New Zealand thoroughbred racing celebrates its greats

New Zealand thoroughbred racing celebrated many of its greats of yesteryear at the inaugural New Zealand Bloodstock Racing Hall Of Fame in Auckland on Friday night.


A total of 14 greats from the New Zealand horse racing world – combining horses and people – were made inductees to the Hall Of Fame at a dinner attended by 450 guests including Prime Minister Helen Clark and Racing Minister Winston Peters and many of the racing industry’s biggest names.


New Zealand Racing Hall Of Fame chairman Gerald Fell said the reason for setting up the Hall Of Fame was to rightfully honour and celebrate many of the greats of the New Zealand racing industry.


“It is high time our industry recognized and honoured excellence and achievements that have enriched the New Zealand thoroughbred industry both equine and human,” Fell said.


“These horses and people have been responsible for the success of our industry and the position of respect it holds in the racing and breeding world today,” Fell said.


New Zealand was in real danger of losing some of our early racing and breeding heritage with the passage of time. Already many of our greats are only a dim memory to the current generation,” he said.


“Even Australia had been claiming some of our greats in their Hall Of Fame so it was high time we set up our own so we could celebrate our heroes of the New Zealand industry in a fitting manner,” he said.


The Hall Of Fame inductees will have a permanent and dedicated display in the new Racing Museum at Ellerslie racecourse.


The selections of the original inductees was carried out by a group of professionals representing all facets of the racing industry including racing media, historians, administrators, businessmen and sportsmen.


“It was a hard task for the selection panel,” said Fell. “It is impossible to recognize all the wonderful horses and horsemen in one function and history can become boring so we decided to keep a balance of old and new inductees,” Fell said.


The full list of inductees is:

Australasia’s first undisputed racing champion
43 starts, 33 wins, 6 seconds, 3 thirds and 29,626 pounds (record earnings for more than 20 years)
1890 Melbourne Cup winner and still holds the weight carrying record for the Melbourne Cup 10st 5lb (66kg)
Unbeaten in five starts as a 2YO in New Zealand
Founded a dynasty of three English Derby winners: Spearmint, Spion Kop and Felstead

Dominant owner and industry leader
Treasurer of the Canterbury Jockey Club for more than 30 years, at the time the most successful club in New Zealand.
Active in the formation of the New Zealand Racing Conference
Set up a uniform set of racing rules for the country
Played a leading role in moving NZ racing to an all-totalisator structure
Was leading owner 12 times in the 1890s and 1900s

Three decades the head of NZ racing industry
President of the New Zealand Racing Conference 1900-1930
Produced the first official New Zealand Stud Book (1900)
Won more than 116 classics as an owner and over 181,258 pounds (making him one of the most successful owners of his period in Australasia)
Owned a famous sheep and thoroughbred station, Stonyhurst, standing several generations of successful homebred stallions

Prince of Trainers
The outstanding trainer of his era (1880-1932)
Trainer of 30 Derby winners, probably a world record
Trained the winners of over 200 Group One-equivalent races
Took on the best in Australia on a regular basis and often won
Trained Gloaming, the great champion of the 1920s

The great trans-Tasman travelling racehorse
67 starts, 57 wins, 9 seconds. 
Jointly holds the New Zealand record for a winning sequence of 19
Won 3 Derbys as a 3YO on both sides of the Tasman
Bred in Australia, but trained and owned in New Zealand and was a stakes winner in Australia on debut
Crossed the Tasman more than 15 times in his long career

Racehorse great
51 starts, 37 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds
Bred in New Zealand but never raced here; he was Australasia’s champion for the Depression years
Won the Victoria Derby, AJC Derby and Rosehill Guineas as a 3YO
As a 4YO he won the Melbourne Stakes, Melbourne Cup, Linlithgow Stakes and CB Fisher Plate during Cup week – a feat never matched before or since
Won his only race outside of Australia, the Agua Caliente Handicap in Mexico in race record time
Remains the benchmark for all future Australasian champions

Champion jockey
Won 11 jockey championships (a record for nearly 50 years)
Lifetime tally of 1446 winners was a record when he retired
Holds the record for number of wins during the 1940s
Never regularly associated with a champion, but known for his professionalism and fitness

RACEHORSE - The wartime hero
35 starts, 25 wins, 3 seconds, 3 thirds
Won 10 of 13 starts at 3 including the Easter Handicap carrying 7kgs over WFA
Given top weight for 3 Melbourne Cups, but never ran in the race due to WWII
Won the Easter again as a 4YO, this time carrying 10st 3lb (65kg)
As a 5YO won the Auckland Cup by five lengths carrying 10st 2lb (64.5kg)

Champion jockey
Won 7 jockey premierships over 3 decades
His winning tally of 124 in 1967-68 season was a record until 1982-83
He was the first NZ jockey to ride 2000 winners
Leading rider in 1950s decade
Lifetime tally of 2156 was a record when he retired

Champion jockey
All-time distance-racing master
Won 9 jockey premierships from 1955-6 to 1975-6
Was the most successful jockey in the 1960s decade
His record of 775 wins from 1960 to 1969 was a record for a decade to that time
Won more 2 mile (3200m) races than any other jockey in Australasian history

Champion trainer
Holds current record for winners trained in New Zealand, with a total of 1877
Won 11 trainers’ premiership titles
Reknowned as a mentor of apprentice jockeys
Successful trainer of international winners including Horlicks’ 1989 Japan Cup


Master breeder

Set new standards for marketing stallions and yearlings

Has sold the most sale-topping yearlings of any vendor in New Zealand history

In 2006 was the leading vendor by aggregate at the National Yearling Sales for an unprecidented 25th year in succession

Four times New Zealand Breeder of the Year

Stood champion sires Sir Tristram and Zabeel (78 Group 1 winners to date between them)

Was knighted for his services to racing



Champion jockey

Won a record 12 jockey premierships

Holds the New Zealand win tally record of 2358

Rode the greatest number of winners in both the 1980s decade and 1990s decade, with 1980s decade total of 1077 being the current record

Won 50 Group 1 races, including Horlicks’ 1989 Japan Cup and 3 Railway Handicaps on Mr Tiz