Caulfield Racecourse is considered to be one of Australia’s premier thoroughbred racing venues. Racing started here in 1859 and grew slowly at first before enjoying a boom period in line with that of the city it calls home, Melbourne. Nicknamed The Heath, racing here initially took place through the notorious Australian bush before the new course was built.
Major events at Caulfield include the Caulfield Cup Carnival, which is held in the Australian spring—our autumn—and comprises three days of outstanding racing. Big races staged at the carnival are the Caulfield Guineas, the Blue Sapphire Stakes, culminating in the Caulfield Cup, one of the world’s great 2400 meter handicap races.
Caulfield Race Course History
Caulfield Racecourse was established in 1859 and is known simply as The Heath, owing to the land on which the course was built. The track got off to an uninspiring start in life, as the racecourse was largely underused and almost shut down altogether to be used instead as a cemetery. Fortunately, its depression wasn’t to last long. By 1876, the Victorian Amateur Turf Club organized a race meeting that would ultimately get the course back up on its feet. The idea worked well and, in 1879, the Caulfield Cup was created, and over the years more and more events were added to the roster here as the track grew into one of Australia’s most prestigious horse racing venues.
Tragedy struck in 1922 when a fire broke out the night before the Caulfield Cup, the first of two blazes that threatened to ruin Victoria’s grand racing tradition. The fire was brutal, taking out much of the property, including the grandstand. It was believed to be the work of Melbourne gangster Squizzy Taylor, who had been ejected and banned from the racecourse a short time earlier.
A mere five years later, the new Guineas Stand also caught fire while races were being held on a Saturday. This time the flames were the result of a fallen cigarette. On both occasions, the racecourse rallied to rebuild its fallen structures. In 1940, racing was halted, and all meetings were shifted over to nearby Flemington as Australia prepared for World War II. During the war, the military used Caulfield for housing and the recruitment of soldiers. By February 1944 the racecourse was returned to the Victorian Amateur Turf Club.
In 1963, the Melbourne Racing Club was formed and, as racing’s popularity grew, they introduced Sandown Racecourse, named after the British course of the same name, on the outskirts of Melbourne. Because of Melbourne’s growing love of racing, money was invested in Caulfield, and by 1989 the Rupert Clarke Grandstand was built, and today the course is recognized as one the nation’s foremost racing centers.
Race Course track configuration
- Circumference is 2,080 meters
- Home straight is 367 meters
Caulfield race track bias
Caulfield is a tight, left-handed track with tight corners and a short run-in of only 360 meters. There are five turns at Caulfield, and the circumference is only 2,080 meters. The course is run anti-clockwise and favors front runners, with horses held up often finding themselves easily boxed-in. Caulfield tends to favor the smaller nippy horses over large gallopers who can be denied the chance to get up to full speed.
The grass is kept long and can become sticky after rain, meaning runners will usually try to avoid the ground near the inside fence, particularly when the rail is 3 meters or more out when there is a slight advantage to on-pace runners. When the rail is true, there is little bias to be gained, and most runners will fancy their chances on the home straight. In sprints, there has often proved to be an advantage to runners who are drawn-in and can race on-pace.
Caulfield race track best trainers
Horse racing is written large into the culture of Caulfield. Historically, many legends of training have put their horses to the test at this famous old track, while today, many well-known Victorian trainers and over 500 horses call Caulfield home. And, when you think about it, trainers are absolutely critical when it comes to a horse’s success.
Here we have listed these top five performing trainers right now at Caulfield:
- Anthony Freedman (55% win rate)
- James Cummings (27% win rate)
- Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19% win rate)
- Mick Price (14% win rate)
- David A & B Hayes & Tom Dabernig (7% win rate)
Caulfield race track best jockeys
Other than trainers and the horses themselves, no one is as integral to a successful run as the person in the saddle. That’s why, before you read the tips and make your picks, you need to factor in the riders involved.
Right now, these are the top five in-form jockeys to watch out for:
- Teodore Nugent (60% win rate)
- Damian Lane (33% win rate)
- Damien Oliver (24% win rate)
- Dwayne Dunn (22% win rate)
- Craig A Williams (14% win rate)
Caulfield Racing Season
There are 20 race days in the Caulfield racing calendar, with twelve of those considered to be Group 1 races. Group 1 racing is extremely prevalent at Caulfield Racecourse, hosting four of these races in February’s Autumn Racing Carnival, while the other eight are held between August-October as part of the Spring Racing Carnival.
The Autumn four are the Blue Diamond Stakes, Futurity Stakes, CF Orr Stakes and the Oakleigh Plate, while in the spring the other eight – Memsie Stakes, Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, Underwood Stakes, Caulfield Guineas, Thousand Guineas, Caulfield Cup, Caulfield Stakes, and the Toorak Handicap—all make up part of Caulfield’s spring schedule. Its biggest race is the Caulfield Cup which ranks among the top five races in Australia and goes in mid-October.
Caulfield race track stakes and Graded Stakes
C.F. Orr Stakes
Blue Diamond Stakes
The All Star Mile
Victorian Owners & Breeders Raceday
Sir John Monash Stakes
P.B. Lawrence Stakes
Boxing Day Stakes
Caulfield Race Course address and website
Gate 22 Station St, Caulfield East VIC 3145, Australia