WINNERS OF THE WELLINGTON HURDLE
The first of what could be considered the Wellington Hurdle (originally the Winter Hurdles) was run in 1885. In addition to there being no meeting in 1915, 1941 or 1946 (due to the Army’s use of Trentham), 1950 when the third day of the Winter meeting was abandoned, or in 2004, 2005 and 2008 when atrocious weather and conditions caused the meetings to be abandoned.
Run over 2 miles for the first four years, it was then reduced to 1¾ miles, returning to 2 miles in 1895. It was increased to 2¼ miles in 1920, converted to 3600 metres in 1974. The current name was first used in 1972. The inside hurdle lane was first used in 1975, resulting in a reduction in the race distance to 3400 metres but was declared unsafe after a safety audit in 2008 with the race returning to the course proper in 2009. The times below are for the current distance.
3:48.70 - Rand - 2000
3:51.77 - Harbour Lights – 2001
3:57.97 - Pal O’Mine - 1988
4:39.78 - Thatz David – 2013 (Course Proper)
4:39.45 – Honey – 2011 (Course Proper)
4:35.12 - Counter Punch – 2009 (Course Proper)
4:33 – Hunting Chief – 1978
Highest winning weights:
12 st 0 lb (76 kg) - Chevalier * - 1900
11 st 8 lb (73½ kg) – Nukumai - 1927
11 st 8 lb (73½ kg) - Corineus - 1949
* Chevalier (formerly Cavalier, under which name he won the Great Northern Hurdles a month earlier), dead-heated with Hauriri. The mares’ record is 11 st 5 lb (72 kg) by Tally-ho in 1897. The other mares to win were Marina in 1898, Immensity in 1914, Revision in 1935, Harbour Lights in 2001 and Honey in 2011. Kelly Murray became the first female jockey to win the race when successful on Ricki Roo in 2002, while Shelley Houston joined her when she won on Super Dupa in 2003 and Jo Rathbone on Honey in 2011.
Only one horse has won three times - the great Nukumai in 1924, 1927 and 1931, the last time as a 12-year-old.
Paddon (1932, 1933)
Corineus (1948, 1949)
Hunting Chief (1978,1979)
Van Winkle (2006 (run at Awapuni) 2007 (Run at Trentham))
The oldest winner
Other than those listed in old records as “aged” and whose age cannot be calculated from either earlier Turf Registers or the Stud Book, was Nukumai in his third win as a 12 year old.
The youngest winners
Were the four-year-olds Shillelagh in 1888, Louis in 1889, Tahae in 1904, Immensity in 1914, Omahu in 1919, First Born in 1923, Evans Head in 1942 and Eager Mars in 1961.
Most wins for a trainer.
Although many trainers have win the race twice, only Evan Rayner has managed three wins since trainers names were first listed in 1926 -Mister Divinsky (1990) and Van Winkle (2006 at Awapuni and 2007).
Only two jockeys have won three times
Gary Bell on Blueit (1972), Warpath (1973), and Lord Lu (1975), and Eddie Lamb on Neils Hope (1996), Ballina Bold (1999) and Rand (2000).
Foxonewa in 1969 gave Matamata owner-trainer Bob Autridge his only riding success over fences.
The following horses have won both the Wellington Hurdles and Wellington Steeplechase races:
Kangaroo - (hurdles 1887, steeples 1888)
Omahu - (hurdles 1919, steeples 1924 and 1925)
Beau Cavalier - (steeples 1927, hurdles 1928)
Good Armour – (hurdles 1945, steeples 1947)
Dunray - (hurdles 1958, steeples 1959 and 1961)
Kumai - (hurdles 1966, steeples 1967)
Mr Hickey - (hurdles 1980, steeples 1984)
(The Wellington Racing Club sincerely thanks Chris McQuaid, New Zealand’s jumping historian and statistician, for supplying the above information.)