|Region:||South East Queensland|
Deagon racecourse is a full time training facility and head quarters of Racing Queensland.
Just off the Gateway motorway north of Brisbane the racecourse ajoins the bayside suburb of Sandgate.
Estabished some 110 years ago and once owned and used as a private racetrack by racing king pin John Wren as the "Sandgate racetrack" the track saw its last racing on November 12 1941.
However during the Equine Influenza crisis of 2007 a closed TAB race meeting was held at the venue on Friday September 14 2007 (see below for more details).
Deagon is owned by Racing Queensland Limited on behalf of the Racing Industry however its ownership has changed several times throughout its history.
In 1890 a deed was granted in favour of Hiram Wakefield, George Agnew, and Nathaniel Corrigan upon trust for Racecourse puposes.
Then In 1896 the Government intervenied on behalf of the trustees who were indebted to the Queensland National Bank and passed a Bill to allow the sale of the land and for it to pass into private hands as freehold title. The Sandgate Town Council took over the debt and the right of ownership at that time.
In 1899 Andrew Thynee, trustee for Tattersall's Club, purchased the land for $6,360 from the Sandgate Town Council and then in 1912, under mortgage default, the property was sold to private racing king pin John Wren and his partner Benjamin Nathan when Wren ran it as a private racetrack and betting venue as the "Sandgate racetrack".
In February 1948 the Brisbane Amateur Turf Club purchased the venue for an undisclosed sum and title then passed to the club's successor the Brisbane Turf Club (BTC).
In 1999 the BTC sold the land to the Queensland State Government for $5M through the Racing Development Fund on behalf of the Racing Industry which it administered at the time.
Finally when the Government handed administration of Racing back to the Industry by licensing a public company to handle this, the land and venue was granted to Queensland Racing Limited (2006) which became Racing Queensland Limited in 2010 before reverting to a goverment statutory board as the Queensland All Code Racing Industry Board trading as Racing Queensland in May 2013.
A photo of the Deagon Grandstand from 1901 An ad for Deagon races held by the BATC in 1948
Racing returns to Deagon after a 66 year absence
Although prompted by the equine influenza (EI) situation and a Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI) horse standstill order, Friday 14 September 2007 marked a special event in the history of racing in Queensland; the return of racing to Deagon racecourse.
57 horses accepted for the 6 races that were televised live to air via Sky Channel and included TAB wagering. Deagon based horses had been unable to race since the EI lock down and today’s meeting provided a welcome and much needed opportunity for Owners, Trainers and Jockeys.
The last race meeting at Deagon was run on Wednesday 12 November 1941. Since then the facility has been a dedicated training facility.
Deagon has 54 on course stables, horse swimming pool, sand track, horse walker and training class rooms with state of the art mechanical horses for apprentice training. The Deagon facility is also used for barrier trials.
The results from the last race meeting (see below) provide some interesting comparisons. The top race in November 1941 was for £140 while in 2007 race 5, the Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers Class 6 Plate, totalled $40,000. 57 horses accepted for 6 races in 2007's race meeting, 89 horses ran in 7 races in 1941. Courier Mail Turf Editor Bart Sinclair’s father Bart Senior rode a winner in the first race on the last day in 1941.
Former Deagon racing participants Arthur Lindley (Jockey), Pat Burns (Farrier) and Ken Connolly (Jockey, Trainer and Owner) attended the race meeting that provided a pleasant reminder of times gone by. Bernie Pramberg in his article (Deagon meeting draws the memories, Courier Mail, 13 September 2007, p95) quoted Mr Lindley as saying;
“I never thought I’d live to see a race meeting here… It’s been a great training complex for as long as most can remember but I’ve always reckoned it should have been a venue for regular race meetings.”
Racing returns to Deagon after 72 years
Deagon Race course will host a Community Family Picnic Race Day on September 15, 2013 - the first public race day since 1941.
Racing Minister Steve Dickson has announced a special Picnic race day will be held at Deagon Racecourse this year, for the first time in more than six decades.
Mr Dickson said the local community had been a driving force behind the race day, to be held on Sunday 15 September, the first public meeting since 1941.
“The Newman Government is providing a fresh start for racing in Queensland, and continues to deliver on its election commitment to rejuvenate the industry,” Mr Dickson said.
“The Picnic meeting will bring in racegoers from all over Brisbane and will have important flow-on effects for local community businesses, as well as helping our racing industry.
“It’s another way we’re restoring confidence and excitement in the sport across the state.”
Mr Dickson said interested locals, including Member for Sandgate Kerry Millard had been actively working to reintroduce public racing at Deagon for the last six months.
A closed meeting was conducted at Deagon on September 14, 2007 during the Equine Influenza crisis however it is normally used as a thoroughbred training facility.
Ms Millard said there were strong feelings amongst Sandgate locals about having their own race day once again.
“The vision for a Picnic race day has been nurtured in this community over a long period of time,” Ms Millard said.
“We have a great racecourse already, and now finally we have a date and are well underway with planning for our own local day at the races.
“It will showcase the best of our community spirit and will rely on grassroots support.
“I know how many people have been hoping and waiting for this announcement and I know the inaugural event will not disappoint.”
The day will be funded and organised by the Sandgate Chamber of Commerce (SCC), the Brisbane Racing Club Limited (BRC) and Racing Queensland (RQ).
Entertainment will include Fashions on the Field, music, a ladies, men’s and children’s foot race, wheelbarrow races and the opportunity for children to interact with some of the horses.
Deagon motorcycle racing
In the 1920's Deagon Racecourse also hosted motorcycle racing.