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Celebrating the Boxing Day Races | What's in a name?

The SkyCity Boxing Day Races play host to the Group 1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic and the Group 2 Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic - races that have been claimed by some of the greatest racehorses in New Zealand history... but what's in a name?


To find out more about the namesakes (and legends in their own rights) of these significant races, keep reading.

The Zabeel Classic


The Zabeel Classic is named for the legendary Zabeel – a Kiwi thoroughbred racehorse and, later, sire.


One of New Zealand racing’s most beloved participants, he won seven races himself (with earnings in excess of AUS$1.1m) before retiring to stud where he sired (fathered) an incredible 153 individual stakes winners of 350 stakes races.

Zabeel at home at Cambridge Stud

Zabeel passed away exactly one month shy of his 30th birthday and now rests in peace alongside his sire, Sir Tristram, at Cambridge Stud.


Prior to being the Zabeel Classic, the race was known as the Auckland Classic and later, the Japan Racing Association Classic.


The Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic was taken out in impressive form by Concert Hall in 2020, chalking up a first-time Group 1 win for co-trainer Robert Wellwood as well as owner/breeder Joan Egan.

The Eight Carat Classic

The Eight Carat Classic is named for legendary broodmare, Eight Carat.

Eight Carat with one of her foals. Photo credit: Cambridge Stud

She was a British-bred thoroughbred and, whilst she didn’t have any success on the track herself, has ended up as the matriarch of quite the dynasty of racing success stories.

She produced five individual Group One winners, including Octagonal, Mouawad, Kaapstad, Diamond Lover and (Our) Marquise who had 28 stakes wins between them.


Her influence didn’t stop there with both her daughters and sons (and their daughters and sons) going to be notable broodmares and sires in their own right – with the chain extending for several generations.


Eight Carat won the New Zealand Broodmare of the Year a record-equalling three times from 1995 to 1997 due to the deeds of Octagonal and Mouawad and in 1996 Eight Carat was named Broodmare of the Year by the international journal Owner-Breeder (USA).

Eight Carat died in 2000, aged 25 at Sir Patrick Hogan's (now Brendan Lindsay’s) Cambridge Stud. She is buried alongside Sir Tristram (and the aforementioned Zabeel).


Amarelinha triumphed in last year's Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic - giving trainer, Jamie Richards, his sixth win of the day - an unprecedented sweep of races on Boxing Day making New Zealand racing history.

Amarelinha in the Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic in 2020

The SkyCity Boxing Day Races are going to look a little different this year due to Government regulations around the COVID-19 pandemic. For more, click here.


If you can't make it oncourse this year, never fear! We're bring the SkyCity Boxing Day Races to you with a selection of great SkyCity Christmas Carnival content on our blog.