Track History

Harness racing is said to have had its origins in the days of the Roman empires when chariots were the popular mode of transport as well as the centre of racing attention. Harness racing or what people commonly refer to as the Trots has a long history in the Newcastle region. Organised trotting can be traced back to the early part of last century where regular events were conducted at the Hamilton speedway.

In the early days it was not uncommon for drivers to sit in a saddle on the back like a jockey while others paced in sulkies. Trotting was conducted at the Broadmeadow showground for 50 years from 1949 to 1989. In 1949 Newcastle became the second club in NSW, after Harold Park to conduct night time trotting. When the era of mobile racing began it was evident that the tiny Broadmeadow showground would not cope with the change from standing start races to mobile starts.

The search was on for a new venue. A number of sites and options were considered. At one time it looked like the 3 trotting clubs in the area, Newcastle, Maitland and Cessnock would combine and race as one club at a central venue at Beresfield. This did not eventuate. In the mid 1980’s there was a strong push to have a Newcastle team in the NSW rugby league competition. When this was approved the rugby league ground at the International Sports centre, which was to be, and still is, the home ground of the Newcastle Knights had to be redesigned from an oval shape to a rectangular shape.

This design change freed up sufficient space behind the stadium for some clever harness racing officials at the time to push for a harness racing track to be built on that land. Their dreams came to fruition in October 1989 when the Newcastle International pace way opened to a crowd of 10,000 people. The reputation of the track was set that night when champion Pacer Rowleyalla won the inaugural Newcastle Mile in a NSW record time of 1.55.8.

The 940 metre track is considered one of the best tracks in NSW and one of the best in Australia. The 940 metre circuit was for many years the only track in Australia to start 10 runners off the front line, Menangle have since followed our lead. The track hold numerous records including a world record (Mile rate 1.57.6 for 2550 metres off a 20 metre handicap) for the win of Ultra Jet in the 1994 Newcastle Cup {standing start} and we held the Australasian Mile for 10 years which was first set by by Quantum Lobell (1.53.1} in the 1997 Newcastle Mile and then a new record was set inthe 2007 Newcastle Mile when Pay Me Christian won in 1.52.8 The next significant moment in our development was the opening of our award winning grandstand in October 1994.

This wonderful facility has allowed us to join the entertainment circuit in Newcastle and attract a new clientele to the Newcastle paceway. Two significant racing events occurred that heightened the reputation of the Newcastle paceway. In 1997 we hosted our first ever Grand Circuit event when we ran the $100,000 Australian Pacing Championship.

The grand circuit is the ultimate in harness racing. Each State has a grand circuit race and the culmination each year is the Inter Dominion. A grand circuit race must be run for a minimum of $100,000. Apart from the inter dominion the Australian pacing championship is the only event that rotates around each State of Australia. Newcastle successfully tendered to stage the event to coincide with our Bi centenary celebrations.

Another ground breaking event was the 2002 Inter dominion. This is the most prestigious event in harness racing. It rotates each year from State to State as well as the North and South island of New Zealand. In 2002 in was Sydney’s turn to host the event and for the first time ever the NSW harness racing club broke tradition and transferred a round of heats to Newcastle. The Inter dominion is normally run over 2 weeks with 3 rounds of heats. Horses earn points during the heats to determine who will contest the rich final. The Mile heats were run at Newcastle on the 5th March 2002 and a massive crowd turned out to witness a great night for the sport. This promotion was so succesful that the NSWHRC did the same thing in 2010 when Newcastle hosted 4 heats of ID10 but this time it was on a Saturday night; the 27th February 2010. Another huge crowd turned out to see the best Pacers in Australasia. Champion pacer Blacks a Fake gave the crowd a big thrill with a fantastic win in his heat in a new track record time for the 2030 metre trip.

In July 2004 the NHRC became the regional racing centre for the entire region. The club runs approx 75 meetings per annum and trials every Wedensday night. The club developed the betting ring area into a top class function centre named the Parade Ring Room. This room can accomodate functions for 300 people.

Newcastle’s two major races are the Newcastle Mile and Newcastle Cup. A full results list for both races is below

Newcastle Pacing Cup results

  1. 1/1/54 Ellicot (Les Keys) – Mecca Chief (W A Goodman) – Blue Gamble (F B Egan)
  2. 31/12/54 Match Point (E F Barnes) – Silver Hero (W J Binskin) – Springfield Guy (BJ Higgins}
  3. 6/1/56 Blanche’s Best (D Byrnes) – First Variety (W Weeks) – Set Point (E F Barnes)
  4. 22/11/56 Brusque (PJ Hall) – Tense Ayr (C R Elliott) – Petit Point (E F Barnes)
  5. 18/1/57 Malniri (M Adams) – Colonist (F W Mathews) – Fire Chief (Bob Duncan)
  6. 7/11/58 Warrigal (J Porter) – El Tegra (B Stocks) – True Master (W Lindsay)
  7. 6/11/59 Southern Van (M Adams) – Yonkers (E F Barnes) – Illawarra (C R Elliott)
  8. 3/2/61 Best Trump (D McMillan) – Mighty Field (S R Hardes) – Negro Dancer
  9. 19/1/62 Petite Mission (H Morgan) – Chicola (B Hill) – Master Stuart (C A Horne)
  10. 18/1/63 Single Robert (H J Robb) – Harwood Wirra (K Fletcher) – Royal Swift (G A Graham)
  11. 17/1/64 Coy (R Pracey) – Colin’s Chocie (J Horne) – Speedy Spring (S Staib)
  12. 15/1/65 Craig Tom (K Newman) – Attack’s Pick (L Hartley) – Road Hog (A W Reynolds)
  13. 14/1/66 Friendly Enemy (L Morton) –Attack’s Pick (L Hartley) – Coolhaven ( Croghan)
  14. 13/1/67 Sky Hanover (F J Willis) – Monaro Express – (J Ilsley) – Dell’s Sea (J G O’Brien)
  15. 19/1/68 Brother Mac (C McDeed) – Larg’s Maid (B Mead) – Silent Jenny (B Belloti)
  16. 10/1/69 Bold Judy (D Clark) – Brother Mac (C McDeed) – Flash Adios (J R Austin)
  17. 21/11/69 Princess Satin (E J Tessier) – Pure Idea (TC Lydon) – Glenrey Susie (D McPherson)
  18. 27/11/70 Gallymont Road (R Treasure) – Gay Rawson (J M Caffyn) – Lucky Peak (J Leonard)
  19. 19/11/71 Laucheen (W Hansell) – Bill’s Boy (J E Binskin) – Wesfield (T Nolan)
  20. 10/11/72 Lumber King (P Liggins) – Flash Adios (J R Austin) – Bess Hall ( R Halverson)
  21. 30/11/73 Top Smoke (C R Allan) – Lamarg (J Rees) – Bygone (C McDeed)
  22. 22/11/74 Gypsy Blue (R J Andrews) – Les’s Girl (H Harvey) – Phantom Peak (J Leonard)

Cup not run 75/76/77/78

  1. 9/2/79 Gay Hondo (G Moon) – Best Chance ( C Johnston) – Laissez Faire (J Downing)
  2. 21/12/79 Penny Jack (N Williams) – Gay Hondo (G Moon) – Steel Trader (J Ilsley)
  3. 9/2/81 Michael Frost (J Ilsley) – Koala King (BP Hancock) – Penny Jack (N Williams)
  4. 5/2/82 Steel Trader (J Ilsley) – Simon Said (G Andrews) – Nigra Sum (N Greenwood)
  5. 8/1/83 Nigra Sum (C Johnston) – Orpheus (D Lee) – Leheigh Lad ( T Robinson)
  6. 10/3/84 Tommy Toliver (J McManus) – Batman’s Venture (L Harvey) – Hollydene Boy (G Graham)
  7. 20/4/85 Tosca Eagle (M J Duncan) – Silver Cup (M C Grauss) – Gavil Court (O Glendenning)
  8. 15/3/86 Chico D’Oro (N Baker) – Lots of Vic (R Ellis) – Baccas Boy (GR Hardes)
  9. 21/3/87 Wilson’s Lane (RR Osborn) – Lots of Vic (R Ellis) – Barron Fox (G Gavin)
  10. 6/2/88 Golden Cycle (J J Ilsley) – True to All (R Ellis) – Bromac (M A Lawrence) {last Cup at showground}
  11. 27/5/89 (run at Cessnock) Thorate (BP Hancock) – Tricky One (J Ilsley) – Tyrolean Baron (P Ilsley)
  12. 17/11/90 Duchess Dulcinea (G Watts) – Keen Student (M Ilsley) – Maurmel (C Garth) {first cup at new track}
  13. 19/10/91 Thorate (H James) – Generator (R B Byrnes) – Franco Gold (J O’Sullivan)
  14. 17/10/92 Generator (D Wilson) – Joshua Tree (D Aiken) – Band Magic (P Regent)
  15. 23/10/93 Insutcha (D Aiken) – Exceptionally Smooth (CJ Gleeson) – One Fifty Nine (P Wellington)
  16. 17/12/94*( reverted to stand start) Ultra Jet (D Aiken) – Charlie Bravo (G R Coney) – Tact Rashad (A Chara)
  17. 16/12/95 Tallowood Pursuit (BP Hancock) – The Way To Go (G Andrews) – Our Aynsley (DJ Binskin)
  18. 21/12/96 Our Big Monte (J Proctor) – Rifleman (DR Hancock) – Heatherloch’s Last (GE Markey)
  19. 20/12/97 Murraba (G Henman) – Atomic Saga (D McColl) – Patchwood’s Star (J Cremin)
  20. 19/12/98 Christmas Cloud (S Powell) – The Peaces Maker (K McDeed) – Admiral Karalta (D Wilson)
  21. 18/12/99 Atomic Saga (RB Byrnes) – Gancia Guy (M Callaghan) – Nketia (G Bennett)
  22. 16/12/00 Allira (N Thompson) – Auditors Corner (AJ Wilson) – Motoring Mike (P Wellington)
  23. 15/12/01 Daroobalgie (W Innes) – Docs Mistake (J Pace) – Honkey Lobell (G Bennett)
  24. 21/12/02 Left the Fakes (B Bunfield) – Black Flash (G Innes) – Jay Bees Flush (M Smith)
  25. 20/12/03 Spyridon (G Watts) – Jaccka Smile (G Chapple) – Knight motoring ( G McElhinney)
  26. 18/12/04 Mendacity (G Dorn) – Rollon Big Red (D Graham) – Wild Wild West (G McElhinney)
  27. 17/12/05 Home of Jack (J Cremin) – Perfect Tie (B Fitzpatrick) – Cashel Lugh (N Day)
  28. 16/12/06 Nidya (N Wilson) – Golden Goal ( J Ponsonby) – Kadoopy (M Towers)

not run due to EI

  1. 13/12/08 Panorama Swing (P Sapio) – Jarendan (M Formosa) – Karloo Mick – (B Lew)
  2. 12/12/09 Jackson Grant (J Douglass) – Our Brahman Boy (B Fitzpatrick) – Slippery Nemo (B Sarina)
  3. 11/12/10 Lady Lexus (G Fitzpatrick) – Lonestar Legend (C Fitzpatrick) – Jennas Ranger (G Chapple)
  4. 9/12/11 Mach Wiper (L McCarthy) – Roman Stride (M Rue) – Holy Camp Boy (J Alchin)

* Ultra Jet, off a 20 metre handicap, set a then world record in the 1994 Cup by recording a time of 3.06.4 with a mile rate of 1.57.6

Newcastle Mile Honour board

Year Horse Time Driver Trainer Barrier
1989 Rowleyalla 1.55.8 K Rivett K Rivett 3

1990 Westburn Grant 1.55.1 V Frost V Frost 1
1991 Westburn Grant 1.55.6 V Frost V Frost 5
1992 Joshua Tree 1.57.2 G Henman D Aiken 8
1993 Medowie Prince 1.56.6 C Gleeson C Gleeson 5
1994 Sabilise 1.56.4 S Turnbull B Hancock 4
1995 Sabilise 1.56.9 T Swan B Hancock 8
1996 Sabilise 1.56.8 T Swan B Hancock 5
1997 Quantum Lobell 1.53.1* M Tracey B Hancock 9
1998 Our Sir Vancelot 1.57.3 B Hancock B Hancock 5
1999 Shattering Class 1.57.8 L Harper G Ashcroft 1
2000 Courage Under Fire 1.54.6 B Hancock B Hancock 1
2001 Courage under Fire 1.54.2 B Hancock B Hancock 5
2002 Jofess 1.55.8 D Hancock D Hancock 6
2003 The Falcon Strike 1.54.5 G Hall jnr G Hall snr 5
2004 Hexus 1.55.0 N Giles D Gallagher 4
2005 Sly Flyin 1.53.6 T Herlihy T Herlihy 7
2006 Pay Me Christian 1.52.8** D Butt P Kerr 4
2007 not run due to EI outbreak in NSW
2008 Special Albert 1.54.0 M Dawson B Dawson 6
2009 Saucy Legend 1.53.8 C Fitzpatrick P Fitzpatrick 1
2010 Rohan Home 1.53.3 G Fitzpatrick P Fitzpatrick 5
2011 Raglan 1.54.9 T Butt A Butt 5
2012 not run due to request to run in conjunction with Miracle mile in April, 2 miles will be run in 2013.
2013April. Excel Stride. 1.53.3. J McCarthy. B McCarthy 8

* Australasian Mile race record at that time **new Australasian record at that time. {record since broken at Menangle}