Towong is a small town in the Shire of the same name, in the Australian state of Victoria. It was established in the 1800s, and is the home of the Towong Turf Club. This stalwart of country racing in Australia hosts the Squizzy Taylor Dash every year, named after the notorious thief who once targeted the track and stole all the race takings, and the historic annual Towong Cup.
The Towong Cup Races
Horse racing has been an important part of social and cultural life in Towong since 1871, when the Cup was first held. It’s even the location that was used for the movie that was made about the legendary Phar Lap. Today the Towong Cup is actually the feature event on a card of seven races with the total purse sitting at 39,000.00 Australian Dollars, and is held over Victoria’s Labour Day weekend. Visitors come from all over the country, in numbers that are often more than double the usual population of the town. The proud racing heritage at the Towong Turf Club is palpable, with the oldest free-standing grandstand in Victoria and centuries-old elm trees gracing the grounds. The Snowy Mountains provide a picturesque background for those who are enjoying the races or the other festivities of the day.
For the seriously-minded and more casual punter, the large racing card gives them the chance to consider statistics, performance, track conditions, reliable and betting strategy in as much detail as they want to and are interested in – and hopefully enjoy some big payouts along the way. The races are run over different distances, so it’s important to look at how the pairs of horses and jockeys have recently performed at these distances. The Towong Cup itself is a handicap race that is run over 1,600 metres and offers a prize of 12,000.00 Australian Dollars to the winner.
In addition to watching and betting on the races, the Cup offers great country race culture, activities to keep children entertained, live music, the ever-popular Fashions on the Field competitions and more. From packing a picnic to enjoy on the lawn with family members to soaking up the old-world glamour of Australian racing, the events surrounding the track meet should keep everyone engaged.
Making a Weekend of It
As popular as the races are, there is more to Towong than the Squizzy Taylor Dash and the Towong Cup. For people who travel to watch and bet on the cup, the long weekend is the perfect excuse to relax and explore the town and its surrounds. The Kosciuszko National Park is easily accessible, and offers outdoor enthusiasts the chance to try abseiling, camping, bushwalking, caving, camping, skiing, horse riding, cycling and white-water rafting. There are also plenty of wild animals and flowers to be seen. The other small towns in the area should also be looked into if time allows. Various accommodation options are available as well, so every individual should be able to find the right way for them to find the right way for them to get back to nature and appreciate a slower way of life – compete with a race that was first run over 140 years ago.