Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in Australia. The sport has a rich and colorful history in the Land Down Under. Over the years, the country has produced several legendary horses, and hosted exciting races at its spectacular venues. Even the horse betting scene in Australia will baffle your mind.
Every year, bookmakers wager over $14 billion in horse racing in Australia. Only the UK, China, the USA, and Japan wager more than Australia when it comes to horse racing. By those standards, Australia happens to be fifth on the list of the world’s top ten horse betting countries.
Anyone who is deeply invested in racing horses is sure to delve into the racing scene here in Australia. So for all you newbies out there, here is everything you should know about horse racing in the Land Down Under. We will keep things short, but as informative as possible.
A Quick Overview of the Horse Racing Scene in Australia
Australian horse racing draws over five million spectators each year. Only rugby draws more spectators than professional horse racing. Putting these stats into solid numbers, you will see that over two million people will attend a horse race in Australia at least once a year.
Australia has 360 race tracks. That is more than what most horse racing countries have. These tracks and the industry in general employ over 250,000 Australians. It includes everyone from trainers and jockeys, to grooms and veterinarians.
A central racing committee known as the Australian Racing Board oversees the industry. The organization keeps a close eye on all racing operations and ensures that participants are abiding by the set rules and standards.
Betting on Horse Racing in Australia
Like most horse races around the world, you can bet on horse racing in Australia in two ways.
Firstly, there is live on-track betting. Here, you attend the races live, and bet at the tracks. Secondly, there is the option to bet online, which has gained immense popularity over the years.
At a live event, you place the bets with a teller at the tote board odds. It is similar to the way these bets work in the US. Betting with a bookie gives you the chance to negotiate for better odds prices.
In the case of online betting, you only need an online racebook account. The account needs to have sufficient funds for you to place your bets. In the past, these funds were limited to cash only. Nowadays, you can use Bitcoins in your racebook account too.
3 Must-Attend Race Days in Australia
Australia has over 19,000 thoroughbred races every year. Of course, not all of them will pique your interest. So, to narrow things down, we will talk about three of the most popular horse races in Australia.
1. Launceston Cup
The weather in Launceston during February is cool. While the weather is mostly sunny, you only get a few warm days during this time of the year. You might also experience light rain and strong winds at times. Historic data suggests that temperatures here range from 51 to 68 degrees in February.
These conditions are perfect for horse racing, which is why the Launceston Cup takes place every February. This year, it is taking place on the 23rd at the Launceston Racecourse in Tasmania. The 2400m race has a total prize pool of $200,000, and is run under handicap conditions.
2. VRC Derby Day
The VRC Derby Day is the most popular race day event in Australia. The 2500m race has a prize pool of $2 million. Derby Day sees horse racing enthusiasts from all around the world flocking to Flemington. The atmosphere here is second to none, as spectators arrive in traditional and formal attire, ready to enjoy a day of absolute bliss.
The VRC Derby Day, being the popular race it is, also accounts for the most race day bets.
3. Ipswich Cup
The Ipswich Cup has a prize pool of just under $200,000. It is the most attended horse race event in Queensland. The race is also one of the most spectacular shows in the calendar year for locals. The Ipswich Turf Club takes on an entirely different vibe during the races each year.
Horse racing in Australia is immensely popular. A lot of money is involved in it, and most importantly, it is often more about pride than the prize.
So, if you are indeed interested, you will have to witness these races yourself before you can understand what all the fuss is about. Delving into the country’s horse racing heritage will also help you better understand the entire culture.
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