Beginning and Establishment of Horse Racing in Australia

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.

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