7 of Australia’s Biggest Horse Racing Carnivals

Australia’s horse racing industry is one of the largest in the world, attracting thousands upon thousands of local and international spectators every year. Everyone always dresses up to the nines for the industry’s top carnivals, which see dozens of skilled jockeys and thoroughbreds battling it out for the winning titles. Here are some of the most iconic racing festivals in Australia to consider attending during your next trip Down Under!

#1: The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival

Every Australian state hosts its own annual racing festivals, but the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is undoubtedly the largest event of its kind in the nation. Home to the $6.2m Melbourne Cup, the festival is worth a whopping $30m+ in prize money each year, and has made racers like Makybe Diva and Phar Lap the legends that they are today.

The highlight of the Spring Carnival is its 4-day Flemington Carnival, which includes races like the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Emirates Stakes and Crown Oaks. The event also offers prime opportunities for tote betting, especially for those who follow the racing world avidly!

#2: The Sydney Spring Racing Carnival

Few racing events in Aus can come close to the Melbourne Spring Carnival, but the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival hosted at Rosehill Gardens and the Royal Randwick certainly gives it a run for its money. Featuring the Group 1 Epsom Handicap, the Spring Champion Stakes and the Metropolitan, this carnival preps many of Melbourne’s most promising racers through the $1m Golden Rose and George Main Stakes events for 3 year olds.

#3: The Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival

This is one of the few carnivals in Australia to host races during the winter months of May and June. Featuring the acclaimed Stradbroke Handicap, the event is renowned for making Rough Habit the iconic contender he is today when he won the Handicap twice in 1991 and 1992. the Queensland-based festival is hosted at 2 iconic locations; Doomben Racecourse and Eagle Farm Racecourse.

#4: The Perth Summer Racing Carnival

Directly following the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the Perth Summer Carnival is perfect for horses who are keen to continue on from their success over in Victoria. Including the infamous Railway Stakes, the carnival takes place in late November each year and wraps up on New Years’ Day with its Perth Cup race.

#5: The Magic Millions Carnival

Another major horse racing carnival hosted in Queensland, the Magic Millions Carnival takes place on the illustrious Gold Coast over two weeks in January each year. Run by the Gold Coast Turf Club and hosted at the Gold Coast Racecourse, the event’s highlight race day features the Magic Millions 2yo Classic and the Magic Millions 3yo Trophy as its must-see events.

Both races, which are worth a whopping $2m and $1m respectively, are open exclusively to Magic Millions purchased thoroughbreds, with these sales being another major attraction of the carnival.

#6: The Adelaide Racing Carnival

Hosted at the Morphettville Racecourse, this carnival features loads of Group One races. They include the likes of the South Australian Derby, the Robert Sangster Stakes, and the Australasian Oaks, among many other headlining events.

#7: The Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival

The Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival is just as big as its Melbourne Spring counterpart, and also features the crowd-attracting Golden Slipper Stakes. Boasting more than a dozen major race days, Sydney racing fans will always be able to find a day on which to attend this top-tier Aussie racing spectacle!

Robyn Barnes