Brendon’s Tina Cook clinics

BRENDON Stud and Saddlery is presenting two Tina Cook Eventing Clinics on the morning of Tuesday February 23 and Tuesday 22 of March at Brendon Stud in London Road, Pyecombe, West Sussex, BN45 7ED. This contains the highly successful programme of clinics covering different equestrian disciplines that has been held in recent months.

Kristina is a British three-day event rider and is the 2009 European Champion. A three-time Olympic medallist, she won individual and team bronze in  Bejing 2008 and team silver in 2012 at her second Olympic appearance in London 2012 Olympics on Miners Frolic, alongside Nicola Wilson, Zara Phillips, Mary King and William Fox-Pitt.

Kristina Cook and De Novo News in action Photo: Kingswood Associates

Kristina Cook and De Novo News in action
Photo: Kingswood Associates

They will be held at the Fred Arena, with eventing fences, at this top class West Sussex base, both in the morning. They are open to horses competing at 70cm level and above and groups will be based on ability as given on the booking form. There will be three one hour morning group sessions with a maximum of four in a group. Groups may be amalgamated within two height levels dependant on attendees.

This cliinic offers the an excellent opportunity to train with a top Olympian eventin rider and offers an exciting new range of eventing fences to help you and your horse compete to your best and prepare for the new season.

The cost of the clinic is £65 per person per session. No booking will be taken without payment, which will  not be refunded unless your booking can be reallocated following any cancellation by you.

Other future clinics imclide a Junior Academy training on Friday February 5, a Corrine Bracken Training Clinic on Saturday March 5 and a Back To Basics Show Jumping Clinic with Kathy Willard in April, with a Matthew Lanni Show Jumping Clinic on April 20.  Obtain a  booking form by emailing light16@hotmail.co.uk and complete and send it back by return to ensure your place.

Plumpton’s three February racedays

Plumpton Racecourse will have three February racedays- on February 1, 15 and 29.  Each one features an afternoon of competitive jump racing at the picturesque Sussex venue which offers excellent viewing and the popular winter warmer hospitality package available at this time of year.

Blue Riband, a local member’s only club offering tailored telephone betting,  is a major sponsor on February 1.  This meeting also features the Crystal Services Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Race- which is a qualifier for the Challenger Staying Hurdles Series Final- and worth £10,000 in prize money.

Competitive racing promised at Plumton in February. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Competitive racing promised at Plumpton in February. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Plumpton’s mid-February meeting on the 15th is sponsored by At The Races and features the final Plumpton SIS Cheltenham Bonus Race which should attract some quality runners in a bid to win the £60,000 bonus on offer.  A horse needs to win one of the five bonus qualifiers at Plumpton and then go on to win a race at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

With 2016 being a leap year, Plumpton stages a ‘Leap Of Faith’ racemeeting on Monday February 29. Any visitors who can prove that they were born on  February29 will gain FREE entrance, plus a celebratory birthday drink for themselves and a partner.

Kate Hills, Chief Executive of Plumpton Racecourse, said: “February is a busy month at Plumpton and we anticipate some really good racing at this time of year.  We hope people will take advantage of our Winter Warmer offer for just £45 per person which includes a hot buffet lunch in a private hospitality box overlooking the final furlong.

Good viewing of runners in the paddock

Good viewing of runners in the paddock

“The Cheltenham Bonus race on the 15th will be exciting and is a perfect time for a prep run for those festival bound runners.  As it’s a leap year and we race on 29th February, perhaps it the perfect time for some marriage proposals, we can announce them over the PA or flash them up on the big screen if pre-arranged!”

For further information and tickets please visit www.plumptonracecourse.co.uk or contact the team on 01273 890383.

Enjoying racing in South Africa

Words by Marcus Townend

Imagine the ideal mix of sun, sea and top-class racing and you might think of a trip to the Qatar Goodwood Festival in July. It would be near the top of most people’s lists, but definitely closely followed by Cape Town in January for the glitzy L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate meeting at Kenilworth. Just ask the 34 members of the Goodwood Racehorse Owners’ Group (GROG) who experienced racing in the Western Cape at the start of the year.

Aerial Vie of kenilworth Racecourse Photo: Thomas Van Willis

Aerial View of Kenilworth Racecourse Photo: Thomas Van Willis

The six-day trip centred around one of South Africa’s biggest races and a meeting attended by the cream of Cape society as well as a clutch of celebrities from the world of sport and showbusiness, including England cricketers James Anderson, Johnny Bairstow, James Taylor, their illustrious predecessor Ian Botham and Formula 1’s Eddie Jordan.

Mike Rutherford, founder member of Genesis, also presented the winning prize to the team behind Light The Lights, who pounced late to win the Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Handicap on the supporting card.

During the last three years L’Ormarins and Goodwood have forged close links; L’Ormarins sponsor the Qatar Goodwood Festival version of the Queen’s Plate and attaching the name of our track to a race on one of Kenilworth’s biggest fixtures is another extension of the twinning.

GROG members a Kenilworth, Photo: Dan Abraham

GROG members at Kenilworth, Photo: Dan Abraham

The GROG tourists, sticking to the blue and white dress code which adds to the chic nature of the L’Ormarins meeting, lunched and followed the marathon 12-race card from their own private facility.

In Legal Eagle, the colt which added the one-mile Queen’s Plate to his 2015 win in the mile and a half South African Derby, they could have witnessed a horse who is going to make quite a mark on South African racing.

But this tour, organised by Gail Brown, was about far more than just a day at the races and involved mixing with the ‘larneys’, local slang for the powerful and influential folk of the Cape Town area.

It had started two days earlier with a drinks party at their base in the colonial splendour of the Mount Nelson, one of Cape Town’s most exclusive and distinctive hotels whose scrumptious afternoon teas have been rated among the best in the world.

If any heads needed clearing, the opportunity came at Muizenberg beach, the place said to be the birthplace of surfing in the Cape. GROG’s visit there was to see leading local trainer Justin Snaith exercise some of his string – including some of his incredible 34 entries for Queen’s Plate day – in the surf.

The powerful ‘Cape Doctor’ south-easterly wind whipped up the waves to produce one of the most memorable images of the holiday with Justin’s assistant trainer brother Jonathan answering any questions before the group was whisked away for breakfast at Snaith’s nearby stable for a longer look at his string, which includes horses owned by the Coolmore Stud.

A corner of Kirstenbosch Gardens Photo: Jeannie Knight

A corner of Kirstenbosch Gardens Photo: Jeannie Knight

The afternoon was taken up with a trip to the renowned Kirstenbosch botanical gardens which lie at the eastern foot of Table Mountain and contain some rare indigenous species of Cycads, plus a memorable collection of Proteas. There was also a chance to walk on The Boomslang – a tree canopy walkway named after a species of tree snake, which offers spectacular views of both the gardens and bay in the distance.

The day concluded with GROG mingling with the young and trendy for cocktails on the beach at Granger Bay before dinner.

Stellenbosch Photo: Jeannie Knight

Stellenbosch Photo: Jeannie Knight

Around the university town of Stellenbosch and in the Franschhoek valley, an area originally colonised bythe French Huguenots in the 1600s, the vineyards border the roads like the farms in an English county. It is where South Africa’s best wines are produced.
Monday was spent here with a vineyard tour before lunch in the palatial splendour of the Lanzerac estate.

It was back to this region for the final day with a truly memorable trip to the Drakenstein Stud and Vinery owned, like L’Ormarins, by the Rupert family.,Here, there was a chance to taste some of the estate’s renowned wines before a parade of the stud’s yearlings and five stallions, which include former Aidan O’Brien-trained King George VI & Queen
Elizabeth Stakes winner Duke of Marmalade, in the shadow of the towering Drakenstein mountains.

There was also a chance to view the world famous Rupert collection of cars at the Franschhoek Motor Museum, which includes rare, priceless models including Bugattis, Ferraris, Maseratis and Mercedes.

Summing up the trip, GROG tourist Elsa Sherwood said: “I have been on quite a few GROG trips but this was my first time in Cape Town. Like all the previous ones it was lovely. A lot of work goes into the organisation and there is so much content to the week. “The Queen’s Plate was superb and I enjoy seeing what the racing is like in different parts of the world.”

For more information on the Goodwood Racehorse Owners’ Group, please call 01243 755029 or visit www.goodwood.com/horse-racing/racehorse-ownership

Lingfield’s racing and panto fun

Lingfield Park racecourse is combining its usual racing fixtures with family entertainment in February. It will be bringing the peculiar world of Alice and her Wonderland and pantomime fun to the track during February half-term.

“We traditionally have a pantomime here in the run up to Christmas, which is incredibly popular,’ said Executive Director Andrew Perkins. “The weather can often be a bit unpredictable during the February half-term, so we thought we would offer another show during racing for the youngsters accompanying their parents to the track.”

“So, as the White Rabbit would so aptly warn us, don’t be late, for a very important date!”

The show, based upon the classic Lewis Carroll children’s tale featuring the mad-cap world of the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, will take place during racing on Saturday, February 20. There is free entry for all children under the age of 18 years.

Top class racing at Lingfield Park combines with panto fun Photo:

Top class racing at Lingfield Park combines with panto fun Photo:

The day will be one of the 84 jump, flat turf and all-weather fixtures at Lingfield Park during 2016. As well as the All-Weather Championship Series – which will culminate with a grand finale on Good Friday, March 25, offering more than £1 million in prize money – the programme of fixtures will include a range of feature days and the ever-popular Hooves and Grooves summer series of evening racing followed by live music acts.

“We take great pride in being able to offer something for everyone here,’ added Mr Perkins. ‘As one of the busiest racecourses in Europe, we are able to cater for all and our family fun days are incredibly important to us.

“Alice in Wonderland will be the first of two pantomimes being shown at Lingfield Park during 2016 – the second will be Cinderella in November – so we hope to see a good crowd enjoying this iconic tale from children’s literature.”

For a full list of racing fixtures visit www.lingfieldpark.co.uk/racing/fixtures

Horse safety on the roads

UNFORTUNATELY, the number of incidents involving horse riders and speeding or abusive motorists seems to be increasing in West Sussex, and many of them go unrecorded, with only those involving actual injury reported.

If no-one knows about the many unreported incidents, nothing can be done to imrpove the situation.Now the British Horse Society is collating hard evidence and wants to hear about experiences of horse riders and motorists.

The society said: “If you or your horse have been involved in an equine-related incident, we want to hear about it. Let us know what happened – it’s never too late to tell us.

Slow down for horses and pass wide

Slow down for horses and pass wide

“Without hard evidence and hard statistics it is impossible to lobby those in power to make the changes that are required to ensure riding is safer for all. Sharing your experience could make a huge difference – together we can fight for change,” it says.

The society has a report form on it website- www.bhs.org.  that enables riders to report any accidents, incidents or even near-misses experienced with their horses, whether on the roads, in fields with gas guns, or any other kind of safety issues.
It says there are round 3 million horse riders in Great Britain, many of whom ride on the road.

Horse Riders Warning sign

Horse Riders Warning sign

Althought they prefer not to do so, riders often have no choice because they need to reach bridleways and other off-road facilities. Horse riders have a right to use the road and both riders and motorists are responsible for each other’s safety. Horses are powerful animals that are easily frightened and can panic, especially near fast-moving traffic or at sudden loud noises. In some areas, near stables or other frequented areas, warning road signs indicating horses can be used.

In 2014 there were 104 horse rider casualties recorded  by the police in Great Britain, including one adult horse rider who was killed and 23 whose injuries were serious. One child horse rider was also seriously injured.

The British Horse Society runs a website,www.horseaccidents.org.uk for people to report a wider range of equestrian related incidents, including road incidents, slippery road surfaces, cycles or equine transport accidents. It estimates that a high number of equestrian accidents every year are not reported.
drivers still going too fast on rural lanes and ignoring fluorescent safety clothing, tabards and warnings of horse riders.

At the same time, it is essential that horse riders behave sensibly, use florescent clothing and markers for themselves and their horses, and make sure they are not out riding in unduly gloomy conditions. Also that they make clear signals at all time.

Riders have welcomed the British Horse Society’s involvement to fight and hope it will help achieve a legal requirement for motorists to slow down for horses.

Plumpton’s richest raceday ever

Plumpton is heading for its richest raceday in the track’s 132 history. It is delighted to have been able to reschedule the At The Races Sussex National to Easter Sunday,  March 27,  whent he Sussex National will join The Totepool Sussex Champion Hurdle for an Easter Bonanza.

Kate Hills, Chief Executive Officer for the Sussex course said:“We are very pleased that we are able to reschedule the At The Races Sussex National, one of our main highlights of the season, to our Totepool Easter Festival to be held on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, March 27 and 28.

Exciting action promised at this Raceday. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Exciting action promised at Easter Festival. Photo: Jeannie Knight

” Easter Sunday is the earliest it could be fitted in to the overall racing calendar and we are grateful to the BHA for their assistance in rearranging this popular race.”

“It is also good news for our partners At The Races, long term sponsors of the Sussex National.  Totepool, Easter Festival headline sponsors, have welcomed the race as part of their Sussex Champion Hurdle Day.”

Adam Smith, Totepool Racecourse Marketing and Sponsorship Executive said, “Its great news such a good race has been rescheduled. We’re very happy to accommodate this as part of the Totepool Easter Festival, it should create a real buzz around the two big races.”

Kate Hills added, “With the two special feature races, Easter Sunday will become Plumpton’s richest raceday ever with nearly £80K in prize money which amounts to £131K over the two day Easter Festival”.

One of the most compact, perfectly formed privately owned National Hunt racecourses in Britain, Plumpton is an undulating, tightish left-handed circuit of just over a mile. The hurdle course is positioned on the outside of the chase course and both share the same uphill finish.

The course is adjacent to Plumpton railway station, served by trains from London Victoria to Lewes, which makes it a convenient day trip from London. Extra trains are sometimes run on race days. A full list of events at Plumpton can be found here: http://plumptonracecourse.co.uk/tickets/

 

Lancelot heads to all-weather finals

LANCELOT Du Lac looks set for a second appearance on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park this year following a decisive success in which he set a new course record  in the £30,000 Scoop6Soccer Results At totepoolliveinfo.com Conditions Stakes at Chelmsford City recently.

He is one of the latest to qualify for the big day and connections are hoping for a good run at the prestigious event.

Victory in the five-furlong Fast-Track Qualifier ensures that the Dean Ivory-trained six-year-old receives an automatic place in the £150,000 Unibet All-Weather Sprint Championships over six furlongs at Lingfield Park on March 25 – a race in which he finished eighth in 2014.

Sent off the evens favourite, Lancelot Du Lac travelled strongly throughout the race under Robert Winston and quickened well to take the lead a furlong from home before going on to score by a length and a half in 57.39s, a new course record.

Lancelot DunLac, green and gold colours, breaking course record at Chelmsford recently: Photo ARC

Lancelot Du Lac, green and gold colours, breaking course record at Chelmsford recently: Photo ARC

German raider Gamgoom (8/1, Mario Hofer/Martin Harley) rallied to take second near the line with Lightscameraction (5/2, Gay Kelleway/Adam Kirby), who led the field for much of the race, a further neck back in third.

Ivory commented: “I am over the moon with how Lancelot Du Lac won. We could have made a few little excuses beforehand, such as his ability to handle the track and his wide draw, but the way he jumped out of the gates showed that he is a true professional.

“We ran him in the big Good Friday race a couple of years ago but he bumped the rail that day and had to be snatched up a bit. I think now that we have qualified for the race again, we have to look seriously at running him again. I think he is going to be a better horse this year. He was a little unlucky when he went to Dubai at the start of last season and horses seem to need a few months to get over the trip when they come back.

Lancelot Du Lac and Robert Winston: Photo: ARC

Lancelot Du Lac and Robert Winston: Photo: ARC

“He has bounced back and has the speed for five furlongs. He is a very versatile horse – he can run over five or six furlongs – and Robert Winston gets on so well with him.All credit to Robert, he knows Lancelot Du Lac and was never worried about the five furlongs today, even though I had a slight doubt myself. The horse went and did it in style for us.”

Robert Winston added: “Lancelot Du Lac has got a lot of natural pace and has quickened with age – he has really matured into himself. He is hitting the gates like never before and hopefully he is going to land a big race over five furlongs this year. He ran over six furlongs for most of last season apart from the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, when he ran a good race, and he showed in this qualifier what a good five-furlong specialist he could be.

“He will be there to be shot at on Good Friday. He is very, very quick now – even in the big six-furlong sprints last year, he was leading them down until the last furlong and was very keen in his races.”

The third All-Weather Championships run from Thursday, October 29, 2015 and culminates with All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday, March 25, 2016, at Lingfield Park. The seven races on All-Weather Championships Finals Day are worth a total of £1.1 million. Don’t miss this spectacular day and book your tickets early.

Impressive Wellington Cup raceday

The scene was set for the prestigious Wellington Cup raceday at Trentham racecourse when we travelled out to the track by train from Wellington. Female racegoers in their finery chose to stand all the way on the train, rather than crease their carefully chosen outfits for the day- with some stunning millinery to complement.

Standing up ton the 45 minute journey o avoid creasing outfits Pjhoto Jeannie Knight

Standing up on the 45 minute train journey to avoid creasing outfits Photo Jeannie Knight

But there was a pleasing air of relaxation at the track, with racegoers smartly dressed and taking advantage of a wide range of hospitality options, as well as members’and public stands in a friendly atmophere.
Our party of six was in the Cointreau Fizz Garden, overlooking the paddock and winners’ enclosure and winning post where waiters serving buffet lunch and drinks throughout the afternoon.

Sheridan and Sarah enjoying cointreau fizz at our table in the hospitality enclosure

Sheridan and Sarah enjoying cointreau fizz at our table in the hospitality enclosure

It seemed appropriate for our first visit to the Wellington Cup that the big race won by an English import- Mister Impatience, which had raced at Goodwood when trained by Mark Johnston. The six-year-old had joined New Zealand trainer Michael Moroney last summer with two wins and four places already to his credit from UK racing.

Samanth aspratt withn Wellington Cup winner Mister Impatience

Samanth Spratt with Wellington Cup winner Mister Impatience

This year the Wellington Cup distance had returned to 3,200 metres and jockey Samantha Spratt (31) gave this horse a fine ride to win the big race by a nose. It was a fine result for this mother-of-one, who had horrific injuries from a fall eight years ago at the same track and was told she would never ride again. She persevered to get back to fitness and has now ridden more than 700 winners in her career.

Sam Spratt receiving her trophy Photo: Jeannie Knight

She took the $200,000 race at the Cup meeting, keeping her mount going on the rails to win on the line in a particularly thrilling finish for one of New Zealand’s top trainer combinations- Michael Moroney and Chad Ormsby at Matamawa.

Sam is one of a number of female riders giving male jockeys a tough time in winning races in New Zealand. On one day at New Plymouth racetrack, seven of nine races were won by women jockeys . Leah Hemi ( two wins), Rosie Myers (two), while Lisa Allpress, Anna Jones and Laura Werner each won a race. At Ellerlie, Sam Spratt, Alysha Collett, Danielle Johnson and Ulrika Holmquist took four of the nine races.

As long ago as 2011/2012 season women jockeys filled three of the four spots in the TAB New Zealand Jockey Premiership, with Lisa Allpress taking the championship.

This female jockey dominance was noticable at this year’s Wellington Cup final day, with Alysha Collett was in action riding Untamed Diamond to win the opening 1200 metres race from fellow female jockey Danielle Johnson on board Rocanto, with Lisa Allpress in third place with Steppenwolf. Four male riders in the race had to settle for the remaining places.
Alysha went on to a double when Untamed Diamond took the 1200 metre third race with Danielle Johnson and Lisa Allpress filling second and third.

Alysha Collett coming in after winning the third race on board Untamed Diamond Photo: Jeannie Knight

Alysha Collett coming in after winning the third race on board Untamed Diamond Photo: Jeannie Knight

The balance swung back again in the third 1200 metres race with male jockeys riding the first three in the Shoe Clinic Premier, won by Matthew Cameron on board Thien Ly, trained by Jeff Lynds at Awapuni.

The fourth race, over 1400 metres , went to Jonathan Riddell and Blackcrown coming home ahead of Rosie Myers on Clifford.  There were some thrilling finishes on this left-hand track, with clear views throughout for spectators.

The Group One Thorndon Mile saw Leith Innes give Kawi the perfect victory. Trained by Allan Sharrock at New Plymouth, the five-year-old gelding beat Danielle Johnson into second place on board Stolen Dance.

Competitve racing throughout the day Photo: Jeannie Knight

Competitve racing throughout the day Photo: Jeannie Knight

The final event on the ten-race card was for the Douro Cup, won by Skyweka, trained by Tony Pike at Cambridge and ridden by Michael McNab.

Overall impression? An elegant and enjoyable day with top class racing, well managed without a hint of disorder in sight. Female Flat jockeys in this country should take heart at the successes of their New Zealand counterparts….

Hickstead polo match

The All England Polo Club at Hickstead will play host to the Arena Polo International Test Match on Saturday March 5 2016, with two 10-goal players captaining the teams.

England will once again be captained by Chris Hyde, with the team set to look stronger than ever following the news that Hyde has been moved up to a handicap of 10 goals, the highest rating a polo player can be given.

The USA were victorious last time they played England at Hickstead in 2014. (c)Imagesofpolo.com

The USA were victorious last time they played England at Hickstead in 2014. (c)Imagesofpolo.com

 

The home side will face a team from the USA, who will also be captained by a 10-goal player. Tommy Biddle led the US team to victory at Hickstead in 2014, meaning England lost the Test Match at Hickstead for the first time ever.

“This will be the first time two 10-goal rated players will have faced up to each other in an Arena in Europe – it will be a fierce and fast match, not to be missed,” said AEPC Chairman, John Bunn.

“I am extremely delighted to welcome USA and their captain Tommy Biddle back to The All England Polo Club. Chris Hyde is keen to make amends and win back the Bryan Morrison Trophy, having lost to Tommy two years ago,” John added.

Details of the full team line-up and the teams playing in the opening match will be announced in due course.

The first Arena Polo International Test Match was held at Hickstead in 2008, with England facing a team from South Africa. The USA has been England’s most regular opponent, with the teams clashing in 2009, 2012 and in 2014. England won the first two of these matches, with the third going to the US. However, the home side got back to their winning ways in 2015, when beating Ireland 18-13 in what was the highest handicapped game in the history of the Test Match.

Tickets cost just £5 each at http://www.hickstead.co.uk/tickets-and-events/ as well as unlimited tickets available to purchase on the gate. There is also a post-match luncheon for those who wish to make their visit truly special, with tickets costing £49.50 each plus £5 admission.

To buy tickets, head to www.hickstead.co.uk

 

 

Wellington Cup time soon

It will soon be time for the famous Wellington Cup, held annually at Trentham Racecourse, New Zealand by the Wellington Racing Club. The race has some historic links with  Britain.

The event on January 23, officially dates back to 1874- though two unofficial runnings of the race took place in 1867 and 1868 at Hutt Park, with the latter attended by HRH Duke of Edinburgh of that time. It was extremely well attended, but in those days with no cars or trains, the only way to get there was by horse or a horse drawn carriage. The race was run over various distances.

In April of 1868 the meeting was attended by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh of that time. It was extremely well attended but in those days with no cars or trains the only way to get there was by horse or a horse drawn carriage.

Cup Day in 1911 Photo courtesy of Trentham Racecourse

Cup Day in 1911 Photo courtesy of Trentham Racecourse

Although not run under the “Wellington Racing Club” name until the change from the “Wellington Provincial Jockey Club” in 1879, the next Cup was held in 1874 and the two mile event was from then run annually at Hutt Park till 1906 when it was transferred to its new home Trentham where it has been an annual event up to the present day including the years during World Wars I and II.

The distance for the race was set at 2 miles (3200m) and has for the majority of years been at that distance except from 1890 to 1941 when the distance was set at a mile and a half (2400m). Since 2009 the distance has again been 2400m, but this year (2016 ) it is back to 3,200 metres again on  January 23- reinstating it to the ultimte distance is part of an initiative to support stayng races in New Zealand.

Back in 1892 the President, Mr H. D. Bell and his committee decided that their best race, the classic 2 mile Wellington Cup should have a high quality Cup trophy and they arranged to have five Cups made in England by a leading silversmith & goldsmith of the time, M/s Mappin & Webb. This company has been a silversmith & silver manufacturer from 1774, has held a royal warrant 115 years and today is silversmith to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Castletown winning the Wellington Cup in 1992 Photo courtesy of Trentham Racecourse

Castletown winning the Wellington Cup in 1992 Photo courtesy of Trentham Racecourse

The club is in possession of one of these magnificent trophies the 1894 Cup which was won by Mr. Thomas Sheenan’s 4 year old chestnut horse “ Vogengang” carrying 7 stone 10lb and ridden by the jockey Derrent in the time of 2:41 for the 2400 metre distance. This trophy is one of the most elegant Cups possible to view made in the Victorian era.

It is crafted in sterling silver and has a silver horse and jockey mounted on the cup lid. To have the manufactured trophy today in sterling silver would cost in excess of $120,000.00 NZD.

These Cups were discontinued in 1902 and the manufacture of the trophy returned to New Zealand and trophies over the years have taken on differing shapes and sizes. In the 1970s and 80s the Cup was handcrafted by experienced silversmiths at Walker & Hall. These were all handmade in sterling silver and gold plated. Many of these Cups are held by the families of winning owners.

The committee under President Rod Preston came to the decision that the Cup, whilst well made needed to be upgraded to compete with other trophy’s promoting other popular 3200 metre staying events.

They decided that the main Cup for the owner should be supported by two smaller Cups presented to the trainer and jockey of the winning horse.

When Sir Partick Hogan won the race with Smiling Like in 200 and he has stated that of all the many trophies he has been fortunate to win the most magnificent trophy is the Wellington Cup continued over this distance until 2008 when it was changed again to 2,400 metres-  a fraction under one-and -a-half miles, in order to attract a top quality field.

It has stayed at this distance since then and is run on turf, for three-year-olds and upwards on a left-handed track at Trentham. It is one of New Zealand’s most important races and currently has 250,000 New Zeland dollars prizemoney.

The most wins by any single horse is three, with three horses so far achieving this. Cynisca did this in winning in consecutive years ( 1890, 1891 and 1893), while Great Sensation also did three on the trot in 1961, 1962 and 1963. Castletown in 1991, 1992 and 1994 was the only other one to achieve this so far.

The winner of the race in 2015 was Maygrove, owned by JML Bloodstock and PW Rourke, trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman and ridden by Matthew Cameron.

The most successful jockeys have been Derrett ( 1880, 1881, 18885, 1892, 1894 and 18980: Roy Reed ( 1919, 1920,1921, 1923, 1928 and 1932) who died tragically after a fall during the President’s handicap at Trenntham on March 17 1938) and R J Skelton ( 1959, 1961, 1962,1963 and 1969).