VOTE | Who gave the most outstanding performance at Ellerslie in the 2019/20 season?

Each season we ask our friends to vote for who they think is worthy of the title "Outstanding Performance of the Year".

This season, we have five finalists (listed below) in this category which is part of the 2019/20 Ellerslie Awards.

Each finalist has been selected by our Executive General Manager - Racing & Operations, Craig Baker, with his decision based on their remarkable effort to achieve victory.

Current members of the Auckland Racing Club, eDM subscribers OR fans of our social media accounts are entitled to one vote each.


To vote, send an email containing the name of the horse you wish to vote for to

  • You may only vote once - multiple votes will result in disqualification.

  • Voting closes at 5pm, Thursday 15 October - so get in quick!

The winner, along with all other 2019/20 Ellerslie Award Winners, will be announced on Great Northern Day, Saturday 17 October, in the Takanini Room (open for club members and their guests).


Outstanding Performance of the Year 2019/20 finalists

The finalists, complete with Craig's comments on their performances, are below and listed in chronological order of their nominated performance:


In the: Network Visuals Great Northern Steeplechase

On: Saturday, 7 September 2019

With this rugged gelding finishing a well-beaten eighth in the Pakuranga Hunt Cup two weeks before, not much was expected of Wise Men Say in the 2019 running of the Great Northern Steeplechase - something highlighted by his starting price of $10.

However, a change of tactics which saw Wise Men Say taken to the front seemed to awaken the son of Yamanin Vital.

You would have to be made of granite not to feel a shiver or two watching him jump the last fence in front and go on to win the great race for a second time - three years after his first win.

In a daring ride, he had a lead of ten lengths down the hill on his final lap and was able to hold on, whilst carrying the impost of 69kg.

Find out more about Great Northern Day 2020 here



In the: Sistema Railway

On: Wednesday, 1 January 2020

What can you say about this horse? Effectively retired after being injured in late 2018, he sure has made a comeback - particularly with his performance in what was his third start back - the Sistema Railway.

It was in that race that the son of Swiss Ace jumped quickly to land outside the leader.

Even splits through the middle of the race gave Julius enough of a breather to find enough in the straight to hold off class Australian mare, Winter Bride.

A remarkable horse and an even better story of courage.

Watch a replay of Julius' nominated performance

Find out more about the SkyCity New Year's Day Races 2021 here



In the: Henley Park Mr Tiz Trophy

On: Saturday, 25 January 2020

While the feature races at the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million are, of course, the two $1,000,000 races; many who attended the 2020 edition were there to see boom three-year-old Catalyst in action.

From an outside gate, Catalyst was slow away and was last on settling.

Many in the crowd that had taken the short odds would have lost their lunch, but all the slow getaway did was add theatre to the race.

As they turned for home, Catalyst showed his electric turn of foot and had the race won in what seemed three strides. Eased down near the line, he stopped the clock at 1:08.89 with his last 600 metres being run in a very fast 32.90.

Find out more about the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million 2021 here



In the: Karaka Million 3YO Classic

On: Saturday, 25 January 2020

From day one, we knew Probabeel was of the highest quality. However, no one would have predicted she would win the Karaka Million 2YO and then the Karaka Million 3YO Classic 12 months later.

With a starting price of $1.60, her army of followers was never going to get rich. But for those that were at Ellerslie, Probabeel was more than the punt.

It was about seeing the gutsy mare circle the field coming to the corner and, under the urgings of the mercurial Opie Bosson, hold off Australian challenger, Conqueror, ridden by James McDonald.

Her time of 1.33.49 was blistering and set the race up for the best horses to fight out the finish.

Find out more about the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million 2021 here



In the: Vodafone New Zealand Derby

On: Saturday, 29 February 2020

You couldn’t describe Sherwood Forest’s win in the Vodafone New Zealand Derby as anything other than tenacious.

In a race that was run at a brutal speed, Sherwood Forest hit the front just before the turn but was quickly headed by race rivals, Two Illicit and Dragon Leap.

However, Sherwood Forest, who always looked the most likely to run out a strong 2400 metres, was able to fight back and claim victory.

The time of 2:26.77 was the second fastest New Zealand Derby ever run – less than two seconds outside the race record held by So Casual (1998).

While Sherwood Forest wasn’t able to replicate that type of performance in two subsequent starts in Sydney, you get the feeling that the 2020 Vodafone New Zealand Derby will be looked upon as being one of the stronger editions of the race.

Find out more about Vodafone Derby Day 2021 here