Australia’s Best Horse Races

Home to a thriving horse racing industry, Australia plays host to a packed calendar of annual events spanning a wide variety of distances, racecourses and prize pools. While the Melbourne Cup may be considered the pinnacle of the country’s racing scene, there are also plenty of other great events held across the country every year.

Best Horse Races in Australia

Melbourne Cup

Known across Australia as ‘the race that stops the nation’, it’s no wonder that the Melbourne Cup has evolved to become the world’s richest handicap for thoroughbred racehorses. Held annually on the first Tuesday in November, the race attracts competitors from across Australia and the globe to Flemington Racecourse. Vying for a first prize of $3.6 million, competing horses and jockeys complete the 3,200 metre course in the hope of becoming the next in a long line of cup winners.

Best Horse Races in Australia: Melbourne Cup horse race
The Melbourne Cup, Victoria. Image Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

Golden Slipper Stakes

First run in 1957, the Golden Slipper Stakes is now recognised as one of the pre-eminent races of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. Held in early April, the race covers 1,200 metres, making for the perfect conditions for talented young sprinters. Offering $3.5 million in prize money, it’s easy to see how the race, run annually at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, has become the richest two year old race in the world.

Cox Plate

A highlight of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the Cox Plate takes place annually in October, attracting competitors to Moonee Valley Racecourse with its prize pool of over $3 million. The second richest Australian horse race behind the Melbourne Cup, the course covers 2,040 metres and has become one of the country’s premier weight-for-age championships.

Best Horse Races in Australia: The cox plate horse race
The Cox Plate, Victoria. Image Credit: AAP.

Caulfield Cup

Recognised as one of the key lead up events to the Melbourne Cup, the Caulfield Cup has earnt a reputation as one of the world’s toughest handicap races. Run over 2,400 metres at Caulfield Racecourse, the race joins the ranks of Australia’s richest, with a total prize pool of $3 million. The race is held in mid October during the annual Caulfield Spring Racing Carnival and attracts competitors from across the country and the globe.

Best Horse Races in Australia: the caulfield cup horse race
The Caulfield Cup, Victoria. Image Credit: Robert Prezioso/ Getty Images.

Railway Stakes

Open to all horses aged three years and over, the Railway Stakes has come to be one of the biggest races of the Perth Summer Racing Carnival calendar. Covering 1,600 metres, the race attracts a total prize pool of $1 million, making it the richest race held in Western Australia. First inaugurated in 1894, the race is held annually during November at Ascot Racecourse.

Stradbroke Handicap

The richest and most prestigious race of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, the annual Stradbroke Handicap sees competitors try their luck at winning a share of a $2 million prize. Considered to be a starting ground for some of the country’s champion sprinters, the 1,400 metre open handicap event is held annually at Queensland’s Eagle Farm Racecourse.

Best Horse Races in Australia: the stradbroke handicap horse race
The Stradbroke Handicap, Queensland. Image Credit: Jono Searle.

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