8 must-see horse racing events in Queensland
From blue-blood thoroughbreds to the masterful skill of an outback horseman, Queensland has some of the best horse events outside of Melbourne Cup.
Strap in and giddy-up for this list of some of the sunshine state’s best!
Magic Millions Carnival 2018: 5-16 January 2018
A carnival that brings Australia’s richest race day to life ticking boxes for fashionistas and equine pros alike. With the ocean ahead and sand below, there’s something magical about seeing horses gallop down the beach. The Barrier Draw, which kicks off at sunrise on Surfers Paradise beach, and the Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo are just some of the events that make the carnival a celebration of all things summer and racing.
Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival: 13-15 April 2018
And they’re off! Head out to Julia Creek and back a winner at the Artesian Express Outback Horse Races during the Dirt n Dust Festival (where bog snorkelling was made famous). Stomp your boots all night at the outdoor concert or catch the spectacular Dirt n Dust Bullride for a rush of adrenalin.
Channel 7 Brisbane Racing Carnival: May-June 2018
Okay, so it’s not as well-known as the Melbourne Cup, but in terms of style, variety and prestige, Brisbane’s racing scene gives the rest of the country a run for its money. Take in five signature race days and join the who’s who of Brisbane trackside and dressed to impress. Betting and horse racing go hand-in-hand with a drink, and Eagle Farm boasts 17 bars. Even more interesting on this site is the Tote, home to Australia’s oldest computer which was once used to instantly calculate dividends. For avid race fans, be sure to attend UBET Stradbroke Day during the carnival for an unrivalled programme of racing and entertainment.
Curley Cattle Transport Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge & Campdraft: 11-15 July 2018
For the most dedicated of horse fans, this annual campdrafting and challenge event is a true testament to the skill of our country’s best horseman. Watch competitors from across Australia take on ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ work including man and horse complete manoeuvres including flying changes, rollbacks, spins and stops.
The Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo: 9-12 August 2018
Experience the clash of romance and grit at The Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo where east meets west and the Outback comes to life with non-stop rodeo action. From bull riding to barrel racing and even saddle bronc riding, this three-day event is a must do. 2018 will also mark the 60th Diamond Jubilee Rodeo so, giddy up!
Mackay Airport Beach Horse Races: August 2018
Swap your stilettos for flip-flops to celebrate the sixth annual running of this seaside spectacular. Touted as Australia’s only non-official beach horse racing event, the Mackay Airport Beach Horse Races will feature up to 12 races over a sand course along the beautiful Mackay Harbour Beach in August.
Carlton Mid Cairns Amateurs Carnival: 7-8 September 2018
Originally designed to bring city and country together, this epic three-day event has expanded over the years into one of Australia’s premier spring horse racing carnivals. Throw in fashion, glamour, food and a line-up of entertainment, this carnival gives any horse racing fan a reason to visit Cairns, Tropical North Queensland.
Birdsville Races: 31 August-1 September 2018
You haven’t really been to an Australian horse racing event until you’ve made the trek to the Birdsville Races. Turn the pages of the history books back to 1882 when the races first launched in this remote corner, near the South Australia border. Now flick forward to today, where this tiny town of just 100 swells to some 6000 as racegoers flock to see the 13-race program which commands $200,000 in prize money. Curiously, the Birdsville track is only one of four in Queensland that runs anti-clockwise. But then again, they do everything a little differently out here.