Newcastle Racecourse, commonly known as the Broadmeadow Racecourse, is a horse racing facility in Newcastle’s suburb, Broadmeadow, in New South Wales. The racecourse was formally opened on 27th April 1907 by the Newcastle Jockey Club. Home to some of the most significant Group 3 races in the New South Wales horse racing calendar, The Newcastle racecourse replaced the Hamilton racecourse when it opened to the public.
Here is a brief account of the history of the Newcastle Racecourse and an overview of its facilities.
Newcastle Racecourse History
Today, Newcastle Racecourse is more than 100 years old and is regarded as one of the prime racing venues in the country. Newcastle has been famous for horse racing for long. Back in the 19th century, sports-loving labourers who used horses as the primary means of transport were keen on indulging in sporting competitions between thoroughbred racers. The trend gained more traction after 1848 when organised horse racing was introduced.
Various horse racing facilities were established in a short time across the region. The first formal horse race was organised in 1848 on a racetrack formed by clearing bushes and scrubs in an area known as Wallaby Flat. Most of this area, originally known as Ahwar-tah Bulboolba, was located in Hamilton, while some portions were in Merewether and Broadmeadow.
Races would start from the city’s manufacturing area located at what was once called Beaumont Park, while the finishing point was the Sydney Rail Line, near the Nine Ways at Broadmeadow. In 1907, some elite racegoers and horse racing enthusiasts established the Newcastle Jockey Club, strengthening the future of racing at Newcastle. Following the establishment of the Newcastle Jockey Club, it became one of the country’s most progressive and leading racing clubs.
Due to its proximity to opulent breeding regions of the Hunter Valley, the Newcastle Jockey Club developed a prime training centre where many champions of different times started their careers. This centre was later known as the Broadmeadow Racecourse or the Newcastle Racecourse.
Some of the greatest horses have come from this racecourse. One example is Luskin Star, the legendary colt who went to Sydney and won the Triple Crown. His Golden Slipper victory as a two-year-old has been written down in history as one of the greatest wins in the juvenile category. Another renowned champion from Newcastle was Choisir, who went to the Royal Ascot in 2003 and won the King’s Stand Stakes and the Golden Jubilee Stakes within four days and impressed the entire British racing community with his achievements.
Newcastle Racecourse Facilities
Newcastle Racecourse is situated along the Hunter Coast, around two hours outside Sydney. Today it is a staple in the Australian horse racing calendar. It is also the biggest horse racing facility in New South Wales and the biggest training centre in the region outside Sydney and caters to over 30 trainers who use its training facilities.
The facility is oval-shaped and is spacious. The track at the Newcastle Racecourse has a circumference of 2000 metres. It has a long back straight, and the home straight is 415 metres long. Races at the track run in a clockwise direction on the turf surface with three chutes.
Newcastle features a mix of historic grandstands and modern horse racing facilities. The racecourse recently underwent a major renovation, whereby various features were added, including eight function rooms for various events. The venue also features two levels of bars for members, a public bar, and many restaurants. The venue has lawn marquees, which are also used for various events.
Besides the racecourse facilities, the track also underwent improvements. The project comprised upgrading the course as an all-weather turf track and adding a new inner turf course that caters to both racing and training.
Newcastle Racecourse racing calendar
Newcastle Racecourse hosts races on 26 Saturdays of the year. It hosts the signature Spring and Autumn Racing Carnivals and the renowned Westpac Rescue Helicopter Racing event. The most significant event held in the Newcastle venue is the Boxing Day Races. These races draw thousands of spectators annually and feature various races, programs, and other forms of entertainment.
Major Races at Newcastle Racecourse
Newcastle Racecourse is home to numerous thoroughbred horse races, particularly Grade 3 races, including the Cameron Handicap, a 1500m open handicap race with prize money of A$200,000, the 2300m Newcastle Gold Cup with prize money of $250,000, 1600m Spring Stakes with prize money of $200,000 and the 1400m Newcastle Newmarket Handicap among others.