A Guide To Geraldton Racecourse

Geraldton Racecourse is a horse racing facility located in Western Australia. The racecourse is around 435 km in north of Perth and overlooks the ocean, being located along the coastline. 

This racecourse is home to Geraldton Turf Club, which is one of the oldest race clubs in the Western Australian province. Geraldton features numerous prominent race meetings, including the Geraldton Gold Cup and the Batavia Sprint.

Here is a brief insight into the history of Geraldton Racecourse, its physical attributes, and its facilities.

Geraldton Racecourse History

Geraldton Turf Club is one of the oldest racing clubs in the Western Australian province and was established in 1861. It was the same year when the Melbourne Cup was held for the first time. At that time,Geraldton Turf Club was known as the Victoria Race Club. It was located in Meru, around three to four miles from Geraldton.

In 1863, the first Victoria Cup was held, while the first Geraldton Cup was held in 1887. Geraldton Racecourse was relocated from its previous site in Meru to the current site at Utakarra in 1927. The grandstand built at the Meru site was also shifted to Utakarra and then began a new era of racing in Geraldton. 

However, racing came to a halt during World War II while the racecourse ground was handed over to a tomato grower. Till 1968, the racecourse featured hack racing, and thoroughbred racing was not conducted. However, it changed in 196 with the launch of the Geraldton Gold Cup. Three years later, a new tradition of having a race meeting at the Geraldton racecourse on the same day as the Melbourne Cup was introduced. The tradition is in practice today and is one of the most important events in the racecourse’s racing calendar.

In 1973, the club’s name was changed from Victoria Race Club to Geraldton Turf Club. By the 1990s, the existing location of the racecourse at the Utakarra was considered too small, and it was considered whether the racecourse should be relocated to South Wandina, but it was not followed through.

Between 1995 and 2000, Geraldton Racecourse also featured harness racing. However, racing came to a halt in 2000 when the racecourse faced a financial crisis. The track was dilapidated and needed repair work, due to which the Geraldton Gold Cup was relocated to Perth in 2001. However, things began to improve as the club received substantial funding and upgraded its facilities. 

Geraldton Turf Club held its 150th anniversary in 2011. Today it is one of the region’s most prominent horse racing facilities and attracts good numbers and strong fields in its racing seasons. 

Geraldton Racecourse Facilities

Geraldton Racecourse may not be a key metropolitan venue like the Ascot racecourse, but it is a vital element of the horse racing industry in West Australia. Spread out on 87 hectares, the racecourse is located along the coastline and overlooks the ocean, offering a beautiful ambiance. 

The new Geraldton Racecourse was formally opened to the public in 2001. The racecourse had undergone major renovations, including the transformation of the existing facilities and the addition of members’ facilities, parking and toilets for the disabled, a canteen, a takeaway café, and catering facilities.

Further renovation was done in 2005, and more facilities were transformed, including a new administration building, a new entrance, race day stalls, jockey rooms, and mounting yards.

The present-day Geraldton racecourse is small in size and oval in shape. The track has a circumference of 1600m, while the home straight is 300m long. The race grounds also hold a piece of history to this day. In the early 1970s, when the Sunseeker Hotel was being constructed, a shed from the Railway Hotel was relocated to the Sunseeker site to serve as a temporary bar. Once the hotel construction was complete, this shed was shifted to the Geraldton Racecourse. The building is known as The Barn today and serves as the Public Bar. There have been a few upgrades over the years, but the basic structure is still intact.

Geraldton Racecourse Fixture Calendar

Geraldton Racecourse features 20 race days that stretch from September to April. The most prominent race conducted on the racecourse is the Geraldton Gold Cup. The Geraldton Gold Cup is an unlisted race that takes place at the Geraldton Racecourse. 

The race was first conducted in December 1887 and had a distance of 3200m. Now, it is conducted in April and has a distance of 2100m. Another prominent feature is the 1200m Batavia Sprint. The race is conducted in November and has prize money of $100,000.

Free Betting Tips, Direct to Your Inbox

Sign Up Today to Join Betting Gods for FREE and Receive Betting Tips Direct to Your Inbox Every Morning