Australian horse-racing

From Academic Kids

Thoroughbred horse racing in Australia is a part of Australian culture, particularly the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and its highlight the Melbourne Cup.

Australia was the source of one of the major developments in race wagering - the totalisator or tote - an analogue computer which allowed the automatic calculation of race odds given betting patterns.

There are three main avenues for race betting in Australia. Licensed on-track bookmakers offer fixed-odds betting, mostly on wins and places. Off-track betting was traditionally controlled by the various state government through organisation called "Totaliser Agency Boards", which offered mainly parimutuel betting - that is, the odds were not fixed but involved "the house" taking a fixed cut and distributing the remainder amongst people who made a winning bet. These organisations have now been privatised, and many pubs now offer betting services linked to the privatised offshoots of the companies. Finally, in some parts of Australia there was a tradition of illegal off-course bookmaking, known as SP bookmaking historically involving significant turnover, though it is unclear whether this is still the case.

For a more detailed explanation of punting terms and racecourse jargon see the Australian punting glossary.


Administration of Racing in Australasia


Racing in the Australian continent is governed by the Australian Racing Board. This body supersedes the power of the principal clubs, which were once the sovereign body of racing in every state until government reforms introduced separate governing bodies for the industry.


Victoria is considered to be the home of racing with international races like the Melbourne Cup. The governing body is Racing Victoria Limited. The principal club is the Victoria Racing Club, which races at Flemington; the two other metropolitan clubs are the Melbourne Racing Club, which races at Caulfield and Sandown, and the Moonee Valley Racing Club, home of the weight for age championship of Australasia, the Cox Plate.

New South Wales

Racing in New South Wales is governed by the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Board. The principal clubs are the Australian Jockey Club, which races at Royal Randwick and Warwick Farm, the Sydney Turf Club, which races at Rosehill Gardens and Canterbury Park.

South Australia

Racing in South Australia is governed by Thoroughbred Racing S.A Limited. The principal club is the South Australian Jockey Club, which races at Morphettville, Cheltenham and Victoria Park.


Racing in Queensland is governed by the Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Board and the principal clubs are the Queensland Turf Club, which races at Eagle Farm, and the Brisbane Turf Club, which races at Doomben.

Western Australia

Racing in Western Australia is governed by the Western Australian Turf Club, which holds racing at Belmont Park and Ascot.

  • W.A.T.C (


Racing in Tasmania is governed by the Tasmanian Thoroughbred Racing Council and the principal club is the Tasmanian Turf Club. There are Tasmanian meetings every Sunday usually alternating between Elwick Racecourse near Hobart and Mowbray near Launceston.

The racing industry in Tasmania is currently being restructured and will eventually be jointly managed by the new Racing Services Tasmania and TOTE Tasmania.

Northern Territory

Racing in the Northern Territory is governed by the principal club, the Darwin Turf Club, which races at Fannie Bay.

Australian Capital Territory

Racing in the Australian Capital Territory is governed by the principal club, the Canberra Racing Club.

New Zealand

Racing in New Zealand is very similar to that of their counterparts on the other side of the 'Tasman'; there is a lot of movement of horses between the two countries, especially for breeding. The governing body is New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Inc., and the principal club is the Auckland Racing Club, which races at Ellerslie.

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