The town of Scone is located in the Hunter region of New South Wales, around 270 kilometres north of Sydney. Scone is well known throughout the racing world for the horse breeding farms in the area. In fact, Scone is the second biggest horse breeding town in the world, with over sixty five horse breeding studs in the region. It is known as the horse capital of Australia, and celebrates each year a wide range of equestrian festivals and events.
One of the famous festivals is the annual Scone and Upper Hunter Horse Festival, which is one of the richest country carnivals in Australia. It is held over two days in mid-May each year. The Scone, Dark Jewel classic, the most celebrated race in the carnival, is a Group 3 quality handicap for fillies and mares, and is run at Scone Racecourse over a distance of 1400 metres and worth 200,000 dollars in prize money. This race attracts a capacity field of many females in various stages in their campaigns, making a tough job for punters to find a winner. The fillies and mares who creep in under the handicapper’s guard, and those improving their times, are definitely the ones to watch.
The race is named after the mare Dark Jewel, who is considered one of the most prestigious of all the Australian broodmares in the past fifty years. Scone, Dark Jewel had eleven foals, of which five were Group race winners. Many of Australia’s thoroughbred horses were bred in the farms surrounding Scone. The Australian Stock Horse Society have their head office in Scone, registering all the stock horses in Australia.
The Annual Scone Horse Festival
The annual Scone horse Festival is a celebration of Scone’s links to the breeding of horses, and is held during May each year. The activities include wine tours, Open days across the numerous horse studs in the area and the Scone Horse Sports day. The main event of the carnival however, is the horse race, which features the prestigious Scone Cup, which includes the Scone, Dark Jewel race. This is one of the richest country racing days in Australia.
Horse Racing, a Favourite Hobby of Australians
Horse racing betting is one of Australia’s favourite hobbies. The country is even given a public holiday the day the Melbourne Cup is run. There is actually a large number of horse races run all over the country every weekend, making it easy for Australians to place a bet. Punters can place their bets at the track, in a betting shop, or online. Online betting is growing incredibly quickly in popularity, due to the convenience of sitting at home while placing the bet. There is now a large number of punters who prefer placing their bets online to any other method. Some of the horse races are the biggest sporting events on the Australian calendar, and have therefore gathered the huge online wagering business. The more people who place bets, the more the prize money and winnings will increase too.
There are different varieties of horse races. There is the maiden race, for horses that have never won a race, and handicap races, where top horses are entered, but weights are added to attempt to equalize the field. About one in three races is won by the favourite, so by simply betting on the favourite the punter will increase his chance of picking a winner.