New Zealand Derby – 1 March 2008
The Auckland Racing Club is located at the Ellerslie Racecourse, which is the premier racecourse in Auckland, New Zealand. Not only does it provide a pristine right handed turf track for thoroughbred racing events, but its steeplechase track is legendary. Set amongst landscaped gardens, manicured lawns and the unlimited number of shady trees, the Ellerslie Racecourse is known for its breathtaking beauty and tranquil surroundings. It is host to approximately twenty six major racing events during the year, including the Auckland Cup, Summer Carnival and the New Zealand Derby.
Every year, the horse racing community of New Zealand gets ready for one of the most prestigious events on the racing calendar – the New Zealand Derby. The race has a long and illustrious history, with the first form of the New Zealand Derby being run in 1875 at the Ellerslie Racecourse under the name of the Great Northern Derby. It became known as the New Zealand Derby in 1973. The first race was won by a horse with the name of Toi. There were only three entrants into the race, of which one withdrew before the race, and the other did not complete the course. Today, some of New Zealand’s top horses make their way to Auckland, to compete in this anticipated racing event.
The New Zealand Derby has a handsome purse of NZ$700 000, which is a very attractive sum of money. It is a thoroughbred race for three year old horses, at set weights. Horses are required to complete the 2 400 meter course. The New Zealand Derby is held annually on the Auckland Cup Week opening day, which usually falls on the very first Saturday in the month of March. This year there will be new horses in the starting gates, wanting to add their names to the list of previous winners such as Omega, Nelson, Bonecrusher, Star Belle, Commendation, Desert Gold, Piko, Kindergarten, Master John, Mainbrace, Red Manfred, Balmerino, and last years’ winner, Redoute’s Dancer.
On the 1st of March 2008, the spectators will be seated in their colorful fashions, the starting gates will be filled with winning hopefuls, and a day of racing splendor, excellent facilities and entertainment will be awaiting all who attend.