The Rockhampton Racecourse is located at Lot 2, Racecourse Rd, Rockhampton Qld 4017. The Rockhampton Jockey Club holds its meetings here and was created in 1868. The club has become known as one of the largest and greatest thoroughbred racing clubs in all of Queensland. Racing is held on both the short track with a circumference of 1,600m and a straight of 400m, and the extended track which has a circumference of 1,900m and straight of 580m. The name is derived from the ‘rocks’ in the Fitzroy Rriver just near the Neville Hewitt Bridge, and ‘hampton’ which was derived from the traditional English place name meaning village by the water or sea.
The Rockhampton Cup is run in June, and is the tracks major race. The Rockhampton racecourse is home to a total of 45 race meetings each year, including the renowned XXXX Gold Winter Racing Carnival, which takes place annually in June. The highlight of the track’s winter carnival is the Rockhampton Cup. The Rockhampton Cup was first run on June 17, 1918, when it was won by a horse named Roland and a total of £500 prize money was offered. Rockhampton Racecourse also conducts a number of spring carnival race meets that coincide with the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup Carnival in Victoria.
The race course has been recently redeveloped, as the $6.5 million renovation was completed in January of 2010. This resulted in the new track surface being highly regarded, and is known as one the best in Australia. The racecourse can also serve other activities, not just horse racing. The track has one of longest home straights around, checking in at 600 meters. The new turf track is 25 meters wide and can hold a field size of up to 16 horses when rail is in its true position. There are also 10 starting positions from 970 meters to 2400 meters.
The park was one of the first to use photo finishes, as that feature was implemented in January 1953. In March 1955, Racing history was made when due to severe flooding of the lower portion of Callaghan Park, four races were conducted over four furlongs 108 yards. They commenced at the two furlong mark and went past the winning post to the five furlong peg.
Over the years, Rockhampton Racecourse has undergone a variety of changes, each time making the park better than it was before. A continually improving racecourse is vital in today’s society, though you still want to maintain the classic feel the course brings to the area. This is where Rockhampton excels, where others have failed.
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