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The New South Wales town of Muswellbrook lies in the Upper Hunter Region of the state about 150 miles north of the state capital Sydney and almost 80 miles north-west of Newcastle. The area was inhabited by the Gamilaroi and Wonnarua people prior to European settlers arriving in 1819 when Chief Constable John Howe began exploring the area. The town enjoys its own successful racecourse on the Denman Road, about a mile and a half west of the town, where racing is administered by the Muswellbrook Race Club, which was founded in 1862, making it one of the oldest continuously running Race Clubs in the state. However, races had taken place in the town at least 20 years before the Race Club was formed, as a meeting took place in October 1843 when the principal race was the Muswellbrook Plate over twice round.

Local Patrons Muswellbrook Turf Club, Muswellbrook Race Club, Muswellbrook Jockey Club
Principal Races Muswellbrook Cup, Muswellbrook Jockey Club Handicap, Muswellbrook Plate

October 1843
Muswellbrook Plate £25 over twice round

1. Intruder owned by Mr West and ridden by Picton
2. Peter owned by Mr Ward
3. Flycatcher owned by Mr Green
Hurry Scurry Stakes £15 over once round and the distance
1. Grief owned by Mr West and ridden by Smith
2. Sly Boots owned by Mr Green

These race meetings continued on an annual basis on ground owned by ‘the king of Muswellbrook’ until 1852 when the two day meeting was threatened by a number of problems.  The first problem which had to be overcome was the refusal by ‘the king’ to give permission for his ground to be used, whilst at the same time he withdrew any subscriptions he had previously promised. Despite this the townsfolk rallied, cleared ground for a new course and put on a show. The two day meeting was held on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd July 1852.
Wednesday 21st July 1852
Muswellbrook Town Plate £12 over 2 miles

1. Sir Charles owned by Mr Watkin
2. Atalanta owned by Mr Hawthorne
3. Mary owned by Mr P Ward
Muswellbrook Ladies’ Purse £8 over 1 mile
1. Comet owned by Mr P Ward and ridden by Anderson
2. Bardy Lass owned by Mr Green
3. Dosey owned by Mr Kirk
Thursday 22nd July 1852
Tradesmen’s Plate over 1 ½ miles

1. Bardy Lass owned by Mr Green and ridden by Tobin
2. Comet owned by Mr Ward
3. Momus owned by Mr Mudey

A pivotal moment in the history of Muswellbrook occurred in 1862 when the Muswellbrook Turf Club was formed and held its first three day meeting from Wednesday 5th to Friday 7th November 1862 on the ‘New Course’ on a plot of ground owned by Thomas Hale. The course was in remarkably good condition, reflecting the hard work put in by dedicated members of the Club.
Wednesday 5th November 1862
Muswellbrook Maiden Plate (60 sovereigns) over 1 ½ miles

1. Daughter of the Regiment owned by Mr Ward
2. Desdemona owned by Mr Bowman
3. Crockford owned by Mr Eaton
Thursday 6th November 1862
Publican’s Purse (40 sovereigns) over 2 miles

1. Warrior owned by Mr Arkins
2. Wild Dayrell owned by Mr Bowman
Trial Stakes (30 sovereigns) over 1 mile
1. Unknown owned by Mr Henderson
2. Daughter of the Regiment owned by Mr Ward
3. Desdemona owned by Mr Bowman
Friday 7th November 1862
Muswellbrook Town Plate (40 sovereigns) over 1 ½ miles

1. Warrior owned by Mr Arkins
2. Shamrock Owned by Mr Onus
3. Daughter of the Regiment owned by Mr Ward
4. Wild Dayrell owned by Mr Bowman

At the turn of the century the Muswellbrook Jockey Club met on Tuesday 27th November 1900 to resolve the problem of where to hold their race meetings. The Committee, under the Chairmanship of Mr E Davis, proposed a motion to write to the Council requesting the use of the Recreation Reserve, offering to spend 20% of net profits on ground improvements. Unfortunately the meeting lapsed for want of a quorum. It took a year before the problem was resolved to the satisfaction of all, with the inaugural meeting taking place on the Recreation Reserve Ground on Thursday and Friday 20th and 21st June 1901, featuring the Jockey Club Handicap.
Friday 21st June 1901
Muswellbrook Jockey Club Handicap £25 over 1 mile 1 furlong

1. Colleen Rhua owned by Mr G Hopper
2. Waif owned by Mr B H Houseman
3. Margrave owned by Mr J J Jewell
1902 Jockey Club Handicap (25 sovereigns) over 1 mile was won by Clan Ronald owned by Mr E A Mayo, beating Trial and Colleen Bawn
1903 Jockey Club Handicap (25 sovereigns) over 1 mile was won by Autocrat owned by Mr M Dillon, beating Cassandra and TS
1904 Jockey Club Handicap (£25) over 1 mile was won by Miss Minerva owned by Mr W Clayton, beating Belfry and Piercefield

The highlight of the racing calendar, which often stretches to 26 meetings annually, is the Muswellbrook Cup, traditionally contested in late November or more recently early December.
Recent Muswellbrook Cup winners
(A full list of winners is available on request)

2009 Muswellbrook Cup ($26,000) over 1750 metres was won by All Time Champion (6/1) trained by Evan Holland and ridden by Alex Stokes, beating Mynedi Mine and Kwilas Law 9 ran
2010 Muswellbrook Cup ($26,000) over 1280 metres was won by Mr Armstrong (2/1 fav) trained by Wayne Wilkes and ridden by Melissa Brown, beating Prior Baron and Umpire Bird 9 ran
2011 Muswellbrook Cup ($32,500) over 1500 metres was won by Kinetics (16/1) trained by Graham Payne and ridden by Andrew Gibbons, beating Rightson and Rockin’ Rockets 9 ran
2012 Muswellbrook Cup ($35,760) over 1500 metres was won by Zarbu (20/1) trained by Dianne Lumsden and ridden by Serg Lisnyy, beating Double Halo and Oh My Papa 13 ran
2013 Muswellbrook Cup ($38,810) over 1500 metres was won by Akamas (3/1) trained by Luke Griffith and ridden by Greg Ryan, beating Charzed and Prior Baron 14 ran
2014 Muswellbrook Cup ($29,660) over 1500 metres was won by Pitt Street (4/1) trained by Kris Lees and ridden by Andrew Gibbons, beating Oh My Papa and Tableaux 13 ran
2015 Muswellbrook Cup ($29,660) over 1500 metres was won by Bettabet Red (9/1) trained by Fred Cowell and ridden by Alena Skerritt, beating Shazza’s Bubbles and First Class Ticket 9 ran
2016 Muswellbrook Cup ($43,600) over 1500 metres was won by Dylan’s Rojo (11/2) trained by Kim Waugh and ridden by Mitchell Bell, beating Alart and Binalong Road 12 ran
2017 Muswellbrook Cup ($53,375) over 1500 metres was won by Carless Choice (7/2) trained by Paul Messara and ridden by Christian Reith, beating After All That and Schedule 13 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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