Being a dedicated and committed Racehorse Owner, I have been fortunate enough to travel around the state of New South Wales and see some really beautiful places and race tracks.
In the early days of Hawaiian Rose and Belle Voleur’s careers, I was working as a contractor and was lucky enough to be able to work my schedule around her race days. Trained in Gosford, Rosie as she was known as by the owners, had the opportunities to be taken to a range of tracks across the state- both north and south!
While a lot of racing focus on the metropolitan tracks – Rosehill, Randwick, Warwick Farm and Canterbury, NSW has some really impressive tracks that located on the provincial and country circuits. South of Sydney, around 1.5 hours drive is t home to some of the states quality provincial racing at Kembla Grange.
This iconic location is easy for race goers to get to with the train station not too far from the track. Kembla is where Belle Voleur broke her maiden on her 3rd start (back on 6th December 2015) leading all the way with Glyn Schofield on board to score an emotional victory for Grant Allard- it was the week that announcements were made that Training at Gosford would cease at the end of the year (thankfully that decision has now been changed). Watch the replay here.
Heading back North of Sydney of course on the Central Coast the first track that hosts some quality racing on the NSW yearly calendar is Gosford, now known as The Entertainment Grounds. Nestled in West Gosford as you descending down the hill from the freeway, this track is one that is rivalling the city counterparts. Gosford race track is one of my favourite tracks that I enjoy making the drive up from Sydney to attend. My yearly tradition of attending the New Years Eve races is always one of my favourite meetings. Back in 2015, I attended one of the biggest race meets on the card- Gosford Cup Day, as our flashy girl Hawaiian Rose was lining up in a quality field to contest the Listed Gosford Guineas worth a nice $150,000.
She was not given much of a chance as the outsider of the field at 66/1, as she was facing horses like Soldi Domani, Rajamani (who we met in Rosie’s first race), Federal, Onemorezeta and Ygritte. Her odds definitely did not reflect the run she put in as she flashed home for 4th beaten by 3 lengths to winner Ygritte and putting some top quality horses behind her.
Relive the moment and watch the replay here
Gosford is and will always be a track that I hold dear to my heart as Belle Voleur also trained there and now Ravitude calls Gosford home. It is where Rosie broke her maiden also on her 3rd start with top hoop James Macdonald on board and was the start of a fun journey, watch the thrilling moment here.
Head just a short drive further north and divert off the freeway into the small township of Wyong. Situated behind the Wyong train station is another well-known track. Home to some of the state’s top trainers such as Kim Waugh. Wyong Race Track is another that holds some iconic meetings on the states race card, including the Wyong leg of the Magic Millions race series (this year won by Jonker, who was unfortunate in the main race).
Wyong is where both Rosie and Belle have had numerous trials and raced, sadly the wyong voodoo always met us with both horses not really performing on the track come race day. Rosie had her first trial here back on 23rd December in 2013 and finished second behind Kim Waugh’s talented mare Annatime, this was when we saw that our flashy filly definitely had something special.
Continue the drive further north and follow the signs for Newcastle and then Broadmeadow, another race track that is situated close to a train station and home to trainers such as Kris Lees, Benjamin Smith and Steve Hodge. The Newcastle track is one known for its long straight before finding the finishing post. The first time that I went to this track I was quite surprised and the facilities are impressive, regardless of if you are in the general admission areas, in members or even in the owners area the hospitality of the club is to be recognised. I still recall when collecting my race day owner passes, I would go into the office and wouldn’t have to say a thing as the ladies knew which horse was mine and always would get complimented on my fascinator, of course my go to being Fashion Eight Fascinators.
I have also been fortunate enough that racing and owning horses has taken me further than the central coast, it has taken me up to beautiful areas such as Tuncurry. For a country track, this is one that is just as impressive as the city tracks. The people in the area are great people and know how to put on a fantastic race day, it is amazing to see that on Tuncurry Cup Day the whole town gets behind the races and attendance is quite high. Tuncurry has trainers such as Terry Evans to thank for putting them on the map as he is always actively promoting the track and shares the work of his horses on his Facebook page. It definitely is a beautiful part of the state that is tucked away so highly recommend if driving past that you take the diversion and visit this hidden gem.
Australia Day long weekend and I was sitting in a hotel room in the beautiful township of Port Macquarie. I was yet to see the race track but I was very excited for what looks to be a good day of racing with the Queen Of The North being the feature race and the day sponsored by Patriots Bloodstock & Racing. The day was a huge success and having represented the sponsors, I was treated like royalty and got to share in the celebrations with winning connections- that is what racing is all about.
Not only have I been fortunate enough to travel both South and North of Sydney, but also West. Hawkesbury, located around 50kms North West of Sydney, that is of course named after the Hawkesbury River and officially became a city in 1989. It is a city full of history but also one that contains another race course that is home to some of the big names in the business including Jason Attard, Noel Mayfield-Smith, Scott Singleton, Wanda Ings and upcoming trainers Brad Widdup and Peter Green Jnr (who scored his first win as a trainer on the 22nd Jan and also was a part owner in Rosie). The club is lucky enough that there is a weekend where they are the only race meeting on and the racing spotlight for that weekend is on them, a club that also does not know how to disappoint. They are one leading the way in regards to horse welfare with a misting system in place, so on the hot days the horses are standing under misters that keep them cool while they wait for their turn on the track.
I have also been lucky to be taken further inland and north, Ravitude was first sent to none other than “Horse Capital of Australia”- Scone. Located in the Hunter Valley and home to some of the biggest breeding farms including: Arrowfield, Newgate Farm, Emirates Park (now Aquis Park) and Vinery, it is also home to some of the best stallions in the game- Old boys Redoute’s Choice and More Than Ready, along with top gun sires Snitzel, I am Invincible and Lonhro, also home to Scissor Kick, Maurice, Animal Kingdom, All Too Hard – just to name a few.
The Scone race track is located just a short drive out of the town as you past Bhima Thoroughbreds and upon driving up the drive way, you can definitely see that this is not just any country track. Made famous by trainers such as the one and only Greg Bennett and home to trainers such as Brett Cavanough, Peter Bloomfield and Paul Messara. Scone Race Track is home to some quality racing as well, in particular the Scone Cup Carnival run over an entire weekend in May leading into the Inglis Scone Yearling Sale.
This track will also be another that is held in high regard by myself as it for a long time was Ravi’s home track and where he made his debut. I still remember the day just like it was yesterday, back in 2016 it was a hot and humid day, quite a large crowd and he was there purely just to take it all in a be educated as a young 2-year-old gelding. I think he handled it better than I did, he paraded nicely while some of the older and much more experienced horses sweated up. As they were being loaded, I got very dizzy and became sick I was THAT nervous and full of excitement that he had finally made it to the track.
So no matter how much of a percentage you own in your horse, no matter if you are able to make it to every race- one thing for sure ownership is a lot of fun and one hell of a ride. If you are however, fortunate to be able to attend most of the races then I can guarantee that you will be introduced to some truly magical race tracks.