Since January 26th, 1788 when the first batch horses arrived in Australia aboard Lady Penrhyn, the Australian horse racing has seen it all. Since its inception, the Australian horse races have been one of the bitterly contested races across the globe and has seen an equal measure of tears of joy and painful sobs. World records have been smashed, prolific racers have been resoundingly beaten by armature riders, some stringent rules have been relaxed as some new ones implemented and so on and so forth.
It can be extremely hard to detail the Australian horse racing history without mentioning the thoroughbred horse racing. To say the least, not all the pieces of paper in this world can contain the details of the history of Australian horse race. Here are some memorable events, dates, and names that have put an unerasable mark on the world renowned Australian horse race. Yes! this is Australian horse racing history.
Although currently lying third just behind Japan and the United States of America among – the leading Thoroughbred racing nations of the world, Australian horse race has undergone through a lot to be where it is today. To begin with, the game was introduced in Australia by the earlier settlers. The type of racing at that time was an exact copy of the England version in the seventeenth century. Remember, Australia and New Zealand were British colonies at a time when racing was a popular sport and firmly established in Britain. No wonder, the founding colonists imported the racing interest with them. it’s also worthy to note that it was purely a military sport back then perhaps because horses weren’t native to Australia but were an essential part of the military in the Britain.
Fortunately, tables have since been turned and the horse race is no longer restricted to a certain class of people. Although the Australian horse population was only forty-nine in 1795 and two hundred in 1800, this number has since swelled beyond imagination. Today, horses are raised in the entire Australia. Australia boasts of hundreds of thousands of feral horses as well as other hundreds of thousand of feral camels, making it ripe for horse racing
The Australian horse racing has had a gradual but impressive record since its inception. The horse racing in this Oceania country dates back to 1810 when the first organized race was held. Though there are facts suggesting that along the roads matches took place a little bit earlier. Racing at that time was fuelled by a sudden increase in the horse population to aproximately 1100 animals.
Notably, the first stallion was Rockingham, thoroughbred from the Cape in the late 1790s. The chief and probably the only importer of horses by then was the Government. On October 15th, 1810, Sydney had an opportunity to hold its first ever official horse race, a three-day carnival organized and facilitated by the 73rd Regiment officers. Hyde Park was the first racecourse in Sydney. Today, it lies in the center of the modern Sydney city. Please note that there are records of much earlier races in the districts of Parramatta and Hawkesbury.
The Hyde Park race was accompanied by a race ball. Thus initiating racing as a social event just as it was in England. Sydney racing thereby becoming an annual event until 1813. The race was briefly interrupted by the transfer of the regiment to Ceylon but resumed in 1819. Again in 1821, the Sydney official race ceased with the departure of Governor Macquarie.
However, all wasn’t lost as outlying districts magistrates had authority to approve horse races and matches. In 1825 the first ever bona fide racing club was set up in Australia – the Sydney Turf Club and Hyde Park was no longer used as a racecourse. A new venue was established at the modern day Bellevue Hill and Camperdown. In April 1928 the Australian Racing and Jockey Club was formed with the aim of organizing an annual event every April and also to set and regulate horse racing as a game and later, the Sandy Race Course on Randwick Road nearer Sydney officially was opened.
Thereafter, a lot has happened to make horse racing the third most popular sport across Australian after Football and Rugby. Some of the most earlier significant dates in the Australian horse racing history include the 1814 horse races held in Tasmania, the commencement of horse racing in 1836 in Western Australia, the first official races held in Victoria in March 1838, the formation of Australian Jockey Club in 1842, 1843 when Queensland held it’s first ever races as well as South Australia in Adelaide, the 1878 compilation of the first stud book to trace bloodlines by William Yuille, and the 1883 grand racing by almost 200 country clubs under the Australian Jockey Club. The following a hundred years saw horse racing as well as Thoroughbred breeding firmly established in Australia.
Today, the Australian horse racing is governed by the Australian Racing Board comprising of representatives of the Principal Racing Associations drawn from two territories and the six states. The board oversees approximately 32,000 races annually and 400 race clubs. This brings on board an annual event comprising of almost 200,000 starters with 36,000 horses compete with the excess of $400 million prize money.
Major races today
Major Australian horse races today include the Melbourne Cup, VRC Oaks, Victoria Derby, Golden Slipper Stakes, W S Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup. Indeed, the Australian horse racing has a rich history perhaps more than no any other sports or game.
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