The Kembla Grange Racecourse is widely believed to have started racing as far back as 1834, where the Wollongong Golf Course presently sits. However, the Kembla Grange Estate was purchased earlier this century by the Hon. Joseph Carruthers, who set out to design a course identical to the Randwick. Because of this, it is best known as the Royal Randwick of the south. Many clubs and organizations have overseen the management of the Kembla Grange, until 1976 when the Illawarra Turf Club began its reign as the sole management team. They conducted their first race meeting soon after on December 18th. The racecourse is positioned along the Princes Highway, close to the Illawarra Escarpment. It is located just 95 km from Sydney and 9 km below Wollongong.
The track is the premier destination for horse racing anywhere south of Sydney. As it was made to mirror the Randwick Racecourse, the course is 2200 meters in total circumference, 25 meters wide, and its straight is 420 meters. The track gives every horse a fair chance of winning thanks to its long home stretch, though horses that run strongly may be able to pull ahead, and runs in a clockwise direction.
The Kembla Grange Racecourse hosts 30 race meetings each year, and provides great facilities for spectators and bookmakers alike. Races are held usually every other Saturday at the Kembla Grange Racecourse. The most presitigous race held at the Kembla Grange is the Keith F. Nolan Classic. It’s been recently upgraded to a Group 3 race and 3 year old fillies are welcome to run here. The race is held every year in March. The winner of this race usually moves on to compete at the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes, and that is held every Golden Slipper day or at the AJC Australian Oaks.
The racecourse was award with a full TAB service in 1984, because of the improvements made to the track, stables, grandstand and many other facilities. The total cost of these renovations was $10 million. The track offers a yearly prize amount of $2.5 million spread among its various races and brings in an annual income of $6.5 million. The Kembla Grange racecourse opened the A.J Bert Lillye lounge in 1997 for the racing fans that attend the meetings. This new lounge can hold up to 400 spectators.
The Kemble Grange is located on Princes Highway, Kembla Grange 2530. They can be reached via telephone at (02) 4261 7211. If you wish to visit this spectacular facility and see what it’s all about, you can do so Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. It’s open to the public and is available on race days at 7:30 am, until the evens commence late at night.
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