Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey

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Courses For Horses - Mentone


Mentone Racecourse (date unknown) showing the judge’s tower  The Mentone Racecourse Reserve of today very much follows a racing theme (below)

Mentone was a proprietary course established in 1888 and situated on 156 acres of land to the south-west of today's Moorabbin Airport   The course was designed by the surveyor John Langtree Reilly whose family were to have a massive influence of racing in the southern suburys, and initially operated by the Mentone Racing Company Limited which was established with a nominated capital of £50,000

The first meeting was held on Saturday, 8 September and featured the Mentone Cup over ten furlongs

A decision by the V R C in 1905 to reduce the number of Victorian race meetings from 102 to 79 per year had a dramatic effect on the closely-grouped Mentone, Epsom at Mordialloc and Aspendale racecourses where race meetings were cut to five a year  As a minor recompense, an additional training track was added to the course in 1911 because of the number of horses trained in the area with in the general district and the V R C providing £1,000 towards the cost

The early course featured an extensive wooden grandstand which was destroyed by fire in September, 1925  Large parts of the course were remodelled in 1936 with new fencing, landscaping and a car park, the latter essential as Mentone always suffered from a lack of convenient public transport with Mentone Station some kilometre and a half from the track

During the Second World War, major tracks at Caulfield and Williamstown were taken over by the Defence Department, as were smaller venues at Epsom and Ascot, but Mentone continued to operate, although meetings were cut to seven per year in line with the general tightening of racing

The course however did not survive severe cutbacks as part of the rationalisation of the racing industry following the War and the final meeting was held at Mentone on 24 July 1948   

Mentone was always regarded as a great wet weather track because of its sandy loam base which was easy on the legs of horses and it remained a popular training track from 1948 until 1972 when much of the land was sold for housing  

The site is readily identifiable in today's directories by the Mentone Racecourse Reserve in Glenelg Road, although the only other placename with a racing connotation, Chicquita Park is a little distance west of the Racecourse Reserve, suggesting the latter covers only a part of the original   

The main entrance is believed to have been opposite the intersection of Avenza Street and Glenelg Road (not named in the Google map image, but the main thoroughfare running vertically left to right)  

Excerpt from an aerial view of Mentone, 1954

Museum of Victoria Collection, MM 137134