Embrace the winter with Kiwi racing action

Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
27 May 2024

A fantastic autumn of racing is nearly behind us, but racing fans have plenty to help them warm up through the winter with live racing action including stakes races and a packed jumps calendar.

Kicking off in the winterless north of Whangarei, Ruakaka Racecourse is bustling leading into the ITM Finals Day on July 13, with five feature races attracting a number of early nominations from across the North Island.

Cooler temperatures inspire the best of winter fashion, and Ladies Day at Pukekohe Park gives Auckland’s racegoers an opportunity to dust off the coats and enjoy a fabulous lunch courtesy of Lindauer – but these tickets are selling out fast!

Further down the country in June, Waikato and Bay Of Plenty are the places to be, with Signature Homes Jumps Day at Te Rapa on the 15th, and a quick back-up to Seeka Kiwifruit Cup Day at Tauranga on the 22nd.

For the jumping fans, Signature Homes Jumps Day attracts a number of the nation’s brightest talents for the first prestige jumping features for the year, chasing top honours in the Fairview Motors Waikato Hurdle (3200m) and Signature Homes Waikato Steeplechase (3900m).

If you don’t want to brave the cold, Te Rapa Racing offers lounge areas to both members and general admission, which is free of charge.

Across the Kaimai’s, Seeka Kiwifruit Cup Day plays host to its namesake race, as well as the Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic for the fillies and mares. For the punters, take your shot at a $2,500 cash prize with the Super Liquor Greerton Punter Of The Year, a package including lunch in the Tokyo Lounge!

Make your way through the Central Districts with two top-tier jumping days at Hawke’s Bay and Trentham, with the Te Whangai Romney’s Hawke’s Bay Hurdle (3100m) and AHD Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase (4800m) your first stop in Hastings on June 29.

Tick off a bucket list experience viewing the incredible Trentham figure-eight course in the Grant Plumbing Wellington Steeplechase (5500m), preceded by Metroclad Wellington Hurdles (3400m). Away from the track, the Winter Best Dressed Competition will include an emphasis on tweed and tartan.

Elsewhere in the Central Districts, gain an insight into the stars of tomorrow at Wanganui and Otaki-Maori, with juvenile stakes racing in the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) on June 1, and Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) on July 27.

For the southerners and those wanting to be a part of the most iconic week in New Zealand winter racing, look no further than the Grand National Festival held to Riccarton Park from the 3rd – 10th of August.

Winter track specialists from across New Zealand get a chance at Group Three glory in the Winning Edge Presentations Winter Cup (1600m) on the opening day, with a key prelude to the jumping features in the Avon City Ford Sydenham Hurdles (3100m) and Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Koral Steeplechase (4250m) also on show.

The final Saturday is a must-watch track side, with the time-honoured Hospitality New Zealand Canterbury 134th Grand National Hurdles (4200m) and the Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge 149th Grand National Steeplechase (5600m) bringing the best of the best together for a true test of ability and stamina.

There’s nothing quite like getting dressed up and watching the steeplechasers tackle the stunning live fences at Riccarton Park, and you can choose your view with tickets for hospitality suites and grandstand access available now.

Our trainers, jockeys, trackwork riders and staff are braving the chill throughout the winter preparing elite flat gallopers begin their preparations during the spring, but before September hits, the Gr.2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate (1200m) will send off the winter season on August 24 at Te Rapa.

Get a leg-up on our Group One hopefuls, with past winners including the likes of Imperatriz, Avantage, Melody Belle, I Do and Fleur De Lune – just to name a few.

Before we know it, we’ll be back in the sunny Hawke’s Bay racing for $1 million in stakes, including the $400,000 Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), but for now, embrace the best New Zealand’s winter racing has on offer at a race-day near you! 

You might also like