Talk Derby to me

8 Jun 2018
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Around the world, derby races have had an illustrious history with many racehorse owners aspiring to win one of these coveted races.

As a result, and because here at Ellerslie we’re super proud of own derby race – the $1,000,000 Vodafone New Zealand Derby which is happening on Saturday 2 March 2019 – we’ve compiled a few ‘fun facts’ about Derby races.
  • New Zealand horses, known for their ability over middle to long distances, often punch above their weight in Australasian Derby contests – NZ-bred horses have claimed 7/11 of the last Australian derbies, despite only making up 5.5% of Australia’s racehorse population

Australian Derby Day set a record for attendance at an Australian sporting event in 2006 with 129,089 oncourse


  • The Epsom Derby is considered to be the most prestigious flat horse race in Britain and has been run since 1780

  • So sought-after is the BMW Hong Kong Derby that the 2018 field was estimated to have cost a combined HK$90 million – and that’s just the horses that made it into the race!

Scenes from the BMW Hong Kong Derby


  • It could be said that the most recognisable horse race in the world is the Kentucky Derby. First run in 1875, it carries a purse of USD$2million. Whilst not richest race in the world, it is horse racing’s biggest annual gambling draw, setting a new record in 2017 with USD$139.2million bet in the US

The Kentucky Derby, held at the iconic Churchill Downs


  • The Vodafone New Zealand Derby is the richest Group I race in New Zealand and is one of only three races in the country with a $1million purse (all of which are held here at ARC). The future looks bright for this race with the glamour and prestige of derbies around the world still drawing new fans with each running

Vin De Dance, winner of the 2018 edition of the New Zealand Derby, sponsored by Vodafone NZ

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