Kiwi horses in flight to the Melbourne Cup
Horses being loaded onto an IRT flight
New Zealand bred horses have won the Melbourne cup a staggering 43 times, but how do they get there? They fly - although a little differently to how you or I would!
NZB Airfreight and IRT are New Zealand’s leading horse transport services, getting horses from New Zealand to Australia, Asia, Europe and America (no, the horses are not travelling with you on an Air New Zealand flight - they prefer to fly privately instead!) Up to 21 horses can be flown on one flight, with each horse enjoying the comfort of their own individual stall with lots of ‘legroom.’
There are no flight attendants as such on these flights, but horses are accompanied by a groom and vet. On the whole, horses tolerate flying well, however Melbourne Cup hopefuls can be worth unfathomable amounts, so no chances are taken. In-flight snacks are readily available, with the horses enjoying a continuous supply of water and hay in their stalls throughout the flight.
Some trainers prefer to fly their horses with plenty of time ahead of their first race, while others believe it makes little difference and are happy to fly a mere few days before the race. Whether or not horses suffer from ‘jet-lag’ is up for debate.
It is rare that the Melbourne Cup will be a horse’s first run in Australia. The Cup is everyone’s ‘grand final’ and horses will often have had at least one or two lead in runs in Australia before the big day. These pre-races help Cup hopefuls to improve their fitness so they have the stamina to see out the 3200m.
New Zealand horses that have taken the trip across the Tasman in the hope of running in the Melbourne Cup include Sir Charles Road, Jon Snow, and Zacada who are currently racing in Melbourne with their sights set on the prestigious race. Go the Kiwis! #kiwisforthecup
Horses being secured before take off