There would be few people today, punters or not, that would remember Melbourne racecourses other than the Big Four - Flemington, Caulfield, Sandown Park and Moonee Valley, but up until just after the Second World War, there were a number of other courses both close to Melbourne and in what we perhaps still regard as outer suburbs.
What will be also surprising is that several of these courses were privately owned and contributed significantly to Melbourne racegoers’s love of the sport by providing cheap and fast entertainment when compared to the “official” tracks.
Pony racing (i.e. for horses under 14.2 hands) were usually the "bread an butter" at these meetings which often offered up to 12 races per days at twenty-minute intervals, and usually with a mix of galloping and trotting events.
Epsom, Mentone and Williamstown an the original Sandown Park all hosted registered racing clubs - coincidentally two of them, Mentone and Williamstown fell into disuse for racing purposes after fire destroyed their grandstands ...
The stands on fire at Williamstown racecourse, 29 January, 1947. The damage saw the end of racing at the historic course.