Railway Handicap

Railway Handicap

Group One Betting Guide
Date: Saturday, January 1, 2022
Location: Ellerslie Racecourse
Prize Money: $220,000
Distance: 1200m

THE Group 1 New Zealand Railway Handicap is a featured sprint race held at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day with the quality of past winners top class.

With a purse of $200,000, it’s not the stake money that attracts trainers from New Zealand and Australia to compete for the Railway Handicap, rather it’s the history behind the race which makes it a must-win for the sprinting types.

Past winners include Bounding, Imananabaa, Avantage, Egyptian Raine and Mr Tiz which won three consecutive Railway Handicap.

It has also been won by two Australian-trained runners with Atomic Force in 2012 (ridden by Nash Rawiller) and 2010 winner A Gold Trail which won with Michael Rodd in the saddle.

The Railway Handicap is always the most exciting race held on New Year’s Day at Ellerslie which is rated as the best track to bet on in New Zealand.

2022 Railway Handicap betting odds

There are no odds available for the Railway Handicap.

Horse Betting will update this page as soon as markets are installed.

Best New Zealand Railway Handicap bookmakers

All of our bookmakers listed below offer all-in and fixed odds betting on the major races out of New Zealand.

The Railway Handicap is one of New Zealand’s prized races and the Australian bookies know how important framing a market is for both New Zealand punters and the locals.

The following bookmakers currently have markets available for the Railway Handicap.

United States Sport Table

Sport Table

New Zealand Railway Handicap betting history

There have been plenty of well-backed horses win the Railway Handicap, which includes the likes of Bounding, Ryan Mark, Atomic Force and A Gold Trial which scored at odds of $5.70 for trainer Gary Portelli and jockey Michael Rodd in 2010.

The Railway Handicap has also thrown in some of the longest-priced winners in New Zealand Group one history with Jacowils winning in 2009 at odds of $104 and Miss Raggedy Ann winning at odds of $86 in 2011.

The Railway Handicap is predominately won by the older sprinters, with Bounding becoming the first three-year-old filly to win the Railway in 33 years.

It’s typically a good horses race with the likes of three-time winner Mr Tiz, which also won the Telegraph Handicap twice and The Galaxy in 1991 at Rosehill.

Diamond Lover broke the Ellerslie track record when winning in 1987. The future stud star ran 1:07.79 in a scintillating display of sprinting.

Other famous names in New Zealand sprinting history include Loader, which was named after dual-Olympic gold medalist Danyon Loader, and also Coogee Walk which now has many races named after it in New Zealand.

2021 Railway Handicap result


1stAvantage ($2.10)
2ndJulius ($3.30)
3rdLevante ($1.20)

Recent New Zealand Railway Handicap winners

  • The Jamie Richards-trained Avantage managed to pull out just enough to claim the 2021 Railway Handicap. The $2.10 pre-race favourite was given the run of the race and when ambling up alongside 2020 winner Julius, she looked like she was going to put a fair gap on her rivals. However, with Julius kicking back on the rail and Levante flying down the centre of the track, the favourite was forced to earn her win.
  • Having settled outside the leader in the race, the John Bell-trained Julius packed plenty of punches late to claim the Railway Handicap. Despite being left in front a long way from home, Jason Waddell made sure the veteran eight-year-old was primed to tough it out, with Julius responding under heavy riding and ultimately proving too good late on.
  • In what is the biggest upset in Railway Handicap history, Santa Monica delivered an improbable win at $77 odds. the five-year-old was able to nab Princess Kereru on the line to win by a neck, with a further head back to the luckless race favourite Melody Belle, who had to battle three-wide from barrier 15.
  • It was expected to be a two-horse war in the 2018 Railway Handicap, but the more favoured Volpe Veloce was the horse that got the chocolates. Settling towards the back of the field Jake Bayliss settled the horse beautifully in the run and let down nicely to find the front at the 100m mark before putting a gap on the field.
  • Start Wondering showed that Australian sprinting form is superior. The gelding from Wanganui had a great record in New Zealand before travelling to Sydney where it was successful. After a bleeding attack it returned to New Zealand and was too classy for them in the Railway Handicap. It found the lead easily coming around the turn and kicked away for an impressive 1.25-length victory. The win gave jockey Johnathan Parkes the City of Auckland Cup/Railway double.
  • Ryan Mark edged out the Australian-performed Allez Eagle by a neck in 2016, much to the punters delight. The five-year-old son of Thorn Park had been in good form throughout the Hastings spring carnival and it ran as the $3.80 favourite. It also continued the good form from jockey Opie Bosson who had won the 2015 Caulfield Cup aboard Mongolian Khan earlier in the season.
  • In Style put a disappointing Australian campaign behind it when winning by a short-head in 2015. The Danica Guy-trained mare had been running at short odds throughout its New Zealand campaign, but bookmakers let it drift to $6.60 which many punters jumped on late. It held out the fast-finishing Whosyourmaster ($4.40 to place) and Durham Town ($6.50 to place) to land a big trifecta payout for punters with 2016 champion Ryan Mark finishing two lengths back in seventh.
  • Bounding was another well-favoured winner which scored yet another close victory. The three-year-old daughter of Lonhro was one of the quickest sprinters in New Zealand before embarking on a successful career in Australia. It won as the $4.10 favourite over the likes of Waterford, Little Wonder and 2015 placegetter Durham Town. It ran a time of 1:10.25 which was considered a quick time on a track which was rain-affected.
  • Fleur de Lune has always promised to deliver on the big stage and its moment came in 2013 when winning the Railway Handicap. The five-year-old Stravinsky mare wasn’t bred for speed and it performed well over the longer distances later in its career, but it ran a slick 1:09.21 for the 1200m on a good track. Durham Town recorded yet another placing with Jetset Lad, which would later move to Australia, running well for second at place odds of $5.40. Fleur de Lune paid $9.90 for the win and $3.10 to place.
  • Atomic Force gave the Australians their second win in three years when scoring by a half-length. The Darren Smith-trained gelding didn’t have superb form in Australia, but it was good enough to run as the $2 favourite and get the job done well. Ridden by Nash Rawiller, the son of Danehill Dancer held off some of the best local sprinting types in New Zealand and it relished the rain-affected track. The $2 on offer from bookmakers was one of the shortest-priced winners in Railway Handicap history.

New Zealand Railway Handicap past winners list

New Zealand Railway Handicap Past Winners
Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2021 Avantage Opie Bosson Jamie Richards
2020 Julius Jason Waddell John Bell
2019 Santa Monica Trudy Thornton John & Stephen Ralph
2018 Volpe Veloce Jake Bayliss Graham Richardson
2017 Start Wondering Jonathan Parkes JJ & Evan Rayner
2016 Ryan Mark Opie Bosson John Morell
2015 In Style Leith Innes Danica Guy
2014 Bounding Mark Du Plessis Ken & Bev Kelso
2013 Fleur De Lune Jason Jago Lee Somervell
2012 Atomic Force Nash Rawiller Darren Smith
2011 Miss Raggedy Ann Natasha Collett Andrew Scott
2010 Gold Trail Michael Rodd Gary Portelli
2009 Jacowils Malcolm Hills Kristine Stead
2008 Imananabaa Andrew Calder Don Sellwood
2007 Donna Rosita Lisa Cropp Piri Ranui
2006 Baldessarini Lisa Cropp Anne Herbert
2005 Recurring Hayden Tinsley Gerald Ryan
2004 Vinaka Opie Bosson Paul O’Sullivan
2003 Our Egyptian Raine Lance O’Sullivan Kenny Rae
2002 Sound The Alarm Craig Grylls Richard Otto
2001 Fritz Noel Harris Neil Coulbeck
2000 Cannsea Michael Coleman Mike Moroney & Andrew Scott

New Zealand Railway Handicap Past Winners Pre 2000

New Zealand Railway Handicap Past Winners Pre 2000
Year Horse
1999 Bawalaksana
1998 Coogee Walk
1997 Kailey
1996 Loader
1995 Coberger
1994 Ensign Ewart
1993 Hypervain
1992 Vain Sovereign
1991 Mr Tiz
1990 Mr Tiz
1989 Mr Tiz / Westminster
1988 Alynda
1987 Diamond Lover
1986 Silver Tip

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