You may be familiar with the Racing Hall of Fame in America. Did you also know that Australia has its own place to honor great horse racing champions? The Australian Racing Hall of Fame was created to recognize greatness in many different racing categories. One can find legendary horses, trainers, and jockeys in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
Honoring Horse Racing in Australia
The original idea was to create an Australian horse racing museum. This facility would help to preserve important items from the history of racing in Australia. It would also be a way of passing the love of the sport on to future generations. This vision was accomplished in 1981 when the museum officially opened.
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There had been talk of creating a racing museum in Australia since 1974. At that time a special committee was convened to discuss the matter in more detail. Several racing clubs were involved. One of the major stumbling blocks was coming up with the funds to make the museum a reality. Then, in 1981, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II agreed to become the museum’s Official Patron. It was originally known as the Victorian Racing Museum at Caulfield Racecourse.
The popularity of the racing museum was immediate. Many Australian racing fans came to see the displays and stories of the continent’s racing legends. There were stories of Phar Lap and other legendary horses. On display were saddles, trophies, and horseshoes. By 1998 the museum had grown to the point that it was going to require a new home. Its name was changed to the Australian Racing Museum, and it eventually moved to a permanent display at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Champions Gallery has become one of the primary attractions of the Australian Racing Museum. Included in this collection of racing treasures is an articulated skeleton of Carbine, an Australian champion race horse from the late 1800s. The heart of Tulloch, another Australian champion, is even preserved and on permanent display in the museum.
There is no more greater attraction of the museum than the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. This part of the Australian Racing Museum was created in 2000, and the very first award inductees were announced in 2001. Since that time the Hall inducts new members each year. Horses, trainers, jockeys, and owners can be considered for the honor. It is even possible for other racing industry professionals that have highly distinguished themselves to be inducted.
Members of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame
Some of the most recent additions to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame include Chris Waller, the trainer of Winx. Winx has been regarded as the most impressive horse of her generation. Waller first came to Australia in 2000 as a visiting trainer from New Zealand. In 2008 he trained Triple Honour to a win in the Doncaster. Winx, however, will always be remembered as his most impressive accomplishment. Winx won the Cox Plate a record three times.
Every year the Australian Racing Hall of Fame bestows a special honor on one horse or individual. This award elevates the recipient to Legend status. In 2018 the award was given to Colin Hayes. Hayes joined seven other Legend winners in the Hall’s most prestigious category. Other Legends in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame include Phar Lap, Bart Cummings, and Tommy Smith.
Making the Australian Racing Hall of Fame is not an easy task. The Hall only adds a small number of inductees every year. To join these ranks a person or a horse must have gone above and beyond in distinguishing themselves in Australian horse racing. It could also be said that the Hall looks beyond the on-track successes of each honoree to evaluate the impact they have had on the sport as a whole.
There are some horses and individuals who exceed excellence by also advancing the popularity of horse racing in Australia. These are those who are generally considered for an award. It is considered one of the greatest honors to be inducted into the Hall because Queen Elizabeth II remains the Official patron.
There is a ceremony held each year to mark the induction of new members. It is a star-studded gala that features many luminaries of the Australian horse racing world. Those who are enshrined in the Hall receive a permanent display that presents their achievements to all those who visit the Australian Racing Museum. Many visit the Hall on a year-round basis, but most visits occur around the time of the running of the Melbourne Cup.
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