History of Harness Racing

Harness racing is one of Australia’s biggest spectator sports. With large amounts of money wagered in over a hundred race tracks all over Australia, harness racing can mean big earnings for lucky bettors. But before you start gathering any harness racing tips, it’s important to familiarize yourself first with its history.

Let’s start by defining it. Harness racing is a type of horse racing that focuses on the horses’ gait method. Unlike regular thoroughbred horse racing, harness requires the horse to pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky. The driver sits on this cart and then controls the horse using reigns and a long whip. This type of racing is believed to have originated from the chariot races held during the early Roman Empire.

The activity eventually became popular and was made into a sport by the Dutch. Anybody was allowed to participate, even poor farmers as long as they had a good trotter. This transcendental quality increased the sport’s popularity and in the 17th century, harness racing began to grow as an international trend.

Modern harness tracks found their roots in North America and became a favourite rural past-time until the end of the 18th century. This was followed by the establishment of the first harness racecourses.

Harness racing made its way to Australia in 1810. Ask for the best harness racing tip from experts and they’ll tell you that it was a lucky horse named “Miss Kitty” that took the grand prize in the first ever official race in the country. This happened on the 30th of April 1810 at Parramatta, New South Wales during a sports carnival. Miss Kitty served as the pioneer for a long line of legendary race horses and the sport soon captivated the interest of many Australians.

Australia’s first harness racecourse was constructed at Elsternwick Park, Melbourne in 1882. And in 1902, the New South Wales Trotting Club came into existence. This event formalized harness meetings after the government banned unregistered racing in the country.

Australia soon developed its own harness culture. Most meetings are conducted at night with major metropolitan meetings held on Saturdays and Fridays. When compared to American racing, Australian racing stands out with its unique measuring system, bigger number of starters in a race and variations in the tracks’ length.

From a simple activity enjoyed by families who couldn’t afford a thoroughbred horse, harness evolved to become an international sport with millions of dollars in annual wagers and revenue.

Here’s a good harness tip, always check with the HRA or Harness Racing Australia for any questions or concerns. This federal body is tasked to monitor and regulate the industry. Each state has a principal racing authority that must abide by the HRA’s racing rules and regulations.

For more harness racing tips, consult with veteran harness racers and experienced bettors. You can even go online and check out the many harness betting sites for any useful news. Now that you’ve brushed up on the history and basics, you’re on the way to earning some big winnings!


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