Nestled within the heart of the Darling Downs, Clifford Park stands as the hallowed home of the esteemed Toowoomba Turf Club (TTC), solidifying its position as one of Australia’s premier provincial racetracks. With a rich and storied history, Clifford Park has been an integral part of Queensland’s racing heritage.
The journey began in 1861 when Clifford Park, a sprawling 160-acre block, was acquired. Just a year later, the Darling Downs Jockey Club conducted the first meeting on the course, which was then known as Drayton and Toowoomba Racecourse, on March 6, 1862.
In June of the same year, the Toowoomba Turf Club was officially formed, embarking on a legacy that would shape the region’s horseracing landscape. The inaugural meetings of the club took place on June 3 and 4, marking the beginning of a new era.
Throughout its illustrious past, Clifford Park has witnessed significant milestones in Australian racing history. In 1919, the first recorded Toowoomba Cup, a prestigious event that continues to captivate audiences today, was run on its hallowed grounds.
In 1992, the Toowoomba Turf Club etched its name in the annals of Australian racing by introducing the nation’s first-ever race conducted under electric lights. This ground-breaking event, the Fosters Toowoomba Cup, added yet another chapter to Clifford Park’s remarkable legacy. Just four years later, on September 4, 1996, the TTC once again broke new ground by hosting the first-ever night race meeting in Australia, solidifying its status as a pioneer in the industry.
As the “Home of Twilight Racing,” Clifford Park continues to showcase its remarkable versatility, regularly hosting over 40 TAB race meetings under the captivating glow of its floodlights. The installation of a grass course proper (StrathAyr) in 2014, along with a refurbishment of the Main Bar, Bistro, and the Weetwood Room, has further enhanced the track’s facilities, ensuring a world-class racing experience for all attendees.
Beyond its role as a premier racing destination, the Toowoomba Turf Club proudly extends its influence to the local community. Through its events and initiatives, the TTC actively supports and raises much-needed funds for charities, schools, sporting groups, and clubs. The club’s commitment to fostering development and growth in the community is a testament to its enduring legacy and its pivotal role in the region’s economic and social fabric.
Today, Clifford Park remains an emblem of excellence, serving as a testament to the Darling Downs’ status as the heart of thoroughbred racing and breeding in Queensland. With a rich tapestry of history and an unwavering dedication to community support, the Toowoomba Turf Club continues to shape the future of racing and contribute to the growth and prosperity of its surroundings.