Victoria, home to the Caulfield Cup, W.S. Cox Plate and the crown jewel Melbourne Cup.
Racing Victoria Limited is the governing body, consisting of representatives from tracks, clubs, owners and other sectors of the industry who formulate the rules and regulations and determine the schedule for almost 4500 races of every class.
With more than two million gate admissions per year, and television coverage broadcast to almost every country supplying millions more viewers, horses are attracted from stables worldwide that come to Victoria for the year-round racing carnivals. Many international Thoroughbreds have recently enjoyed impressive success, including 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain.
The four major tracks in the Melbourne metro area and over 60 others mean racing action is always available for punters. Racing under the lights is available with Moonee Valley Racecourse one of the first to offer this feature. An all-weather track, one of the first, has been receiving rave reviews for its ability to allow racing free of poor track conditions.
With 27 Group 1 races supplying prizes exceeding $26 million and a total for all races of over $135 million, more than 500 meetings including almost 10,000 starts by Thoroughbreds, Victoria can rightfully stake its claim as the centre of Australian horse racing.
Major Racing 2011 Schedule
BMW Caulfield Cup - 16 October at the Caulfield Racecourse - 2400 metres. This year's edition will offer over $2.5 million in prize money.
Tatts Cox Plate - 23 October at Moonee Valley - 2040 metres over the tightest course for a major race with a 173 meter that places a premium on running in the turns. The over $3 million prize money makes this the second most lucrative purse of the season.
Emirates Melbourne Cup - 2 November. Flemington is the venue of this capital city of Melbourne race. 2400 metres and a staggering $6.1 million dollar purse, double that of any other major Aussie race.
Other Noteworthy Races
Lightning Stakes - 19 February. Shortest Group 1race at 1000 metres, contested at Flemington Racecourse, this year's Stakes is tipped to be first up for Hay List.
Blue Diamond Stakes - 26 February. Caulfield is home to the premier Group 1 sprint for two year olds, the first Group 1 race of the season for this age group.
Leading Victoria Based Trainer
Lee Freedman - Two decades' worth of victories in major races such as the Melbourne Cup (5), Cox Plate (2). Caulfield Cup (4).
Peter Moody - Occupies 5th place of Australian trainers based on total wins. Remarkable considering stable size.
Mick Price - Took all three places in the 2003 Blue Diamond Prelude.
Darren Weir - Over 700 starts and 140 wins in races offering $35,000-$75,000 prize money.
Leading Victorian Jockeys and Previous 12 Months Results
Nash Rawiller - #2 with over $10 million in earnings.
Michael Rodd - # 5 with over $6 million.
Damien Oliver - #8 at over $6 million.
Victorian Jumps Racing
Victoria and South Australia are the last two states where steeplechase races are still held. Victoria is home to just under 90. The Victorian Racing Club puts on the Grand National at Flemington. Another, the Hiskens, is staged at Moonee Valley.
Jumps racing was going to be phased out after the 2010 season, but was granted a three year extension.
Animal rights groups have become increasingly militant, claiming objections based on cruelty to animals grounds. Race organizers have counter acted by lowering barriers, but jumps racing may be witnessing its twilight.
Home to almost 40 stud farms, Victoria has a vibrant horse breeding industry. Kingston Park Studs was the foaling ground for Kingston Town, a horse of legendary status.
The William Inglis Company is the primary bloodstock sales company in Victoria. Many champions have originated from here, with Might and Power, Flight and Amounis and many others in their distinguished history.
Victoria has a rich and lustrous role in the history of horse racing in Australia. With its prestigious races, many champions, trainers and jockeys, Victoria can proudly lay claim to being a valuable contributor to the sport of punting.