Introducing: The Classics

The Races - Caitlin O'Sullivan
11 February 2020
Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.
Having lasting significance or worth; enduring.
A creation of the highest excellence. 
Oaks, Derby, Auckland Cup
Introducing The Classics Carnival: Three spectacular race days draped in colour (two out of three - but we’ll get to this), tradition and prestige. 
Whether you’re a die-hard racing fan, can’t tell the back-end of a horse from the front, or fall anywhere in between, The Classics are for you. 
Vodafone Derby Day - Ellerslie Racecourse, Saturday 29 February 2020
We’re kicking things off at the Big E! A race dating back to the late 1700s, the Derby is among the most historically charged races of our time. It’s been won by some of the greats, with the likes of Castletown, Surfers Paradise and Balmerino gracing the roll of honour. Cheer on the country’s top three-year-olds as they battle for the one million dollar Vodafone New Zealand Derby (AND ultimate bragging rights!).
With top-class racing comes fabulous fashion, although Derby Day fashion has a twist … the dress code has traditionally been black and white (all because of one very clever marketing ploy for whiskey… you can read more about this here.)  Embrace tradition and sport your best monochrome look. Play with textures, fabrics and patterns, after all black and white need not be black and boring! 
Derby Day will leave you chomping at the bit for more... 
Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day® - Ellerslie Racecourse, Saturday 7 March 2020 
It’s a quick back-up to Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day®, Ellerslie’s end-of-summer celebration. Featuring the country's top horses, trainers and jockeys, New Zealand’s best stayers will be put to the ultimate test in the 3200m Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup. 
Established in 1874, The Auckland Cup has long been considered New Zealand’s most prestigious staying race. The race was run on Boxing Day from its inception until 1958 when it was moved to New Year’s Day. In 2006, it moved to its current early March spot to run alongside Derby Day under the Auckland Cup Week banner. 
The first official Auckland Cup was won by Templeton over two miles. The win inspired Thomas Bracken (composer of our national anthem ‘God Defend New Zealand’) to write a poem about the horse, entitled ‘Old Templeton.’ The inaugural day received glowing reviews from the New Zealand Herald who described it as absent of any ‘sheanannaking’ or ‘hanky-panky’ and very ‘above-board’. We can’t promise the 2020 edition will be quite as clean-cut but with live music, fabulous hospitality, free children’s entertainment and history-making racing, it’s a guaranteed good time for everyone. 
Al  Basti Equiworld Dubai NZ Oaks Day - Trentham Racecourse, Saturday 14 March 2020
A nine-race card featuring five black-type races? Not a bad statistic!! Catch New Zealand’s finest fillies as they vie for the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks at Wellington’s historic Trentham Racecourse, supported by four other black-type races.  
While the New Zealand Oaks as we know it today is not as ‘long in the tooth’ as the Derby and Auckland Cup, the race has a complex history - initially being run at Riccarton Park throughout the 20th century until 1972.  The Wellington Oaks, run over one mile and a quarter and 27 yards (to be precise), was established in 1969 and in 1974 the New Zealand Oaks as we know it, was first run over 2400m at Trentham Racecourse. Name and location aside, the race has been won by some of the best in the business, including Desert Gold, Miltak, Snap and Young Ida. 
Since then, the race has fast become the ultimate target for the country’s top three-year-old fillies. Who will reign supreme this year? Join us in the capital for one final hurrah for the summer season and find out! With stunning hospitality, a student zone, hot rods display and best-dressed competition to accompany the on-track action, why wouldn't you?!
Like what you read? Head to for all the event details! 

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