Horse racing has been around for a long time in Australia. It was a sport that came along with the European colonization in 1788. Workhorses were used for racing at the beginning but thoroughbreds were eventually brought to Australia in about 1800 with the first ‘official’ race being run in 1810 in Sydney. Horse racing has since become a staple of the Australian sports scene and has yielded great events such as the Melbourne Cup, which is a world-class horse race. The sport of horseracing lends to the creation of many iconic moments both on and off the track. Here are a few standout moments in Australian racing history.
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The first female jockey
One of the pioneers of female horse racing was a young lass from far north Queensland named Wilhemina Smith. She adopted the name Bill Smith to dupe the horseracing community back in 1949 to have a chance at racing which, at the time, was a men’s only profession. She was a very successful jockey having won a lot of races in northern Queensland in the 1940s and 1950s. “Bill”’s outage as a female wasn’t discovered until her death in 1975 at the age of 89. It wasn’t until 1979 that women were permitted to race.
The race with no beer
1948 was an interesting year for the Doncaster Mile race at the Royal Randwick Racecourse. Nearly 100,000 racegoers attended this prestigious event but there was one problem: There was no beer. There had been a 10-week strike going on in the three largest breweries in New South Wales relating to demands to increase workers’ salaries which resulted in a mass shortage of beer supply throughout the state. Any Doncaster Mile betting was made with a clear head that day and people showed orderly conduct, even with the knowledge that there would be no beer at the event.
The first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup
Michelle Payne has become synonymous with the Melbourne Cup, being the first female jockey to win the prestigious event in 2015 on Prince of Penzance with odds of 100-1 against her. Born in 1985, Michelle was adamant that she would one day win the Melbourne Cup. Raised by her horse training father as one of 10 children, Michelle had a passion for horses from a very young age. She always strived for the coveted Melbourne Cup as her ultimate goal and achieved her success in 2015 after many hard years of work.
The Melbourne Cup
There have been many interesting things to happen at the Melbourne Cup over its 160-year history. There have been a few champion horses to win the rice twice but Makybe Diva was the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup in three consecutive years, a feat that has not been surpassed since. 2003 saw the first female jockey, Clare Lindop, to compete in the Melbourne Cup riding the thoroughbred horse, Debben. Trainer Bart Cummings has won the Cup a record twelve times over his 60-year career, with the last winning horse being Viewed who took out the Cup in 2008.
Every year Australian horse racing produces some of the country’s best show-stopping moments. From the race that stops the nation to the record-breaking thoroughbred horses and the incredible jockeys, there is plenty to pique your interest in this well-renowned sport.