Illawarra Mercury

A quick introduction to Australian horse racing

A quick introduction to Australian horse racing
A quick introduction to Australian horse racing

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Horse racing is one of the most popular and oldest sports in Australia. Thoroughbred racing is the third most attended sport in the country, and has some of the world's most famous jockeys and horses.

Not only has Australian racing created jobs for thousands and helped the economy, it also brings people together and promises an exhilarating experience.

Australian horse racing types

There are various horse races where horses race in a grade that best matches their abilities. To reach their highest potential, they need to go through various race classes and grades.

Flat race

Horses will race on flat surfaces which have no obstacles in the way. It is a test of stamina and speed and the skill of the jockey and their tactics.

Hurdle race

This horse race requires horses to jump over various hurdles.

There are distance and weight restrictions in this type of race. The jumps season runs from March to August and generally takes place in South Australia and Victoria.

Steeplechase races

In this race, horses need to jump over a series of obstacles. They are called fences and are 1.15 metres high. So the horse must possess the ability to jump and have speed.

Maiden race

This race is restricted to horses who have not won at a registered meeting, on the flat, or in any advertised race in the country.

Class race

There are six different class races on the provincial circuit in Australia. It goes from Class 1 to Class 6. A horse who has won one race will be in Class 1, a horse that has won four races will be in class 4, and so on.

Horse racing in Australia

For all races to run smoothly, the Australian racing board is responsible for making sure that everything is organised and set to standard.

There are racing officials responsible for enforcing all of the rules to ensure that everything is done correctly (and ethically).

The race tracks in Australia all have grass surfaces. It looks appealing but can create some challenges. Jump races are also prevalent in Australia.

Horses involved in these races need to navigate numerous barriers over a reasonably long distance.

Australia also holds the Melbourne Cup, and this race attracts the entire continent. It even attracts foreign horses.

There are numerous racing clubs across Australia that help the sport grow. There are 479 racecourses and over 22,000 races in Australia each year.

You can take a look at the horse racing form guide, and you can find all the information you need on the horses and the races.

Horse racing betting in Australia is also huge and helps the economy. So there are tons of benefits to the sport, other than just entertainment!

Useful horse racing terms

Some of the words and terms used around racing can be pretty easy to understand, whereas others will sound very foreign.

They will often talk about a handicap race, which means the horse will carry various weights while running. Handicap races create a disadvantage for fast horses and an advantage for slower ones.

An adult female horse is called a mare, and a male horse is a stallion. There are also different track conditions and types. A heavy track is one that has been affected by rain.

There's a dead track. The surface of this track lacks resiliency, and a good track is a condition between fast and slow.

Then when it comes to the actual race, they may talk about dead heat, which means that two or more horses finished in an exact tie at the finish line.

There is also the front runner. This refers to a horse who leads the field.

Some of Australia's finest horses

Australia has a great horse racing history, and with that comes some incredible performers.

At the top of the list is; Miss Andretti. She was a sprinting mare and won nine of her thirteen starts in Western Australia.

She moved to Melbourne and won more races, including the lightning stakes race and the Newmarket handicap, where she carried 56kg. Her total prize money was: $2,848,991.

The second is Apache Cat. He was a chestnut gelding and was a sprinter. He remains remembered as a star sprinter and won almost half of the 43 races he ran.

When Was Horse Racing First Introduced In Australia?

The first races took place in the 1790s in Sydney. They initially used workhorses for racing, but by about 1800, wealthy colonists started importing thoroughbreds.

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