Moonee Valley Racecourse
Aerial view of Moonee Valley Racecourse, looking west
|Location||Moonee Ponds, Victoria|
|Owned by||Moonee Valley Racing Club|
|Notable races||Cox Plates|
Moonee Valley Racecourse is a horse-racing track in Melbourne, Australia which hosts races for Thoroughbreds. Located six kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, it is the home of the Moonee Valley Racing Club. It is situated in Moonee Ponds which is a suburb of the City of Moonee Valley.
The track is roughly rectangular, with a circumference of 1,805 m and a finishing straight of 173 metres which is the shortest in Australia. The track is constructed of the StrathAyr Turf System, having a lower layer of sand and an upper rootzone layer reinforced with mesh elements. Racing takes place in an anti-clockwise direction, as it does on all Victorian tracks. A 965m harness racing track located inside the turf track was the main metropolitan track for harness racing in Victoria for a number of years. The Moonee Valley grandstands have 12 function rooms, which on non-racedays, can cater for up to 1,200 people.
Moonee Valley Racecourse was established in 1883 by William Samuel Cox, who purchased a farm belonging to John F. Feehan for the purpose of establishing a racetrack. Being entirely freehold land owned by a private club, this separates Moonee Valley from other Melbourne racecourse such as Caulfield and Flemington. Expansion of the racecourse facilities occurred in the 1960s, funded by compensation for land acquired for the construction of the adjacent Tullamarine Freeway. In the 1970s harness racing moved to the Valley, when night trotting relocated from the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, this continued until its contract ended in February 2010 and events moved to the new Tabcorp Park harness track which opened at Melton in July 2009.
In 2009 the Moonee Valley Racing Club announced their redevelopment plans for the racecourse, with the relocation of the existing grandstands to make way for commercial and residential development. The works were estimated to cost $150 million, with $50 million in profit returning to the club. By 2011 the plans had expanded to cover four 20 storey high residential towers, to provide 2000 apartments and townhouses. Costing $1.4 billion, the racing club would receive $300 million. Some local residents and politicians were opposed to the plan.
The racecourse can be reached via the route 59 tram from Elizabeth Street in Melbourne city centre. Moonee Ponds railway station is a ten-minute walk from the racecourse and is located on the Craigieburn railway line.
Every October the Moonee Valley Racecourse hosts Australasia's richest weight-for-age horse-racing championship, the W.S. Cox Plate. Contested over a distance of 2,040 metres, the race is for three-year-olds and over.
Group races run at Moonee Valley Racecourse include:
|1||W S Cox Plate||3YO+||Open||wfa||2040||October|
|1||William Reid Stakes/Australia Stakes||Open||Open||wfa||1200||March|
|2||Alister Clark Stakes||3YO||Open||sw||2040||March|
|1||A J Moir Stakes/Schweppes Stakes||Open||Open||wfa||1200||October|
|2||Jayco Crystal Mile||Open||Open||hcp||1600||October|
|2||Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes||Open||Open||wfa||1600||September|
|2||Cathay Pacific Gold Cup||3YO+||Open||sw+p||2500||October|
|2||Bill Stutt Stakes||3YO||Open||sw||1600||September|
|2||Norman Carlyon Stakes||3YO+||Open||wfa||1200||January|
|2||W H Stocks Stakes||4YO+||Mares||wfa||1600||September|
|3||Ian McEwen Trophy||Open||Open||wfa||1000||August|
|3||Red Anchor Stakes||3YO||Open||sw+p||1200||October|
- Andrew Lemon (7 April 2011). "Developer Proposes Housing Plan For Moonee Valley Racecourse". The Age. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
- Matt Stewart (7 September 2009). "Mooney Valley Racecourse reveals grand plans for future". Herald Sun. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
- Jason Dowling (4 April 2011). "High-rise plan for racecourse". The Age. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
- James Twining; Baria Bol (4 April 2011). "Moonee Valley development will make kids worse off: MP". Moonee Valley Leader. Retrieved 8 April 2011.