Friday, January 23, 2009

No longer the real Wellington Cup now at Trentham...

By the time you read this the Wellington Cup at Trentham has been held and won by the good southern mare Megapins. But the actual Wellington Cup? Yeah right!

The Wellington Cup, arguably second only to the Melbourne Cup as a premier staying handicap event in Australasia, and the premier event in New Zealand, has been raced over 3200m for eighty or more years now. As a staying race Auckland is third behind Wellington, and the historical New Zealand Cup raced since the 1860's. It has often been said that a good miler could win the Auckland and has on occasions.

If breeders are looking for early speed in their horses and consider 3200m as too long now, why has the Melbourne, Sydney, New Zealand and Auckland cups been retained at 3200m? It is actually a lot of nonsense because the changes and alterations in dates are all aimed at promoting Auckland; Wellington with its wonderfully designed testing left handed track has become an even poorer relation now. Riccarton was ignored for years until it got off its own butt and promoted itself by revamping its track and increasing stakes for its race meetings

Now that the Wellington Cup has been reduced to just another cup race over 2400m llike Waikato and Manawatu, it should be renamed as, perhaps the Wellington Gold Cup(with trophy). Money is ruining these historical events. I don't mind being called a traditionalist, at least I am being honest and not trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes.

It is actually the Auckland Cup that should be reduced in distance and changed to WFA(weight for age) and given a stake of a couple of million dollars and promoted as a world class event. It should also be put back to New Years Day and be used as a lead-up to a million dollar Wellington Cup changed back to 3200m. That would be real promotion friends!

In the harness racing code, it is also Auckland fiddling with its Auckland Trotting Cup by reducing it again from 3200m to 2600m. Auckland is second only to the world class New Zealand Cup raced over 3200m in New Zealand. If you have the numbers for the New Zealand Cup you will have them for the Auckland Trotting Cup too with the right promotion and stakes. Wellington will never have a decent trotting meeting because the Hutt City Council forced the Wellington Harness Racing Club into bankrupcy and pulled up the track to grow native plants around Hutt Park.

Traditions are important in horse racing as in anything else. Do you really believe the Melbourne Cup in Victoria, Australia, or major events held at Ascot and Epsom in England would be reduced in distance to promote racing? Hardly! There are other ways and means to promote the sport of kings across the board rather than destroying time honoured events such as the Wellington Cup. A race won also by Melbourne Cup winning greats such as the legendary Kiwi, and the giant mare, Empire Rose. A race that the great South Island mare Showgate should have won with a more experienced rider, and was beaten by dual cup winner Good Lord in his first win in the Wellington Cup. There have been other great winners of the great race on the great Trentham track. I have watched many winners since 1970 but stopped when the Wellington Racing Club forgot that ordinary people as well as the more affluent come to Trentham to watch their racing. Charging $20.00 to come through the gates of a racecourse before even buying a racebook, having something to eat and drink is no way to promote horse racing at Trentham in the Hutt Valley and Wellington region or any other race track.

Well that is my opinion and if you think it is waffling on, have a great day because we will probably never meet each other now or in the future because I may never step foot on the Trentham track again, unless they return the Wellington Cup back to its former glory.


Anonymous said...

Fair comments Kiwi. Tradition is very important in horse racing. They shortened the race to attract a better quality field, but the same horses would have lined up for a 3200m race on Saturday.
However, don't write off Trentham altogether. We attend on the first day of the carnival, which is cheaper ($10), much less crowded and a nicer atmosphere all round.

kiwiriverman said...

Thanks for your comments, BE.

When I was a little younger, I never missed the Cup or the Steeples in winter.

Trentham is a great track with that big sweeping bend and long straight which gives every horse a chance if they are good enough.

Call again!

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