Australia horse racing has a long history with the first race said to have taken place in 1810. Today, Australia ranks among the top nations with horse racing facilities in the world. For instance, Australia boasts more race tracks than any other nation in the world.
Horse racing in Australia takes three forms, namely thoroughbred, harness racing and steeplechase. This article delves into each of these forms for better understanding.
Thoroughbred Horse Racing
Thoroughbred racing in Australia is a wildly popular calendar activity posting impressive attendance figures on the racecourses and attracting millions of spectators on television and online streaming. The popularity of this form is only rivalled by rugby and football.
Due to its popularity, it has attracted betting companies and punters who put their money on famed horses for a share of the spoils. Thoroughbred racing in Australia takes the form of horses racing on a flat field and the form of having horses jump over low hurdles.
Harness horse racing entails Standardbred horses racing along the track pulling a two-wheeled cart. Standardbred horses enrolled in harness races compete in trotting and pacing with the races conducted over distances of between one mile to slightly below two miles.
The race takes place mostly at night. The Harness Racing makes harness racing rules of Australia, a body which also governs the entire harness race.
Steeplechase Horse Racing
Also referred to as jump racing, the steeplechase horse racing involves having racehorses guided to jump over obstacles spread along the race track. Jump racing has attracted bad headlines in Australia for various reasons.
For instance, the steeplechase races have been criticised by animal welfare groups for violating animal rights due to the number of horses that die on the track. However, organisers have taken steps to ensure the safety of horses. Such measures include erecting smaller obstacles and having portable hurdles.