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The New South Wales town of Ballina, on the Richmond River, lies in the Northern Rivers region of the state and serves as the gateway to the spectacular Byron Bay. The town came into being in the 1840s, although it was not until 1866 that the Richmond River Lighthouse was built in the town, opening up the opportunity for it to become a leading port area of the state. The town has its own very successful racecourse which developed in 1890 after the newly formed Ballina Race Club held fund raising meetings throughout 1889, including an entertaining concert by the ‘Old Kentucky Serenaders’ on 13th August 1889. By Thursday 11th December 1890 races were staged on the ‘new’course’ 1 ½ miles from the Wharves. This implies that races were staged prior to this date. Races were certainly held on a regular basis after this inaugural meeting on the new track, although the Ballina Turf Club was not formed until 27th October 1900, staging their first meeting on 26th December 1900.

Local Patrons Ballina Jockey Club, Ballina Turf Club, Ballina Race Club
Principal Races Ballina Cup, Ballina Club Handicap

Thursday 11th December 1890
Ballina Club Handicap over 1 ½ miles

1. Hesseltine owned by Mr Watterson
2. Ajax owned by Mr Armstrong
3. Galway owned by Mr Millington

By the turn of the century the principal race continued to be the Ballina Club Handicap, albeit over a shortened 1 ¼ miles.
26th December 1900
Ballina Club Handicap over 1 ¼ miles

1. Uralla (1/3 fav) owned by Mr W Webster and ridden by Palmer
2. Bashan (2/1) owned by Miss Armstrong and ridden by Lee
3. Slipper (3/1) owned by Mr G Wilson and ridden by Harley

The racecourse proved to be a popular venue which was used by many Clubs in the town and beyond, including the Ballina Turf Club, the Ballina Diggers Race Club and the Ballina Jockey Club. The highlight of the racing year is the Ballina Cup which was first contested over 1 mile and 80 yards on 26th December 1913 when won by Poor Tom, defeating Hailshot and Woodburn. When the First World War fully occupied the nation the Cup was not held in 1915, although it did re-emerge during the later years of the War, being staged in each of the War years 1916 to 1918.

26th December 1913
Ballina Club Handicap over 1 ¼ miles

1. Disheartened
2. Morris Kenley
3. Stan
26th December 1916
CB Street Handicap (£50) over 1 mile 80 yards

1. Volcore (10/1) owned by Mr W J McPherson and ridden by Harvey
2. Electrolyte (4/6 fav) trained by Mr S J Gay and ridden by Phillips
3. Acrates (6/4) owned by Mr S J Nugent and ridden by Hoyland
26th December 1917
CB Street Handicap (£50) over 1 mile 80 yards

1. Tunarkwin (6/4) ridden by Manning
2. Lord Marajax ridden by Wilson
3. Fragile ridden by Eastwood
26th December 1918
CB Street Handicap (75 sovereigns) over 1 mile 80 yards

1. Mount Fresco (5/1) owned by Mr M Gay and ridden by B Foley
2. Eppitaux (6/1) owned by Mr T Callinan and ridden by Bloomfield
3. Tunarkwin (4/5 fav) owned by Mr A Blackadder and ridden by Reynolds

Eventually the former Ballina Turf Club was replaced by the Ballina and District War Memorial Fund Racing Club which was formed on 30th September 1944, hosting its first meeting on 26th September 1944. Within 6 years the Ballina Jockey Club was formed and began to administer meetings at the racecourse.

Recent Ballina Cup Winners
2008 The Ballina Cup ($32,500) over 1600 metres was won by Bann Ruby (7/1) trained by L D Kelly and ridden by M Paget, beating Montana Hilton and Burgundy Prince 12 ran
2009 The Ballina Cup ($32,500) over 1600 metres was won by All Our Way (20/1) trained by K W Nipperess and ridden by N Paine, beating Kyros and Onalar 13 ran
2010 The Ballina Cup ($32,500) over 1600 metres was won by Ausworld (5/1) trained by P Duff and ridden by S Seamer, beating Al Mazaya and Cocktail Supreme 14 ran
2011 The Ballina Cup ($32,500) over 1600 metres was won by Joe Blow (14/1) trained by R N Godbolt and ridden by A Nicholls, beating Desert Bunny and Ausworld 14 ran
2012 The Ballina Cup ($32,710) over 1600 metres was won by Poor Judge (9/4) trained by A M Honess and ridden by N Perrett, beating Pitt Street and Nobody’s Johnny 14 ran
2013 The Ballina Cup ($29,660) over 1600 metres was won by Playitstraight (5/2) trained by Barry Lockwood and ridden by Ashley Butler, beating Muhaajir and Phrases 10 ran
2014 The Ballina Cup ($29,660) over 1600 metres was won by Mucho Caliente (8/1) trained by L Jarvis and ridden by S Traecey, beating Reunite and Get on the Grange 13 ran
2015 The Ballina Cup ($29,660) over 1600 metres was won by Collar (100/30) trained by Jeremy Sylvester and ridden by Tegan Harrison, beating Hard Ticker and Avalanches 11 ran
2016 The Ballina Cup ($38,275) over 1600 metres was won by Yoho (5/1) trained by Kelso Wood and ridden by Luke Dittman, beating Cash Spinner and Bentles 14 ran
2017 The Ballina Cup ($35,675) over 1600 metres was won by Cashing Up (17/2) trained by Barry Lockwood and ridden by Tegan Harrison, beating Lordag and Cash Spinner 14 ran

Course today

The racecourse continues to operate successfully.

If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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