The Melbourne Cup is described in Australia as 'The race that stops a nation’. But the Cup has become just as much a part of New Zealand life. On the first Tuesday in November every year, at around 5.00pm, New Zealand and Australia come to a standstill for about 3 minutes 20 seconds for the race of the Melbourne Cup.
New Zealand’s biggest betting event
The Melbourne Cup is New Zealand’s single biggest betting event. For many Kiwis it is their once-a-year trip to the TAB. It is the TAB’s biggest betting race of the year – about 4.5 times as many bets are placed on it as on the next biggest race, the New Zealand Trotting Cup. In 2017 Kiwi punters invested $10.36 million on the race - the highest total ever. The TAB estimates that 10% of the New Zealand population have a bet on the race, but many more buy tickets in one of the numerous workplace sweepstakes. People with little or no racing knowledge enter the draw and then crowd around a screen with their workmates or at the pub to watch 'The great race’.
One of the reasons the Melbourne Cup has become such an ingrained part of New Zealand culture is the great success our horses have enjoyed in the race. Since its inception in 1861, 43 New Zealand-bred horses have won the Melbourne Cup including 33 of the past 55 winners.
19 of these horses have also been owned in New Zealand.
The first New Zealand-bred winner of the Melbourne Cup was Martini Henry - 1883.
The first New Zealand -owned winner was Apologue – 1907.
The first New Zealand, bred, owned and trained Melbourne Cup winner was Sasanof – 1916.
The champion racehorse Phar Lap was New Zealand-born and bred, but never raced in NZ. He won 37 of his 51 races and 32 of his last 35, including the 1930 Melbourne Cup. In the gloom of the great Depression, Phar Lap's exploits thrilled both New Zealand and Australia.
Get ready for a local Melbourne Cup Day
Smitty’s Bar and Grill
Smithy’s ran their first Melbourne Cup Day, seven years ago. Paul and Fleur Clayton and …… had just brought Smitty’s and they were announced as the proud new owners of what was called Frankie’s just then and they were proud to start something special for Melbourne Cup Day.
The Melbourne Cup fever and fun at Smitty’s has continued to grow.
Don’t miss out on the most exciting race day of the year!
Prizes for the best dressed women and men
Door prizes - Spot prizes - Sweep stakes - complimentary nibbles.
TAB open at 10.00am
At Grace O’Malley’s
Sweepstakes and food and drink specials are on offer at our favourite Irish Inn all day.
At Stoked restaurant
Spot prizes and great food on three special days.