The popular 10th DEC SKYCITY Hamilton Waikato Cup and 17th DEC Te Rapa Christmas at the Races Hospitality packages are now on sale. With $15 early bird General Admission for the regions biggest Christmas party, the SKYCITY Hamilton Waikato Cup is sure to be a sell out. Check out all the event details or contact us for further information.
The Waikato Racing Club is the host club conducting 16 licences of the 19 race days held annually at Te Rapa Racecourse, Hamilton. The racetrack has been upgraded in recent times and provides an excellent surface all year round. More recently the club has undertaken work on a training and trials track which is expected to be in operation in early 2016. With a healthy membership and support from long term sponsors the Club continues to grow and develop, if you are interested in becoming a Member or Sponsor of the club please find further information below or contact us today!
2016 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate supporting Daffodil Day
Waikato RC @ te Rapa
Te Rapa Race Meeting
Waikato RC @ te Rapa
See the full list of Race Meetings.
The much anticipated Two and Three-Year-Old Free Handicaps should be released after the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) Chief Handicapper on behalf of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association (NZTBA).
The Free Handicap is an assessment by weight (kgs) compiled by the Chief Handicapper to each merited horse for a hypothetical race for the stated category.
From 1980 until 1993 there were only two Handicaps. One for two-year-olds and the other for three-year-olds.
In 1994, two sub-categories in distances for three-year-olds emerged. One category at 1200m-1600m, the other category at 1601m+.
Free Handicaps will be framed for the first time by another new NZTR Handicapper(s), Matt Hall and George Strickland.
It will be the fourth different NZTR handicapper in the past five years, following Dennis Quirke, Brett Scelly and long-time handicapper Dean Nowell.
The Free Handicaps were for many years released at the start of the following season (Aug 1) - until the recent changes to the handicapping regime in the past four years.
Since then, the Free Handicap has been released after the New Zealand Thoroughbred Awards which generates debate whether the outcome of the Awards had some bearing on the Free Handicap.
The previous season's Free Handicap should be released on the first day of the new season. With top horses starting their preparations early in the new season, there shouldn't be any dispute over last season's ratings of our age-group horses. Early season wins adds doubt.
This season's Free Handicaps the main contenders are:
Two-year-old: Heroic Valour and Sacred Elixir.
Heroic Valour was Fastnet Rock's first two-year-old Group One winner. Unbeaten in three starts including the Group One Diamond Stakes and Listed Matamata Slipper.
Sacred Elixir became only the second New Zealand-trained winner of the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes in the last 30 years, after 2005 winner Darci Brahma.
The two had different two-year-old campaigns and will be no different next season. Heroic Valour is targeting the 2000 Guineas, while Sacred Elixir will resume in the Caulfied Guineas Prelude with his main target the VRC Derby.
Three-year-old (1200-1600m): Xtravagant
Without a doubt Xtravagant will head this category after Group One wins in the 2000 Guineas and NRM Sprint. It will be interesting how the handicapper frames Xtravagant's weight (rating) and also comparing to previous years Free Handicaps. Xtravagant was rated 118 by international handicappers, while personally I believe this is too high (being rated the same as Buffering for example), international handicappers do figure large winning margins in Group One races as their main justification. And who can argue with international handicappers - right?
Three-year-old (1601+): Fanatic (NZ Oaks), Provocative (Queensland Oaks), Rangipo (NZ Derby), Risque (1000 Guineas), Sofia Rosa (ATC Oaks), Tavago (ATC Derby) and Valley Girl (Herbie Dyke) lead this category.
There are eight Group One winners, including two Derby winners and three Oaks winners.
Rangipo cleaned up this country's major three-year-old races winning the Group One New Zealand Derby, and three Group Two's Guineas (Waikato Guineas, Avondale Guineas and Great Northern Guineas). Tony Pike's trained gelding should head this category, as he beat most his rivals during the season including Tavago - who was dominant winning the Group One ATC Derby in Sydney.
What was once the hub for horse lovers taking a punt to win the big bucks at Hamilton's racecourse will be burnt to the ground this week.
Weather permitting, the former Totalisator building on the racecourse grounds at Te Rapa will go up in smoke in a training exercise for Hamilton's fire crews tomorrow.
Built in the 1940s, the building, which is in near original condition, was once used by up to 15,000 people at any given race meet.
In its 1970s heyday, punters would finger pick their horses at the front, while the lucky ones collected their winnings at the back.
But in recent years, as the racing industry faces a decline in attendance, the building has sat empty.
Waikato Racing Club general manager Ken Rutherford said the club explored all options including removal and sale of the building, now worth nothing but the land it's on.
"It hasn't been in operation for about 20 years," Rutherford said.
"We're looking to redevelop that area out the back and add value going forward - to liven it up . . . at the end of the day, that land has negligible value with the building on top."
The building was offered to Hamilton's fire crews as a live training exercise - the first opportunity of its kind in Hamilton City.
Expect to see a stream of thick smoke on Thursday as it goes up in flames, fire crews warn.
Pukete brigade station officer Shane Thompson said the boomerang-shaped building will be burnt down in two parts.
Fire crews will light a series of small fires inside the building and observe how they burn.
"We normally turn up and need to put the fire out as soon as possible, whereas using buildings, we can sit and observe the fire, practise the latest extinguishing techniques."
"We do use buildings for live fire training but we haven't had any opportunities like this for a long time."
This was an invaluable experience for fire crews to observe fire phenomena such as flashovers and backdraughts, he said.
Safety instructors with a hose will be inside, on hand, at all times.
"Conditions inside the fire cell will be as close to real life as can be expected, with firefighters exposed to high heat and low visibility conditions."
Crews from Hamilton's central, Pukete and Chartwell brigades will practise fire control and extinguishing techniques, forced entry and search and rescue.
After training is complete, Thompson said the remaining building will be left to burn to the ground.
"In the morning you will see small amounts of smoke but in the afternoon, from 2.30-5pm, when the building is let go, then there will be significant smoke."
Businesses and home owners in the immediate area have been notified, Thompson said, and wind direction and smoke conditions will be monitored throughout.
He urged people not to come to watch as access to the racecourse will be restricted.
About 16 firefighters will be involved in Thursday's exercise, along with Hamilton City Council's building unit staff.
The 2016-17 racing calendar has been released, with Waikato Racing Club getting 17 meetings - 12 of which will be Saturday meetings.
Waikato Racing Club will have two Premier race-days, 12 Feature days and the rest will be Industry days.
The Te Rapa track will have at least a meeting in each month, including Cambridge Jockey Club's April meeting.
Next season, Cambridge Jockey Club has transferred their November meeting, usually here at Te Rapa, to their own track.
There are 309 race-meetings planned for next year on 52 tracks throughout the country. Te Rapa will be the third busiest racetrack in the country, just behind Riccarton and Ellerslie.
There are 61 racing club's in this country, with half having less than two race-meetings. There are 23 race clubs having only one race-day, and another 8 with two race-days.
Wellington Racing Club is the only club to have all their race-meetings (11) scheduled on a Saturday.
NZTR have cut sixteen race meetings for next season, with seven meetings from the South Island, five from the central districts and four from the northern region's programme.
"That is in line with the Strategic Plan released by the board in August of last year," said New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing's general manager of racing and handicapping, Matthew Hall.
"We have to cater for the horse population and maintain average field sizes and also provide a better platform for distribution of prize-money.
"A minimum of $20,000, outside of maidens, for feature days is made possible by fewer races."
"We are the first to acknowledge that the average field sizes in the south have been terrific in the last 12 months and we will continue to monitor that," Hall said.
"We think the northern region in winter was over-catered for and, again, we will continue to look at that.
"There has been a two to four percent reduction in the foal crop and by taking meetings out now there will hopefully be a three to five-year correction time to address some of the funding challenges and increases across all levels.
"We need to maintain field sizes and what I am stressing to all clubs is that there is no desire from us to make further dramatic reductions in meetings for the next two or three years."
As the 2015-16 season closes we look back at the feature races here at Te Rapa for the past season.
New Zealand featured prominently in Hong Kong's 2015-16 racing season that came to a close in the past month.
Werther won the Horse Of the Year title, Champion Middle Distance horse and Most Popular Horse at the annual Hong Kong Champion Awards held this month.
The Tavistock four-year-old gelding won the2016 Derby and QE II Cup and won just over HK$29 million in prizemoney for the season.
The 11-time champion New Zealand trainer Paul O'Sullivan's recorded his personal best in Hong Kong with 50 wins, placing him equal fourth on the premiership - 18 behind John Size.
O'Sullivan's stable star and NZ-bred Aerovelocity earned over HK$48.5 million (NZ$8.8 million). The Windsor Park Stud bred gelding was brilliant in the Centenary Sprint Cup, but colic ruled him out of a chance to retain his Takamatsunomiya Kinen title in Japan.
The incumbent Champion Sprinter, Aerovelocity, was edged out for the season's top award by Peniaphobia's after he won the Hong Kong Sprint.
Former New Plymouth apprentice, Kei Chiong Ka-kei, was Hong Kong's inspired story of the season.
As Hong Kong's first female apprentice in 15 years, she took 25 mounts to ride her first winner. She clipped heels and fell on Hong Kong's international day, suffering two broken fingers. During her time away, Choing learnt how to use the stick in her left hand and remarkably turned her season around.
Before the fall, Chiong's strike rate was below 3%, just two from 72. After her return in February she rode 35 winners for a strike rate around 15%, ending the season with 37 wins.
Choing was awarded the Tony Cruz Award, and the most popular jockey in Hong Kong.
A special mention goes to Tony McGovern. Hong Kong's starter for many years, McGovern announced his retirement.