Eagle Farm Racecourse – Australia

eagle-farm-racecourseEagle Farm Racecourse is one of Australia’s most majestic racing venues. Located in Brisbane, Queensland, Eagle Farm has a rich history that can be traced to 1863. While nearby Doomben Racecourse gets a lot of attention for its stakes races, Eagle Farm is truly the premier location for horseracing on this beautiful continent. See more on Brisbane ractracks here.

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In 1863, a group of horseracing enthusiasts decided to build Eagle Farm. The track was an immediate success, and in 1889 the architectural firm of Hunter and Corrie under the supervision of John H. Buckeridge undertook the task of designing grandstands, stables, and sheds. Buckeridge had gained fame for designing and building more than 60 churches in Queensland, and his architectural expertise can still be observed at Eagle Farm to this day. The Paddock Stands, so named by Buckeridge, still exert their influence over the track’s nostalgic design today. It was clear that Buckeridge had an appreciation for the classy side of horseracing and an understanding of it as a gentleman’s sport.

As the Pacific War impacted Australia in 1941, Eagle Farm was taken over as a camp for thousands of American troops. At that time, horses were still used extensively in military operations. The track was a perfect place to stage both soldiers and equines used in the war. The property was temporarily renamed U.S. Camp Ascot, but as soon as the war was over the track returned to its intended purpose of exciting racing action.

Eagle Farm Racecourse has achieved the designation of a heritage listing in the Queensland Hertiage Register. This is similar to a Historic Landmark in the United States. As such, the track is protected under the laws of Australia. It is guaranteed that this historic track will remain, at least as a Heritage Site, for all future generations to enjoy.

The race track itself is 28 meters wide and 2,027 meters in circumference. It has a stretch run of 434 meters, one of the longest in the world. The track is of deep grass and horses compete in a clockwise fashion in direct contrast to how most races are conducted in the United States. This type of racing produces many of the world’s best turf runners, and some of them often turn up as major competitors in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships held in late October/early November each year in the United States.

Major stakes races conducted at Eagle Farm include the Queensland Derby, a race for 3-year-olds that is comparable to the American Kentucky Derby. There are also the Brisbane Cup and Grand Prix Stakes. The track is operated under the auspices of the Brisbane Racing Club which hosts a major racing carnival every October through November.

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