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Horse racing in Australia is administered by The Australian Racing Board, with each State’s Principal Racing Authority agreeing to abide by, and to enforce the Australian Rules of Racing.

Tambo Valley Picnic Races, Victoria 2006
Tambo Valley Picnic Races, Victoria 2006

Thoroughbred horse racing is the third most attended spectator sport in Australia, behind Australian Rules football and rugby league, with almost 2 million admissions to the 379 racecourses throughout Australia in 2002-2003. Besides being a spectator sport, horse racing is also an industry, which provides full or part time employment for almost 250,000 people, the equivalent of 77,000 jobs. About 300,000 people have a direct interest as owners, or members of syndicates in the 31,000 horses in training in Australia.

Public interest in thoroughbred racing, especially during the main Spring and Autumn racing carnivals, has been growing in recent years with over 100,000 attracted to the running of both the Melbourne Cup and VRC Oaks. The Caulfield Cup and W S Cox Plate are also major attractions.

Throughout its history, horse racing has become part of the Australian culture and has developed a rich and colourful language as well as providing some of Australia’s great sporting icons such as Phar Lap, Tulloch, Bernborough, Kingston Town and Makybe Diva.

Facts and Figures for season 2004-05]

Racing Statistics

  • Race clubs: 391
  • Racecourses: 364
  • Race meetings: 2,745
  • Total races: 19,968
  • Trainers: 5080
  • Jockeys: 1043
  • Bookmakers: 610
  • Number of drug tests : 32,003
  • Number of positive cases: 51

Group races

  • Group 1 races: 66
  • Group 2 races: 83
  • Group 3 races: 112
  • Listed races: 281 ]

Breeding

  • Stallions: 916
  • Mares: 27882
  • Live Foals: 17178
  • Gross Yearling Sales: $AUD 253 million
  • Average selling price: $AUD 52,232
  • Champion Sire: Danehill (USA)

Prizemoney and earnings

  • Total Prizemoney: $AUD 362 million
  • Leading Prizemoney Earner: Makybe Diva
  • Total number of race horses: 31,037
  • Number of horses which earned over $100,000: 507
  • Number of horses which earned less than $2,000: 13,715
  • Number of horses with 4 or more wins: 727
  • Number of horses with 0 wins: 19,031

Wagering

  • Totalisator: $AUD 8,764 million
    • Win: 46.6%
    • Place: 16.0%
    • Trifecta: 19.4%
    • Quinella: 5.9%
    • Doubles: 2.6%
    • Other: 9.5%
  • Bookmakers: $AUD 2,937 million

The seasons winners

  • Racehorse of the year: Makybe Diva
  • Leading Trainer by Group wins: Gai Waterhouse
  • Leading Trainer by wins: John Hawkes
  • Leading Jockey by Group wins: Glen Boss
  • Leading Jockey by wins: Darren Beadman
 
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