Australia is one of the world’s leading horse racing jurisdictions, rivalling the United Kingdom and North America in terms of global status.
From the glory days of legendary horse Phar Lap in the 1930s to the prestige of the Melbourne Cup and more, Australia has enjoyed a storied history in the sport.
With that in mind, here is our essential guide to betting on horse racing in Australia, starting with a look at how the sport has evolved there.
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A Brief History of Australian Horse Racing
The first organised horse racing meeting in Australia was staged in October 1810, with visiting army officers organising the event in Hyde Park.
Following the formation of the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) in the early 1840s, several towns and cities jumped on the horse racing bandwagon.
By the time the 20th century started, there were hundreds of racetracks around the country who operated under the AJC banner.
Australian racing continued to flourish thereafter, with the standards of tracks and quality of horses improving as the industry grew.
Breeding links were forged with Europe and North America, giving Australia access to the best overseas stallions and mares.
The Australian Racing Board (ARB) was established in 1998, marking a new administrative era for the sport across the country.
The statutory bodies for racing in each State or Territory set up the ARB to usher in a new dawn of professionalism for the Sport of Kings.
Betting on Australian Horse Racing
If you are located in Australia, there are a ton of ways you can wager on horse racing meetings taking place throughout the year.
In addition to on-course bookmakers, totalisers and off-course betting shops, there are loads of online betting sites and betting exchanges available.
Punters overseas can also bet on Australian racing, with operators in numerous other jurisdictions offering extensive online coverage of their meetings.
The major carnivals generate the most turnover in betting circles, with events such as the Melbourne Cup sparking massive interest worldwide.
Generally speaking, the bet types available on Australian racing mirror what you find in other countries, although some of the terminology is slightly different.
Win, place and each-way betting are the most popular types of bets, while exactas (straight forecasts) quinellas (reverse forecasts) and parlays (accumulators) are also commonplace.
There are numerous other types of special bets (exotics) which give punters the chance to win big from just a small stake.
Australian Horse Racing Meetings
Flat racing dominates the landscape in Australia, although there are still some jumps meetings staged in South Australia and Victoria.
The big cities are the place to be for the major meetings, with the following tracks generally staging most of the top events:
Brisbane: Doomben, Eagle Farm.
Perth: Ascot, Belmont.
Melbourne: Caulfield, Flemington, Moonee Valley, Sandown.
Sydney: Canterbury, Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm.
Much like the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in North America or Royal Ascot in the United Kingdom, Australia also has its fair share of high-class action.
These attract the best horses from across Australia, while meetings such as the Melbourne Spring Carnival have a strong international flavour. Here are some of the top events.
Melbourne Autumn Carnival
Sprinters take centre stage during the Melbourne Autumn Carnival, with fastest horses in the country striving to win a prestigious Triple Crown.
This features the Lightning Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap – all of which generate massive interest amongst horse racing bettors.
The Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield is another standout betting event as it brings together the best two-year-olds in the country.
Sydney Autumn Carnival
Punters spend most of March and April searching online for race tips for Rosehill races tomorrow when the Sydney Autumn Carnival is staged.
This major betting event includes the Australian Triple Crown for three-year-olds comprising the Randwick Guineas, Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby.
There is also the Golden Slipper at Rosehill, the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, and a plethora of other thrilling action throughout the meeting.
The Championships at Randwick are effectively Australia’s version of British Champions Day at Ascot, albeit with even more top-class races to wager on.
The two-day meeting has eight Group 1 races featuring the best horses from around Australia and an increasing number of international challengers.
The main Easter yearling sales also are staged around the same time, further adding to the allure of one of Australia’s top horse racing events.
Melbourne Spring Carnival
The Melbourne Spring Cup is commonly associated with the Melbourne Cup, but that does a disservice to a meeting with plenty of other betting attractions.
They include the Turnbull Stakes, Caulfield Guineas, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate, while Victoria Derby Day also garners plenty of interest.
This kicks off four thrilling days at Flemington, which culminate with the iconic Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November.