SportList of Australia's Biggest Group One Horse Races
Known collectively as the Black Type Races within the Aussie equine community, the Australian Group Races are divided into Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, and unranked but listed Thoroughbred Races. Each number designates the race’s respective rank within the Group races, meaning that Group 1 races are by far the most prestigious out of the four elite thoroughbred racing categories in Australia. We are going to go a step further in this post and inform you about the biggest races even among the most elite Group 1 horse races.
The Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is one of the most prestigious flat races in the world, as well as being the number one Black Type Race in terms of its popularity in Australia. There is more than 160-years of history behind the 3,200m annual flat race, which is held at the legendary Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
While the Group 1 Race remains open to all thoroughbreds, participating horses must be older than three. Ever since 2019, the total prize pool has jumped up to an astounding AU$8 million, although the betting industry around it is much bigger than that. If you wish to bet on the Group 1 Horse Races coming up soon, stay updated and ready with the latest horse racing tips, news, odds, and more. This year, the Melbourne Cup was won by Verry Elleegant, being ridden to the 1st position by James McDonald (3:17.43), winning over AU$4.4 million.
The Caulfield Cup
Second only to the Melbourne Cup in terms of prize money, the AU$5 million Caulfield Cup is an annual, 2,400m handicapped flat race for all thoroughbreds older than three, which started way back in 1879. Similar to the Melbourne Cup, the Group 1 Race is also a part of the Melbourne Racing Club Events. Always held at the Caulfield Racecourse, the gun goes off on the third Saturday of October every year. The race was won this year by Incentivise (horse) and Brett Prebble (jockey).
The W.S. Cox Plate
With a prize pool of AU$5 million that matches that of the Caulfield Cup, the W.S. Cox Plate is a relatively newer entry, just one year shy of being 100-years old in 2021. The race is held at the Moonee Valley Racecourse, as a part of the Moonee Valley Racing Club Events annually. It’s a 2,040m flat turf Group 1 race with an illustrious history. From 1999 – 2005, the W.S. Cox Plate included in the prestigious Emirates World Series Racing Championship as well. In 2021, John Allen rode State Of Rest to victory in 2:06.97.
The Golden Slipper Stakes
With a combined prize stake worth AU$3.5 million, the Golden Slipper Stakes is Australia’s richest 1,200m flat turf race, as well as being the premier Aussie flat race for 2+-year-old thoroughbreds. The Australian Turf Club Group 1 Race is one of the earlier (mid-April) Group 1 races to take place every year at the Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. The Golden Slipper Stakes only started in 1957, making it one of the youngest Group 1 Black Type Horse races in Australia. In 2021, jockey Tommy Berry rode Stay Inside to a comfortable win.
The Australian Derby
Finally, we have the Australian Derby, aka the Bentley Australian Derby. Another one of the premier events arranged by the Australian Turf Club, the Group 1 Race is held at the famous Randwick Racecourse. It’s just as old as the Melbourne Cup, having been launched in the same year (1861). On 2,400 metres of flat turf, the race kicks off every year in April.
Although the Australian Derby does not have a prize pool as rich as the Melbourne Cup, it is still the fifth richest Group 1 Horse Race in Australia with a total prize pool of AU$2 million. Moreover, the Australian Derby is more popular nationally and internationally than other more expensive Group 1 Races such as the W.S. Cox Plate or the Golden Slipper Stakes. In 2021, Explosive Jack crossed the finish line first with jockey John Allen. Yes, this brilliant jockey went on to win the W.S. Cox Plate in October as well.
Note that out of more than 21,000 annual horse races held in the country, the Australian Racing Board (ARB) only approves about 550 (2.62%) of them as Black Type Races. Out of those 540 to 550 races, just 72 (0.34%) are currently approved and accepted worldwide as Group 1 Thoroughbred Horse Races. Therefore, every one of the races mentioned on this list is the best of the best among Australian and international horse racing events.
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