Early Racing: Ipswich Importance

Breeding Introduced (By Persse)

The Queensland Times

The high plane which racing today enjoys in Queensland is a tribute to the horse-loving pioneers of the Ipswich district. It was here that horse-breeding was initiated in the State, and it was here, apparently, that the first racing was held. To anyone interested in the early days of racing, it is a pity that records of turf happenings in that period are more or less incomplete. Apparently, however, racing commenced in these parts somewhere in the early ‘forties. There was a jockey club in Brisbane in 1846, but early writers comment on the fact that because of its position Ipswich was the more popular centre. The inference is that even before 1846: meetings were held here.


The Queensland Times

Boxing Day, 1848, in Ipswich was a sport day - mainly horse-racing.

The first race of the day was won by James England's horse, the prize being a silver watch. Martin Byrne's horse, Doctor, although lame, won the second race the prize a five-guinea saddle. On that day, in one of the afternoon races, a Mr Turner, known as Scotchie the Sawyer rode his own horse but had an accident when the horse ran into a tree. "Kate” which ran at such a pace that the other riders decided that it was hopeless to try and win.

The race meeting of 1848 did not become an annual event as intended, so a meeting was held in the Queens Arms Hotel on January 19, 1850. It was decided to hold an annual meeting for the first time on Tuesday, June 11, 1850.


Times Past: Horse racing takes off in early Ipswich

The Queensland Times

The 1850s was the time when Ipswich meant horse racing and a Mr Robert Little gave this reason for making Ipswich the headquarters of racing: "It being so far and inconvenient to travel by horse to Brisbane, and Ipswich being in a more central position between the Downs and Brisbane, it was decided that the Ipswich meeting should be looked upon as the meeting place of the district."

"The district" meant the whole of Moreton Bay and this included squatters and bullockies.

They came to attend the three-day annual meeting of the Australian Jockey Club.

Two men in the 1850s who were known as 'Bigge and Little' were Mr FE Bigge of Mt Brisbane and Mr Robert Little of Brisbane.

Another prominent member of the Ipswich racing fraternity was Joshua Peter Bell who as owner of first class racing stock won a reputation throughout Australia. Mr Bell first entered parliament in 1865. He then became Colonial Treasurer in the Herbert Ministry and President of the Legislative Council a position he held until his death in 1881.

He had been knighted by Queen Victoria. Pride of place was given to him as the owner of the Grange Stud situated at the old Ipswich racecourse which he purchased in June 1874.

It consisted of 216 acres and he purchased the land for 1,350 pounds. Mr William Kellett made the site famous by transforming it into a stud establishment known as "The Grange" while Mr Harry Walsh was the trainer there.

During the seven years existence of "The Grange" some 105 races were won including all the principle events in the Q.T.C calendar. Also, horses from "The Grange" won all of the chief races in Australia.

1859 – The first official racing at The Grange and the first official Queensland racing meeting.


1860s - TJ Barker, writing as "Old Sport", was one of the people interested in racing and one of his reminiscences of those early days included: "The first Parliament opened by Sir George Bowen in Brisbane on May 22, 1860, adjourned during the first week in June to enable the members to attend the three-day race meeting on the Ipswich racecourse with which Flemington and Randwick could then compare."

Old Sport also recalled the greatness and the exciting scenes he witnessed on the racecourse during the holding of annual reunions of the old Australian Jockey Club.

1861 - The Ipswich Turf Club was regarded as the headquarter of horse racing in Queensland. Early Racing: Ipswich Importance – Breeding Introduced (By Persse) Queensland Times, Wednesday 4 July 1934.

A championship meeting held on May 29, 1861, was of three miles and the prize race was 1000 pounds.

A week later the annual June Races were run and prize money amounted to 2000 pounds, which included a Queens Plate of 100 guineas.

In 1864, the Brisbane Guardian wrote: "Regarding the horse racing, we have only to travel to the sister town of Ipswich in order to witness what a spirited club can do in the way of getting up the most successful meetings in Queensland."

A write-up in The Queensland Times in June 1865 read: "On such a morning as this, when all the fashionable and sporting world of Queensland and probably 9/10th of our readers are preparing for the Ipswich racecourse, and experiencing the excitement with a week's amusement, prospect is naturally calculated to awaken, we might now double submit an essay on political economy but we question whether we should meet with a score of readers."

The old racecourse was a significant historical landmark not only to Ipswich but also the Queensland and when travelling, would always come across people who talked about the magnificent area of the grand old sporting days.


How a racing legend was born

The Queensland Times

In 1861 - the same year in which the first Melbourne Cup was run - Ipswich hosted the first Australian Champion Sweepstakes.

A 1000 pounds was offered for the winner of a 3 mile race with weight-for-age to be run on May 29, 1861. Interestingly, the Ipswich race offered 1000 pounds and the Melbourne Cup offered 100 pounds and a gold watch. Zoe travelled from Sydney to win the Ipswich race and Archer travelled from Nowra to win the Melbourne Cup the same year.

The occasion was a great social event which enticed people from Brisbane and all outlying districts, as well as southern visitors. There were only four horses in the race: Ben Bolt, Eclipse, Van Tromp and Zoe. It was the most important horse race that had ever taken place in the Australian colonies and was created by a few Ipswich sportsmen.

Patron was Governor Sir George Ferguson Bowen G.C.M.G and stewards were Thomas De Lacy Moffatt, John Panton, Arnold Wienholt J.P, Francis E Bigge and J Laidley. Judge was the Hon W. H. Waldwyn.

Two of the horses were brought up to Ipswich on steamboats a few days prior to the race as did most of the people from Brisbane. Governor Bowen came on the steamboat to Ipswich a day prior to the race and the journey took from 9am to 3pm.

From a description of two of the horses we learn that Zoe was a thorough racer and was thought to be the most beautiful animal to have been seen in the Australian colonies, Ben Bolt was a powerful looking hack which no man in his senses would take to be a racer but had an immense amount of propelling power with powerful loins, massive quarters and large gaskins and there lay the secret of his success. He was only a pony and stood about 14 hands 2 inches high, Van Tramp was a local horse and Eclipse came from the Darling downs.

The winner of the race was Zoe the time taken 5 minutes 55 seconds, 2nd "Ben Bolt" 3rd Van tromp" and 4th Eclipse. On the back of Zoe’s win, she was named the Australian Horse of the Year.

The Queensland Champion Sweepstakes was held on the racecourse situated on land bounded by Robertson Rd., Raceview, Cascade and Wildey Streets which contained 216 acres and had been named a racecourse reserve by the Government on December 21, 1861. It was known as The Grange.

Picture: Ipswich Art Gallery - FOWLES, Joseph - Zoe (The Champion) [2007.051] etched frame (Carl Warner)

1866 - Annual Race Meeting

The third annual race meeting of the Old Turf Club was held on May 30, 1866.

There were 1200 to 1500 people at the races and "as horse racing in Queensland is such a luxury, the bulk of the spectators did not trouble themselves much about the quality of the horses".

Charges for admission to the course at the Ipswich races in 1866 were: person on foot sixpence, cabs and vehicles two shillings and sixpence, horse and driver two shillings.

Governor Bowen hosted a grand ball for the North Australia Jockey Club at the Ipswich School of Arts, now the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Jibboom was the winner of the first official Ipswich Cup. Jibboom was bred at Mount Brisbane Stud, claimed to be the oldest studs in Queensland commencing in 1843, and was by Sailor out of Ruby. He began racing in Ipswich and as a four-year-old he was purchased by Mr Kent of Jondaryn and travelled to Toowoomba and later Sydney. Not long after arriving in Sydney his stables caught fire. Although he was saved he was badly burned and died days later.

In 2005, the original Ipswich Cup was purchased for $10,000 by a group of local business people and is now held at the Ipswich Art Gallery. The currently value is unknown however the 1866 Melbourne and Doncaster Cups were valued at approximately $800,000 and $600,000 respectively. The three Cups are the oldest known racing silverware in Australia.

To honour the first official winner of the Ipswich Cup, in 2006 the Ipswich Turf Club named the newly constructed function room the Jibboom Lounge.


Joshua Peter Bell

During the 1850s one of Ipswich’s racing fraternity was Joshua Peter Bell who as owner of first class racing stock won a reputation throughout Australia. Mr Bell first entered parliament in 1865. He then became Colonial Treasurer in the Herbert Ministry and President of the Legislative Council a position he held until his death in 1881.

He had been knighted by Queen Victoria. Pride of place was given to him as the owner of the Grange Stud situated at the old Ipswich racecourse which he purchased in June 1874.

It consisted of 216 acres and he purchased the land for 1,350 pounds. The Stud was later purchased by Mr William Kellett who made the site famous by transforming it into a stud establishment known as "The Grange" while Mr Harry Walsh was the trainer there.

1876 - In 1876 the stewards of the Christmas races decided that no card sharpers or dice men should be allowed to practise on any part of the racecourse. Any gentry of this class, if caught, would be handed to the police.

1879 - When the Ipswich races were held in June 1879 all banks in the area opened at 9am and closed at 10am. The prize was a new saddle and bridle and only farmer's horses were allowed to be entered.


1885 - A meeting held at the Palais Royal Hotel in June 1885 was for anyone interested in re-establishing horse racing in Ipswich.

Chairman the Hon George Thorn said there was strong opposition by Ipswich people to a racecourse being at Bundamba. Mr A W Darvell, one of the promoters of the meeting said "it was the meetings object to obtain for the people of Ipswich a course, though they did not desire to force races upon them, still their children might wish to do so in rational sport, if their fathers did not".

The reserve at Bundamba had been granted and vested in Messrs R J Smith, W. Kellett and EA Bullmore as trustees.

1886 - Easter Monday, Ipswich Amateur Turf Club.

About £230 passed through the totalisator on the five races decided during the afternoon, and attendance was estimated at something under 500. The racing was good, but the weather was dull, and drizzling rain fell at intervals. The club, I understand, made a fair profit. Newspaper clipping, preserved by Dorothy Perrett.

1888 - By April 12, 1888 the Ipswich Turf Club held a race meeting at the Bundamba Racecourse. Prize money was 475 sovereigns and the races were the Trial Stakes, Selling Race, Ipswich Turf Club handicap, Visitors Plate, Bundamba Purse and the Farewell Handicap.

1888 – An article in The Queensland on Saturday, 29 December 1888.

Wednesday was a public holiday had a material effect upon the attendance at the Ipswich Turf Club's races at Bundamba. There were 2000 persons present, and as the weather was fine and cool the visitors to the racecourse had a most enjoyable day's outing. The racing, although confined to small fields throughout, was interesting, and in some cases exciting, as there were several very close finishes between the first and second horses, and considerable amounts of money were invested on the results of the various events. The totalisator was exceptionally well patronised, no less than £1920 being passed through the machine during the day. Contrary to the experiences of Saturday last the results were as a rule disastrous to backer, as only two favourites succeeded in justifying the public confidence, but as the fields were so small all the starters were more or less supported on the totalisator. The largest dividend paid was £7 18s. on the winner of the Farewell Handicap.


1890s - Department of Public Lands, Brisbane 12th September, 1929.

His Excellency the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, has been pleased to appoint

William Arthur Albion Perrett

To be Trustee of the Reserve for Racecourse, Bundamba, in the parish of Ipswich, set apart by Proclamation dated 10th February, 1890, in the room of Henry Besgrove, who has left the electoral district.

W.A. Deacon,

Secretary for Public Lands.

1892- The first meeting under the auspices of the Booval Race Club was held in the paddock of Mr A Perrett Snr at the bend of the Bremer River about half a mile from the Booval railway Station on July 16, 1892. Among those connected with the races were Messrs Thomas Burns, Dinmore, Mr Joseph Perrett, Major Noble, J Reilly of the Booval Hotel and Joseph Christey.

May 12, 1893 - Popular trainer Edward ‘Ted’ John Easton shifted his training from The Grange to Bundamba. A winner of two Queensland Derby’s with Persian Jewel (1910) and King Cleo (1912). He also won a Queensland Cup with Buttons, 1890, and Realm, 1891. In the last 16 years he trained, he won over 100 races in the metropolis and a trifle over £22,000 in stakes. He died in 1929.


The first race meeting held under the auspices of the newly formed Ipswich Jockey Club registered and protected by the Queensland Turf Club took place on the Bundamba racecourse on April 21, 1900.

1901 - one of the early 1900s greatest horses Fitz Grafton was bred by Blackland Stud in Ipswich. Fitz Grafton won a Stradbroke Handicap at two-years-old, at three-years-old he won a Queensland Derby, St Ledger, Guineas, Brisbane Cup and Sandgate Handicap. He followed up as a four-year-old with another Brisbane Cup win. He sold to India for 2000 pounds and won the Viceroy’s Cup and Kings Plate. He was a winner of 6 furlongs to two miles. He was later sold to England.



22nd June 1915 – Bundamba Reserve – An area of about 12 acres, at Bundamba (including cancelled defence purposes reserve) had been reserved for recreation under the control of Messrs, W.A.A. Perrett, T. Burgess, W. Noble, P. Monaghan, E. Seymour, T. Sharp, and G. Rutherford.

This may be the land that backs onto the racecourse and was granted to the Bundamba State School.


1921 - Racing was in full swing during the 1920s in Ipswich. It is recorded on one meeting in November 1921, the Ipswich Amateur Turf Club raced in the afternoon with Sandy Gallop switching on the electric lights for a night’s turn of pony racing. Queensland Times, Racing Notes, Tuesday 22 November 1921

Strict regulations of government workers meant you weren’t allowed to own race horses. Alfred Clarence Perrett was just one who pushed the boundaries and raced and owned horses, albeit a slightly different name listed in the race books. One horse he had much success with was Winning Belle in the early 1920s.

Local hero

Popular Bundamba-trained horse Fairy Boy was at one time among the first flight of sprinters competing on unregistered courses. In March 1924 Fairy Boy won, in vigorous style, the Ipswich Hundred, a race worth 100 pounds. In a newspaper clipping it states “Mr W Arthur, a nom-de-course, has been racing at Bundamba for many years, with a varied amount of luck. He seems to have in his possession a rattling good horse in Fairy Boy, which possesses a good racing pedigree being by the imported English thoroughbred, Thor, and the dam is a Golden Prime mare. Golden Prime, prior to going to the stud, performed frequently in metropolitan registered racing circles”.


Ipswich Affairs (By Persse)

Queensland Times, Thursday 24 October 1935

The Ipswich Amateur Turf Club fortunately is alive to the urgent need for general improvements to buildings at the Bundamba course. The official stand has been enlarged by a Press room and weighing room. Jockeys now have ample room for themselves on the lower floor. Previously the press men worked in the stewards’ room but now the have a room to themselves, and the stewards are located in a large room at the far end of the top floor.

It is understood that the public stand will be the next building to be treated. The building has stood practically untouched for years, and, to state it bluntly, is rather an eyesore for a progressive club. A coat of paint at least is urgently needed, while minor alterations would improve its appearance. The totalisator board has been improved. From a small blackboard hung sideways, it has developed to a large board easily seen from the front of the totalisators. Doubtless the official flag of the IATC holds many associations, but memories and associations might be forsaken with advantage in the provision of a flag at the top of the mast which is not torn. The presentation ensign really is dilapidated for instead of one end flapping in the breeze there are 50 minor ends.


The start of the first race at Bundamba yesterday was delayed through the mislaying of the marbles utilised for giving the positions of horses at the barrier. A hurried search by all officials handy failed to located ‘alleys’ and finally the names of horses and barrier positions were placed and draw from a hat. Subsequently, it was found that the caretaker, believing the marbles had been left out by accident, had placed them beneath the safe. A visitor to the course offered the club some advice: “Don’t worry, you’ll get your marbles back!”

Excellent fields and attendance should be the order at the next meeting of the Ipswich A. T. C. when the main event will be the Ipswich Gold Cup – The meeting will be held on November 6, the day following the Melbourne Cup.

1935 - Faith Australia carrying 7 stone 8 ounces won the Ipswich Gold Cup.

1936 - Bernie Ross carrying 8 stone 6 ounces won the Ipswich Cup.


In the early 1940s the Ipswich grounds were used as a base for the US Army.

1946 - 1968 Dr T.L. Cooney served as Chairman of the Ipswich Amateur Turf Club

The 1948 Ipswich Cup winner was Emrose ridden by the great Russell Maddock. Both Emrose and Maddock also claimed a Toowoomba Cup.

1949 - Forge claimed the Ipswich Cup for trainer Arthur Noud and was regarded as one of the toughest stayers of the 1940s. The horse also won the 1948 Doomben Cup.


1950 - The year 1950 was a significant milestone for the Ipswich racing fraternity. Two new state of the art totaliser buildings were opened on the grounds housing the Julius Tote. Around the same time a “Magic Eye” camera or photo finish camera was installed. An integral part of the Julius Tote was the Electro Mechanical Shaft Adder that dated back to circa 1936. Weighing 26kg, the Shaft Adder was part of a win place totalisator system. The complete system for 24 runners in a field consisted of 50 adders. 

1950 - Frederick Tivoli Hooper and Percy John Kruger were made Trustees for and on behalf of Ipswich Amateur Turf Club. The agreement also included the Automatic Totalisators Limited.

1957 - Long-priced Ipswich Cup winner Emphatic was 50-1 when he won in 1957.

During the 1950s Noel “Digger” McGrowdie won three Ipswich Cups. In 1952 aboard Thuwise, 1955 Lucky Leader and in 1956 Malkuri. McGrowdie was an established jockey who won a Melbourne Cup and is one of only a handful of jockeys to win all four of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival – Stradbroke, Brisbane Cup, Doomben 10,000 and Doomben Cup.

Mel Schumacher – the boy from Boonah

A star apprentice of the 1950s who was still riding Group 1 and feature race winners in the 1980s. However, there is no doubt that he would have been an immortal had he not spent long periods on the sidelines. He was Australia’s form jockey when disqualified for five years in 1962 at the age of 24 for the infamous leg pull case in the AJC Derby. It slowed Schumacher’s career and although he returned a top jockey his best years were probably spent on the sidelines. He won more than 2500 winners in a career spanning 20,000 rides.

Kruger Family - Eye Liner

Edward Norman (Ted) Kruger and Percy John Kruger were local saw millers and racehorse-breeders who founded the City View Stud at Bundamba in 1944. A long-standing committee of the Ipswich Amateur Turf Club with Percy, along with Frederick Tivoli Hooper were made Trustees for and on behalf of the Ipswich Amateur Turf Club in 1950.

The family eventually moved their stock to Lyndhurst, near Warwick, from the McDougall family in 1956 but continued to support the Club.

In 1975 the brothers sold the mill site to accommodate a relocated Ipswich technical college. Ted took the timber and manufacturing interests while Percy and his son Merrell the Lyndhurst Stud. Ted was an active Ipswich local with interests in tennis, bowls and football and active in local community organisations. He was named the Ipswich Citizen of the Year in 1979.

The Kruger family foundation sire, was the imported stallion, Smokey Eyes. Foaled in 1947 and being a grandson of the 1933 English Derby winner and world-famous sire Hyperion, Smokey Eyes was, for almost a decade, the leading Sire of winners for the whole of Australia. Whilst Smokey Eyes produced many great horses, he produced one filly - who then, and to this day - has left an indelible mark on the Queensland and indeed Australian Racing Industry. Raced by the Kruger brothers, Eye Liner was the best two-year-old produced in Brisbane winning nine races in a row as a juvenile and 12 of her first 13 starts.

Trained by Jack Wilson, she was taken to Sydney to contest the time honoured 6 furlong (1200 metres) Champagne Stakes at Randwick. Eye Liner won the Champagne Stakes against the cream of Australian two-year-olds in 1 minute 9.9 seconds and in doing so, bettered the time record held by the champion Todman. In her illustrious career, she won 14 races and carried up to 69kgs (10stone12lbs) to victory and was named 1967 "Horse of the Year".

In recognition of the support the Kruger family provided the Turf Club, the member’s lounge was named in Eye Liner’s honour in the 1980s.

Bundamba trainer Kevin Keidge also trained many of the Kruger’s horses but is best known for his skill in preparing the top-class Regal Advice to win the Group 1 Castlemaine Stakes (now TJ Smith) in 1983. Not only a superb effort against a strong field, he also made it a first for Ipswich trainers by winning a Group 1.


Tulloch wooed the crowd numerous times at Bundamba. He was one of Queensland’s great champions having won a Caulfield Cup, Derbies making him a true weight-for-age champion. In commemoration of a century of racing the Club hosted a Centenary Cup meeting in 1960. Tulloch went head to head with Macdougall who had a year previously been crowned the Melbourne Cup winner. Two great champions to grace the Bundamba turf. In June, 1961 – Tulloch entertained the crowd again with a solo exhibition gallop.

The centenary meeting also highlighted the strong divide that existed between men and women at race meetings. Women were permitted to attend the races, however, were clearly defined to a specific area of the track. When Queensland’s Governor Sir Henry Abel Smith greeted the committee guests he first met with the Club’s Chairman TL Cooney and fellow committeemen. Following this he moved across the path to meet with TL Cooney’s wife and guests.

The top stayer Sharply was renowned for his battles with the champion galloper Tulloch. But he holds an unusual record in Queensland racing. Sharply won the 1961 Ipswich Cup when ridden by Bernie Howlett. He returned in 1962 to win Ipswich’s John Canty Flying (now the Eye Liner Stakes) when ridden by Roy Higgins. Sharply remains one of the only three post WWII horse to win the major Cup and feature sprint at a Queensland TAB racetrack.

September 17, 1961 - Queensland first triple dead heat for third. In the first race, the Rosevale Maiden, Brown Casir (4/1), Bush Beauty (9/2) and Dolly Bridge (150/1) could not be separated for third place.

1962 - a call for each-way betting was made by the public.

In 1963 Sometime and Conference dead-heated for first in the Ipswich Cup. The next year Bore Head and Isaacson also dead-heated for first in the 1964 Cup. It is the only time there has been consecutive dead-heats in a major Queensland feature race.

One of Queensland’s best handicap stayers Bore Head claimed the 1964 Ipswich Cup when he dead heated with Isaacson. Bore Head claimed five Cups in his career including the Ipswich, Queensland, Caulfield, Australian and Doomben. His jockey Fred Clarke went to his grave swearing he would have won the 1965 Melbourne had he not fallen. Throughout Bore Head’s career he was trained by Ronnie Dillon and D.Judd.

1966 Ipswich Cup winner Prunda was the people’s champion for almost all of the 1960s with 119 starts he rarely put in a poor effort. He carried huge weights to win and was often the get out horse for punters.

1968 - 1977 Mr H.O. Dick was the Ipswich Turf Club Chairman.

1968 – Club secretary Ted Skippington oversaw the $200,000 grandstand and administration block constructed.

1968 - Ascot Bridge won an Ipswich two-year-old by 15 lengths on February 7, 1968.

1969 – Boobereela gave jockey Graham Cook his first Ipswich Cup win. Graham went on to win another two Cups – 1973 onboard Fall Guy and in 1983 riding Claymore Boy.

1969 – Kaoru Star is the only horse in Queensland to win the same feature race twice but under different conditions. He won the 1969 J.F. Canty Flying when it was restricted to three-year-olds. He then won the race again when it was renamed the Eye Liner Stakes. Kaoru Star later went on to become a top sire.


Makata gave champion jockey Mick Dittman his first Group winner when he took the 1970 Ipswich Cup in runaway style. Dittman dominated Brisbane racing in the 1970s winning five premierships and setting a record for most wins in a season at 97 and a half. He won most of the big Group One races around the country including the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper just to name a few.

Mick went on to win three Ipswich Cups. In fact, there have been four jockeys to record three Ipswich Cups including Dittman who won with He’ll Do (1979), Skyperion (1972), Makata (1970). Jim Byrne won aboard Sphenophyta (2006), He’s Back on Track (1997), Ardeed (1995). Digger McGrowdie won with Thuwise (1952), Lucky Leader (1955) and Malkuri (1956). Graham Cook also recorded the treble with wins aboard Claymore Boy (1983), Fall Guy (1973) and Boobereela (1969).

In 1971, torrential rain resulted in several meetings being cancelled or postponed in Brisbane with Ipswich’s 13th of February Saturday meeting transferred to the sand track. The winners were Blue Way (Bill Moore, Roy Dawson), Avant Garde (Fred Honnery, Fred Best), Rego Prince (Graham Cook, Jack McCallum), Tarompa (Doug Messingham, Alby Pratt), King’s Ransom (Terry Finger, Alf Sands), Setaria (Terry Lucas, Jim Atkins), Down Deep (Tony Erhart, Alby Pratt) and Calcutta Chief (Tony Erhart, Roy Dawson).

1972 – Skyperion ran a course record when he won the 1972 Ipswich Cup trained by the great Roy Dawson and ridden by Mick Dittman.

1974 – The big flood – the course proper was completely submerged and 2.15m (7 feet) of water was swirling through the office and jockeys room.

Records of flooding in the Ipswich area date back to the nineteenth century, with the first major incident being recorded in 1893. In February of that year, the Brisbane River broke its banks on three separate occasions, leading to the month becoming known as “Black February”. 

1976/77 – A new 50m horse swimming pool was constructed on the infield.

1977 – 1986 Mr L.O. Foote was the Chairman of the Ipswich Turf Club.

1979 – Computerised betting via the KB machines was installed for the first time at Bundamba with the big benefit for punters who would not have to join separate queues to place bets and collect winnings. These computer totalisator systems superseded electromechanical Julius totes which had been operating for decades at Bundamba.


September 5, 1980 - Keith Noud called at Bundamba for the last time. Keith was a legend in Brisbane racing and was also a member of one of Australia’s most famous racing families.

April 20, 1983 - Handsome Prince ridden by Michael Pelling and Strawberry Road ridden by Len ‘Mick’ Dittman went head to head in an exhibition gallop. Strawberry Road was a brilliant stayer who recorded one of the easiest wins on record in the 1983 AJC Derby. He also picked up the 1983 Cox Plate, later to go onto win in Europe and the USA, later a top sire in America. He also won an Improvers Handicap at the Bundamba track on 6 January 1983. Handsome Prince was a popular grey who went within an ace of completing the Doomben summer treble winning two legs only to finish third in the final race. He later became the clerk of the course’s pony at Eagle Farm for many years.

1983 - Ipswich’s first Group 1 winning trainer - Bundamba trainer Kevin Keidge is best known for his skill in preparing the top-class Regal Advice to win the Group 1 Castlemaine Stakes (now TJ Smith) in 1983.

1986 - 1988 – Mr K.E. Versace was the Chairman of the Ipswich Turf Club.

1987 -Distancia won the Ipswich Cup for trainer John Wallace and jockey Neil Williams who admitted he was one of his favourite horses to ride. The pair also combined to win a Gold Coast Cup the same year. The time was a track record that remained until 2015 when Chris Waller’s Danchai broke the record.

1988 - The Ipswich Turf Club had to call in the administrators to work through the grave financial position following alleged misappropriation of funds.

1989 - Local jockey Jamie Bayliss rode Dixie Kid to win the Ipswich Cup for trainer Bruce Brown.

1989-1990 - Mr R.A. Allan was the Chairman of the Ipswich Turf Club.

Bayliss Family

The Ipswich-raised Bayliss family have two Group 1 winners in the clan after Jake Bayliss claimed the Ellerslie Group 1 Railway Stakes in New Zealand in early 2018.

Jake’s father Jamie had the foresight to take he and his brother Regan to Melbourne to further their promising jockey careers in the early 2010s. Regan was only 13 at the time so had to finish a couple more years of school prior to riding although he commenced work with the Peter Moody stable as soon as possible.

Jake is eldest of the pair by two years and famously won at his first ride for his master Michael Kent when he weighed a miserly 38 kilograms. Jake has developed over the past five years since that win to be a much stronger rider to combine with the family line of talent.

Younger brother Regan of course was first of the brothers to claim a Group 1 win in the Newmarket Handicap aboard Redkirk Warrior early in 2017.

Jamie was also a handy jockey and claimed his hometown Ipswich Cup in 1989 when he rode Dixie Kid for the win. Bob Bayliss, Jamie’s dad, was also the clerk of the course at the time and his sister Sharon who was also a clerk of the course and led Dixie Kid back into scale.


1990 - 1995 - Mr R.G. Bentley was the Chairman of the Ipswich Turf Club.

1990 – Barossa Boy won the Eye Liner Stakes. He went on to become the first to win the Doomben winter sprint treble (BTC Sprint, BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000) in the one year when he won all three in 1992.

1993 - Gai Waterhouse was the first female trainer to win an Ipswich Cup. Her win was with Beachside ridden by Glen Boss. She followed up with another victory in 2008 with Bianca ridden by Scott Seamer.

1994 - John Wallace’s top New Zealand stayer Oompala won the 1994 Ipswich Cup. He then went on to run third to Jeune in the Melbourne Cup. He also won the Gatton, Tattersall’s, Caloundra and Newcastle Cups.

1995 - Hareeba was a brilliant sprinter of the 90s who won six Black Type races including two Group One sprints. He provided the Ipswich punters with an exhibition gallop when at his peak in 1995 with Mick Pelling in the saddle. 

1995 - 2001 - Mr D.J. Bowden was the Chairman of the Ipswich Turf Club.

December, 11 1996 - General Nediym performed an exhibition gallop at Bundamba with jockey Peter Wolfgram. He was one of Queensland’s champions under saddle and as a sire. His main wins were in the Magic Millions as a 2yo and later in the Magic Millions Cup, Todman Slipper Trial, San Domenico Stakes, Heritage Stakes, Stan Fox Stakes, 1998 Lightning Stakes and 1998 Newmarket Handicap. He later went onto become a top class sire producing another of Queensland’s favourites Regimental Gal. General Nediym was foaled at Glengarry Stud, Harrisvale near Ipswich that was established by Ron Ashdown in the early 1990s.

1999 - Jockey Jim Byrne rode five winners in a day on 22 September at Ipswich.

1999 - The final race of the 20th century was won by My Funny Face ridden by Michael Pelling, trained by Kelso Wood owned by Jim Wanless.

In the late 1990s the new Galaxy totalisators where installed and used right through to 2017.


2000 - Pittance made history when he won three Listed Eye Liner Stakes in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

2001 - Mr W. Patch has held the position of the Ipswich Turf Club Chairman since 2001.

2001- Sydney Cup winner Henderson Bay also claimed the Ipswich Cup.

2004 - Portland Singa claimed the Ipswich Cup plus the Caloundra Cup and Group 1 Brisbane Cup in the same year.

2006 - Sphenophyta claimed the Ipswich Cup, he also added the Group 1 Turnball Stakes to his record later that year.

2007 - Ipswich Cup winner Sculptor was trained by Peter McKenzie who was also known for his role as Elendil in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Sculptor went on to win the SAAB Quality at Flemington after his Ipswich victory.

2008 - Race caller Wayne Wilson picked the first seven winners of the 8-card meeting on a March meeting in 2008. Wayne was held in high regard in a career spanning 40 years with his first Ipswich call in 1969.

September 10, 2009 – The final three races at the Ipswich meeting were called off after jockeys went on strike at protest at changes to whip riding rules.

2009 - Our Lukas was the first horse to win back-to-back Ipswich Cup titles. His first was in 2009, followed by 2010 both for renowned Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote.

2009 - Brent Evans was the first apprentice to win an Eye Liner Stakes. He won aboard Mitanni who was trained by John Wallace. Brent was also named the Apprentice School Champion for the same year. Brent was also the first apprentice to win a senior premiership in the same year.


2011 - Flooding once again hit the Ipswich Turf Club with water flowing through the administration building, although this time the levels were lower than 1974.

2012 - The first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, visited the Ipswich Turf Club.

The 2013/14 racing season saw Gillian Heinrich become the first female trainer in 155 years history of the Ipswich Turf Club to win the Ipswich Trainers’ Premiership. 

2014 - Tegan Harrison was the first female jockey to win an Ipswich Cup. Her win was onboard Brave Ali trained by Tony Gollan carrying 56.5 kilograms.

2015 - Group 1 winning horse Smokin’ Joey won the Eye Liner Stakes. He had won the Goodwood the year prior to his Ipswich win.

2015 - European imports won the Ipswich Cup for the first time. In 2015, Danchai claimed the win for trainer Chris Waller and ridden by Luke Tarrant and in 2016 it was Maurus trained by David van Dyke ridden by Damian Browne.

2017 - The new Orion totaliser machines installed.

2017 - A major re-development was approved for the Ipswich Turf Club, the first infrastructure funding since 1991.

2017 – Self Sense won the Ipswich Cup for trainer David Brideoak and popular jockey Michael Cahill 54kg,

18 May 2018 – The Ipswich Racing Museum was opened in the old 1950s tote building.

16 June 2018 – Tradesman collected the Ipswich Cup 2150m for trainer Darren Weir ridden by Dean Yendall 57kg.

30 June 2018 - 2017/18 Premiership winners - Tony Gollan collected his fourth consecutive Ipswich Trainer’s Premiership at Ipswich, by a margin of 12 to Matt Dunn.

Jeff Lloyd, the Queensland champion jockey of the past few years, collected his first Ipswich Premiership with 37 scalps for the season.

Another first-time premiership winner at Ipswich was Emma Ljung, who became the fourth female to collect the Premier Apprentice honour following in the footsteps of Mandy Radecker, Tegan Harrison and Tiff Brooker.

15 June 2019 – Bergerac won the Ipswich Cup 2150m for trainer Steve Tregea and apprentice jockey Michael Murphy carrying 57.5kg. The Gai-Waterhouse/Adrian Bott horse Ready to Prophet won the very race named after her – the Gai Waterhouse Classic. Ready to Prophet was ridden by Michael Cahill.

30 June 2019 – 2018/19 Premiership winners - Jeff Lloyd finished his illustrious career in the top position as the Ipswich Premier Jockey for the second consecutive year. It was his last year riding going out on top with 30 wins for the season after retiring in July.

Lloyd, 57, recorded 720 starts at Ipswich with 143 winners or a 20 per cent strike rate. Success was worldwide for the jockey who rode over 90 Group 1 winners from South Africa to Hong Kong and Australia.

For the fifth consecutive time, Tony Gollan was awarded the Ipswich Premier Trainer recording 29 wins for the 2018/19 racing season. Gollan has dominated the Ipswich training ranks with his run of success at the Club starting in 2014 when he collected the Cup with Brave Ali and Eye Liner Stakes with Alma’s Fury.

The apprentice race was tighter with Baylee Nothdurft the Ipswich Premier Apprentice for the 2018/19 season title after riding 10 winners for the season.

30 October 2019 – The track was closed following the October 30 meeting for a five-month renovation including new drainage, irrigation and pump house.


March 2020 - Throughout 2020 Covid-19 shuts down much of the world but racing continues to operate under strict restrictions.

13 April 2020 – Track reopens following a five-month renovation.

It is the first time since the second world war that the Ipswich Cup was not held at the Ipswich Turf Club.

18 July 2020 – The Eye Liner Stakes and Gai Waterhouse Classic were run as a part of the adjusted Queensland Winter Racing Carnival

Tony Gollan officially completed the feature treble at Ipswich after clocking up the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic 1350m with Solar Star ridden bv jockey Robbie Fradd. He has previously won the Ipswich Cup (2014) and Eye Liner Stakes (2014 & 2018).

Kelly Purdy’s Bandipur claimed the Listed Eye Liner Stakes 1200m ridden by jockey Jag Guthmann-Chester.

19 September 2020 – The official opening of the Ipswich Events & Entertainment Centre and tie-up stalls at the Ipswich Turf Club.

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe unveiled the multimillion redevelopment of the Ipswich Turf Club.

With $24.8 million funded out of the Racing Infrastructure Fund, Mr Hinchliffe was on-course for the official opening, inspecting the world-class facilities delivered at Bundamba.

The Ipswich Events and Entertainment Centre is one of the region’s premier hospitality venues, along with improved amenities for jockeys, stewards, patrons and the media via the new double storey facility.

In addition, state-of-the-art drainage and irrigation systems were installed at ITC, including the installation of pH sensors and acid injection machines to help with the salinity of the on-course irrigation water, to support the track works and enhance the racing surface.

The project included widening works to T.L. Cooney Avenue fronting the site, new tie-up stalls and a new car park.

In an historic coincidence it was 36 years to the weekend since the Members’ Eye Liner Lounge and new race day stalls were officially opened.

1 March 2021 - Long serving General Manager Brett Kitching retired from the Club after 16 years in the top job.

Tim Dunn is appointed the role of CEO and Club Secretary and commenced on 14 December 2020. 

19 June 2021 – The 2021 Ipswich Cup 2150m winner was Happy Go Plucky ridden by Stephanie Thornton and trained by John Gilmore. The Eye Liner Stakes 1200m was won by Snitch ridden by Ben Thompson and trained by Tony Gollan.

The Gai Waterhouse Classic 1350m was won by Lillemor ridden by Ben Thompson and trained by John O’Shea.

The hero of 2021 is Incentivise who won on Ipswich Cup day in 2021 when claiming the Benchmark 78 over 2500m for trainer Steve Tregea and ridden by Anthony Allen. The great stayer then went on the same year to be trained by former Queenslander Peter Moody to win the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes 1600m, Turnbull Stakes 2000m , Caulfield Cup 2400m. He then ran second in the Melbourne Cup 3200m and was later found to have suffered an injuring during the race and spelled back in his home state of Queensland.

In 2022, Covid-19 restrictions eased and the Ipswich Cup Race Day attracted around 15,000 patrons. The Ipswich Cup is won by Smart Meteor for trainer Chris Munce and ridden by Brock Tyan. The Eye Liner Stakes 1200m is won by Holyfield ridden by Brodie Loy and trained by Annabel Neasham.

The Gai Waterhouse Classic 1350m is won by Centrefire ridden by Samantha Collett and trained by Chris Munce.

Jasmine Cornish won the 2021/22 Ipswich Apprentice Jockeys Premiership winner. The talented young hoop won 18 races which also placed her third in the overall Jockey Premiership.

Samantha Collett took out the 2021/22 Ipswich Jockeys Premiership. Despite only joining the riding ranks in November, the kiwi hoop saluted on 22 occasions to defeat Jimmy Orman by just one win.  

Kelly Schweida claimed the 2021/22 Ipswich Trainers Premiership. It is the first time Kelly has been crowned Ipswich's leading trainer.

The Bayliss name is synonymous with racing in Ipswich. The family have a proud history of involvement and success at the Bundamba circuit dating back over 50 years. A new chapter was etched into the history book on Saturday when jockey Jake Bayliss rode Chassis to victory in the 2023 Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic.

Popular hoop Ben Thompson teamed up with trainer Annabel Neasham to ride Regal Lion to win in the time-honoured feature - the 2023 Ipswich Cup.

The Listed City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes was taken out by Lady of Honour for trainers Ben and JD Hayes and ridden by Andrew Mallyon.

The 2022-23 Premiership winners were: Tony Gollan, trainer; James Orman, jockey and Angela Jones, apprentice.

The training sand track is replaced with an all-weather sand fibre track in August 2023.


Wagering has been a large part of horse racing and dates back to the mid 1800s in the Ipswich region. One news clipping indicating that in 1876 the stewards of the Christmas Races decided that no card sharpers or dice men should be allowed to practise on any part of the racecourse. Any gentry of this class, if caught, would be handed to the police.

The year 1950 was a significant milestone for the Ipswich racing fraternity. Two new state of the art totaliser buildings were opened at Bundamba housing the Julius Tote. Around the same time a “Magic Eye” camera or photo finish camera was installed. (first triple heat).

An integral part of the Julius Tote was the Electro Mechanical Shaft Adder that dated back to circa 1936. Weighing 26kg, the Shaft Adder was part of a win place totalisator system. The complete system for a 24 runner field consisted of 50 adders. The racks were constructed with 25 adders in a row for the win pool backing onto another row of 25 for the place pool. This made quite an impressive sight. The Adders in the Ipswich system had been used in Mentone prior to being transferred to Ipswich so are much older than the year 1950. In fact, Chief Engineer Charles Barton maintained that the shaft adders were manufactured circa 1926.

Rod Richards, a former engineer recalls some memories of the Bundamba installations. “With the Bundamba installation, I recall it was all stops out with a couple of all-nighters thrown in to get to open on time, but the indicators had to suffer. The problem was mainly due to the various equipment arriving in time at Bundamba by road transport from Sydney, which in those days were ex WWII semi's, which we thought would never get to us and put us way behind schedule.”


1950 Julius Tote installed including new tote building.

1962 A call for each-way betting was made by the public.

1979 Computerised betting installed via KB Machines.

1990s Galaxy totalisators where installed and used right through to 2017.

2017 The new Orion totaliser machines installed.