Rac­ing horses track­side

The Daily Examiner - - NIE -

HORSE rac­ing is an an­cient sport with char­iot races and mounted races held at the an­cient Greek Olympic Games (700 – 40 BC) and or­gan­ised as pub­lic en­ter­tain­ment dur­ing the times of the Ro­man Em­pire.

Since then the ba­sic con­cept of horse rac­ing as a sport has un­der­gone lit­tle change. It is still a con­test of speed and stamina be­tween horses and their rid­ers for the amuse­ment of spec­ta­tors with the first horse across the fin­ish line de­clared the win­ner.

Horse rac­ing in Aus­tralia be­gan in the early years of Euro­pean set­tle­ment when horses were revered beyond their prac­ti­cal use of trans­porta­tion and labour.

The first of­fi­cial race was held at Syd­ney’s Hyde Park in Oc­to­ber 1810 and marked the be­gin­ning of Aus­tralian’s fas­ci­na­tion with th­ese an­i­mals.

It is a sport of cul­tural and so­cial sig­nif­i­cance and an im­por­tant part of Aus­tralia’s his­tory and folk­lore.

Sto­ries of leg­endary horses, jock­eys, train­ers, breed­ers and own­ers are vast, with many books and films de­pict­ing the “sport of kings” in our coun­try.

The races

In Aus­tralia the style of rac­ing, the dis­tances and the type of events vary.

Most of the rac­ing is done on a flat sur­face of turf (grass), sand, dirt or the new syn­thetic Poly­track which con­sists of sand, syn­thetic fi­bres and re­cy­cled rub­ber.

The races range from 800m to 3200m for flat rac­ing, and any­thing up to 5000m+ for jumps races.

A Flat race is where horses race on a flat sur­face with no planned ob­sta­cles in the way.

A Hur­dle race is an event where horses are re­quired to jump over a se­ries of hur­dles.

A Steeplechase event is a race where horses are re­quired to jump over a se­ries of ob­sta­cles called fences.

Har­ness rac­ing is con­ducted with horses rac­ing at a spe­cific gait – a trot or a pace – around a track while pulling a driver in a two-wheeled cart called a sulky.

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