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The History of the Wellington Cup

Every major Thoroughbred Racing Club must arrange the classic racing events over varying distances to provide racing competition for sprinters, middle distance and stayer racing.
The Wellington Jockey Club came into being and held its first race meeting in 1867 at Hutt Park and at that meeting the Wellington Cup became news for the first time. In April of 1868 the meeting was attended by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh of that time. It was extremely well attended but in those days with no cars or trains the only way to get there was by horse or a horse drawn carriage. Although not run under the "Wellington Racing Club" name until the change from the "Wellington Provincial Jockey Club" in 1879, the next Cup was held in 1874 and the 2 mile event was from then run annually at Hutt Park till 1906 when it was transferred to its new home Trentham where it has been an annual event up to the present day including the years during the 1st & 2nd world wars.

The distance for the race was set at 2 miles (3200m) and has for the majority of years been at that distance except from 1890 to 1941 the distance was set at a mile and a half (2400m). Since 2009 the distance has again been 2400m.

In 1892 the President, Mr H. D. Bell and his committee decided that their best race, the classic 2 mile Wellington Cup should have a high quality Cup trophy and they arranged to have five Cups made in England by a leading silversmith & goldsmith of the time, M/s Mappin & Webb. This company has been a silversmith & silver manufacturer from 1774, has held a royal warrant 115 years and today is silversmith to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The club is in possession of one of these magnificent trophies the 1894 Cup which was won by Mr. Thomas Sheenan’s 4 year old chestnut horse “ Vogengang” carrying 7stone 10lb and ridden by the jockey Derrent in the time of 2:41 for the 2400 metre distance. This trophy is one of the most elegant Cups possible to view made in the Victorian era. It is crafted in sterling silver and has a silver horse and jockey mounted on the Cup lid. To have the manufactured trophy today in sterling silver would cost in excess of $120,000.00 NZD. These Cups were discontinued in 1902 and the manufacture of the trophy returned to New Zealand and trophies over the years have taken on differing shapes and sizes. In the 1970s and 80s the Cup was handcrafted by experienced silversmiths at Walker & Hall. These were all handmade in sterling silver and gold plated. Many of these Cups are held by the families of winning owners.

The committee under President Rod Preston came to the decision that the Cup, whilst well made needed to be upgraded to compete with other trophy’s promoting other popular 3200 metre staying events. They decided that the main Cup for the owner should be supported by two smaller Cups presented to the trainer and jockey of the winning horse. After an examination of goldsmith and silversmith handcraft manufacturers available in New Zealand a contract was awarded to “The Village Goldsmith” of Wellington. They took the elegant 1894 Cup as a model and requested it be copied to 50% of the original size, a vase style with attached gold leaves and gold handles. The excellent profile they produced was manufactured by a master craftsman on their staff, Mr Dan Palmer.This continued until 2011 when a new manufacturer commenced supply of the Wellington Cup along with miniatures for the winning trainer and jockey. 
The beautiful trophies have were well received by all winning connections. Sir Patrick Hogan of Cambridge Stud won the Wellington Cup in 2001 with Smiling Like and he has stated that of all the many trophies he has been fortunate to win the most magnificent trophy is the Wellington Cup.

The Wellington Cup returned to a 3200m format in 2016.

Sponsors of the Wellington Cup

Up to 1981 Wellington Cup
1982 – 1984 Wrightson Wellington Cup
1985 – 1986 Evening Post Wellington Cup
1987 – 1999 Foster’s Wellington Cup
2000 - 2004 Lion Brown Wellington Cup
2005 - 2006 Dulux NZ
2007 - 2011 Century City Developments
2012 - 2013 Pacific Jewellers
2014 - 2015 Platinum Homes
2016 - 2018 Wallaceville Estate

2019 - 2020 NZ Campus of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup

Triple Wellington Cup winners

1890, 1891, 1892 Cynisca
1961, 1962, 1963 Great Sensation
1991, 1992, 1994 Castletown

Most Successful Jockeys

Derrett        1880, 1881, 1885, 1892, 1894, 1898
Roy Reed    1919, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1928, 1932
(Tragically died after a race fall during the Presidents Handicap at Trentham.17 March 1936) 
R J Skelton  1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1969


The first two runnings of the Cup were unofficial events run under the first Wellington Jockey Club and not recognised by the NZ Turf Register. The first running under the "Wellington Racing Club" was run in 1879.
Year Horse Owner(s) Jockey Time Trainer
1867 Policy        
1868 Numa        
From 1874 to 1889 distance was two miles.    
1874 Castaway R Campbell J Cotton 4.05  
1875 Tambourini D O'Brien O'Brien 4.05  
1876 Korari H Redwood Lyford 3.57.00  
1877 Guy Fawkes H Redwood Lyford 3.52.00  
1878 Lara F Boulton Campbell 3.44.2  
1879 Maritana R Ray Ray 3.48.2  
1880 Foul Play A Robinson Derrett 3.37.25  
1881 Natador W Robinson Derrett 3.38.00  
1882 Hilda G Bates Thompson 3.45.00  
1883 Mischief P Martin Wattie 3.41.5  
1884 The Poet G Bates Wratford 3.48.5  
1885 Tasman D O'Brien Derrett 3.38.00  
1886 Nelson FN George Brown 3.38.00  
1887 Pasha TH Hill Clifford 3.36.75  
1888 Beresford GG Stead Huxtable 3.37.75  
1889 Dudu E Cutts Brown 3.37.00  
From 1890 to 1941 distance was a mile and a half. 
1890 Cynisca G Hunter Sweeney 2.39.5  
1891 Cynisca G Hunter Lindsay 2.40.00  
1892 Cynisca G Hunter Derrett 2.43.00  
1893 Retina F Martin Ross 2.40.00  
1894 Vogengang T Sheenan Derrett 2.41.00  
1895 Mahaki H Te Kan i Pere T Taylor 2.39.00  
1896 Brooklet W Douglas D Watt 2.36.50  
1897 Strath Braan WJ Jorgensen F Kingan 2.39.00  
1898 Uniform GG Stead Derrett 2.37.8  
1899 Daunt Hon. JE Ormond F Davis 2.37.00  
1900 Djin Djin E Cutts J Pine 2.38.00  
1901 Renown Hon. JD Ormond F Davis 2.35.40  
1902 St. Michael GG Stead LH Hewitt 2.38.20  
1903 Advance D Gordon C Jenkins 2.34.20  
1904 D/H Gladsome* *  JB Reid FD Jones 2.33.4  
  (Subsequently disqualified for being ridden by an apprentice unlicensed to ride)  
1904 D/H Convoy W Young C Jenkins  
1905 Nightfall GG Stead LH Hewitt 2.35.00  
1906 Ropa D Ross S Reid 2.33.00  
1907 Achilles J Monk C Jenkins 2.35.00  
1908 Moloch G Cork L Wilson 2.33.8  
1909 Blue Ribbon F Dorset E Lowe 2.35.00  
1910 Crucinella WF McBeth W Ryan 2.34.2  
1911 Miss Mischief GD Greenwood H Gray 2.34.4  
1912 Undecided W Smart L Wilson 2.35.8  
1913 Sir Solo F Dorset E Lowe 2.35.6  
1914 Kilrain EV Riddiford H Gray 2.32.4  
1915 Pavlova Mr Marton H Young 2.32.0  
1916 Bee HG Taylor A Reed 2.31.6  
1917 Bunting EJ Watt A Reed 2.31.6  
1918 Nobleman WJ Phillips H Young 2.35.6  
1919 D/H Red Ribbon F Dorset B Deeley 2.33.6  
1919 D/H Rewi Poto W Raleigh R Reed  
1920 D/H Kilmoon GL Stead R Reed 2.35.00  
1920 D/H F Preston Oratress M McCarten  
1921 Maioha Est Late WJ Douglas R Reed 2.31.0  
1922 Insurrection JW Lowe HN Wiggins 2.31.0  
1923 Rapine A B Williams R Reed 2.31.8  
1924 Loughrea LC Hazlett AE Ellis 2.32.0  
1925 Surveyor J Paterson J O'Shea 2.34.0  
1926 Enthusiasm TA Duncan M McCarten 2.31.0  
1927 Rapier GG Holmes W Brown 2.32.25  
1928 Star Stranger AB Williams R Reed 2.31.0  
1929 Vertigern C Elgar BH Morris 2.32.0  
1930 Concentrate RJ Murphy BH Morris 2.34.25  
1931 Stanchion WE Bidwell S Gerrand 2.37.5  
1932 Compris PF Campbell R Reed 2.29.0  
1933 Royal Artist RT Reid K Voitre 2.31.5  
1934 Grand Jury D Lourie WJ Broughton 2.33.25  
1935 Vintage DW Westenra AE Ellis 2.30.25  
1936 Queen Of Song PT Hogan JW Jennings 2.30.5  
1937 Ponty E & N Rutherford P Atkins 2.32.5  
1938 Padishah JA Hennah P Atkins 2.31.0  
1939 Defaulter HD Greenwood LJ Ellis 2.32.25  
1940 Old Bill HH Pharazyn GR Tattersall 2.31.75  
1941 Kindergarten EN Fitzgerald HN Wiggins 2.33.75  
From 1942 - 2008 distance was two miles
1942 Happy Ending JD McDougall N Vaughan 3.42.75  
1943 The Joker JA Brown A Messervy 3.23.0  
1944 Don Quex J & L McMillan AG Waddell 3.22.5  
1945 Lambourn JT Bridgman C McDonald 3.28.25  
1946 Golden Souvenir EN Fitzgerald LJ Ellis 3.24.0  
1947 Bruce S Ramsay WJ Broughton 3.25.25  
1948 Spare Part HO Batchelor KR Ford 3.33.0  
1949 Royal Tan GA Lang K Nuttall 3.23.75  
1950 Beaumaris JS Shaw LJ Ellis 3.26.5  
1951 D/H Almora Mrs GM Newland AC Messervy 3.22.0  
1951 D/H Prawns A Chisholms WF Ellis  
1952 Reformed AJ Brown EG Low 3.23.75  
1953 Crimson King J McNeill MJ Jennings 3.22.0  
1954 Golden Tan GW Hartstone J Garth 3.22.5  Ashley Hamilton Christmas
1955 Golden Galleon Sir Matthew Oram LJ Hodren 3.22.5  
1956 Fox Myth Harry S Limmer (Owner trainer) DJ Wyatt 3.21.25  
1957 Sombrero Mrs G Wall WJ Broughton 3.21.0  
1958 Yeman H Korman & SN Sparks RJ Jury 3.19.0  
1959 Ark Royal GJ Barton RJ Skelton 3.20.25  
1960 Jalna HC Adams & PG Henwood WA Smith 3.18.00  
1961 Great Sensation DW Brown RJ Skelton 3.17.5  
1962 Great Sensation DW Brown RJ Skelton 3.20.00  
1963 Great Sensation DW Brown RJ Skelton 3.19.00  
1964 Gay Filou DD Fea & Reece Smith GF Hughes 3.21.25  
1965 Eiffel Tower WE Hazlett EJ Didham 3.22.75  
1966 Red Crest IA McMullin & JF Rendle BF Andrews 3.27.5  
1967 Michael Molloy S Caddigan & Est H Long MA Long 3.19.75  
1968 Loofah A O'Malley WD Skelton 3.20.25  
1969 City Court AK Sharp RJ Skelton 3.17.5  
1970 Il Tempo WB Priscott ND Riordan 3.16.75  
1971 Ansin MI Matulich DA Peake 3.19.25  
1972 Simon De Montfort Mrs TG Whelan BS Dodds 3.17.75  
  * Paid $180.10 to win on the tote and its owner did not back him.
1973 Rustler JC & Mrs Fletcher DA Peake 3.20.75  
1974 Battle Heights R & Mrs Douglas AJ Tweedie 3.23.5  
1975 Timon GR Pollock GL Willetts 3.23.00  
1976 Guest Star IJ Tucker MR Campbell 3.20.75  
1977 Good Lord ML Hines BS Compton 3.24.5  
1978 Good Lord ML Hines DA Peake 3.18.00  
1979 Big Gamble DP McLennan, HJ & Mrs Tapper TG Autridge 3.19.25  
1980 Cubacade R & Mrs Gallagher JW Walker 3.23.51  
1981 Koiro Trelay DG Canning PB Smith 3.18.75 E Temperton
1982 Ruanuku Mr MH Tims and Est late WJ Pratt SR Autridge 3.19.25  
1983 Kiwi Mr & Mrs ES Lupton JA Cassidy 3.20.29 ES Lupton
1984 Secured Deposit NG Atkins, Mesdames E M Mackley & DJ Ralph NJ Hain 3.22.6 NG Atkins
1985 Imaprince JC Bell PJ Mercer 3.22.27  
1986 Samasaan MR Bell, IH Harrison & GA Jackson CW Johnson 3.23.22  
1987 Rastes KN Allen, Miss PS Brough, PJ Marron Jnr & Mrs RD Sievers PA Taylor 3.22.56  
1988 Daria's Fun DA Hodgetts, DW Mayers & DM Richardson GM Stewart 3.15.59  
1989 Noble Khan RJ Fleetwood, Mrs MC Kuzmich, DG Terry & JA Willmott PG Ayres 3.19.21  
1990 Flying Luskin JF Karam, TJ McKee, PJ Walker & JA Wells PD Johnson 3.20.52  
1991 Castletown PM Busuttin Jnr, BJ McCahill Snr & KP Morris NG Harris 3.18.37 PM Busuttin
1992 Castletown PM Busuttin Jnr, BJ McCahill Snr & KP Morris NG Harris 3.19.33 PM Busuttin
1993 Dancing Lord KS Lee L Isherwood 3.18.19 Stephen & Trevor McKee 
1994 Castletown PM Busuttin Jnr, BJ McCahill Snr & KP Morris NG Harris 3.18.63 PM Busuttin
1995 Ed AJ & Mrs LM Crooks DM Oliver 3.18.25 AC Beckett
1996 Yes Indeed DJ & Mrs MA Deegan RW Caddigan 3.17.85 MD Moroney
1997 Ed AJ & Mrs LM Crooks LA O'Sullivan 3.17.39 ND Eales
1998 Aerosmith Messrs AB & DG Smith GL Cooksley 3.22.62 PJ & Mrs NA Hurdle
1999 Miss Bailey Mesdames A Bailey & KJ Eckhold L Isherwood 3.21.91 GM Cullen
2000 Second Coming A J Burdon, Sir Owen Glenn, P S Lindberg, P A Moroney & G G Peterson MT Coleman 3.20.93 M & P Moroney 
2001 Smiling Like Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan MJ Walker 3.22.04 G Rogerson & K Hawtin 
2002 Cyclades DN Pye & Mrs WE Pye MBE LA O'Sullivan 3.20.20 C Evans 
2003 Oarsman Mrs BE & Mr RW Punch GJ Grylls 3.19.53 P Duncan 
2004 Cluden Creek BA Barber, Mrs Ali Macdonald & NA Purvis AJ Calder 3.26.49 J Boon 
2005 Zabeat AM Goodwin & Mrs DM Logan PD Johnson 3.20.73 D and D Logan & C Gibbs 
2006 Envoy Mrs BJ & KS Kelso, Mrs J & RE White GL Cooksley 3.22.38 K Kelso & T Russell 
2007 Willy Smith Mrs MK Hain & M McPhail M Cameron 3.22.11 D Haworth & M Dixon  
2008 Young Centaur JG Sargent & A Soon Shiong MJ Walker 3.22.15 JG Sargent
From 2009 the distance was 2400m
2009** Megapins WR Campbell, Miss GA & IA McMullin, Mrs AJ & MM Nooyen & KJ Sowman TD Thornton 2.28.84 JF & Mrs KG Parsons
2010 Red Ruler RJ Arculli, A R Meehan & GB Sargent MR Du Plessis 2.27.42 JG Sargent
2011 Spiro PJ & Mrs SL Kay, Mrs AJ, BT, JE & RL Maetzig KA Smith 2.28.84 Mrs SL Kay
2012 Six O'Clock News Six O'Clock News Syndicate LG Innes 2.31.33 Busuttin/Young
2013 Blood Brotha M S & R M Connors LJ Allpress 2.31.32 R Connors
2014 Graphic C R & Mrs S Grace CJ Grylls 2.29.30 Moroney/Ormsby
2015 Maygrove JML Bloodstock Ltd (Mgr L Petagna) & P W O'Rourke M Cameron 2.26.65 MP Baker & AC Forsman
From 2016 the distance reverted to 3200m
2016 Mister Impatience R Legh, G G Syndicate Ltd, K Millar, G Sharp, A Locantro, H Hansen, J O'Neill, G Van Ameyden, P Merton & L Neradovsky SC Spratt 3.21.60 M Moroney & C Ormsby
2017 Savaria D P & Mrs K C Fleming HS Tinsley 3.21.90 RJ Bergerson
2018 Magic Chai M A & Mrs S L Treweek MJ McNab 3.25.19 AW Pike
2019 Gorbachev  P Bardell, F J P Huwyler, B K O'Dea & K T O'Donnell Ryan Elliot (A) 3.22.49   
2020 Soleseifei

Lyall Ridge & Marion Slagter

Trudy Thornton 3.20.03 Jaimee-Lee Lupton
2021 Waisake L R Butler, Mrs J M & K A Horner, Mrs A & N J Maindonald, B & Mrs E Menzies, P V Mullin, B C & Mrs M C Schumacher & S A Sharrock Samantha Collett 3.22.85 Allan Sharrock

The 2021 race was the 148th recorded running of this event

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