CELEBRATING THE AUCKLAND CUP | The numbers, Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup edition

21 Feb 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

The Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup is set to take place at Pukekohe Park on Saturday 11 March as a part of Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day.

This iconic race has perhaps some of the most impressive silverware attached to it that we’ve ever seen and an illustrious history to boot.

We took a closer look at the history books and without further ado, we give you…the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup | The Numbers…

ONE special piece of silverware

The Auckland Cup in all its glory


The aforementioned Auckland Cup truly is one of a kind. 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.

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

TWO years in a row

In 2008, Prize Lady took out her second Auckland Cup, having won the big race the year prior.

She became the first horse to achieve the feat of winning the Cup two years in a row since 1970 and is something we haven’t seen been done again since.

Mark Sweeney saluting the crowd after Prize Lady’s 2008 win


THREE-peat for Noel Harris

Champion Noel Harris has been first past the post in the Auckland Cup an impressive three times. 1992 marked his first win with subsequent wins in 1999 and 2003.

These three triumphs added to his collection of 2163 wins during his career in New Zealand alone, with Noel also having won almost all of the other major races in the country.

Noel here at Ellerslie after his first Auckland Cup win in 1992.


Eighteen Seventy FOUR

The Auckland Cup was first contested at Ellerslie Racecourses’ first-ever race meeting back in 1874. It was also run later that year on Boxing Day, with published records showing the latter running as being the first official, recognised Auckland Cup.

Steeped in history, this year marks the 149th year of running this iconic race.

FIVE hundred thousand dollars

The Auckland Cup has a significant purse with the prize money currently sitting at $500,000.

For many years the Auckland Cup was in fact the richest horse race in New Zealand. However, it has been surpassed in recent years by four races, three of which also belong to Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, the New Zealand Derby and the Karaka Million 2YO and 3YO races, which are all run for the whopping sum of $1,000,000.

O’Sullivan here at the ‘BIg E’ back in the day


Two Thousand and SIX

2006 marked the year that racing royalty, Lance O’Sullivan, first won the Auckland Cup in the capacity of a trainer.

An esteemed jockey before his training days, Lance has taken out the Auckland Cup not once, but twice, in the saddle.

1993 saw Lance win aboard Ligeiro and 1994 with Miltak gave him back-to-back Auckland Cup wins. His 1994 win was a family affair with father, Dave, and brother, Paul, having trained the stallion.

“As a kid growing up, the Auckland Cup was always the number one race. Says Lance.

“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”.


Seven is the current age of 2022’s Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup winner, Ocean Billy. Ocean Billy also had 7 wins from 24 starts in New Zealand – headlined by his Auckland Cup triumph before he headed to Melbourne to start in the Lexus Melbourne Cup. Trained by Bill Pomare, watch the video below to learn more about this

remarkable man and his special horse.


Nineteen Ninety EIGHT

1998 was a year that made history for the Auckland Cup, with that year’s winner, Jezabeel, going on to win the 1998 Melbourne Cup.

This is the first and only time that a horse has taken out the Auckland Cup/Melbourne Cup double.

1998 was also the year Opie Bosson first rode to victory in the Auckland Cup, going on to win it a further two more times in 2011 and 2013.

Back in 1998 when the NZ bred and trained mare, Jezabeel, triumphed in the Melbourne Cup


Twenty NINEteen

The 2019 edition of the Auckland Cup was a special one indeed for jockey Sam Collett with it marking her first-ever Group 1 win when she won aboard Glory Days.

One Auckland Cup win not seeming enough, Sam went on to become the only female jockey (documented) to have her name against the race more than once, albeit back-to-back, when she triumphed again in 2020.

“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!” says Sam.

A few snaps from Sam’s very own ‘Glory Day’ back in 2019.


TEN years of Barfoot & Thompson

The most recent running of the race in 2022 saw us celebrate current sponsors, Barfoot & Thompson‘s tenth year as naming sponsor of the Auckland Cup and we’re so thankful for this wonderful partner.

We are excited to once again have them onboard for 2023, which will see them sponsor the race and raceday for the 11th year in a row. 2023 is also a significant year for their business with their centenary also cause for celebration in March.

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