History of Canterbury Racecourse

Canterbury Racetrack is a perfect place to observe horse racing, as it is in a small city circuit, but it provides every horse with a chance to win.  Canterbury Racetrack is a quick 15 minute drive from the Sydney CDB.  Primarily, the track is used on a strictly midweek basis, as its bigger sister track Rosehill is the Sydney Turf Club’s major course.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t great competition and fun to be had here, though.  Canterbury Racetrack features a circumference on 1580 meters and has a main straight of 317 meters.  Canterbury Racetrack is always on standby and will feature a Saturday race meeting everyone and a while, when Rosehill needs a break, or is rained out.

In the early 2000s, Canterbury gave up its well established Guineas race meeting ,when the Sydney clubs reconfigured the autumn carnival.  The Canterbury Guineas were replaced by the Randwick Guineas (and reduced 300m in distance to 1600m) to be a more realistic lead-up to the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby.

Night race meetings are normally held on Thursday or Friday nights, and one of the better races held here through the years is the Canterbury Classic, which is held in January and is 1100 meters.  It has a $100,000 prize available.  It also hosts the PJ Bell Handicap, which offers a $100,000 prize as well and is 1200 meters.  This race is held in April, and both races are open to 3 year olds and up.  It holds a total of 7 excellent races per year including the two just mentioned.  The others are Group 1 races Ranvet Stakes, which is open, and the Queen of the Turf Stakes which is 3 years of age and above.  The Group 2 races include Todman Stakes which is a 2 year old race, Canterbury stakes which is open, Perfect Vision which is for 2 year olds, and the Phar Lap Stakes which is for 3 year olds.  The course holds one lone Group 3 race, which is the Nivea Visage Stakes and is open to 3 year olds.

The Australian Jockey club oversees this course, but is a new club.  It is formed by two former clubs, the Sydney Turf Club and the Australian Jockey Club.  They merged in February 2011 to create a better, more organized club.  The Sydney Turf Club was created in 1943 and was the youngest of Australia’s Principal Race Clubs.  They had the opportunity to host 62 race meetings a year between the Rosehill and Canterbury tracks.  The club was formed following an act that was passed by New South Wales parliament, called the Sydney Turf Club Act.  It took a long and stressful 40 years to draft.

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