Posts Tagged ‘horse betting’

Harness Racing: kind of like a horse chariot but not really

Back in the days of the Victorian era, horse carriages were the preferred mode (slash only mode, besides walking) of transport. Mr Darcy lookalikes in their ‘casual’ midday tuxedos would travel miles and miles for hours in the back of a carriage until finally they stepped out into the sensible arms of their betrothed (who they’d first met earlier that week).

Fast forward a few hundred years and now we have cars. Horse carriages have been put in storage and reserved only for the eager tourists in New York’s Central Park or for the wedding day of those hopeless romantics who enjoy the smell of sloppy horse poo mixed with the aroma of their catering delicacies.

But there is a third option – sort of. It’s what I imagine to be the result of Victoria Era inventors trying to make the horse carriage more aerodynamic and efficient (before they figured out car engines). Picture a brightly coloured jockey sitting behind the ‘exhaust pipe’ of a horse on what resembles a chair on training wheels.

That is harness racing.

And like normal horse races, greyhound races and whatever other track race, people do bet on these events.



Wtf is it?

Harness racing is a unique form of horse racing in that the horses race at a specific gait (manner of walking). In Australia, horses can either race at a trot or a pace.

Similar to jockeys in conventional horse racing, the driver  is incredibly important to the race’s outcome. He or she will sit on a two-wheeled cart called a “sulky” – and if I was sitting behind the bum of a horse, I would be sulking too.

In Australia, a race can have quite a large amount of competitors, often 12 or 13. Also, unlike many other countries, the leader does not have to give the lead to a challenging horse, meaning the challenging horse can remain stuck outside in the “death seat”, forced to cover more ground.

A large reason why harness racing gets much less coverage than other horse racing is because it can be difficult to understand. For example, punters often find it difficult to break into this world simply because of the proliferation of jargon and abbreviations. If you are interested, Practical Punting  offers a good rundown of the abbreviations.

For avid punters or those of us who merely look fondly upon the past, harness racing could be a great new hobby. As for me, I know I’ll be pretending that Mr Darcy is riding in that semi-Chariot to claim my love.

2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival

sydney autumn racing carnival

Horse racing is easily one of the most nail-biting competitions, regardless of whether you are an audience member, a better or a jockey in the midst of the action. Horse racing has long been a staple of the Australian sporting scene and each year it seems to attract more attention, more flamboyant fashion and a more money on the wager.

The popularity of horse racing in the country can easily be attributed to, at least in part, the fact that it it isn’t simply just an isolated sport: it is an entire festival. Each horse racing carnival involves an extravagant day of celebration, the omnipresent question of how to pick and bet on winners, risk taking with a roller coaster of possibilities from exaltation to despair, fashion, drinks and fascinators, and then of course there’s also the incredibly skilful and fast-paced races.

The Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival is one of the preeminent horse racing competitions in the country and it attracts some of the biggest punters and the keenest audience members over the entire year. There are a large suite of races held as part of the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival being hosted from the 8th March to 26th April. The Sydney Carnival races are held at Randwick, Rosehill and Warwick Farm racecourses, each unique and advantageous in their own way. Another great thing about racing is the ease with which you can immerse yourself in the action without ever having to leave the living room – simply look up horse racing info online to become part of the race and join in on the edge-of-your-seat tension.

golden slipperOne of the major highlights of the Autumn Racing carnival is the richest two year old race in the world, the Golden Slipper. Behind the Melbourne Cup, the Golden Slipper is easily one of the most anticipated races in the country, with a massive $2 million going to the winner. This, and many of the other races part of the Autumn Racing Carnival such as the Coolmore Classic or the the Rosehill Guineas – and these are just the Group 1 races.

The Championships are held from middle to late April and constitute the culmination of months of training, preparation and anticipation. The Doncaster Mile marks the beginning of the prestigious Championships racing carnival, which brings together the best horses of the seasons for the most fierce and nerve-racking competition yet. Each race has its own benefits, making the entire 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival an absolute imperative to be a part of.

Check out the programme for the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival for more information and to choose the races you simply can’t miss out on. Before making dramatic bets and decisions on the big day of the race, also be sure to consult the experts at Practical Punting for professional  and potentially life changing punting advice. Or if you aren’t part of the betting scene, simply source some exuberant fashion, get some friends together, and prepare yourself for a priceless day out.