History of Moonee Valley Racecourse

The Moonee Valley Racecourse held its first race meeting on September 15, 1883 and is located just 6 km from the central business district of Melbourne in the suburb of Moonee Ponds, which is in the city of Moonee Valley.  The track is rectangular and has a total circumference of 1805 meters, with an abnormally small straight of 173 meters, which gives horses close to the lead an advantage and is known as a specialist track. This makes it the shortest race track in Australia.  It is home to the Moonee Valley Racing Club and the surface is made of a StrathAyr Turf System.  It features a lower layer of sand and the upper rootzone is reinforced with mesh elements.  Like all Victorian tracks, it runs in an anti clockwise direction.  It also has a 965 meter harness racecourse located just inside the turf course, which hosts many metropolitan harness races.

The racecourse hosts 33 day and night race meetings throughout the year.  The Group 1 races it holds are the Manikato Stakes, W.S. Cox Plate and William Reid Stakes.   The W.S. Cox Plate has been running since 1922 and has become Australia’s weight for age racing championship, and is the place where legends are made.  It has been included in the World Series of Racing since 1999 and is run over a distance of 2040 meters.  It is open to three year olds and older. The Group 2 races it holds are the Alister Clark Stakes, The Schweppes Stakes, Crystal Mile, Sunline Stakes, Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, The Moonee Valley Cup, The Hollylodge Classic, Bill Stutt Stakes, Norman Carlyon Stakes, AAMI Case and W.H. Stocks Stakes.  It is home to 5 Group 3 races, The Ian McEwen Trophy, JRA Cup, The Champagne Stakes, The Red Anchor Stakes and the Inglis Mile.

The track has undergone many renovations through the years.  In the 1960’s, it underwent expansion that was funded by compensation for land that was acquired for the construction of the nearby Tullamarine Freeway.  Harness racing was brought to Moonee Valley in the 70’s, when night trotting was also moved here from the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.  It is currently undergoing changes that local residents and politicians are opposed to.  They are planning to expand and add four 20 story residential towers, which will provide 2000 apartments.  The total cost has rocketed to $1.4 billion, and the racing club will receive $300 million of that.

You can contact the Moonee Valley Racing Club at (Mc Pherson Street) PO Box 245 Moonee Ponds, Victoria 3039.  They can be reached by telephone at (03) 9373 2222, fax at (03) 9370 4816 and by email at mvrc@mvrc.net.au.  Come check out this the one of a kind night racing that this nice little track offers, as it is a pioneer for night racing in Victoria.

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