Royal Randwick Racecourse
The Royal Randwick Racecourse is located at 77-97 Alison Road in Randwick, New South Wales. The racecourse is built on crown land in the suburbs of Sydney, and it is currently leased to the Australian Turf Club. It is just a few minutes from the CBD, and it is pretty close to the airport. The racecourse has some of the best racing, entertainment, and hospitality facilities in Australia. It has been around for more than 150 years, which makes it Australia's longest-serving racecourse.
A brief history of the Royal Randwick Racecourse
The Royal Randwick has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The first racing event held at the racecourse was in 1833. At the time, it was called the 'Sandy Course'. In the subsequent years, the venue was only used as a training ground, and no racing events were held there. This changed in the 1860s when the Australian Jockey Club headquarters was moved to Randwick. Racing resumed at the racecourse later that year, and it has been going on since then. The Randwick Racecourse changed its name to the Royal Randwick Racecourse in 1992 when Queen Elizabeth II visited the course and opened the Paddock Stand.
The main fields and buildings at the racecourse
The main grandstand at the Royal Randwick Racecourse is the Queen Elizabeth II Grandstand. The original stand was constructed way back in the late 1960s, but it was pulled down in 2012 so that a better and more modern grandstand could be built in its place. The current grandstand is 6 storeys high, and it's over 100 metres in length. The other stand at the racecourse is called the Official stand or Members stand. This stand was constructed in 1886, and except for a few renovations, extensions and modifications in the early 20th century, it is pretty much still in its original form.
Behind the Queen Elizabeth II grandstand, there is the Saddling Paddock Tote Building. This building has been a part of the racecourse since 1917. Although it was originally built to house a totalisator, it currently houses the Octagonal Bar, a popular watering hole and event space at the racecourse.
The racecourse also has an open-air auditorium that is used to present thoroughbred racehorses. This auditorium is known as the Theatre of Horses, and it’s where racegoers can view and admire the horses before and after the races. There is an underground tunnel through which the horses can get from the auditorium to the start of the race track. The Theatre of Horses has a sitting capacity of 4500, and it is often used as a venue for other events on days when there are no scheduled races. Right next to the Theatre of Horses, there is an Owners Pavilion. This pavilion is closed to the general public, and only horse owners and trainers have access to the area.
Major races hosted at the Royal Randwick Racecourse
There are many races that are hosted at the Royal Randwick Racecourse every year. If you are a race goer, you can find out the dates and times for different upcoming races on the official website of the racecourse. Some of the major events that are held at the racecourse every year include:
- The Australian Derby.
- The Australian Jockey Club Stakes, including the Sires Produce Stakes, the Oaks, and the Queen Elizabeth stakes, among many others.
- Sydney Cup
- The Breeders’ Classic
- The Summer Cup
- The Randwick Plate
Most of the high profile racing events are usually scheduled in March, April, September, and October.
Non-racing events at the Royal Randwick Racecourse
Apart from racing, the racecourse has been used for different events over the years, including major music concerts, public rallies, and religious gatherings. The racecourse has been a venue of choice during papal visits, including the 1970 visit by Pope Paul VI, and the 1995 visit by Pope John Paul II.