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The New South Wales town of Kempsey lies in the Macleay Valley Way in the Mid North Coastal region of the state, some 345 kilometres north of the state capital Sydney. The earliest European settler was Enoch William Rudder who discovered the area in 1834 and within two years had realised the potential of the red cedars in the region. The town runs its own Warwick Park racecourse where in the middle of the 20th century racing was administered by the Kempsey Race Club, although prior to 1992 the Macleay River Turf Club staged racing. The earliest mention of racing in Kempsey was on Monday 26th December 1860 when a single horse race was part of the annual Christmas Festival, and within a year a full race meeting was staged on St Patrick’s Day 1861 hosted by East Kempsey. There is no doubt that racing did take place on the Warwick racecourse in the 19th century, although meetings then lapsed before the pivotal year 1895. On Tuesday 15th January 1895 a committee meeting was held at Sully’s Hotel to discuss the formation of ‘East Kempsey Race Club’, with racing scheduled to take place at the Old Station Paddock. Just two days later a further committee meeting was held in the Good Templars Hall to try to resuscitate the Kempsey Jockey Club, although a good number of the group proposed calling the group the Macleay River Turf Club. Their proposal was to stage the meetings at the Old Warwick racecourse.

Local Patrons Kempsey Jockey Club, Macleay River Turf Club, Kempsey Race Club
Principal Races Akubra Kempsey Cup, Kempsey City Handicap

In 1898 a meeting did take place on Boxing Day with selected results shown below:-
Monday 26th December 1898
Opening Handicap

1. Zelma
2. Inspiration
3. Minnie S
Kempsey City Handicap
1. Chance
2. Inspiration
3. Hastings

The next year races were organised by Macleay River Jockey Cub on Wednesday 24th May 1899 when tragedy struck in the Opening Handicap. Fortune fell and later on Message and St Cloud fell, the latter breaking his neck, while her jockey J McCarthy was taken to hospital in a critical state but did recover after some time.

The highlight of the racing year, which currently extends to 8 meetings, is the Akubra Kempsey Cup over 1450 metres, traditionally run on the second Friday in November, but which had its inaugural running on Tuesday 10th May 1966 when won by Count Radiant (T J Smith).

Recent winners of the Akubra Kempsey Cup
(A full list of all winners since 1966 is available on request)

2009 Akubra Kempsey Cup ($13,000) over 1450 metres was won by Terrahawk (10/1) trained by Neil Godbolt and ridden by Robert Thompson, beating Eiremaize and Tizapaine
2010 Akubra Kempsey Cup meeting was suspended at the Warwick Park racecourse after sections of the turf were poisoned with chemicals
2011 Akubra Kempsey Cup ($13,000) over 1450 metres was won by Cuban Dancer (12/1) trained by Ken Faulds and ridden by Terry Treichel, beating Youthful Jack and Capital Rising 11 ran
2012 Akubra Kempsey Cup ($14,410) over 1450 metres was won by Geronimo Jack (6/1) trained by Peter Goodenough and ridden by Peter Graham, beating Better Not Doubt and Hackers 12 ran
2013 Akubra Kempsey Cup ($14,410) over 1450 metres was won by Villamill (3/1) trained by Peter Ball and ridden by Terry Treichel, beating Sir Will Do and Muhaajir 10 ran
2014 Akubra Kempsey Cup ($14,410) over 1450 metres was won by Clunes Rocket (3/1) trained by Grant Prosser and ridden by Peter Graham, beating Flying Kistena and Butane 9 ran
2015 Akubra Kempsey Cup ($14,410) over 1450 metres was won by Single Spirit (5/2) trained by Ross Stitt and ridden by Matthew McGuren, beating Juste Si and Champagne Rock 10 ran
2016 Akubra Kempsey Cup ($16,800) over 1450 metres was won by Cash Spinner (7/2) trained by John Shelton and ridden by Ben Looker, beating Shadow Rein and Flying Kistena 10 ran
2017 Akubra Kempsey Cup ($16,630) over 1450 metres was won by Lippy and Pearls (13/1) trained by Ross Dawson and ridden by Serg Lisnyy, beating Explosive Scene and Present Sense 12 ran

Course today The racecourse continues to operate very 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

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