Top Five Annual Australian Horse Races
Horse racing is one of Australia’s favourite past times. Thousands of people go to the various tracks each year to soak in the atmosphere and try their luck at betting on the ponies. There are a number of very popular races run annually around the country including the huge Melbourne Cup which has its own holiday. Read on to get to know the five most popular annual races.
- The Melbourne Cup. Dubbed the Race That Stops A Nation, the Melbourne Cup even has its own public holiday which is observed throughout the entire continent. Australians from all walks of life stop whatever they are doing to watch the race, either via television, live streaming or at the actual track. Online betting sites offer odds on the various runners many weeks in advance both for Australian as well as international punters. Run over a grueling 3200 meters, the Melbourne Cup showcases the country’s top stayers. Recently international horses have entered as well, including some winners from Europe and New Zealand. The Melbourne Cup offers a staggering $6.2 million dollars in prize money, which makes it one of the most coveted races in the world.
- The Caulfield Cup. Opening race to the Melbourne Spring Carnival, the Caulfield Cup is run over a shorter 2400 meters. The race is touted as one of the run-up contests to the Melbourne Cup, forming a part of the “Cups Double”. Only eleven horses have claimed the achievement including Might and Power and Ethereal. Maykbe Diva is the only horse in history to win the Cup three years in a row, putting her firmly in the Australian hall of fame.
- The Cox Plate. Run over 2040 meters and only open to three-year-olds, the Cox Plate showcases only the best young race horses in the country. Thoroughbreds generally start racing lightly at the age of two, maturing enough in their second season to take on longer distances. Australia’s premier weight for age race holds a purse of $3 million for the winner creating an exciting atmosphere and attracting some of the country’s best horses. Historically only three horses have won both the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup the following year; Phar Lap, Might and Power, and Makybe Diva.
- Geelong Cup. Attracting some of Australia’s most glamorous people, the Geelong Cup is held each year 50 miles outside of Melbourne. Racegoers flock to the track to watch horses of all ages battle it out over 2400 meters, as well as enter the best-dressed competition which sees rivalry almost as fierce as that on the track. Geelong Cup betting is fast and furious both online and at the track, with punters using the race as a benchmark for potential Melbourne Cup winners. Although the Geelong Cup is a country race, it attracts international horses as well as socialites, making it one of Australia’s most entertaining race days.
- Golden Slipper Stakes. The world’s richest race for two-year-olds is run over a short distance of 1200 meters with set weights due to their relative immaturity. As many thoroughbreds are still in basic training at the age of two, those that do enter are regarded as some of the best in the country. Watching the race is popular all over the country, but be sure to get set up long before it starts, as if you blink you may miss it!