New Zealand Derby

New Zealand Derby

Group One Betting Guide
Date: Saturday, March 4, 2023
Location: Ellerslie Racecourse
Prize Money: $1,000,000
Distance: 2400m

THE New Zealand Derby is the premier staying race for three-year-olds in New Zealand and carries a purse of $1 million, which is equal top billing with the Karaka Million.

The Derby, held at Ellerslie in March, is a feature race during the Auckland Cup Carnival, which runs for a week and is keenly anticipated by racing fans.

First run in 1860 at Riccarton in Christchurch, the New Zealand Derby amalgamated with the Great Northern Derby and moved to Ellerslie in 1875. It was formerly run on Boxing Day, but for the last few years it was moved to March where a new Cup Week carnival was introduced.

Since the change in dates the winners have gone on to perform successfully on the world stage, which was part of the reason why the Auckland Racing Club made the change.

Horses such as Jimmy Choux, Silent Achiever and Mongolian Khan are recent winners of the Derby and it has always been the most popular betting race in New Zealand.

2022 New Zealand Derby betting odds

Rocket Spade
2021 Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Rocket Spade. Photo: Trish Dunell

The 2022 New Zealand Derby odds as of March 5 look like this:

  • La Crique – $1.70
  • Pinarello – $3.70
  • White Noise – $8.00
  • Marchand – $15.00
  • Arjay’s Flight -$15.00

Complete New Zealand Derby odds available at Ladbrokes.

Best New Zealand Derby bookmakers

All the bookmakers listed below have or will have New Zealand Derby markets available. The race is run in early March, so expect to find all-in markets available throughout the summer months.

Our top bookmakers know the importance of framing international markets early, so expect to see the NZ Derby in the futures list throughout the year.

United States Sport Table

Sport Table

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New Zealand Derby statistics

In 1987, Accountant was first past the post in the NZ Derby before Satisfy was handed the race through protest.

So Casual holds the race record time with a time of 2:24.80 set back in 1998 with only Sherwood Forest getting close in the 21st century when posting a time of 2:26.77 in 2020.

Since 2000, two jockeys have claimed a win in the New Zealand Derby on three seperate occasions. Michael Walker (2020, 2014 & 2010) and Vincent Colgan (2016, 2013 & 2007) have achieved the feat, whilst Craig Grylls, Opie Bosson, Scott Seamer and Michael Coleman has won the race twice each in that time.

Without a doubt the Group 2 Avondale Guineas is the best lead up race to the New Zealand Derby. Six of the last 10 Avondale Guineas winners have gone on to win the New Zealand Derby at their next start.

Since 2011 the winner has saluted at an average starting price of $14.30, with the race known to spring a few surprises. In 2019 Crown Prosecutor jumped as a $101 chance when shocking the world with a win, whilst in 2012 Silent Achiever got the job done as an even money chance.

2022 New Zealand Derby result

1stRocket Spade ($4.30)
2ndMilford ($3.00)
3rdFrontman ($3.50)

Recent New Zealand Derby runnings

  • In what is one of the tightest finish in New Zealand Derby history, it was Rocket Spade who claimed Group 1 glory. The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained colt had gone into the race off a strong performance to win the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) in his final lead-up to the feature event at Ellerslie. The extra 300m paid off in the Derby, considering Craig Grylls had the colt in last position inside the final 600m mark. With a majority of his rivals fanning wide, Grylls stuck closer to the rail in hope of a run appearing. The run came three to four horses off the fence and with a nice turn of foot, the colt quickened nicely and did enough to hold off Milford and Frontman with 0.3 lengths separating the trifecta across the line.
  • A placegetter in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in the spring, the Tony Pike-trained Sherwood Forest claimed Group 1 glory in the NZ Derby. In the fastest New Zealand Derby since So Casual clocked 2:24.8 in 1998, it was Sherwood Forest who stood strongest of all. Ridden by star Melbourne-based Kiwi jockey Michael Walker, Sherwood Forest managed to upset the two race favourites Dragon Leap and Two Illicit. It was billed to be a match race between the two market elects, but it was Sherwood Forest at $13 who claimed the win by 1.25 lengths.
  • The pre-race chatter heading into 2019 was all about star prospect Surely Sacred, but a boilover ensued as Crown Prosecutor saluted at odds of $81. After getting a charmed run behind the speed the Stephen Marsh runner hit the front midway down the straight and stayed on to record a huge win.
  • Vin De Dance scored his most impressive win to date in New Zealand, taking out the Derby in narrow circumstances. Vin De Dance and Mongolianconquer sailed away in the stretch, powering clear of the rest of the 18-horse field and fighting a two-horse war to the finish. After a desperate battle where the lead changed with every bob of the head, Vin De Dance prevailed by a nose.
  • Kiwi racing favourite Gingernuts was a hot favourite heading into the 2017 New Zealand Derby and under a perfect ride from Opie Bosson, the popular runner delivered. Coming wide into the straight Bosson straightened the galloper up beautifully and he did the rest, striding away strongly for a powerful win.
  • Tony Pike lined up Rangipo to win the 2016 NZ Derby. The son of Stryker was one of the more fancied runners leading into the race ($4.80) and it just held on in a dramatic finish. The Stephen McKee-trained What’s The Story was storming home along the inside, but Rangipo had stolen a big enough break on the field after battling with Raghu down the Ellerslie straight. The form out of the race has been good with the likes of Capella, Tavago and Humidor finishing in behind the winner.
  • The 2015 edition was one of the best to date with two champion thoroughbreds clearing out ahead of the field. Mongolian Khan proved too good on the day by holding out multiple group one winner Volkstok’n’barrell. Mongolian Khan drew away from its rival to score by a length with the third-placed runner Sound Proposition finishing a further 5.5 lengths back. Mongolian Khan would subsequently win the Caulfield Cup and Sound Proposition would later be stripped of its placing due to high levels of a banned substance.
  • Puccini burst onto the scene with a two length romp in 2014. The McKay-trained son of Encosta de Lago never looked like getting beaten with Michael Walker in the saddle as it kicked away for an impressive win over a quality field. In second was the highly-touted Rising Romance which would later win races in Australia and although Puccini didn’t continue to perform at the highest level, it proved a handy horse to have in the stable.
  • All the talk in the 2013 New Zealand Derby was about two horses; Castlzeberg and Habibi, with the latter prevailing over the 2400m. The Donna and Dean Logan-trained filly had excellent form leading into the race and punters left the track happy after taking the value odds of $3. The daughter of Ekraar showed its brilliance by beating Fix with Castlzeberg finishing in third. Habibi would later encounter injury troubles before being sold to American interests where it had moderate success and Castlzeberg was solid to OTI Racing, but it never amounted to anything.
  • Trainer Roger James and jockey James McDonald teamed up to win with Silent Achiever. The three-year-old filly by O’Reilly scored an impressive 2.5-length victory over the well-performed Rock ‘n’ Pop and Carrick. Punters were bang on the money with Silent Achiever paying $2.10 with bookmakers and it would later have great success in Australia. The 2012 edition was the most recent NZ Derby to be run on rain-affected ground.

Past New Zealand Derby winners list

New Zealand Derby Past Winners
Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2021 Rocket Spade Craig Grylls Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott
2020 Sherwood Forest Michael Walker Tony Pike
2019 Crown Prosecutor Craig Grylls Stephen Marsh
2018 Vin De Dance Jason Waddell Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
2017 Gingernuts Opie Bosson Stephen Autridge
2016 Rangipo Vincent Colgan Tony Pike
2015 Mongolian Khan Opie Bosson Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
2014 Puccini Michael Walker Peter McKay
2013 Habibi Vincent Colgan Donna & Dean Logan
2012 Silent Achiever James McDonald Roger James
2011 Jimmy Choux Jonathan Riddell John Bary
2010 Military Move Michael Walker Shaune Ritchie
2009 Coniston Bluebird Scott Seamer Bede Murray
2008 C’est La Guerre David Walker Kevin Myers
2007 Redoute’s Dancer Vincent Colgan Tim Martin
2006 Wahid Leith Inness Allan Sharrock
2005 Race Not Held
2004 Xcellent Michael Coleman Michael Moroney & Andrew Scott
2003 Cut The Cake Michael Coleman Michael Moroney & Andrew Scott
2002 St Reims Greg Childs Chris McNab
2001 Leica Guv Scott Seamer Jeff McVean
2000 Hail Noel Harris Bruce Marsh

New Zealand Derby Past Winners Pre 2000

New Zealand Derby Past Winners Pre 2000
Year Horse
1999 Hades
1998 So Casual
1997 Zonda
1996 Great Command
1995 Roysyn
1994 Look Who’s Talking
1993 Popsy
1992 The Phantom Chance
1991 Cavallieri
1990 Surfers Paradise
1989 Castletown
1988 The Gentry
1987 Satisfy
1986 Tidal Light
1985 Bonecrusher
1984 Jolly Jake
1983 I’m Henry
1982 Our Flight
1981 Isle Of Man
1980 Ring The Bell
1979 Ruling Lad
1978 Kaiser
1977 Uncle Remus
1976 Silver Lad
1975 Balmerino
1974 Mansingh
1973 Furys Order

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