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Stats & Facts

Here’s some interesting and little known stats and facts about the Australian Thoroughbred Racing Industry.

Did you know that Australia …

  • has more racecourses than any other country (479)
  • has the second largest number of individual starters behind the USA (31,639)
  • accounts for 13% of the total races of leading racing countries
  • offers the third largest amount of prizemoney in the world (331,472,66)
  • accounts for 8.29% of total world purses

The Administration and Control of Australian Racing

The Australian Racing Board was established in 1998 and acts as a national administration body for the Australian Thoroughbred Racing Industry.

The Board is responsible for the Rules of racing and the development and implementation of policies to enhance the Industry and to provide uniform practices and conditions through the industry.

In administering national matters the Board is assisted by Advisory Committees on areas such as Stewards, Equine welfare, Race Conditions, Handicapping and Classifications, Rules of Racing, Programming and Occupational health and Safety.

The Structure of Australian Racing

Although the various State and Territories may make local rules the Australian Racing Board is the only authority empowered to make the Australian Rules of Racing. The Australian Rules of Racing cover issues such as registration of clubs and horses, conditions, licensing, racing syndicates, offences and penalties.

This structure has been of benefit to the Racing Industry by providing uniform rules, free traffic between States, mutual recognition of disciplinary action and recognition by international racing authorities and wagering operators.

The Principal Racing Authorities are Racing NSW, Racing Victoria Limited, Queensland Racing, Racing and Wagering Western Australia, Thoroughbred Racing S.A. Limited, Darwin Turf Club, Tasmanian Thoroughbred Racing Council and Canberra Racing Club Inc. and these Authorities make up the membership of the Australian Board.

These Authorities function as a controlling body responsible for registration, licensing, handicapping, stewards, marketing, administration of industry funding and strategic planning.

Each State and Territory has Major Racing Associations that may represent regional race clubs.

There are 14 Major Race Clubs which conduct metropolitan meetings throughout the nation and 379 regional race clubs. These clubs are responsible for conducting race meetings, membership, revenues and assets, sponsorship, training facilities, promotion of events, race programming, catering, and maintenance of grounds and facilities.

In addition, there are a number of other bodies which represent interested parties such as breeders, trainers, jockeys and bookmakers.

Australian Racing Statistics for 2003/04

  • Clubs 393
  • Race Meetings 2,777
  • Starters 200,188
  • Bookmakers 633
  • Trainers 3,704
  • Jockeys 895

Prize money

Australian prizemoney during 2003/04 totaled $344,183,495. That’s an increase of 13% over the last 5 years.
New South Wales and Victoria distribute the major portion of this money being 62.9% in total.


An awards night is held each year with the executive members of the principal Racing Authorities and members of the Australian Racing Writers Association voting on various categories for the awards.

  • Champion Racehorse of 2003/04 Lonhro
  • Champion Stayer Makeby Diva
  • Champion Middle Distance Lonhro
  • Champion Group 1 Jockey Glen Boss
  • Champion Group 1 Trainer John Hawkes
  • Racing Personality of the Year Glen Boss
  • Most Popular Racehorse Alinghi

Australia’s Gambling Turnover

Australia’s gambling turnover for 2002/03 is shown below.(Figures in millions)
Total of all betting in Australia is $128,400.

This total consists of:

  • Gaming (non racing) (lottery, lotto etc) $112,890
  • Thoroughbred Racing $10,525
  • Harness & Greyhound $3,401
  • Sports $1,585

During 2003/04 a total of $11,960.95 mil was bet on the TAB (Pari-Mutual) with Win type betting forming 46.8% of the total.

International Comparisons: 2003

County: BettingTurnover:($AUD)
Japan $42,962,342,310
Great Britain $24,408,112,513
USA $23,659,197,626
Australia $14,653,982,458
France $12,160,749,049
Hong Kong $11,128,526,047


Australia’s Wagering turnover for Thoroughbred Horse Racing for 2003/04 totaled $11.15 billion, an increase of 5.5% on the previous year.
Off-course wagering increased to 85.68% of total wagering. New South Wales was the leading wagering State accounting for 34.71% of total wagering.
The TAB accounted for 75.3% of total wagering turnover compared to 24.7% by bookmakers.


Some 249,000 people participate in the industry servicing in excess of 5 million customers. The equivalent of 77,000 full time jobs. That’s 1 job for every 73 Australians. Thoroughbred Racing is the second most popular sport in Australian. And 1.7 million people attend a race meeting at least once a year (measured by attendances)

A Total of 22,000 races are held each year and that average 60 races a day.

The racing Industry contributes 1.6 to State and Federal Governments and has a direct economic benefit of 7.7 billion to the Australian economy.

The sources for the figures shown on this page are the Fact Book 2003/04 Australian Racing and The Size and Scope of the Australian Thoroughbred Horse Racing Industry 2001 from the Australian Racing Board.  For more stats and facts on racing in Australia visit their website or see our Racing Links.