Clubs & Courses

Manawatu R.C.

Clubs & Courses Index


Manawatu R.C.

The Manawatu Racing Club conducted its first race meeting in Palmerston North on Boxing Day 1881. A few years later the Club purchased 100 acres of land at Awapuni for just four thousand pounds and the Club celebrated its first raceday at the new course on the 26th December 1903.
The very popular Boxing Day race meeting continues to be one of the highlights of the Manawatu Racing Club's year, with thousands of race goers packing the racecourse each season. While Boxing Day draws the biggest crowd to Awapuni, the major race meeting of the year is the Courtesy Ford sponsored Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes - a Group One two-year-old race run over 1400 metres in the autumn. This is now New Zealand's richest Group 1 two-year-old race, run for $225,000.
The Manawatu Sires Produce was first run in 1908 and is one of only two Group One juvenile races conducted in New Zealand. On this day the Manawatu Racing Club also conducts the time honoured, Group Two Awapuni Gold Cup, a 2000m WFA contest that was first staged in 1915. Over the years the Gold Cup has been won by some of New Zealand's very best gallopers including Desert Gold, Nightmarch, Kindergarten, Mainbrace, Redcraze, Show Gate, Grey Way, Balmerino, La Mer, Horlicks, The Phantom, Calm Harbour, Distinctly Secret and Sir Slick.
In more recent years the elevation of the 2000m Higgins Manawatu Classic (for 3yo's) to Group Three status and the creation of the Listed Flying Handicap (1400m). With four prestigious black type events run on this day, the Manawatu Sires meeting is one of New Zealand's richest autumn race meetings.
The Manawatu Racing Club also offers similar total stakes for its Premier Manawatu Cup meeting in December. The feature event is the Manawatu Cup, which was first run in 1892. This Group Three event continues to attract very competitive fields. The Group Two Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m WFA) is also run on this day.
The Manawatu Racing Club is the "senior" partner as such amongst the RACE Group of Clubs that race at Awapuni, staging 9 of the 18 race meetings conducted here. The Club will conduct two Premier and six feature meetings during the season.

The colour, atmosphere and excitement of a day at the races provides an entertainment experience unlike any other. There is no better way to be part of the action than to become a member at one of the Racing clubs that race at Awapuni. Join today and you and your guest will be able to come racing at Awapuni racemeeting throughout the year. Membership at Awapuni can also entitle you to rights at Wellington Racing Club racemeetings.

Membership Options Include:

  1. Race Premier membership $175
  2. RACE (full) membership $100
  3. Country Club Member & Guest $40
  4. Country Club Single Member $30
  5. Under 30 Member $30
The Awapuni Lounge situated on the first floor of the members stand is for our valued members only. Members will also have opportunity to reserve a table at a discount to advertised rates on those days that the Silks Lounge is available.

Hospitality packages are on offer at most meetings throughout the year. This is an opportunity to entertain guests, clients, staff or friends in style, with first class facilities and uninterrupted views of the course.

The package will include:
  • Buffet luncheon
  • Cash bar or all-inclusive beverage package
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Racebook per guest
  • Private tote facilities
  • MC to host the day

Patrons please note NO BYO ALCOHOL ALLOWED on Awapuni Racecourse.

Members and patrons need to be aware that Awapuni Racecourse as part of its obligation under the Sale of Liquor Act operates a total ban on BYO alcohol anywhere on the Awapuni racecourse grounds.

The policy was introduced after discussions with the New Zealand Police and local liquor licensing authorities. On-course patrons may still bring picnic hampers with food and non-alcoholic drinks on any day. All patrons and their possessions will be subject to searches before entering the racecourse. Patrons with prohibited items (alcohol) will be asked to dispose of the alcohol or have the items confiscated.

Patrons who refuse to participate in searches may be denied entry. Patrons found with BYO alcohol on the grounds will have the alcohol confiscated and may be evicted from the venue.

Contact details


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The following courses are used by Manawatu R.C.: