Caulfield Racecourse is one of the best known race tracks in Australia with Caulfield Races taking place all year round. It’s key event period is in the Spring where racing at Caulfield results as part of the Melbourne Racing Carnival.
Located nine kilometres outside of the Melbourne CBD Caulfield Racecourse is part of the Caulfield Racing Reserve on the boundary of Caulfield and Caulfield East in Melbourne’s south easterly suburbs.
Location: Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria
Main Track Circumference: 2,080 metres
Length of home straight: 367 metres
Races: 1000m - 3200m
Overview Of Caulfield Racecourse
Caulfield races have been traced back to the area from the mid 19th century with the first recorded races at Caulfield being held by the Melbourne Hunt Club in 1859.
Today Caulfield Racecourse forms part of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve which was put in place full time back in 2018 by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change to ensure a green space stayed available for members of the local community.
Caulfield races and the racecourse itself are home to the Melbourne Racing Club which is not to be confused with the Victorian Racing Club housed at Flemington. The MRC look after the portfolio of Mornington Racecourse, Sandown Lakeside (Ladbrokes Park) as well as its home Caulfield Racecourse.
Caulfield Racecourse doesn’t just host races across the year, the track is also home to a world class training facility that provides an excellent training centre for local trainers and riders alike. The proximity of the Caulfield Racing facilities in the state give stables an idea.
Between Caulfield Racecourse, Mornington Racecourse and Ladbrokes Park the Melbourne Racing Club host over 70 race meetings each year including the showpiece Caulfield Cup in October of each year.
Caulfield Racecourse Details
Caulfield races today are a far cry from their origins of 1859 where races took place through bushes, marshes and up sand hills. Such was the condition of the ground where Caulfield Racecourse now stands the location was affectionately known as “The Heath”.
Steeped in history, racing at Caulfield has a rich legacy which is carried through to its racing calendar today. Without doubt the pinnacle of Caulfields racing schedule is the Caulfield Cup hosted as part of the Spring Carnival.
The Caulfield Cup marks the centre point of a huge month of racing for Caulfield and the Melbourne Racing Club which also hosts the Caulfield Guineas, Blue Sapphire Stakes in the lead up to Cup day.
Located in the East of Caulfield the racecourse boasts a huge range of impressive facilities for members and General public alike. The facilities on course such as the emphatic Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Grandstand gives customers uninterrupted views of the action from the comfort of an enclosed stand.
For trainers and stables Caulfield is well known for its excellent training facilities with over 500 horses calling Caulfield Racecourse home. Caulfield holds regular trials and jumpouts for trainers to fine tune there runners before heading to the track proper for a race day.
Racing began all over the Melbourne region in the mid 19th century however the origins of racing in Caulfield can be traced back to the late 1850s. In 1859 the area known as The Heath was earmarked for informal racing held by the Melbourne Hunt Club.
In 1876 racing in the region became more formalised as the Victorian Amateur Turf Club (VATC) were granted access to the crown land known as The Heath to start holding full time race meets in the metro region of Caulfield.
Racing under the VATC governing body actually began out at the Victorian suburb of Ballarat in 1875. The Dowling Forest Racecourse was the venue of the first race meeting for the Victorian Amatuer Turf Club before six months into 1876 Caulfield was named as the home for metro racing for the Turf Club.
In 1879, the VATC held the inaugural Caulfield Cup which was won by Newminster over a 1 ½ mile circuit. The Turf Club continued to increase the quality of racing early in its history as two years later it added the Caulfield Guineas and Toorak Handicaps to its racing schedule.
Caulfield Racecourse as well as early racing success suffered several setbacks along the way with the Members Stand burning down in 1922 and just five years later seeing the Guineas Stand located next to the members stand burn down as well.
The fire at the time claimed not only the stand but facilities that included the Judge's Box, Weighing Room, Committee Room, Stewards' Room, Secretary's Office, Press Reserve, Telegraph and Telephone Office
After facilities were rebuilt the Second World War became a factor in the history of Caulfield Racecourse as racing at Caulfield was paused from 1940 for 4 years as the facilities were donated to the army to be turned into a military base to help the war effort.
Caulfield racecourse changed from hosting horse racing to hosting army recruits and barracks during the period. It would play a significant role during the war which was recognised by then US Vice-President Richard Nixon who visited Caulfield Racecourse after the war and attended the 1953 Caulfield Cup.
Off the back of the army occupation in 1944 the VATC would absorb The Melbourne Racing Club which had been formed 15 years earlier by the merger of the Williamstown Racing Club and the Victorian Trotting and Racing Association.
In 2001 club Chairman Kevin Hayes unveiled Project Manikato which was designed to repurpose the Sandown and Caulfield races to capitalise on opportunities the new century would bring.
As a result the Victorian Amateur Turf Club would be renamed the Melbourne Racing Club, using the name that had been in their possession for nearly 50 years and crown Caulfield Racecourse it’s permanent home.
On August 1st 2010 it was announced that the Melbourne Racing Club would merge with the Mornington Racing Club which would bring Caulfield Racecourse, Sandown Lakeside and Mornington Racecourse all under the umbrella of the Melbourne Racing Club.
Racing At Caulfield Racecourse
Caulfield hosts racing all year round with a focus being on October and March of each year when Caulfield Races really ramp up delivering quality Group 1 racing for horses of all ages.
The most recognisable races at Caulfield have to be the time honoured Caulfield Cup, Caulfield Guineas, Thousand Guineas as well as the Caulfield Stakes all run and won in October of the calendar year.
Before all those though Caulfield Racecourse kicks off the year with the first Group 1 of the new year with the C F Orr Stakes in February. The race, which is run over 1400m is named in honour of Charles F Orr. who was a former chairman of the Williamstown Racing Club which went on to form part of the Melbourne Racing Club.
The CF Orr Stakes has had some prestigious winners over its near 100 year history with the likes of Black Caviar and Typhoon Tracy winning in the past 10 years as well as the great Manikato winning three years in a row between 79 -81.
Racing at Caulfield ascends from there with February seeing another 3 Group 1 races run during the month as well as the racecourse hosting a further 3 Group 2 races and 5 Group 3s.
Along with the Futurity Stakes and the Oakleigh Plate the Blue Diamond at Caulfield Racecourse in Feb always results in an eye-catching field with $1.5m available in prize money for the 2 year olds.
The Blue Diamond is part of the triple crown for two year olds who compete at the Magic Millions and head from Caulfield after the Blue Diamond the Golden Slipper in Sydney. The race isn’t steeped in as much history as it’s home but since its inaugural running in 1971 it has been a gateway for the likes of Redoute's Choice and Samaready to go on and have excellent careers.
With racing carnivals hosted in Sydney and Brisbane after February we don’t see Group 1 racing return to Caulfield until August when again the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse is seen as the first Group 1 of Spring.
The Memsies, although not as well known globally as the Caulfield Cup and Caulfield Guineas, is still a significant race on the Caulfield racing calendar as runners traditionally use the Group 1 as a launchpad into there bigger spring campaigns.
In recent years the likes of So You Think, Weekend Hustler and Makybe Diva have all won the race on the way to bigger campaigns. Even the mighty Phar Lap back in 1931 won an edition of the Memsies Stakes.
As mentioned though. The big race month for Caulfield results in October where Caulfield Racecourse hosts 5 Group 1 races in the month including 4 on Caulfield Guineas day alone.
Although the Caulfield Cup will always be the biggest race associated with the racecourse Caulfield Guineas is the biggest day for punters and bookies alike with 4 Group 1 races taking place on the one day at Caulfield racetrack.
Usually the weekend before the Caulfield Cup the racecourse hosts the Caulfield Guineas, Thousand Guineas, Caulfield Stakes and Toorak Handicap on the one day with over $5m in prize money available for nominations.
Its amazing to think all of these races happen before you mention the Herbert Power, Schillci Stakes, Tristarc Stakes Caulfield Sprint which all lead up to the huge Group 1s.
The jewel in the crown for Caulfield however is obviously the Caulfield Cup which was run for the first time in 1879, nearly 150 years ago.
The Caulfield Cup is one of the richest races in Australia with $5m in prize money up for grabs. The race is always run on the third Saturday in October over 2400m and is the week before the WS Cox Plate run at Moonee Valley.
Entry for the race is not as straightforward as nominating your runner for the race with a ballot entry system in place. The prize money, wins and placings in lead up races are among the major factors that determine the eligibility of a horse. Automatic entry is awarded to horses who have won the Toorak Handicap, Herbert Power Stakes or Mornington Cup.
The format for the Caulfield Cup only drives a high calibre of entrants with runners coming from both home and abroad to compete with the likes of Admire Rakti, a Japanese entrant winning in recent years.
A Day Out At Caulfield Races
Whether heading for an informal day at the races or hosting a private function Caulfield has excellent facilities to cater for everyone's needs.
Boasting an impressive range of bars, restaurants and function rooms Caulfield races can cater for all tastes and budgets. The showpiece of the course has to be without doubt the Sir Rupert Clark stand which offers punters an indoor dining experience with panoramic views of the racecourse.
With easy access from Melbourne CBD via train or tram the location of the racecourse provides punters with metro quality racing within 20 minutes of the city.
Transport To Caulfield Racecourse
Attending By Train: Frankston, Dandenong, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines depart regularly from Flinders Street to Caulfield Station, located directly opposite the course. The journey takes around 15mins from the city.
Attending By Tram: Racegoers can catch a Route 3 or 3a tram and alight at Stop 56. From the city, Route 3 travels along Swanston Street and St. Kilda Road and operates weekdays only. Route 3a travels along Swanston Street, St Kilda Road and St Kilda Beach and operates weekends only.
Attending By Bus: Access to Caulfield is available from Stud Park Shopping Shopping Centre, Wellington Road, Monash University (Clayton) and Chadstone Shopping Centre via SmartBus Route 900.
Attending By Taxi: Patrons can be dropped off by taxi outside the Station Street Entrance.
Attending By Car: The Melbourne Racing Club doesn’t have any suggested parking however there are numerous public and on day parking options located near to the course.
Betting At Caulfield Racecourse
Possibly one of the easiest places for punters to place a wager Caulfield has multiple options throughout the course with the main betting action taking place in the bottom of the Sir Rupert Clarke where bookies are based for taking cash bets.
In recent years Caulfield on key race days has had excellent infrastructure for online betters with sponsored power outlets keeping punters connected if they choose to bet through sponsored apps such as Ladbrokes or Neds.
As is the case in all Victorian tracks there are a number of TAB terminals both mechanical and human located around the course which gives punters the option to bet on the tote pools with cash.
Corporate Facilities At Caulfield Racecourse
The Melbourne Racing Club has possibly one of the most extensive range of options for its members and corporate attendees out of all the racecourses in Australia.
On a stand alone race members can access the Bernborough Room, Manikato Room, 1876 Bar, Medallion Bar and Caulfield Wine Bar for drinking options with seating. On bigger carnival race days members can also access the Spritz Lawn, Concourse extension and other areas for exclusive access to racing.
For punters looking to host or hold a bigger race day experience Caulfield offers a number of on course dining options. The Black Caviar room is arguably the most exclusive on course with access open to Members and the public however there are a number of members only options in The Promenade and Elvstroem Deck areas.
The Skyline Corporate Suites located at the top of the Sir Rupert Clarke Grandstand offer larger hosting facilities with private facilities for up to 18 people.
Recommended Members Dress Code
The Melbourne Racing Club outlines its dress code for the members enclosure as follows:
Gentlemen and boys over 13 years of age are required to wear a collared shirt and tailored pants with jacket, sports coat or blazer, plus a tie, at all times. However, from the 1st December until 31st March, the Summer Racing Dress Code applies. For more detail please read below:
From the 1st December until 31st March jackets and ties are optional and short sleeved collared dress shirts may be worn. Mens shirts must be buttoned up and tucked in at all times. Tailored shorts for gentlemen are also permitted.
Ladies and girls over 13 years of age are expected to maintain a suitable standard of dress in keeping with the distinction of the Members’ Reserve.
Children 13 years of age and under should be neatly dressed in keeping with the standard of dress expected from ladies and gentlemen in the Members’ Reserve. Boys must wear a collared shirt and tailored pants at all times.
Caulfield Racecourse Barrier Guide
1000 metres: Start is at the beginning of the chute off the course proper and provides runners with 650 metres of straight run before the sweeping home turn. Inside barriers are only a slight advantage.
1100 metres: Similar to the 1000 metre start except runners now have a 750 metre run before the home turn. Inside barriers have a slight advantage.
1200 metres: Similar to the 1000 metre start except runners now have a 850 metre run before the home turn. Inside barriers have a slight advantage.
1440 metres: Located in a small chute at the back section of the track off the course proper. This start gives runners only 190 metres before the first of two turns. Inside barrier draws are a definite advantage.
1600 metres: The start is located in the back section of the course and only provides runners with a 200 metre straight before the first turn. Inside barriers are a distinct advantage.
1800 metres: This start is located in the back section of the course and gives runners a straight run for 400 metres. Inside barriers have an advantage.
2020 metres: Located in a small chute off the course proper on the side of the track. With this start field sizes are usually limited. Inside barriers have an advantage.
Contact Details For Caulfield Racecourse
MELBOURNE RACING CLUB
PO Box 231,
Ph. (03) 9257 7200
Fax (03) 9257 7210
Conclusion - Caulfield Racecourse
Caulfield is one of the greatest race day experiences a punter can attend. The history alone is one reason to visit but the sheer volume of options for punters to have a great day at the races makes this a must visit course.
It’s location from the city gives punters easy access and the racing months of February and October give such a high calibre of racing we only see at a handful of racing venues across Australia.
Whether attending during a carnival or out of season Caulfield is a great experience a trip Pro Group Racing highly recommends.