Moonee Valley Racecourse is located at McPherson Street, Moonee Ponds VICTORIA.
Moonee Valley Racecourse had its first meeting on 15 September 1883 at Feehan's Farm, the property of John F. Feehan.
The land was purchased for the purpose of establishing a racetrack by William Samuel Cox, who was to become the first Secretary of the Moonee Valley Racing Club.
In 1922, in recognition of the founder of the club, the Moonee Valley Racing Club inaugurated, what was to become Australasia's weight-for-age horseracing championship, the W.S. Cox Plate. Since 1999, the race has been included in the World Series of Racing.
The Moonee Valley Racecourse is located in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds approximately six kilometres from Melbourne's CBD and approximately a 15-minute drive from Tullamarine Airport.
The address of the track is Gate 1 McPherson St, Moonee Ponds Victoria 3039. Ph 1300 797 959.
Transport to Moonee Valley Racecourse
To Drive: Take Mt Alexander Rd, parking is available on course. Melways reference 29 A7
By tram: Take Route 59 tram from Elizabeth Street in Melbourne city centre.
Moonee Ponds railway station is a ten-minute walk from the racecourse and is located on the Craigieburn railway line.
Buses depart from Flemington Racecourse and Visy Park to Moonee Valley Racecourse from 10.30am through to 2.30pm and from Moonee Valley Racecourse to Melbourne's Crown Casino, Flemington Racecourse and Visy Park from 4.00pm through to 7.15pm.
Moonee Valley Racecourse has a circumference of 1,805 metres and the home straight is 173 metres long. It is the shortest straight in Australia. This alone makes the Racecourse a huge advantage for front-runners and on-pace runners turning into the straight. It is definitely a specialist track. Racing is run in an anti-clockwise direction, same as all Victorian tracks. These factors are good to keep in mind when looking a horseracing tips Moonee Valley offers through various sources.
The three big Group 1 races run at Moonee Valley Racecourse are the William Reid Stakes, the Manikato Stakes and the weight for age WS Cox Plate. Many racecourses in Australia have fewer Group 2 races than Moonee Valley’s 11; at least some tracks have more Group 1s than Group 2s. Moonee Valley adds one additional unique element in that there are only five Group 3s.
Moonee Valley Night Racing is held from late September to April, with the Manikato Stakes race meeting starting it all off. The Moonee Valley Racing Club offers evening racing and Moonee Valley Races Friday night are a big attraction, nice for the spectators and nice for the horses, both avoiding blazing mid-afternoon sun.
Moonee Valley Racecourse is constructed of the StrathAyr Turf System, having a lower layer of sand and an upper root zone layer reinforced with mesh elements. The track surface holds up well over the course of a meeting and Moonee Valley race results reflect this from first race to last.
History of Moonee Valley
The Melbourne Cup at Flemington had been run 23 times when Moonee Valley Racecourse was established in 1883. Unlike Caulfield and Flemington, Moonee Valley Racecourse sits on private land that is owned by the Moonee Valley Racing Club.
The area on which the land sits used to be a farm belonging to a Mr. John F. Feehan. William Samuel Cox, the first chairman of the Moonee Valley Racing Club and the namesake for the W S Cox Plate, purchased the land with the sole intent of setting up a racetrack.
When the government wanted to build a freeway near the track in the 1960s, the sale of some of the Moonee Valley property was used to fund expansions and improvements to the facility.
Harness racing started in the 1970s after the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds that sit adjacent to Flemington Racecourse made the decision that the buggy pullers needed to race elsewhere.
For anyone who might ask, where exactly is Moonee Valley, a quick internet serach will give the precise location, but it is so close to the centre of Melbourne that it would be hard to miss.
Since the track is used for multiple purposes, another good internet search would be what’s on at Moonee Valley Racecourse, Moonee Valley race fields for Saturday or Moonee Valley race fields Friday.
Racing History of Moonee Valley Racecourse
With well over 100 years of racing, and by racing we mean Thoroughbreds, a totally comprehensive racing history of The Valley is a topic for an entire book.
It would also make a good movie, or TV series. Since they like to have Friday evening races, “Moon Over Moonee Valley” would make an apt title.
In brief though, within the confines of space here provided, it would be fair to say that the history of the course is inextricably linked to the W S Cox Plate, even though the track had been operating for close to 40 years before the first Cox Plate was run.
Many experts consider the Cox Plate as the ultimate test of Thoroughbreds competing under weight-for-age conditions. With a short straight and some tight corners, punters are well advised to look at the track rating Moonee Valley has going into a meeting, as this is definitely a course that favours some gallopers over others.
Horses that win a Cox Plate automatically gain stature and no horse in the history of the Cox Plate ever stood taller than Winx.
It was generally thought that no horse could ever win more than two Cox Plates. When Kingston Town won his third in 1982, many expressed the view going into the race that he could not win, not because he had declined significantly, but because the Cox Plate attracts the best of the best in terms of the top echelon of gallopers. Best Bets Australia !
After his third win, many said, “All right, that’s it, then, none will ever match or surpass three Cox Plates.
Until a certain mare from Sydney came along and proved that running against the direction of the clock was no impediment.
When she won the Cox Plate for the first time, it was a mild surprise. When she won for the second time, it was expected and the talk immediately turned to whether she could equal the King in 2017 and when she slaughtered the field by eight lengths in 2016, the expectation for 2017 grew frenzied. Her 2017 win was more typical Winx, with her running down the Kiwi horse Humidor in the final kick.
Her fourth win in 2018 was similar to 2017, with Humidor behind her once again, but a two-length margin almost made the win routine and there are few that doubt that she had been brought back for a fifth attempt, it would have resulted in a fifth win.
Truth be told, however, Winx was the culmination of a long series of Cox Plate champions that represent the elite of Australian Thoroughbred racing.
A few of the notables includes Amounis, Phar Lap, Ajax, Delta, Hydrogen, Rising Fast, Tulloch, Tobin Bronze and Super Impose. The list of notables not mentioned due to space constraints is even longer and just as illustrious.
The other major Group 1 races held at Moonee Valley are the William Reid Stakes and the Manikato Stakes.
Given the long history of Australian Thoroughbred Racing, it is interesting that both of these races debuted after the Cox Plate.
The William Reid Stakes, like the Cox Plate, is run under weight-for-age conditions, but it is a 1200-metre sprint. It jumped for the first time in 1925 and has always been 1200-metres. Also like the Cox Plate, the race is named in honour of a former committee member of the MVRC.
Without doubt, the most notable winner was Manikato, that won the race five consecutive times from 1979 – 1983. Many others have won the race twice, including The Night Patrol for the first two editions. It was not until the relatively obscure Flying Halo that there was a repeat winner, in 1952/53. Flying Halo would come back for a third win in 1955.
Others to double in the years leading up to Manikato were Golden Doubles and All Shot.
Good sprinters such as Vo Rogue and Redelva have won the William Reid Stakes. Miss Andretti was the winner in 2007 and following the pattern of good horses bunched in clusters, Apache Cat won twice in 2008 and 2009.
Black Caviar won twice, in 2011 and 2013, and no one would argue against her for winning more if she had raced.
Manikato’s five wins led to the other Moonee Valley Group 1 race being named for him.
The Manikato Stakes is essentially a duplicate of the William Reid in terms of distance, 1200-metres, and running conditions, weight-for-age.
It came along in 1968, making it the newest of the three Group 1 races at Moonee Valley. It was originally run as the Freeway Stakes and Manikato won it twice when the race went by that name.
The champion racehorse Vain won the race in 1969. The first dual winner came in the next two years the race was run, with the winner being the aptly named Dual Choice.
The winners’ list does not include a three-time winner, but following Dual Choice’s two wins, there came Tauto in 1973/74, Manikato in 1979 and 1982, and Spark Of Life in 2004/05. Intervening years between wins is something that makes weight-for-age racing compelling, so Hey Doc’s wins in 2017 and 2020 make him the latest to earn that distinction.
The formidable sprinter Miss Andretti won the race in 2006 and established a track record for the 1200-metre trip.
MOONEE VALLEY RACING CLUB
PO Box 245,
PH: 03 9373 2222, Ph 1300 797 959
Fax - 03 9370 4816
The Moonee Valley Racing Club has 33 day and night meetings throughout the year held at the Valley. The Moonee Valley races calendar is an excellent way to find out what is happening and when it is happening and a Moonee Valley Racecourse map makes an excellent addition to the calendar.
Many online bookies offer comprehensive Moonee Valley results and the MVRC itself has a similar offering.
Feature race meetings at Moonee Valley include the Aami Vase | Alister Clark Stakes | Bill Stutt Stakes | Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes | McEwen Stakes | Inglis Mile | Manikato Stakes | Cox Plate and more....
Moonee Valley Racecourse Barrier Guide
1000 metres: This starts is in a chute at the back of the course, which cuts diagonally across the field to link up with the course proper at the 600-metre mark. The runners then have to negotiate a sweeping turn into the straight run home. Inside barriers are of slight importance.
1200 metres: Starts in a chute at the back of the course and provides a straight run for 300 metres to the first of 2 turns. Inside barriers are an advantage.
1600 metres: Starts on the course proper and gives runners almost 400 metres to the first corner making barrier draws less important.
2040 metres: Starts at the top of the home straight with a run of 200 metres before the first turn making wide barrier draws a great disadvantage.
2600 metres: This barrier starts from a chute near the 800 metres. There is a straight run of about 400 metres to the first turn. Inside barriers are a slight advantage
3000 metres: Starts in a chute at the back of the course. Barriers are of no importance due to the distance of the race
Moonee Valley Racecourse has gradually risen in stature over the course of years since its 1883 establishment.
It offers race goers a distinctly different vibe than Flemington or Caulfield and its location close to the heart of Melbourne makes it an ideal spot for spectators, punters, horses and connections, many of which are advocates for the evening race programs at Moonee Valley.
It is possible to envision a future where a galloper will pass Winx to win five Cox Plates, but that does require an open mind and some imagination.