Race into Victoria’s best country events

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With the 2018 Melbourne Cup over for another year, why not put your best hoof
forward at these popular country meetings this summer?

Story by Krysia Bonkowski.
November 2018

Race Dunkeld Racecourse in Dunkeld, Australia. Mike Keating photographer Horse Racing Photos

Dunkeld Racecourse, 2016.  Photo: Mike Keating

Best for: reliving the Melbourne Cup

Don’t pack away the fascinator or hang up the suit as soon as the Melbourne Cup is run – see off the Spring Racing Carnival in style at the Ballarat Cup. Held on November 24, it offers more than a million dollars in prize money and attracts top talent. Bring your own supplies for a low-key family day, join the party in The Sporting Globe Hot House Enclosure, or get into the pomp and circumstance of the Mercedes-Benz Ballarat Birdcage. Dress your best for a chance in the hotly contested Stockland Wendouree Fashions on the Field competition.

Nearest RACV resortGoldfields

Best for: packing a picnic

Picnic Races are designed to be leisurely – even the horses move a little slower. The ever-popular Picnic Racing season kicks off once more at Woolamai Racecourse from November 24, with five meetings over summer at the scenic course overlooking rolling Bass Coast farmland. Prepare a picnic and throw down a rug on the grass under the racecourse’s elm trees, for a lazy day of racing in the slow lane.

Nearest RACV resort: Inverloch

Unrealistic ridden wins the William Thomson Dunkeld Cup Dunkeld Racecourse, Dunkeld, Australia. Photographer Pat Scala Horse Racing Photos

William Thomson Dunkeld Cup at Dunkeld Racecourse, 2017.  Photo: Pat Scala

Best for: a country Christmas party

Forget overcrowded venues and awkward work dos – celebrate your Christmas party in the open air with a few hundred fellow horse fans. Geelong Racing Club runs the Christmas Race Day and Briseis Cup on Saturday December 15, and offers packages for groups wanting to race into silly season. Secure a Mini Marquee – with options such as a staffed private bar and barbecue lunch – wine and dine in the Silks Dining Room, or just join in the festive fun trackside. You might even spot Santa.

Nearest RACV resort: Torquay

Best for: welcoming the new year

Spend the first day of 2019 at one of Australia’s most iconic racetracks. The first official New Year’s Day Race at Hanging Rock was run in 1886, and ever since race-goers have flocked in their thousands to this beautiful track in the Macedon Ranges on January 1 to experience the finest in country racing. Pack yourself a hamper of local goodies or book an umbrella in the popular Hill Top Enclosure and help keep the tradition alive. 

Nearest RACV resortGoldfields