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Heritage Centre & History

Since October 1810 when Sydney’s first official race took place in Hyde Park, horseracing has been at the cultural heart of the city.

The Heritage Centre

Located at Royal Randwick Racecourse, our Heritage Centre provides a captivating archive and study space that brings this history alive. Researchers are encouraged to use the extensive library of racing books. Open by appointment, please contact 02 9663 8539 or email heritage@australianturfclub.com.au. Access is via Ascot Street with designated parking outside the Heritage Centre.

Racing Through Time Newsletter

Subscribe to our bi-monthly heritage e-newsletter which explores stories and items from the collection.

    Online Display - The 100th Running of the Hill Stakes

    Iconic Winners

    In celebration of the 100th running of the Hill Stakes on TAB Epsom Day 2021, we take a look back at some of the iconic horses who have won the race over the past century.

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    The Mares of the Hill Stakes

    Despite its long history, only eight mares have won the Hill Stakes. In celebration of this milestone moment, we take a look back at the mares who conquered it.

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    1866 Sydney Cup

    1866 Sydney Cup

    The Collection

    The inaugural running of the Sydney Cup in 1866 was a day of great excitement with the Governor and his entourage in attendance. It proved to be a close race with jockey Samuel Holmes only pulling Yattendon away to win at the last. The thrilling victory was awarded with this gold cup, the first to be presented as a racing prize in Sydney. Remarkably it has survived. It is made of 18 carat gold by the English silversmith, Stephen Smith.

    The inaugural running of the Sydney Cup in 1866 was a day of great excitement with the Governor and his entourage in attendance. It proved to be a close race with jockey Samuel Holmes only pulling Yattendon away to win at the last. The thrilling victory was awarded with this gold cup, the first to be presented as a racing prize in Sydney. Remarkably it has survived. It is made of 18 carat gold by the English silversmith, Stephen Smith.

    1858 English Doncaster Trophy

    1858 English Doncaster Trophy

    The Collection

    This elaborately decorated cup was originally made in 1847 in England by R. & S. Garrard & Co. also crown jewellers to Queen Victoria. This cup was presented to the winner, Vedette, of the English Doncaster in 1858. It was purchased by the Packer family at an auction in the 1970s. In memory of Sir Frank Packer (who served on the AJC Committee for 11 years until his death in 1974), the cup was donated to the AJC to be a perpetual trophy for the Frank Packer Plate. From 2009, it was presented to the winner of the AJC Doncaster Handicap, coming full circle to be part of Doncaster history.

    This elaborately decorated cup was originally made in 1847 in England by R. & S. Garrard & Co. also crown jewellers to Queen Victoria. This cup was presented to the winner, Vedette, of the English Doncaster in 1858. It was purchased by the Packer family at an auction in the 1970s. In memory of Sir Frank Packer (who served on the AJC Committee for 11 years until his death in 1974), the cup was donated to the AJC to be a perpetual trophy for the Frank Packer Plate. From 2009, it was presented to the winner of the AJC Doncaster Handicap, coming full circle to be part of Doncaster history.

    1910 Chronograph

    1910 Chronograph

    The Collection

    A chronograph is a timing device that uses the same mechanism as a pocket stop watch on a larger scale. Adapted for horse races during the 1800s, it mechanised the timing of races and at Randwick it was attached to the back of the judge’s box so that those sitting in the member’s stand could see the race results immediately. The electric chronograph was installed at Randwick in 1910 and remained in use until the 1950s. Rediscovered in 2010 it was sent out to restorers. Many hours of work were needed to clean, consolidate and re-create aspects of the body and the face. It now stands at 10ft tall in the Heritage Gallery at Randwick, one of the largest chronographs still intact today.

    A chronograph is a timing device that uses the same mechanism as a pocket stop watch on a larger scale. Adapted for horse races during the 1800s, it mechanised the timing of races and at Randwick it was attached to the back of the judge’s box so that those sitting in the member’s stand could see the race results immediately. The electric chronograph was installed at Randwick in 1910 and remained in use until the 1950s. Rediscovered in 2010 it was sent out to restorers. Many hours of work were needed to clean, consolidate and re-create aspects of the body and the face. It now stands at 10ft tall in the Heritage Gallery at Randwick, one of the largest chronographs still intact today.

    Timeline

    Learn how the harbour city’s love affair with racing was influenced by the Australian Jockey Club and Sydney Turf Club, and then after their 2011 merger, the Australian Turf Club.

    Explore Timeline
    Timeline