History of Darwin Racecourse

The Darwin Racecourse has an overall circumference of 1780 meters, and a home straight of 340 meters.  The racecourse has a width of 15 meters.  While staying true to its southern counterparts, it has a mixed oil sand track, rather than the traditional turf overlay that the majority of tracks use.    It is located roughly ten minutes from the Darwin Airport, and close to 7 minutes from the Darwin central business district. 

You can expect some very intense horse racing here in the Northern Territory, as the Darwin racecourse is the only tropical city in Australia.  Horse racing made its debut in May of 1955, when a club by the name of Darwin Turf Club was formed.  The first Darwin Cup was held on October 20, 1956, and a total prize pool of $470, including the five other races that were held.  The first Darwin Cup had a purse of $260.

The Darwin Cup is, coincidentally, the feature race of the Darwin Race Club at Fannie Bay Racecourse.  Jack Russell, the stories race caller, was fortunate to witness the Darwin Cup in 1972, when Son of Cyrus raced to an incredibly victory.  The prize pool of the horse races increased when the Northern Territory was introduced to the Triple Crown in 1980.  The Darwin Cup became the first race to offer a prize pool of atleast $100,000 in 1990.  The race has been televised since 2003, and the race is attended by about 15,000 loyal horse racing fans every year.  There is actually a public holiday the day of the Darwin Cup, so that the countries loyal racing fans can partake in the events.  The Darwin Cup was held August 1st this year and was won by Hawks Bay.  Hawks Bay has finally won the 2011 Darwin Cup finishing a close second his past two attempts.  The six-year-old gelding won the $175,000 Darwin Cup by a steady three lengths ahead of stablemate Palmyra Boy and third place-getter Blackbriar.  Hawks Bay was mounted by top jockey Steven Arnold, who made his move aboard the gelding at the 400 metre mark.

Other notable races include the Hot Darwin Guineas Day on the 7th of July, the Trans Territory Foods Chief Minister’s Cup on the 9th, the Bridge Toyota Ladies Day on the 13th, the Skycity NT Derby Day on the 16th, The SKY Racing Metric Mile Race Day on the 23rd, the Colemans Printing Cup Day on the 27th and the Darwin Airport Resort Palmerston Sprint on the 30th.

Fannie Bay only has one starting chute and it is for a 1300-metre race. Various racing starts are marked within the oval race track and it can cater to races with distances from 900 metres to 2000 metres. Among all race distances, the 1300-metre race has the longest straight run from its starting barriers at 560 metres while the 1800-metre race has the shortest with 90 metres.

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