The Gold Coast Racecourse is sometimes swamped by its bigger brothers Eagle Farm and Doomben however the Gold Coast Turf Club holds high quality racing at the Gold Coast Racecourse all year round with the feature being the Magic Millions Carnival held in January.
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Main Track Circumference: 1,885 metres
Length of home straight: 400 metres
Races: 900m - 3200m
The Gold Club Turf Club holds up to 60 thoroughbred race events each year at its home, The Gold Coast Racecourse.
There are a range of events held at the race track each year with the most popular being the Magic Millions Carnival that takes place alongside the yearling sales each year in January. Other notable black type events are the Prime Minister’s Cup and the A.D Hollindale Stakes, both held at the start of May.
Gold Coast Racecourse is located approximately 5 minutes from the popular Surfers Paradise holiday resort and about an hours drive from the Queensland capital Brisbane.
The Gold Coast Turf Club has been housed at the Gold Coast Racecourse since 1946 when the race track was formed, originally running over a dirt surface.
Gold Coast Racecourse Course Details
Compared with other major tracks in Australia the Gold Course race track is relatively small with a circumference of just 1,885 metres. Unlike the other major tracks such as Morphettville and Randwick the Gold Coast has only one track which hosts turf horse racing all year round.
The Main Racecourse: Gold Coast race track is a small speedster track that doesn’t host many races over the 2000m mark. With a long straight of 400m the track bias doesn’t really favour any type of runner with front runners or back markers able to win.
The Gold Coast Racecourse has very short runs to the first turn from the 1000 metre and 1200 metre starts, and slightly longer runs for the 1300 metre and 1400 metre starts.
In the same fashion as Queensland and New South Wales racecourses runners and riders go in a clockwise direction with the finishing line easily visible in front of the main grandstand.
The Gold Coast Turf Club has been in operation from The Gold Coast Racecourse for nearly 75 years with the course proper established in 1946.
In this period the Gold Course Racecourse and its facilities have grown, developed and improved to deliver a large and versatile venue that can offer some of the most exciting entertainment in the Surfers Paradise area.
Racing in the region actually dates back to the 1890s where the occasional race meet was held on old cane paddocks in the area of Bundall, not tou far from the present day Gold Coast Turf Club.
The Gold Coast races only cemented a more permanent spot at its present location on the 15th May 1946 where foundation racing facilities were built. At the time racing was held under the banner of the Southern and District Amateur Race Club which was formed in March of the same year. When initially created racing was held on a dirt track rather than Turf.
In 1971 the club began to conduct racing at the course every Saturday. A schedule that is still in action to this day.
A few years later in 1974 The Prime Ministers cup was introduced to the Gold Coast Turf Club racing calendar as the richest provincial race. This has since been surpassed by the increased racing revenues pumped into areas like the Hunter and other regional parts of New South Wales.
Following on from this initial benchmark 1986 saw the introduction of the first Magic Millions race meeting which became and is still currently the richest summer race carnival in Australia. Such has been the popularity of the Magic Millions event they have continued to set records with record breaking attendances to the event in 2016 to watch a possible $10m be claimed in prize money.
Prize money for the event has continued to grow at a phenomenal rate with a total value of £1.1m in 2006 compared with the $15m plus in 2020.
Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival
The Magic Millions summer carnival is the biggest draw on the Gold Coast Turf Club racing calendar with thousands of owners, trainers, riders and of course horses descending on the coastal region to take part in the event.
As a company Magic Millions are the number one thoroughbred sales company in Australia who host racing events across the country with a flagship event at the Gold Coast races each January.
Hosted by the Gold Coast Turf Club the event features two weekends of Saturday racing that sandwich the annual Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale where some of the most promising racing talent is sold to race both at home and abroad.
The event schedule sees horses racing for up to $1m in prize money on the day with racing highlighting the talented 3 and 4 year old horses that had been purchased in previous sales. All racing takes part at the Gold Coast Racecourse between 1200 and 1800 metres.
Through the week, after the first day of racing, sales will then take place where trainers and owners will have the chance to purchase talented yearlings for there stables. In recent years foals from the likes of Frankel, Black Caviar and Secretariat have all been sold during the flagship event.
Following the conclusion of the sales we see all attention return to the track as $10 million in prize money goes up for grabs across a 9 race card all sponsored by the Magic Millions brand.
There is a host of racing talent on show during the day however without doubt the showpiece has to be the pairing of the Magic Millions 2yo Classic and the Magic Millions 3yo Guineas run over 1200m and 1400m respectively.
High profile buyers, owners and trainers from around the world attend the carnival and the yearling sales hoping to buy a future champion racehorse. An example of this is the Magic Millions 2YO classic winner Phelan Ready who went go on to win the world’s richest 2yo race, the Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill in 2009.
The 2yo Classic in particular has been a great indicator of talent for the coming year with the likes of Capitalist, Sunlight and Houtzen all going on to claim further Group 1 glory at major racing carnivals.
Feature Racing At Gold Coast Racecourse
Outside of carnival season the Gold Coast Turf Club also hosts a number of black type and novel races that feature on Saturday racing across the year.
Prime Ministers Cup - The most famous before the influx of money that came with the Magic Millions has to be the aforementioned Prime Ministers Cup hosted in May of each year.
Introduced in 1974 the Prime Ministers Cup has always been a key part of the Queensland Racing Carnival and was formerly a great way to lead into the Doomben Cup and Brisbane Cup because of its 2400m distance.
In 2006 the race received an overhaul and was transitioned into a sprint race over 1300m to better represent the Gold Coast Turf Club on the racing calendar. It was later moved out further to 1400m with $125,000 prize money at Listed grading.
Hollindale Stakes - Named after former Gold Coast Turf Club chairman Alan Hollindale the race holds Group 2 classification and is the most prestigious black type race run at the racecourse.
Introduced in 1989 the Hollindale accompanied the Prime Ministers Cup on the racing card at the Gold Coast. Originally categorised as a Listed race in 1991 it was raised to a Group 3 in 1993 before becoming a Group 2 in 1996.
The most famous running of the race included an appearance by racing legend Might and Power who was part of the event in 1998. Such was the stir around his arrival a bar in the Grandstand was named after the champ.
The Bat Out Of Hell - One of the most novel races in all Australia the Bat Out Of Hell is one of the shortest races being run over a distance of just 900m.
The race itself doesn’t have a black type rating but is the richest race in Australia for its distance with $105,000 in prize money for the winner. There is also an additional incentive for the petrol head trainers out there who have the chance to win a Harley Davidson if there horse should triumph.
The quickest time for the race was clocked at an eye watering 49.66 seconds for the 900m which was recorded by Tornado Alley in 2008.
Queensland trainer Tony Edmunds was close to beating that record recently in 2020 when his horse Prompt response narrowly missed by two hundredths of a second with 49.86 seconds his winning time.
A Day At Gold Coast Turf Club
For racing fans, Gold Coast race course is located in a superb spot. A short hop to the Surfer Paradise region and just an hour’s drive to the state capital. The facilities have been developed over the years to make the GCTC one of the best venues for horse racing and events in Queensland.
Transport To Gold Coast Turf Club
Attending By Car: The racecourse is on the Gold Coast about 5 minutes from Surfers Paradise. Travelling on Ashmore Road, turn right into Racecourse Drive and head all the way down the end. The Club has ample parking for both the general public and its members.
Attending By Bus: A free courtesy bus every Saturday, which travels from / to Tweed Heads through Surfers (and all stops in between). Also there is a FREE shuttle bus from the Gold Coast Turf Club to Titanium Bar every Saturday.
Betting At Gold Coast Racecourse
As with all racecourses in Australia the Gold Coast Turf Club offer a range of betting options when on course. Throughout the buildings and main grandstand there are a range of TAB options to place a bet on fixed odds or tote pools. There are a host of local bookmaker options in the bookie ring near the main grandstand who will take a range of cash wagers.
If you want to stay rooted to your prime viewing position then a there are also a range of online apps to choose from such as Playup or Unibet.
Facilities At Gold Coast Racecourse
The Gold Coast Turf Club offers private, corporate and public dining options. Most of the dining and function rooms have fantastic views of the Surfers Paradise skyline. Facilities available are,
Turf Stars Terrace
Numerous Function Rooms
Prime Ministers Bar
There are also a large range of public bars where general admission and members can access facilities around the course.
Members Dress Code
Generally a smart theme is encouraged with items like thongs, ripped jeans and t-shirts discouraged or contained to the general admission areas.
Gentlemen - Gents are encouraged to dress smart with either suit or business attire along with a collared business or polo shirt. Tailored trousers with a jacket or blazer are also permitted.
Ladies - A neat dress is suggested in keeping with modern standards.
Barrier Guide For Gold Coast Racecourse
1000 metres: Starts at the end of a chute off the course proper giving runners only a short run before sweeping turns to the home straight. Inside barrier draws are a great advantage here.
1200 metres: This start is off the course proper down a chute. Runners drawn out wide are forced to push forward and spend early or drop back to settle in.
1300 metres: This barrier is situated on the course proper, with a run of about 200 metres to the sweeping double turn. Inside barriers have the advantage due to the short distance on the first turn.
1400 metres: Starts just on the course proper and there is a long straight run for 400 metres to the first turn. Inside barrier draws have a slight advantage.
1800 metres: This start is located just off from the course proper in a chute. The short distance to the starting turn means that inside barriers carry some advantage.
2200 metres: Same as the 1800 metre barriers although the bias is more like the 2400m with additional distance.
2400 metres: The additional distance of the 2400m allows for race runners to find the right position in running. This means there is little bias in the barrier draw given the additional ground to travel.
Contact Details For The Gold Coast Turf Club
GOLD COAST RACECOURSE
PO Box 570
PH: 07 5538 1599
Compared with the rest of Australia the Gold Coast Turf Club has had a relatively short existence with only 75 years of proper history.
Despite this it is a solid part of the Australian thoroughbred calendar playing host to one of the richest carnivals in the year. The Magic Millions helps to put the Gold Coast Racecourse on the map and along with an array of great black type racing is a well establish venue for many top trainers.
The fact alone that the course hosts racing nearly every Saturday of the year with 60 in total across 365 days means that there is a race event here on average every 6 days.
The work done in the past 30 years alone to develop on course facilities as well as host events outside of horse racing are also added bonuses for consumers looking to take a look at the course during the year.
Its events and facilities are definitely recommended to visit. Perhaps with a trip to Surfers Paradise included along the way.