Since 1933, Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane, Australia has been the home of the most exciting thoroughbred racing action Down Under. The main track is of grass, as is customary in Australia, and is 1,715 meters in circumference. The home stretch is a massive 350 meters which makes it almost as long as four American football fields laid end to end. Winning races at Doomben requires incredible endurance.
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Doomben Racecourse appeared in the 1930’s, but its initial debut was cut short by World War II. During the war, the track was actually used by Allied Troops for the care and maintenance of horses and also as a general staging area. It is hard to imagine horses being used in times of war today, but equines have been a part of military campaigns since the earliest days of recorded history. Once the war was over, Doomben Racecourse reopened in 1946 under the auspices of the Brisbane Racing Club. The club still oversees racing at Doomben today as well as at the nearby Eagle Farm.
Many important stakes races for Australian thoroughbreds are held at Doomben each year. Chief among these is the Doomben Cup, a race of 2,000 meters for horses three years old and older. The race carries a purse of A$650,000, making it one of the richest prizes in Australian racing. Notable past winners of the Doomben Cup include Akhenaton in 2000 and Rough Habit who won the race three consecutive times from 1991-1993. Rough Habit is arguably one of the best Australian racehorses to ever grace the track.
Two jockeys have won the Doomben Cup three times. They are Maurice McCarten, who also won the race as a trainer in 1952, and Jim Cassidy. Cassidy was the regular rider for Rough Habit and rode the horse to victory in each of its Doomben Cup victories. Trainers T. J. Smith and John Wheeler have had the most success in this important race. Each of them has won the contest three times.
Other important stakes races ran at Doomben Racecourse include the Fred Best Classic in May and the George Moore Stakes in December. The track was given considerable upgrades in 1982 which included improvements to the grandstand and track proper. The track is also served by the nearby Doomben Railway Station which makes it possible for more people to attend the track’s world class events.
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