Many horseracing fans and handicappers tend to focus on American racetracks for their betting action, but did you know that Australia offers some of the best turf racing in the world? Morphettville Racecourse is the main horseracing track in South Australia and is situated in a suburb of Adelaide where it has been conducting race meets since 1876. Morphettville is also the home of the South Australian Jockey Club which is responsible for maintaining registration records for all of Australia’s thoroughbreds. The track hosts 58 days of racing each year.
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In Australia and also many parts of Europe thoroughbred racing events are always conducted on a grass, or turf, course. It is also common for horses to run inversely to how they run in the states; horses proceed around the oval in a clockwise fashion with the innermost rail to their right side. At Morphettville the main track is a beautiful turf oval that is 2,307 meters in circumference and 34 meters wide. The expansive turns make it ideal for large fields and the long stretch creates many exciting finishes.
In June of 2009 Morphettville debuted as new track named “The Parks” which is 2,100 meters in circumference and 25 meters wide.
Something that has been a hallmark of Morphettville and the South Australia Jockey Club has been a focus on assuming environmental responsibility for the areas that surround the racetrack. A wetlands project was completed in 2002 that comprises 3.5 hectares situated in the middle of the racecourse. The advantage of this is that the aquifer associated with the project is capable of using rainwater to irrigate the Morphettville tracks.
In Australia high-profile stakes races are referred to as “Group” rather than “Graded” stakes. The following is a list of the Group racing events conducted at Morphettville:
- The Australasian Oaks for 3 year-old fillies
- The Goodwood open to all horses
- The Robert Sangster Stakes for fillies and mares three-years-old and upward
- The South Australian Derby for three-year-olds
- The Adelaide Cup open to all horses.
On any racing day at Morphettville a race fan will encounter any number of so-called overnight stakes contests that feature quality runners from across the continent.
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