Moonee Valley racecourse is just under 4 miles from Melbourne and situated at Moonee Ponds, a small suburb of Moonee Valley City in the Australian territory of Victoria. It is one of the smallest metropolitan courses in Australia. This size, coupled with the close proximity of the crowd, makes for particularly thrilling racing.
Often referred to simply as The Valley, this track is known throughout Australia for its races including the WS Cox Plate, which is the richest weight-for-age horse race in Australia and makes up part of Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival. Other major racing highlights at Moonee Valley include The Manikato Stakes, William Reid & Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, while the track also hosts night meetings during the Australian summer.
An innovative track, Moonee Valley Racing Club has been responsible for several firsts in Australian racing. It was here that saw the first case of StrathAyr’s all-weather being introduced, while it was also the first metropolitan race club in Australia to introduce night racing. The Valley was also Melbourne’s first harness racing venue in the 1970s after an 800-meter track was built inside the turf course. Harness racing ceased here in 2010 and was relocated to the Melton harness racing complex instead.
Moonee Valley Race Course History
The Moonee Valley Racecourse was established in 1883 by William Samuel Cox, who purchased and transformed farmland where the course stands today. Cox became the inaugural secretary of the Moonee Valley Racing Club after it was formed, before being officially recognized as the club’s founder in 1922. This was also the date when the club first staged Australasia’s most famous weight-for-age race, the WS Cox Plate, named in his honor.
In 1998, The Valley became the first metropolitan race club in Australia to introduce night racing and today conducts day and night race meetings each season. Over the years, The Valley has witnessed many famous horses including Phar Lap but is particularly associated with Manikato, who won five consecutive William Reid Stakes here and is now buried at the Moonee Valley course.
A $150 million long term redevelopment of the racecourse is planned for 2020, after the centennial running of the Cox Plate. The new plans will impact the design of the main course, introducing a 90-degree turn as well as relocating the existing grandstands.
Race Course track configuration
- Circumference is 1805 meters
- 173 meter straight
Moonee Valley race track bias
Moonee Valley is a very narrow racecourse with a circumference of only 1805 meters, making horses appear to be constantly on the turn. The track here is constructed of the StrathAyr Turf System, a mixture of sand, synthetic turf and mesh. Action takes place anti-clockwise, which incidentally is the same as all of the Victorian tracks. With a straight that is only 173 meters, it is by far the smallest Metropolitan course in Australia and, consequently, a front runners dream.
Drainage at The Valley is very good, so it is rare to have a heavy going; instead, it is consistently rated good or slow. Barriers are of little consequence when the rail is true; otherwise, barrier bias can be quite severe. Races are run over distances from 1000 meters to 3000, and runners are limited to 15 but most of the time fields will be run between 8 – 10 runners to a race.
The Valley is a tight turning cambered track which can impact on some horses, particularly those used to running in the opposite direction. Look out for horses trained at Mornington as the tracks there share some similar characteristics with The Valley and horses familiar with the run traditionally do well here.
Moonee Valley race track best trainers
Moonee Valley boasts an impressive list of champions such as Phar Lap, Makybe Diva and Manikato, all of which had champion trainers working tirelessly to getting them into peak condition to take on The Valley. That’s why it’s so important to do a little research into which trainers are competing before you make your picks and part with your money.
To that end, these are some of the top performing trainers recently at Moonee Valley:
- David A & B Hayes & Tom Dabernig
- Danny O’Brien
- Kerry Edwards
- Trevor Rogers
- Gwenda Johnstone
Moonee Valley race track best jockeys
When all is said and done and the trainers have done all that they can to prepare their horses for the big race, it all comes down to the jockey and his horse. While there are all kinds of factors we can calculate and different strokes of luck which we can’t, assuming all goes to plan, only a jockey can really have the final say on a race’s outcome. Which is why it’s so important to get the full lowdown on who are the inform jockeys right now.
At The Valley, these 5 are the ones to watch:
- Damien Oliver
- Luke Nolen
- Craig A Williams
- Jye McNeil
- Nathan Punch
Moonee Valley Racing Season
There are around 25 meetings at The Valley each year, including Australia’s premier weight-for-age event, the Cox Plate. This is the most famous race run at the Victorian venue, and it is held in October in the week between the Caulfield Cup & Melbourne Cup. It is run over a distance of 2040 meters.
Other feature races at The Valley include The Manikato Stakes, the Moir Stakes, William Reid, and the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, while the night racing season runs from September to April.
Moonee Valley Race Course address and website
1 McPherson St, Moonee Ponds VIC 3039, Australia