In what is thought to be a 'first ever' here at Ellerslie, this Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day we are excited to welcome 12 Clydesdales to take place in the inaugural Dunstan Feeds Auckland Clydesdale Cup!
With heats taking place between Race 1 and 2 (approx. 12.50pm) and between Race 2 and 3 (approx. 1.25pm) and the final scheduled for immediately following Race 6 at about 3.45pm, it's a spectacle you won't want to miss.
With the help of their owners, we've rounded up some fun facts about the gentle giants taking to the track this Saturday... AND if you want a sneak peek of some of the Auckland team in training, check out this video.
HEAT 1 - Approx 12.50pm
Horse 1: Logan
Colours: Yellow and black stripe
Rider: Ian Cummings
6 year old gelding, 17.2hh
Logan was bred at Erewhon Station in Canterbury, South Island and has worked in harness as part of the team for all regular farm work.
He's just arrived back from the South Island where he completed the Otago Cavalcade - approx 250kms in 6 days travelling over the ranges from Alexandra to Lake Hawea.
Logan also competes regularly at A &P shows (both ridden and harness classes), and even did a freestyle dressage test!
Racing career - At his first time out, he came 2nd at the Pirongia Boxing Day Picnic Races 2018.
Horse 2: Grayson
Colours: Black, orange and mint geometric print
Rider: Kathy Cummings
10 year old gelding, 16.1hh, only weighs 640kgs!
Officially called Te One Taggarts Grayson, he was bred by Te One Clydesdales in Levin.
Like Logan, Grayson just come back from the South Island after completing approx. 250kms over six days at the Otago Cavalcade.
Grayson usually spends his days working as a stock horse at his owner's farm south of Waiouru, also regularly attending breed shows and competing in low-key endurance rides.
Racing career - 2nd at the Castlepoint Beach Races in 2017 and 1st place at Pirongia Boxing Day Picnic Races in December 2018 (where Kathy bet her husband Ian, creating a healthy rivalry between the two of them for Sat!)
Horse 3: Duke
Colours: Purple, blue, yellow and pink
14 year old gelding, standing at 18hh
Duke's sire is Donnybrook Kalahari and this 14 year old earns his keep as a carriage horse for weddings and other events.
He’s been kept fit harrowing paddocks at home, but is also ridden regularly by his owners' friend Annika in an effort to keep his waistline slim.
Duke loves his food and shares his paddock at home with two miniature horses. If you like what you see today, Duke and his carriage are available for weddings and special occasions.
Racing career - Duke has raced three times at the Pirongia Boxing Day races, with a close second being his best result.
Horse 4: Hazel (Race Name: Take A Chance On Me)
Colours: Bright blue with pale blue V
Rider: Scott Lewin
9 year old, full Clydesdale mare and approx. 17hh.
Hazel is part of our second "husband and wife battle" in the Dunstan Feeds Auckland Clydesdale Cup, with Scott's wife Jess also in this heat aboard #6, Daiquiri's on Strawberry.
Hazel has been training with the Muriwai Horse Trek crew so is fighting fit and ready to race.
Her Dam is Myrtle Park Marjory and her Sire is Myrtle Park Colin.
Hazel is like a big equine labrador and loves attention & cuddles. She makes sure to lick every little crumb of feed out of her and every other horses’ bucket.
She is famous for enjoying a nice roll in soft sand - even with a rider on top!
Horse 5: Bella (Race Name - Bellaire)
Rider: Simon - "Our newest kid on the block! He’s also known as our CFO who keeps us in line and doesn’t let us get carried away with buying too many horses!"
13 year old mare
Bella is our sassy queen clydie if ever there was one! This girl is “thick” like Beyoncé with a tail of hair like Rapunzel!
She’s a perfect combo of just enough attitude “to let you know where you stand” and “a soft safe armchair to snuggle into”.
Bella has introduced many people to the world of horse riding and builds confidence in anyone that has the pleasure of mounting her.
Don’t let her sweet nature captivate you though.... she means business and if you get in her way she’ll be sure to let you know about it!
Horse 6: Strawberry (Race Name - Daiquiri’s on Strawberry)
Colours: Red and white check with white sleeves
Rider: Jess Lewin
10 year old mare
Strawberry, sound and sweet and colour of strawberry roan, this big softy reminds us of Poo’s friend Eeyore, with her fluffy long ears, overly large face and long body... she looks a little clumsy and half asleep most of time. However, don’t let that fool you. One of our long-time trekkers, this girl is responsible for our love of Clydies and their versatile abilities.
With long floating paces, this girl goes from 0-100 in a flash and looks stunning as she does it!
HEAT 2 - Approx. 1.25pm
Horse 1: Olly (Race Name - Where’s Wally)
Colours: Yellow front with green diamonds and green sleeves
7 year old gelding
Olly is our resident “baby” - he’s still maturing physically and mentally, and he’s taking his time.
An absolutely sweetheart and softie by nature, this boy is a big goofball who loves cuddles and kisses - especially from kids.
He’ll have your heart melting just by looking and his soft eye and big head! But don’t be fooled! This huge boy can move, and he can move fast!
Horse 2: Frankie (Race Name - Frank the Tank)
Colours: White with red and white striped sleeves
8 year old gelding
Frankie is one of our best at Muriwai Beach Horse Treks!
He knows his job almost too well and is always the first to greet us in the paddock and keen to get to work!
This horse is a favourite by far and full of personality. He’s takes kids as little as five years old, but he loves a good gallop up the beach too!
This horse is water mad and he would swim into the deep sea if we gave him half a chance.
Horse 3: Orion
Colours: Navy, blue, white and green tessellated pattern
Rider: Kylie Northcott
14yr old gelding, approx. 17.2hh
Sire Woodside Colonel, Dam: Bonnie
Kylie (Orion's rider) has racing in her blood, being sister of champion jumps jockey and trainer Craig Thornton.
Orion is a true gentle soul, except for occasional flashes of rodeo horse in the show ring!
He loves new experiences and getting out and about with new horses and people, - he's our cool dude.
Horse 4: Caber
Colours: Green, purple and white
Rider: Steve Brownbridge
Sire: Glenduan Lochinvar, Dam: Alpine View Marie
The first into everything, thinks nothing of following us into the feed room, the tack shed, the garage and the house if he could.
Obsessed with what anyone is doing, affectionate and insatiably curious.
You will not get away without giving Caber a head rub and, hopefully, a carrot!
Horse 5: Blackwood Brooke
Colours: White, blue and red circle & square pattern
Rider: Meagan Barker Boyde
11 years old, 15'3hh
Sire: Rockwood Chieftan, Dam: Maxwellton Belle
Blackwood Brooke's favourite pastime: eating. The sweetest horse, who asks for attention from humans with her lips.
She definitely is the boss in the paddock where she's very attached to her buddy, Carla.
Although she's on a strict diet, she swears she's just big boned - but we swear she gets wider just by looking at grass!
But don't let that fool you, she definitely can get some speed behind her.
Horse 6: Hangawera Carla
Colours: Blue with white cross
Rider: Ilona Tu
7 years old, 16'1hh
Sire: Ashburn-Craigs Kaiser, Dam: Hangawera Mary
Carla is a big Daddy's girl and just loves getting scratches, whenever or by whoever she can get them from!
She is bossed around by her paddock buddy, Brooke, but being a younger mare, she can be a bit of a naughty brat too at times.
Where Brooke has the 'width', Carla has the height and very long legs.
Although she likes to reverse a lot when her owner is riding her, she is definitely a contender when it comes to picking up some speed, particularly when chasing after her buddy!
Following the two heats, the top three qualifiers from each will make the Dunstan Feeds Auckland Clydesdale Cup Final which will be run after Race 6 at approximately 3.45pm.
HOWEVER in the event there is a lot of rain between now and raceday, all Clydesdales may instead race in one big final of 12 horses after the last (thoroughbred) race at approximately 6.20pm.
Want to come watch? Join us oncourse THIS Saturday 9 March for Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day to find out. Tickets from $20 with children under 15 years of age getting free general admission.