Canterbury’s finest preparing for an exciting New Zealand Cup Day

Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
16 November 2023

New Zealand Cup and 1000 Guineas Day is always a highlight in the Canterbury social calendar and this year will be no exception, with Riccarton Park set to showcase the best of racing, fashion and entertainment to the sold out event on Saturday.

The Grand Tour Racing Festival will conclude its three-leg stop in Christchurch with a bang! Zesty Boi and Jezza, the ever-popular DJs will be supplying the tunes in the ZM Entertainment Zone. Racegoers will enjoy exceptional hospitality offerings, including The Grand Tour Bar, ideally located close to the Parade Ring for front row seats to the pre-race action, dedicated TAB facilities and a rooftop view of the Riccarton home-straight. Day three of NZ Cup Meeting will deliver all racegoers have come to expect from The Grand Tour experience, and more!

We have seen some standout performances over the week and there’s more to come on Saturday, with an action-packed 12-race card including three competitive feature races, among them the headline event of the week in the Gr.3 Martin Collins New Zealand Cup (3200m).

An impressive line-up of fillies from all corners of the country will kick off the black-type events on Saturday when they contest the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 51st 1000 Guineas (1600m) (2.58pm).

The race appears to be quite an open affair, with an exciting Northern contingent making the journey to Riccarton Park including Molly Bloom, Luberon and Impendabelle. Te Akau fillies Viva Vienna and Star of Justice have collected majority of the spoils in the South Island-based lead-up races, while Bozo and Chantilly Lace present key chances for the Central Districts.

A close finish to last Saturday’s Listed Pegasus Stakes (1000m) paints an exciting picture for the Listed Lindauer Stewards Stakes (1200m), set to commence at 4:15pm.

The key lead-up event (Pegasus Stakes) was claimed in a powerful sprinting performance by Not Guilty and Lily Sutherland, the Tony Pike-trained mare looking ominous for the Stewards with the 53kg weight. Another impressive victor on last Saturday’s undercard was Kana who joins the top sprinting fray, with other standout lead-in performances coming from Maria Farina, The Radiant One and Lincoln’s Kruz.

A fantastic week of stakes racing will culminate with the Gr.3 Martin Collins New Zealand Cup (3200m), where the toughest of the country’s stayers will go to battle over the two miles at approximately 5.24pm.

The race is tipped to be a two-horse affair between last year’s winner in the Kevin Myers-trained Aljay, and Nest Egg, Stephen Marsh’s hope who was victorious in the Listed Metropolitan Handicap (2600m) on the opening day of the carnival. Out to spoil the party will be fellow visitors in Uareastar, Waisake, and Mahrajaan, with Blackwood Star also coming off a strong victory last start at Trentham.

Wednesday’s Coupland’s Bakeries Mile Day saw the first of the Fashion In The Fields events, and the best of spring fashion will return to The Ned Fashion in the Field Precinct on Saturday. 

An incredible prize selection is available to the lucky victors in an array of FITF sections, including a trip for two to Niue Island, and the Supreme winner receiving an entry into the Prix de Fashion final.

As anticipated, tickets were in hot demand for Cup Day this year, and as of lunchtime on Thursday tickets are sold out! 

The first race is set to jump at 11.45am.

What: Martin Collins NZ Cup & Barneswood Farm NZ 1000 Guineas Day

Where: Riccarton Park Racecourse, 165 Racecourse Road, Sockburn, Christchurch

When: Saturday, 18 November

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