally stops the entire nation during its few minutes of exhilarating racing. The Melbourne Cup takes place during the Spring Racing Carnival which is the most anticipated carnival of the year. However throughout the year there are plenty of local race meetings which offer racing enthusiasts the chance to dress up and witness some spectacular racing.
The first Tuesday of November, you can count on being able to enjoy the Melbourne Cup. It is such an important event in Australia it was made a national holiday. People get pretty excited over the thoroughbred race, and rightfully so. The Excitement of the Melbourne Cup Race.
The race is itself is exciting. Then there’s the three day carnival, the fashion fiesta, and let’s not forget about the betting. Flemington racetrack is where they run the Melbourne Cup race. This pear shaped track offers a racing distance of 3.2 km. It attracts more than 120,000 spectators each year, who enjoy the three grandstands that were built back in 2000.
The Emirates Gold Cup
The first Emirates Gold Cup was presented way back in 1919. That’s more than 100 years of strong racing. In 2008, 24 horses entered the Melbourne Cup main event. Only 20 horses actually crossed the finish line and the winner of the Emirates Gold Cup receive $3.3 million dollars. The trainer and the jockey are also presented with miniature versions of the Emirates Gold Cup.
The Fashion Fiesta
The fashion gets almost as much attention as the race itself. And rightfully so. It began back in 1985 when Princess Dianna attended the Melbourne Cup, in her beautiful attire. Princess Di always did have a sense of fashion. Since then each race there is an event called the “Fashion of the Field”. There are prizes for the best dressed woman and man who attend the race.
It’s All About the Betting
The Melbourne Cup race is very exciting but it’s the betting that gets ones adrenalin pumping. There are all kinds of reasons why you can’t or don’t want to attend the event in person. Just the crowds would turn many off.
The trouble was until the inception of the internet you could only bet if you could find your way to the actual race. That was a costly venture, which most could not do. The internet has changed that. Now no matter where you live, just as long as you have a computer and an internet connection you can enjoy the sport of betting.
It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s fun. Watch the Melbourne Cup race on television or online, and don’t forget to breathe as you wait for your horse to cross the line – in first place we hope.
International Horse Racing
There are two main types of horse racing in Great Britain, Flat Racing and National Hunt Racing. Flat Racing is the same as horse racing in Australia, with horses racing on an unobstructed course. National Hunt Racing is also know as jump racing or steeplecahses because horses have to jump over fences or hurdles during the race. If you are looking for more information see our recommened UK Horse Racing website.