Thoroughbred horse racing ranks third behind the AFL and rugby league as the most attended spectator sport in Australia. We also have more racecourses than any other nation in the world, and the third richest annual prize purse for trainers, after the U.S and Japan.

It’s integral then that we have great grandstands that are well equipped to host large-scale races and massive crowds. Grandstand and facility upgrades are on the horizon for all of Australia’s most popular racecourses. Check out the top five below:

  1.Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse, Victoria

  • Prize Pool: $6,200,000
  • Architects: Bates Smart

The race that stops the nation will have a new ‘Club Stand’ by the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival. Designed by Bates Smart, the new stand will replace the existing Member’s Old Grandstand, which the Victoria Racing Club says is nearing the end of its useful life.

Standing five storeys high, the new Club Stand will offer occupants 360 degree views of the Mounting Yard, race track and Members’ Lawn to the south. The building will feature a soft curvilinear form, drawing inspiration from Flemington’s garden setting.

2.The Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Racecourse, Sydney

  • Prize Pool: $3,500,000
  • Architects: Robertson & Marks

The world's richest race for two-year-old Thoroughbreds kicks off the Sydney Autumn races and features a $3.5 million prize purse. Significant upgrades to the ‘Grand Pavilion’ were completed in 2009 by Robertson & Marks and included a brand new two-storey building that links 7,500sqm of function space to the major grand stand.Photographer: Alex Mayes


3.Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racecourse, Melbourne

  • Prize Pool: $3,050,000
  • Architects: Plus Architecture and Populous

Significant new upgrades to the Moonee Valley Racecourse and surrounding precinct are planned for the site that hosts the Cox Plate. A notable upgrade will include a new state of the art Grandstand that will be relocated to Wilson St and will function all year round for small events or for large racing crowds.

Massive infrastructure upgrades are also planned for the entire precinct including parking, pedestrian tunnels and adjacent village upgrades.

4.Caufield Cup at Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne

  • Prize Pool: $3,000,000
  • Architects: Techne Architecture + Interior Design

The Caulfield Racecouse authorities have pledged $1 billion to build a "mini-city" opposite the Caulfield racetrack on five hectares with units, shopping mall and other facilities.

But within the grandstand work has already begun with Techne Architecture + Interior Design recently completing the new Medallion Bar and new work on the ground floor precinct approved for development.

5.Australian Derby Day: Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney

  • Prize Pool: $1,500,000
  • Architects: Fitzpatrick + Partners and Woods Bagot

The first stage of the new Fitzpatrick + Partners designed $150 million redevelopment of Royal Randwick Racecourse officially opened in 2013.

The development replaces the existing Paddock & QE2 grandstands with a new state-of-the-art single grandstand and a 4,500 seat sunken amphitheatre known as the Theatre of the Horse.

Full glass frontage and grandstand seating provides uninterrupted views of the home straight and at the rear of each level are terraces with views of the Theatre of the Horse.

The interior fitout was delivered by Woods Bagot and included six restaurants, ten bars and five food outlets.

Images: Fitz&Partners