Victorian Racing

Victorian Racing needed a website to showcase their horses and training techniques. All horses and information is in an easy to maintain central database.

Victorian Racing home page
Victorian Racing home page


Damien supplied many photos of his horses and the pedigree data. I was in the area one time and I took the opportunity to try my hand at photographing horses. Not easy as they don't stay in the pose that you want. They also kept coming up to me (for some food I expect) making it very hard to fit them in the frame. The lesson learnt was to be quick and hope you get a good photo.

Another problem I had was recognising the horses. I ended up sending them to Damien, who put the correct names to "faces".

Horse Database

Displaying the horses caused a bit of thinking. I was going to do a page for each one, but there are nearly 30 of them, and it would have been a lot of rework if the layout wasn't correct.

So a database was built. There is no means to edit it on site. I was using phpMyAdmin, but it was a bit cumbersome. Instead, I opted for MySQL Workbench. The copying and pasting facilities are great for editing.

Outputting the data

The SQL (using the Joomla factory object) and HTML/CSS used to format the output are contained in one PHP file. This is accessed via Jumi.

The "Our Horses" menu allows the user to select the horses they are interested in.

The parameter is passed in the URL via "hcmd" as shown here:

PHP picks up the parameter using:

// Get the passed command
$hcmd = JRequest::getVar('hcmd');

This is then used to select the SQL required. The data is fetched and displayed. There are two formats, one is a list of horses and the other for one horse where more details are shown.

Future Changes

The front photo would look a lot better with an action shot of race horses galloping past the finish line! This will have to wait until I go to the races next. More news items need to be added, and the ongoing changing horses at the stud need constant updating. A constant work in progress.


After a couple of years in operation, the owner has decided that updating the horses via a MySQL database is too hard to do. Originally, it was intended that news about a certain horse was only available to the horse shareholders. Once the site was up and running only two articles were ever written (not good for SEO) so the powerful access control that Joomla offers was not needed. In hindsight, it would have been better to use WordPress and custom post types.

The site is no longer online as of November 2015. An archived copy can be viewed at web.archive.org/web/20130718164149/http://www.victorianracing.com/

The victorianracing.com domain has been taken over by a cyber squatter hoping to sell it for a profit. Still unsold after a number of years now; serves them right!

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