A Guide To Horse Racing In Tasmania

Horse racing is a popular sport in Tasmania, attracting both locals and tourists alike. The state has two racecourses, Launceston Racecourse and Hobart Racecourse, which host a number of races throughout the year. The Tasmanian summer racing carnival is a highlight of the racing calendar, featuring three homegrown Group races.

For those new to horse racing, it can be a daunting sport to navigate. However, this guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of horse racing in Tasmania, including the rules and policies governing the sport, the different types of races, and how to place a bet. Whether you’re a seasoned punter or a first-time racegoer, this guide has something for everyone.

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History of Horse Racing in Tasmania

Early Days of Horse Racing

Horse racing has a long and storied history in Tasmania, dating back to the early 19th century. The first recorded horse race in Tasmania was held in Hobart in 1815, and from there the sport grew rapidly in popularity. By the mid-1800s, Tasmania was home to several thriving horse racing clubs, and the sport had become an important part of the local culture.

The Establishment of the Tasmanian Turf Club

In 1874, the Tasmanian Turf Club was established, with the aim of promoting and regulating horse racing in the state. The club oversaw the construction of several new racecourses, including the iconic Elwick Racecourse in Hobart, which remains one of the premier horse racing venues in Tasmania to this day.

The Golden Era of Tasmanian Horse Racing

The 20th century saw the rise of some of Tasmania’s greatest horse racing legends. Jockeys like Geoff Prouse and Max Baker achieved national fame for their skill and success on the track, and Tasmania became known as a breeding ground for top-quality racehorses.

The state’s racing industry continued to thrive throughout the 20th century, and today Tasmania remains a major hub for horse racing in Australia. Overall, the history of horse racing in Tasmania is a rich and fascinating one, filled with stories of triumph, tragedy, and the enduring love of a sport that has captured the hearts of millions around the world.

Tasmanian Horse Racing Industry

The Racing Calendar

The Tasmanian horse racing industry is a thriving and exciting industry that attracts both local and international punters. The racing calendar in Tasmania is packed with events throughout the year, with the summer racing carnival being the most popular.

The summer racing carnival is held in January and February, with the two main racing hubs being Launceston Racecourse and Hobart Racecourse. The carnival features three home-grown Group races, which are the Tasmanian Derby, Tasmanian Oaks, and the George Adams Plate.

In addition to the summer racing carnival, there are also other major racing events held throughout the year, such as the Hobart Cup and Launceston Cup. These events attract large crowds and provide an opportunity for punters to enjoy a day out while watching some of the best horses in the country compete.

Popular Horse Racing Venues

Launceston Racecourse and Hobart Racecourse are the two main racing venues in Tasmania. Launceston Racecourse is run by the Tasmanian Turf Club, while the Tasmanian Racing Club runs Hobart Racecourse.

Hobart Racecourse is an anticlockwise track with a circumference of 1,990 metres and a final straight distance of 350 metres. The home turn is led into by an incline, making the final bend a punishing one for horses. The race track is an egg-shaped circuit and has four grandstands that can accommodate up to 10,000 people.

Launceston Racecourse is also an anticlockwise track, with a circumference of 1,715 metres and a final straight distance of 280 metres. The track has a long history and has been hosting races since 1842. The racecourse has a grandstand that can accommodate up to 8,000 people.

Other popular racing venues in Tasmania include Devonport Racecourse, which is a tight and tricky track, and Elwick Racecourse, which is a popular venue for harness racing.

Overall, the Tasmanian horse racing industry is a vibrant and exciting industry that offers a range of events throughout the year. Whether you are a seasoned punter or just looking for a fun day out, there is something for everyone in Tasmania’s horse racing industry.

Famous Tasmanian Horses

Tasmania has produced some exceptional horses that have made a name for themselves on the racetrack. Here are a few of the most famous Tasmanian horses:

  • The Cleaner: This gelding was a fan favourite, known for his front-running style and tenacity. He won 19 races in his career, including the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley in 2014.
  • Saintly: Although not born in Tasmania, Saintly was trained there by Bart Cummings. He won the 1996 Cox Plate and the 1996 Melbourne Cup, earning him the nickname “The Horse from Heaven.”
  • Silent Witness: Although not technically a Tasmanian horse, Silent Witness was bred there. He went on to become one of the most successful sprinters in Hong Kong history, winning 17 consecutive races between 2003 and 2005.

In addition to these famous horses, Tasmania has also produced a number of other successful racehorses, including:

HorseNotable Achievements
AlfaWinner of the 1979 Cox Plate
ConqueringWinner of the 1970 Caulfield Cup
Jerilderie LetterWinner of the 1984 Australian Cup
SurroundWinner of the 1976 Cox Plate and the 1977 Doncaster Handicap

These horses have helped to cement Tasmania’s reputation as a breeding ground for top-quality racehorses. With a rich history and a bright future, Tasmania is sure to continue producing exceptional horses for years to come.


Tasmania is a great destination for horse racing enthusiasts. The state has a rich horse racing history and offers a range of events throughout the year. Whether you’re a seasoned punter or a casual spectator, there’s something for everyone.

With the establishment of national rules and practices, owners, trainers and riders can travel between states and territories with the knowledge that the conditions of racing are the same as in their own states or territories. This has helped strengthen the industry and ensure the sport is fair and competitive throughout Australian horse racing.

Tasmania’s racecourses are well-maintained and offer a range of facilities for visitors. The state’s major racing clubs, including the Tasmanian Racing Club and the Devonport Racing Club, host a number of high-profile events each year, including the Hobart Cup and the Launceston Cup.

Travelling to Tasmania for a horse racing event is easy, with regular flights and ferry services available. There is also a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly motels.

Overall, Tasmania is a fantastic destination for horse racing enthusiasts. With its rich history, well-maintained racecourses, and range of events throughout the year, it’s easy to see why the state has become a popular destination for punters and spectators alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

What events are featured in the Launceston horse racing calendar?

The Launceston horse racing calendar is bustling with several major events throughout the year, especially during the summer racing carnival which includes prestigious races like the Launceston Cup. For a detailed schedule, it’s recommended to check the Tasmanian Racing Club’s official website.

Can you describe the facilities at the Launceston race track?

The Launceston race track, managed by the Tasmanian Turf Club, features an anticlockwise track layout with a circumference of 1,715 metres and a final straight of 280 metres. It is equipped with a grandstand that can accommodate up to 8,000 spectators, providing a comprehensive venue for racing enthusiasts.

What are the major Tasmania horse racing events?

Major events in Tasmania horse racing include the Hobart Cup and the summer racing carnival. The latter features the Tasmanian Derby, Tasmanian Oaks, and the George Adams Plate, drawing significant attention from both local and international punters.

How can I participate in betting at Tasmania horse racing events?

Visitors can engage in betting at various Tasmania horse racing events through on-course bookmakers or online betting platforms. Detailed forms and betting tips are usually available on the race day, providing all the necessary information to make informed bets.

What makes Tasmania horse racing unique?

Tasmania’s horse racing scene is renowned for its rich history and the production of notable racehorses like The Cleaner and Saintly. The state’s unique geographical conditions and passionate racing culture contribute to its distinct identity in the Australian horse racing landscape.

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