Melbourne Horse Racing Club
The Melbourne Racing Club is located in Melbourne, Australia. It has two main racing centres – one in Caulfield and the other in Sandown – which are considered to be the two of the best tracks in the metropolis of Melbourne. The club conducts 65 race meetings at these two race clubs each year – roughly half of all the races which are run in Melbourne annually.
The club is a major operation in Melbourne and it employs roughly 1,000 staff members to ensure that the running of both the club and it’s facilities, as well as the many races which the club organises are operated smoothly and efficiently. This number swells by an additional 300 staff members during the Spring Carnival when things get particularly busy. The various members of staff may be involved with catering, administration, grounds keeping or Tabarets. There are also a number of raceday casuals who regularly work with the staff.
The Melbourne Racing Club came into being over 125 years ago as the Victoria Amateur Turf Club. It was originally established to provide opportunities for amateur riders to race. The Club’s first race took place at Ballarat’s Dowling Forest Racecourse on 24 March 1876, featuring five hunt races and one flat race. The event was hugely successful and before long, the club was organising their next meet – this time at Caulfield where a crudely-made racetrack was situated. The racetrack had, at that point in time, almost been turned into a cemetery due to lack of use but the VATC obtained the track and turned it into their home grounds. Today this once gravely underused and overlooked track has become one of the biggest and best racetracks in Melbourne.
Things have since gone from strength to strength and the Melbourne Racing Club has become a prominent organisation on Australia’s horse racing scene. The name was changed from the VATC to the Melbourne Racing Club on 1 January 2002. However the legacy of the club remains and today the Club enjoys a rich heritage and a bright future.