Dunstan Stayers Series turns 21

31 October 2019

Kiwi trainers will get the opportunity to scoop a $21,000 Karaka Yearling Sales windfall thanks to the generosity of Dunstan Feeds as the globally-respected feed merchant celebrates its 21st year of sponsoring the popular Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship.

In a joint promotion with New Zealand Bloodstock and the Auckland Racing Club, and with the backing of the New Zealand Trainers’ Association, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, Dunstan Feeds will offer a novel incentive of a $21,000 credit towards a purchase at the NZB Yearling Sales in January next year to the winning trainer.

Millions of dollars in stakes earnings has gone to connections of horses who have contested Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship races over the past two decades, with Dunstan Feeds also backing shorter-course horses through the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship, which was instigated in 2016.

Between both series this season, $1.366 million in stakes will be on offer.

Dunstan Feeds director David Smith was proud of the company’s commitment to backing the racing industry with one of New Zealand racing’s longest-running sponsorships.

“It’s been a terrific partnership. We’ve loved watching some of New Zealand’s best stayers come through the series and not just from the big stables either,” Smith said.

“We’ve had an enduring loyal support base from New Zealand trainers and breeders and we’re pleased to be able to give back to the industry. We are a New Zealand-owned company which buys chiefly New Zealand grain and supports New Zealand arable farmers. We are heartland Kiwi and we feel sponsorship of these series are a neat fit for us.

“We are proud of the way the stayers championship has developed over the past 20 years as a way of nurturing our young staying talent and providing a platform to develop the next class of Cup champions.”

Nominations for the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship and the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship close on November 11, with the $80,000 Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship Final run at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and the $100,000 Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.

For the first time, this season’s Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final will be run over 2400m, with the winner again earning an automatic entry into the Gr.1 $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on March 7.

Subsequent Auckland and Wellington Cup winners as well as weight-for-age performers have come through past series which has seen an impressive spread of small and large stables take the top prize.

“We’re pleased to be offering this incentive and as we’ve seen before, the winner can come from anywhere,” Smith said.

“Last year, Stephen Marsh was the winning trainer but in previous years we’ve had guys like Murray Matthews and Peter Harris train the winner and they might have only had one or two horses in their stable at the time. It’s been nicely shared around.”

Between the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship and the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship, there will be 43 races run, 19 in the stayers series and 24 for the 1500 Championship.

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