Captain Cook Stakes
Group One Betting Guide
|Date:||Saturday, December 9, 2023|
The Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes is a 1600m thoroughbred race held at Trentham in early December each year under weight-for-age conditions.
The race has been taken out by some of the greatest horses in New Zealand racing history, such as Copper Belt (1977), Solveig (1986) and Rough Habit (1992).
The race was moved from early October to the first week of December to avoid clashing with the Hawkes Bay Carnival in October, in order to attract some of the best milers in New Zealand.
Connections have often run their horses in the Captain Cook Stakes en route to the Levin Classic in Wellington in January.
In 2023, the race is run as the TAB Classic.
2023 TAB Classic betting odds
The 2023 TAB Classic odds as of December 4 look like this:
- Aegon – +300
- Habana – +300
- Desert Lightning – +700
- Diss Is Dramatic – +700
- Pearl Of Alsace – +700
- Aquacade – +1100
Complete TAB Classic odds available at Neds.
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All of our top-ranked online bookmakers offer TAB Classic betting odds, including all-in and fixed-odds markets. Check out the bookies below to find the best available prices for the 2023 Captain Cook Stakes.
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Latest TAB Classic News
TAB Classic betting guide
Over the years, some of New Zealand’s best milers have won the Captain Cook Stakes. Danzdanzdance (2018), Kawi (2017), Shuka (2013/14), Mufhasa (2011), Dorabella (2007), Penny Gem (2003), Cinder Bella (2000), Cent Home (1999), Foxwood (1998), Marquise (1996), Allegro (1995), Rough Habit (1992) and Solveig (1986) are all notable winners of the Group 1 feature.
Gary Grylls is the most successful jockey in the 44 years that the race has been run, having won the event on four occasions – including three in the space of four years during the ’90s (1994, 1995, 1997).
Remarkably, only three trainers have won the race twice: Karen Zimmerman (2000, 2004), the Peter & Dawn Williams team (2013, 2014) and Fraser Auret (2015, 2016). So when looking to place your bet, it may pay to follow trainers who are yet to taste victory in the race.
The Captain Cook Stakes can also be an indicator as to what horses are in the mix for the Group 1 Zabeel Classic, with this regarded as a lead-up race.
2023 TAB Classic field
Previous TAB Classic Fields
No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight 1 Aegon Andrew Forsman Michael Dee 8 59kg 2 Tiptronic Graham Richardson & Rogan Norvall Craig Grylls 9 59kg 3 Prise De Fer Mark Walker Michael McNab 10 59kg 4 Vernanme Stephen Marsh Joe Doyle 4 59kg 5 Deerfield Chrissy Bambry Samantha Wynne 6 59kg 6 Green Luck Paul Harris Jason Laking 2 59kg 7 Harlech Mike Moroney & Pam Gerard Cameron Lammas 5 59kg 8 Chase Stephan Nickalls Tina Comignaghi 11 59kg 9 Langkawi Peter & Shaun McKay Shaun McKay 1 59kg 10 Zola Express Janelle Millar Lisa Allpress 3 57kg 11 Bellacontte Chrissy Bambry Sarah O’Malley 7 57kg
2022 TAB Classic result
Recent TAB Classic winners
- It has been a long time in the making but grand galloper Prise De Fer finally claimed his first elite level title when he took out the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham. In a distinguished career that is littered with black type wins the seven-year-old son of Savabeel shed the bridesmaid tag he had been saddled with after five placings at Group One level, including a runner-up finish in the race last year, to put a tick in the win column for the first time. An impressive last start win in the Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Pukekohe saw the Mark Walker-trained runner installed a $3.60 favourite behind Aegon ($1.90), with the pair fighting out an exciting finish to the contest. Rider Michael McNab on Prise De Fer tracked ex-pat kiwi jockey Mick Dee on Aegon throughout as they both sat back before starting their runs at the 600m. Aegon hit the front at the 200m but shortly after was joined by Prise De Fer, who found a little more in the last few strides to down the favourite, with outsider Chase running the race of his life to take third ahead of gallant pacemaker Deerfield.
- Cambridge trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood claimed maiden Group 1 success when Two Illicit ran away from her rivals in the Captain Cook Stakes. Despite starting from the outside barrier (12) rider Danielle Johnson used all her skill to have Two Illicit beautifully relaxed one off the fence in midfield throughout before looming into contention approaching the home turn. Johnson set the five-year-old daughter of Jimmy Choux alight at the 500m as she looped the field to take over shortly after straightening and the rest as they say was history. The win handed Johnson a third win in the race from the last nine editions.
- It was a family affair when the Leanne Elliot-trained Rock On Wood took out the 2020 Captain Cook Stakes. Leanne’s son Ryan Elliot took the ride aboard the enigmatic six-year-old and with a sweeping run from the rear of the field, Rock On Wood brought up a deserved Group 1 victory. Having finished third and fourth on two occasions at the highest level, the maiden Group 1 tag was shirked in impressive fashion.
- Having gone back in the upon jumping, the John Benner & Hollie Wynyard-trained Wyndspelle needed a perfect steer from Jason Waddell to claim Group 1 glory and a perfect steer is what he got. The six-year-old son of Iffraaj had six Group 1 placings in races like the Tarzino Trophy and Cantala Stakes, but he finally broke his Group 1 maiden tag with a grinding victory in the Captain Cook Stakes. Considering he was three pairs back on the fence when cornering, Waddell needed to bully his way off the fence and once Wyndspelle saw clear air, he never looked like getting beaten.
- Despite needing to travel three wide throughout the race, the Australian-bred Danzdanzdance put some four lengths on her rivals in what was a truly dominant display. Having made her run with 1000m to go, the mare needed to sustain a long run, but when presented at the top of the straight, she simply never looked like getting beaten. Having finished third in the New Zealand Derby, been beaten a lip in the Group 2 Avondale Stakes and on the back of a third-place finish in the Livamol Classic, there is little doubt that Danzdanzdance deserved her Group 1 moment. The flashing grey loomed up inside the final 300m and with a sharp turn of foot quickly put a substantial gap on her rivals in one of the more comfortable wins in the race’s history.
- Following his win in the 2017 Captain Cook Stakes, powerhouse Taranaki performer Kawi edged closer to a significant slice of New Zealand racing history. The win handed the NZ icon a seventh Group 1 success and sat just one behind the former two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa, with eight domestic Group One wins. Kawi was back and wide in the Captain Cook before he was urged around the field a long way from home. He was prominent on straightening and held a strong gallop in the closing 350m to trump Consensus and Sofia Rosa.
- Trainer Fraser Auret managed to defend his Captain Cook Stakes success following Julinsky Prince’s success 12 months prior, but he did it in a way not many expected. His mare Aide Memoire produced a stunning turn of foot to claim Group 1 glory whilst paying $11.90 on the local tote. Auret had targeted the race for Aide Memorie, but it was easy to see in post-race interviews that the result did surprise him. Julinsky Prince’s defence could not have gone any worse, finishing a disappointing last in the 2016 Captain Cook Stakes.
- Following a positive ride from Jonathan Parkes, the Fraser Auret-trained Julinsky Prince managed to outstay his opponents over the mile in a driving finish. Julinsky Prince and runner-up Authentic Paddy quickened stride for stride over the final furlong with Soriano arriving in a flurry for a blanket finish. The win handed the Prince his second Group 1 success following a win in the Windsor Park Plate two starts prior.
TAB Classic past winners list
|TAB Classic Past Winners|
|2022||Prise De Fer||Michael McNab||Mark Walker|
|2021||Two Illicit||Danielle Johnson||Roger James & Robert Wellwood|
|2020||Rock On Wood||Ryan Elliot||Leanne Elliot|
|2019||Wyndspelle||Jason Waddell||Johno Benner & Hollie Wynyard|
|2018||Danzdanzdance||Opie Bosson||Christopher Gibbs & Michelle Bradley|
|2017||Kawi||Jason Waddell||Allan Sharrock|
|2016||Aide Memoire||Robert Hannam||Fraser Auret|
|2015||Julinsky Prince||Jonathan Parkes||Fraser Auret|
|2014||Shuka||Danielle Johnson||Peter & Dawn Williams|
|2013||Shuka||Danielle Johnson||Peter & Dawn Williams|
|2012||Final Touch||Chris Johnson||John Parsons|
|2011||Mufhasa||Sam Spratt||Stephen McKee|
|2010||We Can Say It Now||Lisa Allpress||Murray & Bjorn Baker|
|2009||Ekstreme||Opie Bosson||Bryce Revell|
|2008||Dezigna||Troy Harris||Vanessa Hillis|
|2007||Dorabella||Hayden Tinsley||Howie & Lorraine Mathews|
|2006||Jurys Out||Michael Coleman||David Haworth|
|2005||Hurrah||Hayden Tinsley||Shane Kennedy & Ricky Carston|
|2004||Rodin||Darryl Bradley||Karen Zimmerman|
|2003||Penny Gem||Michael Coleman||Mike Moroney & Andrew Scott|
|2002||Eleveneses (DH)||Leith Innes||Bill & Graham Sanders|
|2002||Tit For Taat (DH)||Michael Walker||Wayne Herbert|
|2001||Hello Dolly||Bruce Herd||Debbie Wills|
|2000||Cinder Bella||Lance O’Sullivan||Karen Zimmerman|
TAB Classic past winners (pre-2000)
|TAB Classic Past Winners Pre 2000|
|Race Not Held|
|1978||March Legend||1977||Copper Belt|