Horse racing in Australia dates back to 1788 when the first horses arrived in the country. From its arrival to around 1810, a substantial amount of time was spent, establishing the sport and the rules that would govern it within the country. The first formal race took place in the late 1810. Ever since, horse racing has developed into one of the country’s most loved sports. Today, thoroughbred horse racing has become the 3rd most popular sport.

One of the first thoroughbred horses was imported to Australia in 1797, and it was known as young Rockingham. The stallion known as Norththumberland was imported during 1802, along with an English mare. The 1803 saw the importation of the Arabian horse known as Old Hector from America. The horse shares a bloodline with Norththumberland and can still be found in thoroughbred horses today in Australia.

The First Horse Racing Event

Back then, navigating this industry was daunting and the first action took place in 1805 where the public could purchase bloodstock. Clubs and racing meetings started forming in the late 1810, with the first official meeting taking place at Sydney Racecourse. The race lasted for three days, seeing instantly updated results and some of the top-rated horses competing.

Horse racing was one of the first sporting activities organised in the colony and due to only a small number of horses available back in the day, the sport started out as an exclusive thing; only military officers and people who owned horses and land were able to participate in the event. There also wasn’t ample knowledge about the sport, which resulted in many racers sharing their own tips as they navigated the races.

Inauguration of the Australian Racing and Jockey Club

In 1826, the Australian Racing and Jockey Club were inaugurated. This was due to the overwhelming interest in the sport- more and more people wanted to participate. There needed to be a governing body that all horse racers would be accountable to, ensuring fair racing practices. This also meant that horse race locations needed to be moved to be able to accommodate all the new races. By 1842, virtually every town had its own race track and Jockey Club for members of the community to join. The very first steeplechase took place on 19th September, 1844 and was hosted at the Five Dock Farm. This free event allowed people from all over the country to attend the event.

Some of the Best Horse Racers Come From Australia

Many of the horses being raced in Australia came under the spotlight, which saw some of them move to other countries. Phar Lap, who came from New Zealand, raced in the Australian races from 1929 to 1932. Maybe Diva was the first ever racer to also take home the Melbourne Cup for three consecutive years.

As we delve deeper into the history of horse racing in Australia, it is clear that the sport has not only brought together the country’s communities but has also allowed many people to partake in it. Now that you have a brief history of what started out as an amazing sport, you can visit the next race and participate in the fun. Be sure to read up on how horses have been bred in Australia and how they are used in races today. Keeping up to date is simply a click away.