Celebrating Auckland Cup Week | We've dusted off the history books...

9 Mar 2022
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

We’ve taken a deep dive into the history books and pulled out some interesting facts about the Barfoot and Thompson Auckland Cup® race, the special silverware associated with it and the legendary winners.

Tell me about the race…


The Auckland Cup is an annual race held held here at Ellerslie Racecourse and was first contested in 1874.

It is currently graded as a Group 2 race and is the richest staying race in New Zealand, being at a distance of 3200m.

It’s first running took place at the Boxing Day Races and was won by Templeton who must have been an impressive horse as to inspire Thomas Bracken (composer of ‘God Defend New Zealand’) to write a requiem of sorts to his fading prowess called Old Templeton.

The day was reviewed positively in the 28 December issue of the New Zealand Herald, and was found to be absent of ‘sheanannaking’ and ‘hanky-panky’ and that everything was ‘above-board’ and ‘up hill and down straight’.

The race moved to Auckland Cup Week in 2006 and in 2022, the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup will be run on Sunday 13 March at 5.34pm. For more information about the day, click here.

Since 1970, the split between mares and geldings taking out the Cup was 22 mares to 30 geldings.

The prize money for the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup is a significant $500,000 and for many years the Auckland Cup was the richest horse race in New Zealand.

However, it has been surpassed in recent years by the Vodafone New Zealand Derby and New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million 2YO and 3YO races, which are all also held here at Ellerslie and run for the whopping sum of $1,000,000.

Tell me about the silverware….

Some quick facts about the historic Auckland Cup:

  • The Auckland Cup is about 14kg of pure silver​

  • Queen Victoria commissioned House of Garrard, her personal jeweller, to create the cup in 1889​

  • These are the same jewellers that made Princess Diana’s engagement ring, now worn by Kate Middleton

  • It was donated to the club by Moss Davis in 1928​

  • Davis was the proprietor of brewery Hancock and Company and was one of Auckland’s wealthiest and highly-esteemed businessmen​

  • The trainer, jockey and owner of the winning horse in the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup will each receive a replica to keep​



Who has won the big race?


2021 Barfoot and Thompson Auckland Cup winner, Ocean Billy


The Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup has been won by many notable winners including;

  • Prize Lady (2007 and 2008), becoming the first horse to achieve the feat of winning the Cup two years in a row, since in 1970.

  • Jezabeel (1998) who also won the 1998 Melbourne Cup – making her the only horse to win both the Melbourne Cup and Auckland Cup.

  • Castletown (1992) who also won the Wellington Cup three times.

  • Il Tempo (1969 and 1970) who also won the Wellington Cup in world record time of 3:16.2 for the two miles.

  • Kindergarten (1942) who was one of five inaugural inductees into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

  • Beau Vite (1940) who also won the 1940 and 1941 Cox Plate.

  • Nelson (1885, 1886 and 1887) an Australian champion who greeted the judge at the head of the field three times.

Click here to view all Auckland Cup winners names since inception and here for a more detailed list of winners since 1970.

Think you might know who will take out this year’s Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup?

Simply Choose Your Champ in the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup and if your chosen horse is first past the post, you’re in the draw to WIN a $1,000 shopping spree!

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