Randwick Racecourse

Randwick Racecourse
Royal Randwick Racecourse.jpg
Randwick Racecourse from above
LocationEastern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales
Coordinates33°54′39″S 151°13′49″E / 33.91083°S 151.23028°E / -33.91083; 151.23028Coordinates: 33°54′39″S 151°13′49″E / 33.91083°S 151.23028°E / -33.91083; 151.23028
Owned byAustralian Turf Club
Date opened1833[1]
Notable racesThe Everest
Australian Derby
Doncaster Handicap
Queen Elizabeth Stakes
Official website
Randwick Racecourse on Derby Day 2007
Randwick Racecourse on Randwick Plate Day 1920
Members stand and enclosure in 1952.
Randwick Racecourse in 1863
The racecourse tramway exit bridge in 1952.
Former 1920 racecourse tram station and southern exit at Ascot Street.
The Final Mass for World Youth Day 2008 was held at Randwick Racecourse (dubbed Southern Cross Precinct specifically for the event) and was attended by 350,000[2] people.

Royal Randwick Racecourse is a racecourse for horse racing located in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales. Randwick Racecourse is Crown Land[3] leased to the Australian Turf Club and known to many Sydney racegoers as headquarters. The racecourse is located about six kilometres from the Sydney Central Business District in the suburb of Randwick. The course proper has a circumference of 2224m with a home straight of 410m.[4]

On 14 October 2017, the inaugural running of The Everest was held at Royal Randwick. The Everest is the richest race in Australia and the richest turf race in the world with $10 million in prize money.[5]

Since 2014, Randwick hosts The Championships, a two-day season-ending meeting in April that offers over AUD$20 million in prize money.[6] It features several Group 1 races such as the Australian Derby, Doncaster Handicap and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Other annual events include the Sydney Carnival, Spring Carnival[7] and the Chinese Festival of Racing.[8]


In January 1833, NSW Governor Richard Bourke designated the land for use as a racecourse. Up until then, Hyde Park in the Sydney CBD had been the main venue for racing within the city. The first race held at Randwick was a private event held in June 1833. The course was originally known as the 'Sandy Course' due to the condition of the ground. In 1840 racing ceased at the venue and was only used for training.

In the early 1840s, the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) was formed and in 1860 moved its headquarters to Randwick. In May of that year, racing resumed at the venue with a crowd of 6,000 people attending.

In 1863 the land was officially granted to the AJC and was held until 2011 when the AJC and the Sydney Turf Club (STC) merged to become the Australian Turf Club (ATC). The ATC are the current operators of Royal Randwick Racecourse.[9]

Champions of the Past 1915 - 1925

'Royal' Randwick[edit]

On 22 February 1992, Queen Elizabeth II visited Randwick Racecourse[10] and opened the Paddock Stand. On this date, upon request, the Queen granted permission for the venue to be known as Royal Randwick. From this date the venue was officially able to be referred to as 'Royal Randwick'. An extract from a letter from Kenneth Scott, Deputy Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II, to the club reads: "You do not need me to tell you how much The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed their visit to the Royal Randwick Racecourse today. Her Majesty was particularly glad that she was able, on this occasion, to legitimise your traditional title of "Royal" and to open a very handsome new Grandstand."


The following is a list of Group races which are contested at Randwick Racecourse.

Grp Race Name Age Sex Weight Distance Date
1 Australian Derby 3YO Open sw 2400 April
1 AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes Open Open wfa 2000 April
1 Sydney Cup Open Open hcp 3200 April
1 All Aged Stakes Open Open wfa 1400 April
1 Canterbury Stakes 3YO+ Open wfa 1300 March
1 Doncaster Handicap Open Open hcp 1600 April
1 Champagne Stakes 2YO Open sw 1600 April
1 AJC Sires Produce Stakes 2YO Open sw 1400 April
1 AJC Oaks 3YO Fillies sw 2400 April
1 Winx Stakes 3YO+ Open wfa 1400 August
1 Epsom Handicap Open Open hcp 1600 October
1 AJC Metropolitan Handicap Open Open hcp 2400 October
1 Flight Stakes 3YO Fillies sw 1600 October
1 George Main Stakes Open Open wfa 1600 September
1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes 3YO+ F&M qlty 1600 April
1 Surround Stakes 3YO Fillies sw 1400 March
1 Randwick Guineas 3YO Open sw 1600 March
1 Spring Champion Stakes 3YO Open sw 2000 October
1 T J Smith Stakes Open Open wfa 1200 April
1 Chipping Norton Stakes Open Open wfa 1600 February
2 Apollo Stakes 3YO+ Open wfa 1400 February
2 AJC Chairmans Handicap Open Open hcp 2600 April
2 Breeders' Classic 4YO+ Mares sw+p 1200 February
2 Challenge Stakes 3YO+ Open wfa 1000 March
2 Chelmsford Stakes Open Open wfa 1600 September
2 Emancipation Stakes 3YO+ F&M sw+p 1600 April
2 Hill Stakes 3YO+ Open wfa 1900 September
2 Furious Stakes 3YO Fillies sw 1400 September
2 Tramway Quality Handicap Open Open hcp 1400 September
2 Light Fingers Stakes 3YO Fillies sw+p 1100 February
2 Roman Consul Stakes 3YO Open sw 1200 September
2 Royal Sovereign Stakes 3YO C&G sw+p 1200 February
2 Skyline Stakes 2YO C&G sw 1200 March
2 Sweet Embrace Stakes 2YO Fillies sw 1200 March
2 Sapphire Stakes Open F&M sw+p 1200 April
2 Premiere Stakes 3YO+ Open wfa 1200 September
2 The Shorts 3YO+ Open sw+p 1100 September
2 Villiers Stakes Open Open hcp 1600 December
3 Adrian Knox Stakes 3YO Fillies qlty 2000 April
3 Bill Ritchie Handicap Open Open hcp 1400 September
3 Colin Stephen Quality Handicap Open Open hcp 2400 September
3 Craven Plate Open Open wfa 2000 October
3 Frank Packer Plate 3YO Open sw 2000 April
3 Southern Cross Stakes Open Open hcp 1200 February
3 Kindergarten Stakes 2YO Open sw 1100 March
3 Liverpool City Cup 3YO+ Open hcp 1300 March
3 Summer Cup Open Open hcp 2400 December
L Randwick City Stakes 3YO+ Open hcp 2000 March


Besides horseracing, Randwick Racecourse has been used as a venue for many other events including concerts and religious masses.

In 1970, Pope Paul VI celebrated mass at Randwick[11] as part of his pastoral visit to Australia. The Racecourse was also the site of a mass held by Pope John Paul II in 1995 for the Beatification ceremony of Australia's first potential saint Mary MacKillop. It was also the site of the vigil and final mass of World Youth Day 2008 in July 2008. Racing was stopped for several weeks, due to the alterations needed to hold over 400,000 people. This move had been opposed by the Randwick Trainers Association, which holds lease interests over some areas intended to be used for the event.[12] The dispute was resolved,[13] by the federal government and the state government jointly pledging $40 million as reimbursement to the racing industry.[14] The famous racecourse has also appeared in several films, including Mission: Impossible 2.[15]

Randwick Racecourse is also used as an exam venue by the University of New South Wales.

In addition, the annual Future Music Festival was held at the racecourse from 2006[16] until it was cancelled in 2015[17]

Buildings & Spaces[edit]

Queen Elizabeth II Grandstand: 2013 - Present[edit]

The Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Grandstand is the main grandstand building. Originally constructed in 1969, it was torn down to its bare structure and rebuilt into the current state in 2012 and reopened to the public in 2013. It is 110m in length and 6 storeys high.[18]

Official / Members Stand: 1886 - Present[edit]

The Official / Members Stand was constructed in 1886 and still remains today although it has been extended and modified multiple times, in 1907, 1914 and 1920.[19]

Theatre of the Horse (ToTH): 2013 - Present[edit]

The Theatre of the Horse, also known as the "ToTH", is an outdoor auditorium for the presentation of thoroughbred racehorses both before and after a race. The ToTH is linked to the track-front via a tunnel in which the horses access the track. The ToTH has a capacity of 4,500 and is also used for live music events and functions. The construction of the ToTH was not without controversy, many racegoers have criticised the space for not being located trackside.

Saddling Paddock Tote Building: 1917 - Present[edit]

The Saddling Paddock Tote Building, known as the Octagonal bar, is located behind the main grandstand. It was initially constructed in 1917 to house a Totalisator, the fourth in the world to be installed. The building is now used as an event space and a bar on race days.[20]

Owners Pavilion: 2013 - Present[edit]

The Owners Pavilion is located directly adjacent to the Theatre of the Hose and is a private space for racehorse owners. The pavilion was constructed at the same time as the new QEII Grandstand and ToTH.[21]

Paddock Stand: 1992 - 2012[edit]

The Paddock Stand replaced the St Ledger Stand and Grandstand and was a two-storey, long, horizontal structure. The stand was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II in February 1992, it was also on this occasion that the Queen certified Randwick as "Royal". The Paddock Stand was demolished in 2012 to make way for the new QEII Grandstand.[22]

Tea House: 1914 - 2012[edit]

The Tea House was a large structure at 50m long, 27m wide and two storeys high and could accommodate 1,000 racegoers. The original Tea house burnt down in 1917 and was immediately reconstructed to the same specifications.[23] The Tea House was demolished in 2012 as part of the upgrades to the current layout.[24]

Ladies Stand: 1910 - 1998[edit]

The Ladies Stand, also known as the Queens or Royal Stand was constructed in 1910[25] and remained until 1998.

First Grandstand: 1860 - 1875[edit]

The First Grandstand was constructed for the first race meeting at Randwick and was made of American timber. Designed by John Hilly, it was intended to be temporary but stood for 15 years.[26]

Second Grandstand: 1876 - 1988[edit]

The Second Grandstand, also known as the Paddock Stand, was constructed to replace the initial grandstand constructed on site. It was extended in 1907 and 1914 and remained for more than 100 years to 1988 when it was demolished to make way for the new Paddock Stand.[27]


See also[edit]


External links[edit]

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