Celebrating 150 Years of the Auckland Cup | What's your favourite Auckland Cup win?

7 Mar 2024
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

This year celebrates 150 years of the Auckland Cup, with the first running taking place back in 1874. With so many incredible moments throughout the years, we thought we’d ask some friends (not quite so old!) to share their favourite Auckland Cup win to date. Here’s what they had to say…..


Ross Coles, ATR Clerk of the Course:

“My favourite Auckland Cup winner would have to be Kotare Chief. He ran the whole two miles at the exact same speed and no one could catch him. He was 25 lengths in front with 1400 to run.”


WATCH |  Kotare Chief wins the Auckland Cup by a whopping 7 lengths:


David Ellis CNZM, Te Akau Racing Principal:

“My favourite Auckland Cup winner was a mare called Perhaps. She was trained by the great Collin Jillings and ridden by Brent Thomson, a 16-year-old apprentice. I’ll never forget it because she paid about $25 and my back pocket was full! It was a very exciting race, it was called by Syd Tonks, so that goes back a long time ago.”


Craig Baker, ATR Exec GM Racing: 

“Senator in 1996 would have to be my favourite. I was oncourse that day to see what was a dominant performance. A great win by all accounts.”


Mark Claydon, Racing Radio Personality: 

“My favourite Auckland Cup win goes back to 1978 with Stylemaster. I came up here to Auckland as a young kid from Te Awamutu with my dad and we sat up on the hill and watched Stylemaster win the Auckland Cup. It was a Te Awamutu horse trained by local farmers so it was pretty special, I’ll never forget it.”


1978 saw Stylemaster take out the Auckland Cup with Chris McNab in the saddle. Photo credit: Race Images


Caitlin O’Sullivan, ATR Ambassador: 

“Pentane winning the 2006 Auckland Cup would be my favourite memory. I actually wasn’t oncourse that day (I was only 9 at the time!). I recall watching the race at home with my sister and babysitter though. We were jumping up and down in front of the tele as Pentane stormed home to provide Dad [Lance O’Sullivan] with what was the biggest win of his training career at the time.

“Pentane retired as a sport horse and eventually found his way back to Wexford, where he was a lead pony for many years. At the ripe age of 22, he now lives out his days at a property in Cambridge where he is spoilt rotten!”


WATCH | LOVERACING.NZ caught up with 2006 winner Pentane for an update on how this ‘living legend’ is enjoying retirement:


Peter Thompson, Barfoot & Thompson Managing Director:

“I’ve got multiple actually! The first was in 2013 with Sangster, owned by Tommy Hepinstall. The reason it was special is that it was passing the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup over to an opposition company called Tommy’s. That was fun presenting it to him.

“The following year in 2014 was Who Shot Thebarman. He’s such a wonderful horse and the number of owners that were with him, all wearing orange, meant we had a great time presenting that. It certainly brings back memories.

“Two other special years were 2019 and 2020, Roger That and Glory Days respectively. Our favourite jockey Sammy Collett is a fantastic lady who is one of the few jockeys to win back-to-back Auckland Cups.

“And I can’t forget Ocean Billy, what an amazing win. The only pity was that I didn’t have any money on it because most people didn’t expect it! When you have a win like that, it always remains with you and I’m so glad that it was on the Cup.


Jason Fulford, ATR Track Manager:

“Zavite taking it out in 2009 would probably have to be my favourite memory. I made a good collect and Damien Oliver was in the saddle.”

Damien Oliver was recently back here at the ‘Big E’ to take a look at our new and improved track.


Laura Madden, ATR Senior Marketing Manager: 

“I think my most memorable win (at least that I saw in person) would be Glory Days in 2019. The atmosphere oncourse was truly remarkable, it felt like half of Waverley had come out to support.  And it was great to see Sam Collett get her first Group 1 win.  It’s always great when one of the girls takes out a big feature!”


Paul Wilcox, ATR CEO:

“Ocean Billy would have to be my favourite. I loved the story behind the win.”


WATCH | Learn a little bit more about that story here:



If you’re keen to get oncourse to see who takes out the 150th edition of the Auckland Cup, learn more about Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day here, taking place here at Ellerslie this Saturday 9 March.

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