Doomben Racecourse is a racecourse in Ascot, northeast of Brisbane, Queensland. In addition to Eagle Farm Racecourse, it is one of the two main horse racing venues in South East Queensland.
Operated by the Brisbane Racing Club, the racecourse has been in operation since 1933 and is now home to important thoroughbred races, including the Doomben Cup, Doomben 10,000 and BTC Cup, among others. However, more on that later! Let’s delve into the history of the Doomben Racecourse, its physical features and amenities.
History of the Dumben Racecourse
When it comes to horse racing, Brisbane is no stranger to the sport. The earliest records of horse racing in the area date back to the 1800s, when Eagle Farm Racecourse opened its doors to the public in 1865. Prior to this, unregistered horse races were held on the stream track in Albion Park.
Eagle Farm welcomed thousands of avid racing enthusiasts who were intrigued by the sport and wanted to enjoy it in its truest spirit. It was operated by the Queensland Turf Club. The Brisbane Amateur Racing Club was founded in 1924 and purchased land in Albion Park, which was later sold to the state government in 1981 and later became a race track.
In 1933 the Brisbane Amateur Racing Club established the Doomben Racecourse and the first race was held in May of that year. It consisted of seven races a day, with the Dumben-Newmarket Handicap as the main race. The event was attended by 17 horses from New South Wales. This race was the first 6-stage sprint in a row held in Queensland.
However, a few years later, in 1941, the hippodrome was closed due to World War II. During the Pacific War, it became a base for the Allied forces. In 1946, the Doomben Racecourse reopened its doors to the public and the TM Ahern Cup was held for the first time.
Since the establishment of Doomben Racecourse, the land on which the racecourse is located has been transferred between various stakeholders, including the crown title, registered racing organizations and purchasing syndicates.
In 1982, the Doomben Racecourse underwent a major upgrade and reopened with new world-class facilities. In 1997, the Brisbane Amateur Racing Club was renamed the Brisbane Turf Club. In 2009 the Brisbane Turf Club and the Queensland Turf Club merged to form the Brisbane Racing Club.
The merger of the two clubs came about after much deliberation, while at some point in the early 2000s there was talk of Doomben shutting down. However, in 2007, strong support in favor of a merger rather than closure led to the conclusion that the two turf clubs could not continue to operate separately as competition increased significantly and resulted in losses, especially for BTC.
Since 1933, Dumben Racecourse has hosted many notable races run by the Brisbane Turf Club and later the Brisbane Racing Club. The Doomben Racecourse is now managed and overseen by the Brisbane Racing Club, which organizes racing at the facility.
In 1996, the Doomben Racecourse underwent a major renovation. The project included new features, including a new irrigation system, soil replacement around the track and turf, and the addition of new towers and handrails.
The current hippodrome in Dumben has a width of 27 meters and a circumference of 1715 meters. It is covered with Kikuyu grass type lawn. The front and back straights are 320 meters long and the turns are steep, making the track challenging, especially for beginners. Races on the track run clockwise.
Dumben has three training tracks located on the infield of the main racing track. The innermost track has a width of 1550 m and a circumference of 14 m; the second run has a length of 1600 m and a circumference of 17 m, and the third outer run has 1650 m.
The original grandstand at Doumben was built in 1932 before the construction of the race track. The stand was renovated in 1982. The stand is currently divided into a contestant’s stand and a public stand with venues including Vo Rogue, Chief De Beers, Satchel and Home Return Rooms renovated in 2018.
Main races at Doomben Racecourse
Doomben Racecourse is home to many notable races, including the Doomben 10,000 at 1200m and the Doomben Cup at 2000m. The BTC Cup was also held at Doomben Racecourse until 2017 when it was moved to Eagle Farm Racecourse.
What is the Cup of Destiny?
The Doomben Cup is a 2000m Group 1 Thoroughbred race for horses aged three years and older and weight appropriate for age conditions. The race was first held in 1933. Today it is part of the Queensland Winter Carnival and has a prize pool of A$1,000,000.