The Birdsville Races, Australia’s most iconic Outback race meet, will stage a historic two races in 2022, with the remote Simpson Desert track set to come alive in both April and September.
First release tickets to the September 2021 Birdsville Races event sold out in just 12 hours, ahead of COVID leaving race organisers no choice but to postpone the event to April 10 and 11, 2022.
A second round of tickets, including a limited number of OBE Pavilion trackside hospitality tickets to the April 2022 Birdsville Races will go on-sale at www.birdsvilleraces.com on Thursday February 10, marking an eight week countdown to the bucket list event running on April 10 and 11 this year.
“We’re excited to be staging two events this year. And one of them will be on entirely new dates in April for the first time in the 140 year history of the Birdsville Races. The weather will be very similar to what we’re used to for the traditional September event. Lovely mild days, lots of sunshine and crisp evenings. It’s a beautiful time of year, and we look forward to welcoming thousands of people to Birdsville to what we’re sure will be one hell of a party in the Outback,” said Gary Brook, Vice President, Birdsville Race Club.
Known as the Melbourne Cup of the outback, the two-day spectacular of outback thoroughbred racing is synonymous with plumes of striking red dust as horses thunder down the Simpson Desert track. The Birdsville Races have been held since 1882 and have only been cancelled twice in the events history. Due to equine flu in 2007, and then COVID in 2020.
The iconic township of Birdsville, with a general population of just 115, plays host to the renowned 13-race carnival, with those who make the pilgrimage to Australia’s most remote town treated to a jam-packed weekend of thoroughbred racing, fun at the Birdsville Hotel and unique outback entertainment including an outdoor cinema under the Milky Way, live music and Fred Brophy’s famous travelling boxing troupe. This year for the first time race goers will also be able to play a round of golf on the new Birdsville Dunes golf course.
“My boxing troupe are excited to be heading back out to Birdsville. We’ve been a part of the races since 1978 and the crowds are awesome fun. It was disappointing to not be able to attend the last two years because of COVID, it’s one of our favourite destinations. So this year it will be great to give our boxing ring a double work out in Birdsville,” said legendary showman Fred Brophy who operates Australia’s only boxing tent, and one of the world’s last travelling boxing tents.
“And I’m still hoping I’ll win the TAB Birdsville Cup and make an honest woman out of Sandi this year,” added larrikin Brophy, referencing the wager he’s had with his long term partner Sandi – that he’ll marry her when he wins the TAB Birdsville Cup.
“We’re a very tight knit family, and our kids are involved in the boxing tent with us – and we’ll even have some of our grandkids out with us in Birdsville in April, so it would be great if we could also celebrate a Cup win and start planning a wedding together. I won the Betoota Cup in 2019, so I’m hoping Birdsville will be mine in 2022.”
“I can’t wait for my first Birdsville Races in April, and to attend as an ambassador just adds to the excitement! It feels like it’s been a long time coming – for the September races last year, I was pregnant with beautiful Lenny, but with the new dates, I’ll be able to enjoy a glass of bubbles to celebrate! There’s something really special about being part of such an iconic Outback event, and I can’t wait to experience the much anticipated festivities,” said TV personality Sammie O’Brien.
For the first time in the history of the Birdsville Races the combined prize money will top more than $250,000 – with a total of $262,500 as well as bonuses up for grabs across the two days of racing. The TAB Birdsville Cup prize money has increased $42,000, with overall prizemoney up 12%.
Each year, horses and trainers make the long haul trek to Birdsville setting up camp under gum trees alongside the Diamantina River – creating their own community that has become as tight knit as the long-term residents of the Simpson Desert township itself.
Patrons who purchased tickets for the September 2021 event, did not seek a refund and would like to attend the postponed event in April don’t need to do anything. Existing tickets remain valid.
The Birdsville Race Club will follow Racing Queensland’s COVID safe requirements, mandating that all race goers be double vaccinated to attend race meets in Queensland.
Additional information on tickets is available at www.birdsvilleraces.com/faqs
Tickets to the September event will go on-sale on Monday May 2, 2022.
All Birdsville Races ticket holders are eligible for free membership to the ‘Races Roadies,’ a special ‘club’ that gives members access to route guidance for Qld, NSW, Vic and SA, connections with other Roadies, recommended overnight stays with Roadie partners as well as camping options and special Roadies team car stickers and exclusive merchandise.
Recent rains throughout Outback Australia will make for spectacular scenery whichever route to Birdsville is chosen, with rivers running, an abundance of wildlife, native grasses and foliage.
The 2022 Birdsville Races is proudly supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. It provides a much needed economic boom for Outback Queensland, as well as being a much needed social event for remote property holders and communities. The event also supports the important outback medical work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The Birdsville Race Club committee will continue to work with Queensland Health and Government to ensure all current COVID safety requirements are met when the races are staged in April 2022.