2017 Winning Wednesday- Free Friday Family Fun, ATC

Friday night-for many of us it is the end of the working week and we can finally kick up our heels and look forward to relaxing over the weekend or perhaps look forward to sports matches on Saturday Mornings or simply just time spent with the family or friends.

For others, you may be planning to go out into the city, watch a movie or decide on other activities that Sydney has to offer. One of the various activities that is available to be done on a nice summer Friday night is to attend the races at Canterbury Park race course (owned by The Australian Turf Club). Friday 27th October was the launch of the Summer Nights Racing, if you are not familiar with the festivities, Thoroughbred Events Australia went along and what we have here is a wrap of what is on offer to patrons.

Everyone involved with Horse Racing in New South Wales and even Australia would be familiar with who The Australian Turf Club (ATC) is, for those of you who are not familiar with the organisation or are building your racing terminology, here is a little bit of history.

Who is the ATC?

The ATC is the organisation who is responsible for the operation of Thoroughbred Racing (along side Racing NSW), events and hospitality venues across Sydney. The ATC was launched on 7th February in 2011, when the Sydney Turf Club and the Australian Jockey Club merged and became one.

The Australian Turf Club owns and operates our biggest race tracks being- Royal Randwick, Rosehill Gardens, Warwick Farm and Canterbury Park.

Regardless if you involved in Racing or not, you are most likely to be familiar with Royal Randwick and Rosehill Gardens (most like you have attended an event there) and possibly Warwick Farm (if you live around Liverpool). However, not many are familiar with Canterbury Park.

Canterbury Park Race Course

Located just 11kms from Sydney CBD, Canterbury Park Race Course is one that is very accessible via public transport with the train station just a short stroll away and a number of bus routes passing by.

It is believed that the first horse racing to be held at the race track was in 1852 and over time the surrounding land was cleared and along with the race track a 700 person grandstand was erected and the first meeting held on 19th January 1884. The first racing meeting held by The Sydney Turf Club (STC) was in 1945.

Today while the track may not be used as much as the larger counterparts, the track does house the International Quaratine Centre where any international raiders are housed for the Sydney carnivals, however, the spotlight is cast on the race track during late October and through the Summer months.

Summer of Night Racing

For most Friday’s is a relief that the working week is done and we look forward to the weekend, deciding what to do with the family and/or friends.

Friday 27th October 2017 saw many offices in Sydney get into the spirit of dressing up in Halloween Costumes while others may have left it for the actual day or not at all. For the ATC, it was the launch of the 2017/2018 season of Summer Night Time Racing.

Unlike the other race tracks in Sydney, Canterbury literally is put under spot lights over the late Spring to Summer Months and hosts what is a fun night out for people of all ages, including the little ones.

So here is what you need to know if you are struggling for ideas of what to do with the family on a Friday night over the coming months.

Entry Cost

FREE- yep that is right! Unlike attending the races at Royal Randwick or Rosehill Gardens where usually only kids get free entry, night time racing at Canterbury Park is free for everyone.

Kid’s Activities

While some of the youngsters may not be interested in the horses or the racing, all the little tots are catered for with an array of entertainment. On course at all Friday Night meetings is face painting, jumping castle, a small petting zoo with some furry and fun animals, as well as pony rides which allow the youngsters to put on some of the famous race colours we see worn by our favourite jockey’s- you never know this may be where the inspiration to be the next champion jockey begins!

Foodie & Farmers Market

An important part of any race day or evening is keeping yourself hydrated and energy levels high. Night time racing at Canterbury definitely makes sure that race goers have a wide range of food selections available to keep satisfy even the pickest of eaters. The Foodie & Farmers market is present at every Friday night meeting to provide race goers with an array of different types of food including: Woodfire Pizzas, Turkish Gozleme, Spanish Churros, Paella, Gelato, Donoughnuts even down to the good old hearty Hot Dog. There is definitely bound to be something here to satisfy the tastebuds of everyone.

$5 Beer, House Wine & Food

If Free entry, activities for the kids and array of food stalls isn’t enough to entice you to come along to a night race meeting then how about the option of $5 Beer, House Wine and food options available at the main bars and food outlets as well as various pop up bars around the grounds. Not to mention that some of the delights on offer in the foodies market also offering a $5 menu item. This is definitely sure to keep you well and truly refreshed.


If there was none of the above is still not enough for you to bring the family or a group of friends down to the night racing, well on offer this Summer series is a tempting $10,000 in CASH. All you simply have to do is attend the night racing meetings and locate the ladies wearing ATC silks, fill in your details on the tablets and click submit. You are entitled to one entry per meeting that you attend so obviously the more you attend the more chances you have to win.

For full terms and conditions please click here.

The Racing

Of course the whole reason that the nights are put on is to turn on the spotlights and have racing under lights. Complimenting all of the action off the track there is just as much action on it, with a 9 card race program. First race jumping at 6:15pm and the last rounding out the night at 9:45pm.

Dress Code

For those familiar with going to the races Ladies usually have to dress up and wear a fascinator while the gents are expected to dust off the suit including jacket and tie to enjoy a day at the races. The night racing at Canterbury is not your typical racing experience- the dress code is much more relaxed in that you can wear smart casual, yes this means the good old jeans and T shirt.

Obviously if you are an ATC member then dress code regulations still do apply but are not as strict as those for a Saturday meeting at the other city tracks.

Overall, a great night of fun for people of all ages. Lots of great racing and fun activities to do, attending the Friday Night Racing over this Summer is a must if you have never tried it. Thoroughbred Events Australia would like to congratulate The ATC on a successful launch of the Summer Nights of Racing, we look forward to attending more of the race meetings over the coming months.

If the night racing is something you are yet to enjoy click here to see the dates for the upcoming events, see you at the races!


Article by Kylie Johnson