Australia’s Major Horse Racing Events

Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, Brisbane, QLD. © Ross Stanley

Australia’s Major Horse Racing Events

In January every year the glamorous Gold Coast is the venue for the Magic Millions Yearling Sales and ten days of carnival and society events surrounding the Magic Millions race day. The Magic Millions Sales and race day has established its reputation worldwide. Only horses purchased at Magic Millions auctions are eligible to compete in races which are the richest in Queensland and some of the richest in Australia. Magic Millions sales and races are also held in Adelaide, Perth and Tasmania.

The Perth Cup is Western Australia’s premier thoroughbred racing event. Held at the esteemed Ascot Racecourse on New Year’s Day in January annually, it is the headline feature of the prestigious Perth Summer Racing Carnival and attracts a crowd of 35,000 spectators and punters every year.

In February, the racing community heads south to Tasmania for the Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival. The highlights of the carnival are the Launceston Cup held at Tasman Park and the Hobart Cup held at Elwick Racecourse. Australia’s island State comes alive with a carnival atmosphere with colourful clothes and social events.

Also in February, South Australia’s Kangaroo Island hosts the Kangaroo Island Cup Carnival weekend at the Cygnet River Race Course near Kingscote. The highlight of the weekend is the Kangaroo Island Cup Race Day. There’s plenty of fun at the carnival with live music and the chance to sample Kangaroo Island’s famous local gourmet produce and wines.

In autumn, Sydney warms up with the Sydney Carnival, a celebration of world class racing, fashion and entertainment. The Sydney Carnival features time-honoured classics such as Australian Derby Day and Golden Slipper Day.

Alice Springs Cup Carnival is sure to be a race event unlike any other you have ever attended, held in the heart of Australia’s Northern Territory in April. Located in the foothills of the beautiful MacDonnell Ranges, the Pioneer Park Race Course was voted one of Australia's most scenic and picturesque racecourses. As well as the Alice Springs Cup Carnival in April, there are 34 other racing days held in Australia’s Red Centre.

In winter, there’s no better place to be than Queensland. The Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival is the most recognized and highly regarded series of races in Queensland. Running throughout April, May and June every year, the carnival attracts thousands of spectators to the two metropolitan racecourses at Doomben and Eagle Farm. The biggest race of the Brisbane Winter Carnival the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap in June. Many of the top trainers use these races as a warm up leading up to the Victorian Spring Carnival.

One of the most popular races on the Australian horse racing calendar, the Darwin Cup Carnival is held at Darwin’s Fannie Bay racecourse over eight fun-filled days every July and August. The Gold Cup is the premier event of the week-long carnival. The race has a long and colourful history and has been run at the Fannie Bay course since 1956.

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