Celebrating Auckland Cup Week | What does the Auckland Cup mean to you?

10 Mar 2022
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

With nearly 150 years of history behind the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup, we spoke to a few (not so old!) friends of the Club to find out what it means to them…

Bill Pomare, trainer and an owner of 2021 winner, Ocean Billy

“It was a dream. [The race] is something I always dreamed about [winning] as a young guy – watching the race and betting on it, especially because I have known a lot of people that have had success in the Cup.

Bill talking to the media after his win in 2021


“As far as I am concerned it’s the one race in New Zealand that I would have really loved to win, so that ticked off something pretty special on my bucket list.


“It’s an iconic race. I just think it’s the greatest race. It’s two miles and it’s a true test of stamina”.


“The race brings Auckland alive.”

Ocean Billy, trained by Bill Pomare, taking out the 2021 edition of the $500,000 feature


Ocean Billy, trained by Bill Pomare, taking out the 2021 edition of the $500,000 feature


“For me, I have been lucky enough to win it twice. There is just so much prestige around it. It’s an iconic race, one that I have enjoyed winning and one that I hope I can win more often!”


Sam aboard ‘Roger That’ in her second Auckland Cup win



Noel Harris, riding mentor and retired jockey

“It’s one of the features of New Zealand’s major racing carnivals. You have the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch cups which is what I call the boom time – the major races.

“Any of those Cup races is a big deal for a jockey, especially on a premier day. It’s bigger money and the prestige of it is unmatched.

“A lot of jockeys’ dreams is to win a Melbourne Cup and the equivalent in New Zealand is to win one of those features, especially the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup. Any big race in Auckland is great to win”.

Debbie Sweeney, trainer

“The Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup is a real family affair for me. Not only is it the ultimate staying race in New Zealand, but on both occasions when I won the race with Prize Lady, I had a family connection.

“My husband rode her to victory one year, and my brother helped me with the training the second year as I was pregnant. They are very special memories.”

Paul Wilcox, Auckland Thoroughbred Racing CEO



“It’s the greatest staying race in New Zealand, I remember coming here specifically for Auckland Cup Week, even before I was employed by the Club”


Paul (right) pictured with staff alongside the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup trophy


Lance O’Sullivan, trainer and retired jockey

Caitlin (right) and Lance (second from right) were recently pictured here at Ellerslie after Lance and the team at Wexford Stables won the Vodafone New Zealand Derby.


“As a kid growing up, the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup was always the number one race. It’s a race steeped in history and if you were fortunate enough to get your name on the honour roll, you had made it. The first thing you’d ask a trainer or a jockey as a kid was whether they’d won the Auckland Cup”.

My second favourite memory at Ellerslie was my 1993 Auckland Cup win with Ligeiro”.

Caitlin O’Sullivan, LOVERACING.NZ and daughter of Lance

“[It’s] a race that holds special memories for the family, with my grandfather (Dave) and father (Lance) both winning it. An annual occasion enjoyed with friends and family, with fabulous food, hospitality and the best racing around”.

Caitlin oncourse on Vodafone Derby Day with the Wexford team celebrating Asterix’s win in the 2022 Vodafone New Zealand Derby



Carena West, Ellerslie ambassador

“For me, the Auckland Cup is about embracing tradition and acknowledging the pure power that is a group one racehorse.


“Not much can beat the on course excitement (and banter) before the big race”.


Johnathan Parkes, jockey


“A great race to tick off the bucket list, especially having won it twice!”



Think you might know who will be added to the ‘honor roll’ in the 2022 edition of the 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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