The Horse’s Mouth


Oz Sports History



All of the courses previously listed operated for at least a couple of years, although except Maribyrnong had disappeared before the start of the twentieth century
Although was is believed to have been the first appearance of a totalizator on a Melbourne course was at Kensington Park in 1879, these tracks were not relevant to our companion section covering the history of the totalizator in Victoria prior to the introduction of the Victorian TAB in 1961.
The four courses listed all ran meetings on a regular basis and on dates approve by the Victorian Racing Club - Elsternwick probably the most prolific with month events over its ten year history.
But the reality is that during the 19th century was far less populated than today, there were literally dozens of "courses"around Melbourne that hosted race meetings - we qualify "courses"as being in most cases a cleared paddock or two that may have include a few fallen trees in steeplechases or perhaps even serving as a "grandstand".
Included here are Croxton Park (Northcote, but not to be confused with either the earlier "Red House" or the later "Fitzroy" racecourse in St. George's Road), Sherwood Park in Burwood, Elsternwick Park, Kensington and Maribyrnong, the latter pair owned by William Samuel Cox, later to establish his course at Moonee Valley on land purchase from John F. Feehan and who "lent" his name to arguably Australia's premier weight-for-age race, the W.S. Cox Plate.
Feehan in his own right is remembered by the important W.F.A. race run under his name for over half a century, changed presumably for marketing reasons in 2005 to the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
Mostly at best might have hosted one or two days a year - usually one of the few public holidays then available to the working classes.
These for now we will ignore, although there are some thoughts floating around in the back of one's brain that one or two additional articles outlining the events of the day may ad some understanding an local colour to the typical small meetings of the day.
For now, however, we will settle for the backgrounds of three or four courses that took themselves a little more seriously with regular meetings schedules and an attempt to provide spectators with a bit more than an open paddock and perhaps a marquee for refreshment purposes
Courses For Horses - Oldies, but Goodies
Croxton Park. Sherwood Park. Elsternwick Park. Kensington Park. Maribyrnong.