Rosehill racecourse, the home of the Golden Slipper and more recently the Golden Eagle, will cease racing within five years after a shock announcement by the New South Wales government that it will acquire it from the Australian Turf Club (ATC) to build a suburb of 25,000 homes.

The deal, reportedly worth around $5 billion to the ATC, will see a new suburb, school and train station on the existing Rosehill site as part of the Metro West project linking the Sydney CBD to Parramatta.

Reports suggest that training at the venue will move to Horsley Park further west, while money from the deal will be used to give the racing facilities at Warwick Farm, 15km away, a major upgrade.

New South Wales premier Chris Minns described the idea as a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’.

“The ATC sees this as a chance to secure the future of racing in NSW,” Minns said.

“The government sees this as an opportunity to put its money where its mouth is and build more housing, close to transport links, with plenty of green space for new families.

“This is exactly the type of proposal my government has been talking about over the last six months.”

The decision has blindsided many in the racing industry, who had no idea such a proposal had been put forward.

“The ATC sees this as a chance to secure the future of racing in NSW" - Chris Minns

Discussions between the ATC and the government had begun a few months ago to sell off a part of the Rosehill land parcel to accommodate housing and a train station. However, those discussions quickly evolved to include the government purchasing the entire site for development.

Chris Waller, Australia’s leading trainer of the past decade, has his Sydney base at Rosehill, as do leading trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes, Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou, Richard and Will Freedman and David Payne. Annabel Neasham also maintains a base there as well as at Warwick Farm. In total there is between 300 and 400 horses in training at the track.

Rosehill first hosted racing in 1885 and has become the home of racing in Western Sydney, staging the Golden Slipper, Australia’s greatest two-year-old race, since 1957, as well as hosting Group 1 races such as the George Ryder Stakes, the Ranvet Stakes, the Golden Rose Stakes and The Galaxy.

Since 2019, it has also played host to the second richest race in Australia, the Golden Eagle, which in 2023 was worth $10 million.

The Australian Turf Club took control of Rosehill in 2011 after its merger with the Sydney Turf Club, which had managed the racecourse since 1943. It hosts 25 race meetings a year at the venue.