Wellington Cup Day set to light up the champagne turf at Trentham

Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
17 January 2024

There’s nothing like Group One racing at Trentham, and The Grand Tour Racing Festival is preparing for another huge day out on the champagne turf this Saturday with NZCIS Wellington Cup Day.

Wellington’s premier racing carnival kicked off last Saturday, with a Group One double-header in the J R & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) & Cambridge Stud Levin Classic (1600m). In a dramatic edition of the Telegraph, Stephen Marsh’s sprinter Mercurial reigned supreme, while Te Akau filly Quintessa held off late charges to claim Levin Classic glory.

The fantastic Trentham crowd were not only treated to top-flight racing action, but also the return of Sir Dave Dobbyn’s after-the-last concert courtesy of The Grand Tour.

In true The Grand Tour style, the entertainment will match the thoroughbred action once again on Cup Day, with the appearance of international award-winning duo Peking Duk, supported by P-Money.

Out on the track, headlining the nine-race card will be the Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m), and a capacity field is set to take on the feature event. The Northerner’s were at the fore on Telegraph Day, and in-form Central Districts conditioner Robbie Patterson has two live chances to even the score with Puntura and One Bold Cat.

Currently in scorching form, $3.30 TAB race-favourite Campionessa is fresh from a stunning Gr.1 Zabeel Classic victory on Boxing Day and poses a huge threat, while No Compromise and Skyman bring forward international form to Kiwi shores.

The time-honoured Gr.3 NZCIS Wellington Cup (3200m) has history dating back to 1867, and this year’s edition has attracted a competitive group of tough stayers tasked with the 3200m distance. Allan Sharrock’s evergreen Waisake was an explosive third placing in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) last Saturday and will be aiming to add a second Cup victory to his 2021 crown.

A classy contingent in Canheroc, Mary Louise and last year’s Gr.2 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Uareastar sit below the $3.80 TAB market-leader in current betting, while Ess Vee Are returns to the turf where he claimed the Listed NZ St Leger (2600m) in March.

As if two stakes races were not enough, a third Group race will feature earlier on the card with the Gr.3 New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) for the three-year-old fillies’. Peter Didham’s in-form Fashion Icon will have the services of Victorian-based hoop Daniel Stackhouse, who will bolster the jockeys ranks at Trentham. Key challengers to the Awapuni filly include Sudbina, Grail Seeker and Vera Rose.

The inaugural running of the $350,000 The Oaks Stud Remutaka Classic (2100m) adds an exciting element to the day, where six horses were granted automatic entry after winning ‘Golden Ticket’ races during the season. Eight other runners fill the fourteen-horse field, and the South Island presence is strong with Jon Ol Rocco, Betty Spaghetti and Sir Albert contesting Te Akau’s last-start TaupōCup (2000m) winner Mehzebeen.

RACE Trentham were not shy in producing the best of Wellington’s hospitality on Telegraph Day, and the ticket response has been overwhelming for Cup Day with Corporate Box, Desert Gold Restaurant and Carbine Lounge all sold out.

However, patrons can still purchase General Admission tickets for $50, which grants access to Peking Duk’s live concert, alongside a huge day of live racing action.

Head to Trentham Racecourse this Saturday, 20th January and eat, drink and get racy with The Grand Tour!

For more information and ticket access, click here.

The first race is scheduled to jump at 12:05pm.

What: NZCIS Wellington Cup Day

Where: Trentham Racecourse, Trentham, Upper Hutt, Wellington 5018.

When: Saturday, 20 January

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