History of Toowoomba Racecourse

The Toowoomba Racecourse has a very rich tradition and storied history, and its roots run deep in the local community.  It was originally called the Clifford Park Racecourse and was acquired in 1861.  The racecourse itself has seen many changes over the years, as The Darling Downs Jockey Club conducted the first meeting there on 6 March 1862, when it was known as Drayton and Toowoomba Racecourse.  It is currently the permanent home to the Toowoomba Turf Club and has been for over a century, and the club held its first meeting there on June 3&4 1882.  They have made great strides for this race course and have made it into what it is today.  It offers Australia’s only regular twilight racing experience for thoroughbreds every Saturday night.  The racecourse got its name from the Hon. James Taylor, also known as The King of Toowoomba.   It is located at Clifford Park Racecourse, Hursley Rd, Toowoomba 4350.

The race course has a circumference of 1750 meters, with a home stretch length of 360 meters.  It has three chutes, and is run clockwise.  It was originally designed as a grass course, but was resurfaced in 2009 to feature a synthetic cushion surface.  This is one of only two artificial turf tracks in Queensland.  Other than the fantastic full racing schedule it offers, it also includes such facilities like a totalisator, bookmakers, and a carpeted betting ring. There are also members’ facilities, public bars and top class restaurants.  Over the course of September to June, it offers an astonishing 42 Saturday racedays for its twilight racing experience.  The racecourse itself is located right outside of Brisbane.  You can get there by driving approximately two hours on the Ipswich Motorway and the Warrego Highway.

The Weetwood Handicap is Toowoomba’s most prominent and time honored tradition, and was run for the first time in 1889.  It’s named in honor of Richard William Scholefield, who is also another well known figure from Toowoomba’s early history.  He was heavily involved in the development of both the Darling Jockey Club and Toowoomba Turf Club.  The second most famous race is the Toowoomba Cup, and it was run for the first time in 1919.  In 1992, it made Australian racing history when it was the first race to be run under electric lights in the country.  The race was The Fosters Toowoomba Cup, which was won by Waigani Drive.   The Toowoomba Racecourse once again made history just recently, when it was run the same day as the Weetwood Handicap.  This move was seen as monumental, because it was often an overlooked race, and this allows it to receive the coverage it deserves.

Toowoomba Racecourse and Clifford Park have an amazing racing history.  Some of Australia’s greatest horses and jockeys have run on its surface.  Perhaps the most famous racehorse is Bernborough, who won an incredible 11 of his 19 starts at the track.  The Toowoomba Racecourse is a premier destination for the top thoroughbreds in the sport.

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