Carnivals & Group One Races

Some of the most popular horse racing events in Australia and around the world are Group 1 Races. Group 1, also sometimes known as Group One or Grade 1, is the highest level of thoroughbred racing worldwide, international horses and their trainers will travel the globe to enter these races in hopes of taking home a Group 1 victory. 

In addition to the glory, Group 1 races offer huge prize pools, with a minimum of $300,000 a race all the way up to the $8 million dollar The Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most loved race. There are also other grades of note aside from Group 1 – Group 2 and 3 are the classes underneath Group 1 and still provide thrilling racing action from horses that can rise to Group 1 status in the future.

Some of the biggest Group 1 races held every year in Australia include; The Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, VRC Oaks, Caulfield Cup, Victoria Derby and the Caulfield Guineas. Most of the Group 1 races are held at either Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne or Randwick Racecourse in Sydney as part of their respective racing carnivals.

Racing Carnivals

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter - in Australia, there's a racing carnival to suit every season! Racing carnivals are big events in the Australian horse racing scene and serve as a way to divide the year's action into separate racing carnivals, showcasing top tracks and talented runners from around the country. Racing Carnivals typically are home to the biggest Group 1 races in Australia and draw big crowds of spectators to the top racecourses around the country.

The Spring Racing Carnival is the country's biggest and most prestigious horse racing carnival, held annually both as the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and Sydney Spring Racing Carnival. The carnival features a number of Group 1 races, including the iconic Melbourne Cup, which is run over 3200 metres and attracts international Group 1 grade horses. 

The Autumn Racing Carnival is also held in Melbourne and Sydney and features some of the year's most important horse races, including the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate. The Winter Racing Carnival is held in Sydney and Brisbane and is highlighted by the Queen Elizabeth Stakes  and the Stradbroke Handicap respectively. Whatever the season, there's an Australian racing carnival to enjoy!

Biggest Group 1 Races & Feature Races

There are some huge horse races in Australia, with some of the biggest purses in the world up for grabs. The Melbourne Cup is the most famous race of all, attracting horses from all over the globe to Flemington Racecourse. The Everest is another hugely popular race, and it's run at Sydney's iconic  Randwick Racecourse. 

The Cox Plate is another Group 1 race that takes place in Melbourne, while the  Caulfield Cup is also a hugely popular Melbourne race. The All-Star Mile is a new race that was introduced in 2019 and it's already proven to be hugely popular, with some of the best horses in Australia lining up to compete. Whatever your interest, there are some huge races to enjoy in Australia.

The Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup, dubbed ‘the race that stops the nation’, is an Australian Group 1 race that is held every year at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. It is the richest two-mile handicap in the world, and the richest Group 1 race in Australia and is part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. The Melbourne Cup field is restricted to 24 horses and the race is open to horses aged three years and older. 

The Melbourne Cup is run on the first Tuesday in November and it is one of the most watched sporting events in Australia. More than 100,000 people come to Flemington Racecourse to attend the event and millions more watch it on television. The Melbourne Cup has been held annually since 1861 and it has become an important part of Australian culture. Check out our best bets for The Melbourne Cup for help picking the winner this year!

The Everest

The Everest is a Thoroughbred horse race held annually during the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Australia. The race is run over a distance of 1,200 metres (approximately 6 furlongs), and it is open to horses aged three years and older. The Everest is the world's richest turf race, with a prize purse of $15 million. The event was first held in 2017, and it has quickly become one of the most popular races on the Australian racing calendar. 

In spite of its high prize money, The Everest isn’t actually a Group one race as of now, these high prize money races are referred to as ‘Feature Races’ and are run under special conditions. Nevertheless, The Everest still attracts Group 1 grade horses to the race with the huge prize money on offer, and the fact it costs owners $600,000 to enter a runner. 

The Everest is the feature race of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival and is run on the same day as the Group 1 Caulfield Cup, making it one of the most prestigious racing days on the calendar. Need help betting on The Everest? check out our tips for The Everest.

Cox Plate

The Cox Plate is a Group 1 horse race that is held at the Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia. The Cox Plate is part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and is run over a distance of 2040 metres. The Cox Plate is open to horses three years old and above and currently offers a total of $5 million in prize money. 

Cox Plate Day is typically held on the third Saturday in October and features a number of other high-profile horse races, including the Cox Plate itself. If you are looking for tips for the Cox Plate, look no further than our Best Bets for the Cox Plate page, where our experts have analyzed this year's race to try to find the winner.

Caulfield Cup

The Caulfield Cup is an Australian Group 1 race held annually in Melbourne, Australia, run over a distance of 3,200 metres at the famous Caulfield Racecourse. The Caulfield Cup forms part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and is one of the most important group one races on the Australian racing calendar. 

It is usually held on the third Saturday in October and is traditionally seen as a lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup. Caulfield Cup winners often go on to contest the Melbourne Cup, with three horses winning both races in the same year on four seperate occasions. The Caulfield Cup is now worth $5 million in prize money, making it one of the richest horse races in Australia. 

The OnlyRacing team has examined the Caulfield Cup field for this year. You can see our summary of the race as well as our expert tips for the Caulfield Cup here.

All-Star Mile

The All-Star Mile is a feature race that is held during the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. The All-Star Mile is the first horse race of its kind being an entirely fan-voted race, which means that the public votes for their favourite horses which decides which horses will run in the All-Star Mile. 

The All-Star Mile is run over 1600 metres on the Flemington track, the feature race currently offers $5 million in prize money, and is open to both colts and geldings. To check out who we like for the next All-Star Mile, visit our All-Star Mile tips page here.

Summer Racing Carnival

There is a ton of racing action on show in the Summer racing carnival, with Ascot Racecourse becoming the star of the show during the Perth Summer Racing Carnival. The Perth Summer Carnival, also known as the Ascot Carnival, features plenty of group grade racing action including the beloved Perth Cup held every year on New Year’s Day.

Over in the sunshine state, the Brisbane Summer Racing Carnival features 9 action packed weeks of racing with over $20 million in prize money on offer. The Brisbane Summer Carnival concludes with the Magic Millions Carnival and the $2 million The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions at Gold Coast Racecourse, a race restricted to horses bought at the Magic Millions Sale auctions.

There are other group one races in Australia during the Summer racing carnival, including Group 1 races in both Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne’s feature Group 1 race of the summer is the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes, and Sydney is host to multiple group one races in the summer but the highlight is undoubtedly the listed Inglis Millenium, due to the $2 million in prize money on offer.

Summer Racing Carnival Featured Race - Kingston Town Classic

One of Perth's most prestigious races, the Kingston Town Classic is a group one grade race that offers a $1 million purse and is held every year at Ascot Racecourse in Perth. The 1800m Group 1 race follows on from the Group 1 Railway Stakes and Group 2 Winterbottom stakes earlier in the Perth Summer Racing Carnival.

  • Group 1 Kingston Town Classic 1800m $1,000,000 WFA

Best Bookmaker For The Summer Racing Carnival

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Summer is the perfect time to enjoy some fun in the sun and what better way to do that than by having a punt on the Summer Racing Carnival! 

In our opinion the best betting site for the Summer Racing Carnival is PlayUp, we believe that they offer the best betting experience for the Summer Racing Carnival. PlayUp has great fixed odds, plenty of promotions and a whole host of other features that we covered in our PlayUp review. So why not head on over to PlayUp and check them out for yourself? We're sure you'll love them as much as we do!

Autumn Racing Carnivals

Autumn is one of the busiest times of year for racecourses across Australia, as the country's top horses compete in many group one races during the Autumn Racing Carnivals. The Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival is the largest and most prestigious of these events, with Group 1 races taking place at famous racecourses like Flemington Racecourse and Caulfield Racecourse

Sydney also plays host to a number of high-profile races during their Sydney Spring Racing Carnival, including the Rosehill Autumn Carnival and the Randwick Autumn Carnival. These carnivals showcase some of the best horses in the country and attract big crowds of racing fans. So if you're looking for a day out at the races this Autumn, be sure to check out one of the many Autumn Racing Carnivals across Australia.

Autumn Racing Carnival Featured Race - Black Caviar Lightning Stakes

One of the highlights of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Day, continues the fall’s Group 1 racing action with a big day at Flemington Racecourse. The day features three Group grade races with the feature race, the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.

  • Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes 1000m $1,000,000 WFA

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The Autumn Racing Carnival is one of the most anticipated events on the Australian horse racing calendar and this year, we think PlayUp is the best place to bet during the Autumn Racing Carnival. PlayUp often offers the best fixed odds for racing in Australia, and with so many big races taking place during the carnival, it's nice to know that we can rely on PlayUp to give us great value on our bets. 

PlayUp also always has plenty of great offers running during the carnival, so be sure to keep an eye out for their Autumn Racing Carnival promotions. With their combination of great fixed odds and regular promotions, we think PlayUp is the perfect betting site for the Autumn Racing Carnival!

Winter Racing Carnival

The Winter Racing Carnival is one of the biggest events on the Australian racing calendar. Held over a six-week period from late May to early July, the carnival features some of the country's most prestigious races, including the Group 1 Winter Stakes at Randwick Racecourse and the Group 2 Brisbane Cup at Eagle Farm Racecourse. 

The highlight of the winter is the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, aimed at moving the spotlight to Queensland after the Autumn Racing Carnivals in Melbourne and Sydney. The Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival features the state's top races held at both Eagle Farm Racecourse and Doomben Racecourse. 

Featured Group 1 races during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival include the Kingsford-Smith Cup and the Stradbroke Handicap - the state's richest race. With millions of dollars in prize money on offer, the Winter Racing Carnival attracts some of the world's best horses, trainers, and jockeys, making it one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Australian racing calendar.

Winter Racing Carnival Featured Race - Doomben 10,000

The Doomben 10,000 is one of the premier sprint races of the Brisbane Winter Carnival. Held every year at Doomben Racecourse in Queensland, the Doomben 10,000 boasts a prize pool of $1 million for 2-year-old sprinters and is a fantastic lead-up race to the Stradbroke Handicap.

  • Group 1 Doomben 10,000 1200m $1,000,000 WFA

Best Bookmaker For The Winter Racing Carnival

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If you're looking for the best betting site for the Winter Racing Carnival, we have to recommend Palmerbet. As Palmerbet is based in Queensland, they have chosen to have a big focus on the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. 

Palmerbet provides some of the best horse form tools in the industry on their website and app, and they offer great fixed odds during the Winter Racing Carnival. Palmerbet is also home to Same Race Multi and regular promotions, giving you a chance to spice up your punting. So if you're looking for a great bookmaker for the Winter Racing Carnival, be sure to check out Palmerbet.

Spring Racing Carnival

Springtime in Australia means one thing: the Spring Racing Carnival! This annual event is a major highlight on the racing calendar, with racing fans flocking to tracks around the country to witness some of the best thoroughbred action in the world. The Spring Racing Carnival is also a huge social event for non-racing fans, with thousands of patrons attending for all the glitz and glamour that the Spring Racing Carnival has to offer.

The two biggest Spring Racing Carnivals are held in Melbourne and Sydney, both feature a packed program of Group 1 races and are respectively known as the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and Sydney Spring Racing Carnival. The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival all leads up to the famed Melbourne Cup, while in the Sydney Racing Carnival the feature race of the carnival is the very popular $15 million All-Star Mile. 

Other key races include the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, VRC Oaks Day and Victoria Derby Day. No matter which city you're in, the Spring Racing Carnival is sure to be a thrilling event!

Spring Racing Carnival Featured Race - Caulfield Cup

The main event at Caulfield Racecourse during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival happens during the third and final day of the Caulfield Carnival; the $5 million Caulfield Cup, the richest handicap race ran over 2400m. Given that winning the Caulfield Cup can earn you entry into the Melbourne Cup, the highlight of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the Caufield Cup is always extremely competitive and a significant build-up event.

  • Group 1 Caulfield Cup 2400m $5,000,000 HCP

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