New Zealand Derby

New Zealand Derby
Date Saturday, March 2, 2019
Location Ellerslie
Prize Money $1 Million
Distance 2,400m

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.

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.

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2019 New Zealand Derby betting market

Surely Sacred is the favourite ahead of the 2019 New Zealand Derby. Photo: Trish Dunell

Group 2 Avondale Guineas winner Surely Sacred is the $3.20 favourite at online bookmakers Ladbrokes.

Vernanme is on the second line of betting at the $6 quote while the horse that ran second in Avondale Guineas In A Twinkling ($8) is the only other runner in single figures.

New Zealand Derby betting tips

After recording a hard fought win in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas Surely Sacred was moved into New Zealand Derby favouritism and with good reason.

After winning the Group 2 Auckland Guineas on New Year’s Day, the horse failed in the Karaka Million 3YO but bounced back sharply in the Avondale Guineas. The horse has a touch of real class and has gritty side to his talents.

We’re backing Surely Sacred in to deliver.

2019 New Zealand Derby result


1stCrown Prosecutor ($81)
2ndIn A Twinkling ($2.40)
3rdPlatinum Invader ($3.80)

Recent New Zealand Derby winners

  • 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

NZ Derby past winners
Year New Zealand Derby Past Winner
2019 Crown Prosecutor
2018 Vin De Dance
2017 Gingernuts
2016 Rangipo
2015 Mongolian Khan
2014 Puccini
2013 Habibi
2012 Silent Achiever
2011 Jimmy Choux
2010 Military Move
2009 Coniston Bluebird
2008 C’est La Guerre
2007 Redoute’s Dancer
2006 Wahid
2005 Race Not Held
2004 Xcellent
2003 Cut The Cake
2002 St Reims
2001 Leica Guv
2000 Hail
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

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