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Horse Racing on Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Written on the 21 April 2017

The horse race that stops the traffic? Next year the Sydney Harbour Bridge could be closed to traffic for a horse race. And why not - The Bridge has hosted events in the past that have closed the bridge such as the Breakfast Picnic in 2009, the Sydney Marathon and even a Formula 1 exhibition.

It's believed that Racing NSW held discussions with an English promoter last month who is keen to establish street racing circuits in iconic locations around the world including the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Other locations considered include London's Oxford Street or The Mall.

Racing NSW is remaining tight-lipped about the plans, with chief executive Peter V'landys telling Fairfax Media he could not comment on the plans "As they would be commercial in confidence".

If the race goes ahead, it will be held on a purpose-built track that can be quickly laid and removed.

There are two English firms, City Racing and GAG 403, who claim to have developed the technology to hold races on roads. English entrepreneurs Olly Neil and Andy King of GAG 403 have patented a racing track system that they describe as similar to a giant Scalextric model car system. The modular system track is 1400 metres in length, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge spanning 1149 metres.

"We will create a global circuit of horse racing events with high-quality local horses thundering down iconic city streets ridden by the world's top jockeys," Neil told Britain's Racing Post.

"We're going to do for horse racing what Twenty20 has done for cricket and 3x3 for basketball - reinterpreting the sport of kings for a young audience and dialling up on technology, entertainment, excitement and energy."

Johnno Spence from City Racing said his company could have a race in London by the end of the year and is keen to expand around the world.

"We're working with an industry-backed consortium looking to run under the rules of racing and we're at quite an advanced stage," Spence told the Post.

If the race goes ahead, which Racing NSW is keen to do under rules of racing, it will most likely feature 6 races and coincide with the spring carnival and the $10 million Everest, held at Randwick, October next year. The racing surface would have to be tested first as horse safety is paramount.

Of course, Racing NSW would have to gain the support of the state government before the event could successfully go ahead.

(Photo credit: The Sunday Morning Herald)

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