Anyone who thinks thoroughbred racing is a minority sport in Australia that does not make a significant contribution to either the country’s culture or its economy should review the recently released Racing Australia Fact Book.

Thirty-four thousand, three hundred and thirty-seven gallopers competed in 18,609 races at 307 tracks during the 2019-2020 Australian thoroughbred racing season, which ran from Thursday 1 August 2019 to Friday 31 July 2020. That means there is twice the number of tracks as there are members of the House of Representatives in Canberra, 50 times more races than there are English Premier League games and a galloper for every 750 Australian residents.

The size of Australia’s thoroughbred racing industry dawned upon some people, particularly those based in New South Wales, during the equine influenza outbreak in 2007 and 2008. However, millions of Australians have no idea the sport contributes $9.5 billion to their country’s economy, and more than half of that activity occurs in regional areas. The Australian thoroughbred racing industry employs 75,000 people, and 160,000 people participate in the sport. No industry or sport covers the breadth of Australia like thoroughbred racing, which is as Aussie as Vegemite.

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