First of all, happy birthday to all the neddies and their owners: hopefully this year all your wishes will come true.
Now, falling into the category of everything you need to know but were afraid to ask, why is 1 August the horse’s birthday, or more precisely, who determined the date in the first place.
Surprisingly, Google produced a bit fat zero, but the Australian Stud Book Keeper, Michael Ford, has come to the rescue.
Over to you Michael …
In 1860 the Australian Jockey Club, on its own initiative, and against the resistance of other clubs, changed the official birthday of Thoroughbreds in Australia from 1 January to 1 August. Because mares come into season during the spring when Australian pastures start to grow, the Northern Hemisphere birth date of 1 January was not compatible with Australian conditions. Assigning one day of the year for the horses’ birthday also made it easy to schedule races with age conditions, particularly two-year old and three-year old events, rather than using the exact birthday of a horse. The AJC assumed racing leadership by also abolishing heats, in favour of races.
So there you have it … 151 years ago today (a year before the inaugural Melbourne Cup), we decided every thoroughbred would have his birthday on 1 August.