Towac Park Racecourse, also known as Racing Orange, is a horse racing facility in Orange, New South Wales, Australia. Managed by the Racing Orange Club since 2011, Towac Park is home to the Orange Gold Cup, among several other horse races, one of the region’s most prominent racing events.
This article offers a brief and compelling insight into the history, physical attributes and facilities of Towac Park Racecourse.
Towac Park Racecourse History
Orange is a historic city that prospered from its mining. Originally established as a small town, it was upgraded to the status of a minor city in 1946. The town is also home to the country’s first payable gold discovery, which was made at Ophir in 1851.
This led to the Australian Gold Rush, and Orange became a major gold trading centre. After gold was discovered, Orange became a prosperous town and soon became one of the major racing venues in Central West.
Initially, the Orange Jockey Club was the main racing authority that organised races at Towac Park and held ten race meetings annually, of which the highlight was the Orange Gold Cup held in April.
In 1963, a Rallycross track was built inside Towac Park Racecourse. The track was opened for use in November 1963 and was managed by the Orange Light Car Club. It was a kidney-shaped track with a loop in the rear section, reduced by a slight deviance in 1965. However, a year later, this track was closed.
Racing continued at Towac Park and had its share of ups and downs as the club continued to struggle, particularly in the early 2000s. In 2011, Racing Orange was established with the support of Orange City Council and Racing NSW as an effort to revive racing at Towac Park.
Previously the Bathurst Turf Club and Orange Jockey Club had joined under the banner of the Golden West Race Club, but the merger failed, following which the Bathurst established a separate club, the Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing and racing at Towac Park was taken over by Racing Orange.
Since 2017, Towac Park Racecourse is also home to harness racing as the Orange Harness Racing Club moved its racing events here from The Highlands Paceway.
Towac Park Racecourse Facilities
Towac Park or Orange Racecourse is ideally located 3 km from the Orange Town Centre amidst a thriving community. It is 3.5 hrs from Sydney and located close to the airport. Surrounded by wide and open spaces with the Mount Canobolas in the backdrop, the historic and picturesque Orange horse racing venue offers an exciting experience to visitors.
The Facilities at Towac Park racecourse comprise a modern grandstand, tote facilities, an undercover betting ring, and a fully licensed bar. The racecourse also features multiple venues which can be used to host corporate and personal events, including weddings, formal corporate meetings, conferences and presentations, exhibitions and expos etc.
The racecourse is circular with a circumference of 1800 metres, while the home straight is 350 metres. Races are run in a clockwise direction. Towac Park is considered to have a spacious race track with a smooth and wide turn and a long straight.
A long starting chute joins the course rear at the 1000-metre mark and provides a starting point for races with distances over 1200, 1300 and 1400 metres before the field starts a wide turn from the 800-metre mark. The track runs downhill from the 1600-metre starting chute and rises in the back straight.
Racing at Orange Park is a family affair with a lot of entertainment. The venue’s signature event, the Orange Cup, is a popular family event with fine dining for adults and entertainment for children, including fashion contests with numerous prizes.
Towac Park Racecourse Fixtures & Calendar
In the early 2000s, Towac Park Racecourse, under the banner of the Golden West Race Club, featured 18 race meetings. In the present day, it conducts eight race meetings annually. The most prominent race meeting held on the racecourse is the Orange Cup. The race is held in late March or early April and has a distance of 2100 metres. The Orange Cup is reserved for three-year-olds, is run under handicap conditions, and offers prize money of $75,000.
Another prominent feature of the racecourse is the Orange Picnic Races. It is a six-race event that offers a fine mix of fashion and glamour and attracts huge crowds every year that come to see the races and participate in the various fashion awards handed out every year.