Doomben Racecourse is one of two major tracks in Brisbane with the other being Eagle Farm. Doomben races take place all year round with stables heading to the Doomben racetrack regularly to compete in some of Queensland and Australia’s pedigree black type racing.
Doomben races take place at the Doomben racecourse which is located in the suburb of Ascot which is approximately 7 kilometres north of the Brisbane Central Business District and neighbours Eagle Farm racecourse.
Location: Doomben Racecourse, Ascot, Brisbane
Main Track Circumference: 1,715 metres
Length of home straight: 350 metres
Races: 1000m - 3200m
Overview Of Doomben Racecourse
Doomben races have been taking place for nearly 100 years in Ascot with upgrades taking place in the early 2000s.
Doomben racing facilities fall under the ownership of the Brisbane Racing Club which was formed in 2009. Previously Doomben Racecourse was run by the Brisbane Turf Club before a merger between the BTC and Queensland Turf Club saw the ownership fall under the newly formed Brisbane Racing Club. This saw Eagle Farm Racing Facilities and Doomben Races fall under the same managerial umbrella.
Racing at Doomben came a little later than its partnered racecourse Eagle Farm when it was inaugurated in 1933 however it holds a high calibre of historical Group 1 races including the Doomben Cup and the Doomben 10,000.
The Brisbane Racing Club hosts 98 race meetings per year with Doomben Racecourse hosting 13 Listed or Group grade racedays. Doomben also plays host to the Queensland Racing Carnival in May and June.
Doomben Racecourse Details
It’s an unusual set up for two racecourses to be located so close together but Doomben races today are stronger than ever with the racetrack hosting races on most saturdays and racing taking place all year round.
Doomben Racecourse is quite small compared with other premier tracks in Australia when it comes to track circumference with it only being 1715m in total and a home straight of just 350m.
Racing at Doomben takes place on a turf track in a clockwise direction similar to that of racing in New South Wales and opposite to racing in Victoria.
The Doomben Racecourse offers a range of racing from sprint right through to endurance features. Doomben races are aided by 3 additional chutes that are attached to the course that allow starts from 1,350, 1,650 and 2,200 metres on course.
This allows Doomben to place host to feature racing through Queensland Winter Racing Carnival and it’s Summer Racing Carnival.
If you are heading along to Doomben races today it’s easy to access the course as Doomben racecourse is serviced by Doomben Station which has regular trains to and from the track.
When the racing body merger was completed in 2009 Doomben saw a major upgrade in facilities that took it up to world class levels in terms of a product offering to race goers.
History Of Doomben Racecourse
Despite the Brisbane Turf Club operating at the location of Doomben Racecourse since 1923 it was only in 1933 Doomben Racecourse hosted its inaugural races after the BTC bought additional ground to develop facilities.
Having been in operation for nearly 100 years Doomben Racecourse was actually closed for a period during the Second World War when the course was shut down to host American Troops fighting in the Pacific War. It wasn’t reopened for racing until 1946.
When the course was reopened we saw the introduction of the TM Ahern Memorial (later known as the Doomben 10,000) and Doomben Cups.
In 1982 Doomben Racecourse underwent major development work to improve facilities and turn Doomben into a world class racing venue. It also underwent further work in 1996 when an ultra modern drainage system was added to the track in order to maintain the surface all year round.
In 2009 when the Brisbane Turf and Queensland Turf Clubs merged it brought to an end the BTC sole ownership of Doomben Racecourse. The reason for the merger was financial issues on both parties attempting to maintain a competitive edge in the same capital city.
The merger in more recent times has seen Doomben hosting more Eagle Farm events as its neighbouring track has struggled with track issues on drainage and surface conditions. A botched upgrade in the 2010s meant that by the time 2020 came around the Eagle Farm surface had been ripped up and relayed twice.
During 2016 and 2018 Doomben played host to the entire Summer Carnival as a result of the issues with the Eagle Farm track.
Racing At Doomben Racecourse
Doomben plays host to racing all year round however the key times of year are December when the track features the Summer Racing Carnival and in May when its premier Carnival the Queensland Winter Carnival takes place.
Through December, again along with Eagle Farm, Doomben hosts three Group 3 grade races that form part of Queensland Summer Racing Carnival.
Hot on the heels of the Perth Racing Carnival Brisbane features 3 sprint races that include the George Moore Stakes over 1200m, the Vo Rogue Plate over 1350m and the BJ McLachlan Stakes again over 1200m.
The later two of those races, the Vo Rogue and BJ McLachlan stakes have been repositioned in recent years to filter into the Magic Millions Carnival which starts in early January. This leads to a higher calibre of talent attracted to the Sunshine State each year.
Queensland's Winter Carnival is without doubt the event that draws the racing industries' attention however with Doomben hosting several Saturdays of racing that feature Group and Listed grade racing across May and June.
Feature races include the likes of the Brisbane Turf Club Sprint, Cup and Chairmans Handicap as well as endurance races like the Lord Mayors Cup and Premiers Cup over longer trips.
Racing is at such a high calibre across the period it attracts challengers from both home and abroad to compete. Prize money isn’t at the same height as has recently been pumped into Sydney however it is high enough for the period with several races claiming over $1m in prize money.
The two most noticeable and recognisable races hosted at Doomben each year at the Doomben 10,000 and the Doomben Group.
The Doomben 10,000, formerly known as the Queensland Newmarket Handicap and the TM Ahern Memorial Cup was named as such back in the 1950s due to the $10,000 prize that was attached to the race.
At the time it made it the richest sprint race in Australia and aptly renamed the Doomben 10,000. Famous winners of the Doomben 10,000 have been the likes of Takeover Target, Apache Cat and inaugural Australian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame inductee Bernborough.
Bernborough competed between 1941 to 1946 and was one of the few wonder horses from the QLD region. He was inducted alongside racing royalty Phar Lap, Tulloch and Kingston Town.
The QLD native started his career in Toowoomba winning 6 straight at the provincial track. At the time he wasn’t allowed to race at metro tracks due to questions around ownership. When he was sold as a 6 year old he went on to a streak of 15 unbeaten wins including the Doomben 10,000 and the Doomben Cup carrying a whopping 68kgs to victory.
Bernborough was eventually sold to movie producer Louis Mayer in the US where he was settled to stud in Lexington, Kentucky. At the time Bernborough had created such a buzz in Australian horse racing punters packed the docks to get one last glimpse of the champion racehorse.
The hall of famer won the Doomben Cup just once in 1946. At the time the race was classed as a provincial race which was fought out over a distance of 2000m at the Queensland track.
Nowadays the Doomben Cup is raced over 2200m under weight for age conditions. It was promoted to Group 1 status in 1980 and has had several sponsorships that renamed it the XXXX Cup, The Channel Nine Cup and the BATC Doomben Cup.
Between 1991 and 1993 jockey Jimmy Cassidy won the race 3 years in a row on New Zealand runner Rough Habit. The only other jockey to achieve the feat was Maurice McCarten who won the inaugural running of the race in 33 before winning again 34 and 40. He would later go on to win it as a trainer in 52.
Trainer John Wheeler was the super coach who took Rough Habit to three in a row with the great TJ Smith being the only other trainer to ever claim a three-peat.
One of the other notable winners of the race was the great Might and Power who won the race in 1998 just 6 months after taking out the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
In 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival was postponed and the Doomben Cup as well as the Doomben 10,000 were cancelled meaning there was no winner that year.
A Day Out At Doomben Races
Doomben Racecourse is without doubt one of the most scenic racecourses in Australia. Known to locals as the Garden Racecourse the track is surrounded by amazing floral gardens as well as vast surrounding parkland that stretches on to the back of the Eagle Farm racecourse.
With upgrades to the course and facilities as part of the merger in 2009 Doomben race days are something to savour with it giving Brisbane locals an excellent opportunity to attend a high calibre race meet all year round.
Transport To Doomben Racecourse
Attending by bus: Bus Service from Doomben catch route 301 from Adelaide Street, City to Doomben Racecourse
Attending by train: Doomben Train Station is only 200 metres from the racecourse. Catch the train by taking the Doomben line from any CBD railway station.
Attending by car: Ample free parking is available around the course and in the middle of the track itself. To enter the track use gate 1 off Nudgee Road. Parking is also available across the road at Eagle Farm Racecourse. Disabled parking is located within the Gate 5 car park.
Attending by taxi: Taxi service is available to and from the racecourse from taxi ranks outside gate 4 on Hampden St Ascot
Betting At Doomben Race Days
The same as every racecourse in the world on track bookmakers are located on course to take cash bets throughout any race meet. Generally located near the main grandstand Doomben is no exception.
There are plenty of TAB terminals located through the course and function venues to offer racegoers easy access to betting facilities even when its right before the jump.
Beside cash betting punters can also access a variety of bookmaker apps on the smart device. Top bookmakers such as Sportsbet and TAB both offering online betting services as well as newer bespoke operators such as Play Up who offer new customers an exclusive betting experience.
Corporate Facilities At Doomben Racecourse
If there’s one thing Doomben Racecourse knows it’s hosting a race day. Doomben races offers punters access to General Admission for a chance to get close up to the action or it also has a number of corporate venues to choose from.
On key race days Doomben Racecourse can host up to 35 different function spaces for race goers. These include a series of bars and restaurants as well as pop up spaces for businesses to host track side parties or functions.
There are premium dining facilities with floor to ceiling glass windows that offer panoramic views so that customers don’t miss any of the action.
Unique to a Doomben race day the course offers a pop up venue called the Village which offers customers an additional chance to try food and bar outlets through general admission access.
Recommended Members Dress code at Doomben Races
As is the standard with all members facilities levels of dress are expected to maintain the high standards of a corporate setting.
The BRC outlines that in general men should be wearing a collared business shirt with trousers and jacket. Dress shoes must be worn and thongs, jeans or ripped denim are not permitted.
For the ladies the BRC recommends a smart dress in keeping with the dignity of the members reserve with no bare midriffs or playsuits permitted.
There are some variations depending on the time of year and day of week of the racing event. It’s worth checking out the BRC race day guide for more detail.
Doomben Barrier Guide
1010 metres: Starts on the course proper providing a straight run of 110 metres before a sweeping double bend. Inside barriers have a big advantage
1110 metres: Located on the course proper with a short run of about 210 metres to the sweeping double bend out of the back straight. Inside barriers are a major advantage
1200 metres: Situated on the course proper in the back of the straight. There is a straight run of only about 300 metres to the sweeping double bend. Inside barriers are an advantage from this start
1350 metres: Situated in a chute off the course proper at the end of the back straight. This start gives runners a straight run of almost 400 metres to the first corner. Despite this, inside barriers are favoured
1615 metres: A unique starting distance this start is located in a chute off the course proper. Runners only have a short run of about 50 metres before a sweeping turn. Wide barriers are a big disadvantage
2020 metres: Starts on the course proper in the home straight. It provides runners with only 230 metres of straight before the sweeping turn into the back straight. Inside barriers are favoured
2200 metres: This barrier starts in a chute at the top of the home straight. There is a straight run of more than 400 metres to the first sweeping double bend. Inside barriers are a slight advantage
Contact Details For Doomben Racecourse (Brisbane Race Club)
PO Box 817
Ph. (07) 3268 2171
Fax (07) 3868 2410
Conclusion - Doomben Racecourse
As one of the premier race venues in Queensland the Doomben Races are definitely worth a visit. Playing host to some of the biggest races the state has to offer the venue of Doomben offers a great location for premium racing.
The recent upgrades to facilities gives a huge offering to all punters whether they’re looking to experience the heart pounding sensation of racing up close or have a more laid back dining experience in the corporate function rooms.
Given there is racing all year round we strongly recommend making a visit to Doomben Racecourse particularly in Winter Carnival time when the racing is at it’s peak.