Telegraph Handicap NZ
Group One Betting Guide
|Date:||Saturday, January 24, 2024|
The Group 1 Telegraph Handicap is New Zealand’s premier sprinting race, with a purse of NZ$250,000 and a long list of champion winners.
Staged at Trentham every January alongside the Levin Classic, the 1200m feature is run under set weights and penalties and is open to three-year-olds and up.
The weather usually plays a part in Wellington during the summer, with temperamental conditions leading to some high-priced outsiders winning in recent times, although the cream has historically risen to the top in the Telegraph Handicap.
Best Telegraph Handicap bookmakers
All of our top-ranked betting sites will offer odds on the Group 1 Telegraph Handicap. The following bookmakers will have form and markets for the Trentham feature:
Notable Telegraph Handicap winners
Champion sprinter Mufhasa won in 2009 for trainer Stephen McKee and repeated the dose in 2011. The 13-time winner in New Zealand would go on to take out the Group 1 Toorak Handicap when beating the likes of King’s Rose and Luen Yat Forever, before winning again in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes over Cox Plate champion Pinker Pinker.
McKee had won the Telegraph Handicap earlier with Star Of Gold in 2001 when training in partnership with his father, the late Trevor McKee.
Seachange ran one of the quickest times at Trentham of 1:06.66 when winning in 2008. The 14-time winner was twice awarded New Zealand Horse of the Year and its win in 2008 capped off a year which included wins in the Mannerism Stakes and Waikato Draught Sprint.
A year prior to Seachange, future stud star Darci Brahma took out the Telegraph Handicap in fine style for Mark Walker. The horse had burst onto the scene in 2005 when winning the JJ Atkins and the New Zealand 2000 Guineas in the same year. The colt finished his racing career with 10 wins and five placings from 19 starts, which also included the Waikato Sprint and Telegraph Handicap in 2007.
Walker also trained 2004 Telegraph Handicap winner King’s Chapel, which was a popular elect for punters.
The champion names continue down the list of past winners, including the likes of O’Reilly – a future star in the breeding industry – and Mr Tiz, who was a two-time winner in 1989 and 1990.
2021 Telegraph Handicap result
Recent Telegraph Handicap winners
- Class prevailed at Trentham when versatile mare Avantage was at her very best in taking out the Telegraph Handicap for the second year in succession. The Jamie Richards-trained five-year-old had scored fresh-up in the Group 1 Railway Handicap at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day to take her Group 1 winning tally to five and added a sixth as she defended the title she captured in 2020 with another superb performance.
- Having been beaten in the race 12 months earlier when Melody Belle, the Te Akau team led by Jamie Richards got their revenge with Avantage. With Enzo’s Lad pushing for three straight wins in the Telegraph Handicap, Avantage managed to wear down the reigning champion when the pair broke clear in the home straight. Jockey Opie Bosson was praised by Jamie Richards following the race, giving the jockey plenty of praise for the ride with Avantage needing to navigate a tricky barrier. Once the pair managed to find cover, it was always going to benefit Avantage chances in the home straight.
- Big dividends and an upset win were the order of the day once again in 2019 as Enzo’s Lad went back-to-back in the Trentham feature. A wide barrier saw favourite Melody Belle struggle to get into the race, which left the race ripe for the taking. Ferrando looked like he had kicked away to claim the prize but the reigning champ launched a late bid and just got up in a photo finish.
- For the second-straight year it was a huge outsider that took out the Telegraph after Enzo’s Lad saluted at $74. Enzo’s Lad cornered into the straight just behind the leader and looked like he was struggling to get to the front but under a brilliant ride from Sam Weatherley the horse hit the front and held off all comers.
- Signify caused a big upset in 2017 when winning at odds of $46.30. The southerner had solid form leading into the race, but not on the scale as some of the well-fancied runners. Under the urging of jockey Racha Cuneen, Signify was able to finish over the top of Start Wondering to score its biggest career win.
- On an overcast and rain-affected track at Trentham, Adventador caused the biggest upset in the 127-year history of the Telegraph Handicap. The seven-year-old won paying $80.90 and caused a shock around New Zealand in the process. It was racing against one of the better Telegraph Handicap fields in history, but it managed to turn questionable form around and take the big victory. In second place was Miss Seton Sands at $8.30 to place and in third was Trepidation at $9.20 to place – setting up a $62,332.30 trifecta.
- Sacred Star entered the Telegraph having not won in four starts since taking out the Group 2 QTC Cup at Eagle Farm, but class is permanent and it showed a quality field a clean pair of heels. The Tony Pike-trained gelding won by four lengths in a lightning time of 1:07.01, but the biggest surprise of the day was the odds on offer. Bookmakers dished out $27.40 for the win despite the form it had shown in Australia. It would later go on to win the Group 1 NRM Sprint and the Group 3 Darley Plate, but subsequently finish a disappointing 11th in the 2016 Telegraph Handicap as the $2 favourite.
- Trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen scored their first of two Telegraph Handicap winners with Irish Fling after later winning with Adventador. The five-year-old was an each way chance in the market at $8.50 and it just held on over the fast-finishing Natuzzi to win by a neck in a time of 1:07.48. The race was run on a rare Fast 1 track at Trentham which caused plenty of controversy. Again the multiples payouts were big as despised outsider Jaggard finished third paying $19.10 for the place.
- Final Touch was too classy for its rivals in 2013 and due to the quality of opposition it faced, the champion South Island runner won paying $14.50. Ridden by Chris Johnson, the five-year-old was given a quiet ride at the back of the field before Johnson let it loose in the straight. It held on by a long neck over the well-favoured Xanadu and Burgundy with the likes of 2012 champion Guiseppina finishing well down the track.
- Guiseppina scored a win for the shorter-priced runners in 2012 when winning at odds of $4.70. The five-year-old scored by a long neck over Australian raider and Railway Stakes winner Atomic Force, with El Chico running in third at odds of $8.40. James McDonald was the winning jockey, beating out Nash Rawiller who was in second. Due to the firm track, two-time winner Mufhasa was scratched in the lead-up.
Telegraph Handicap past winners list
|Telegraph Handicap Past Winners|
|2021||Avantage||Danielle Johnson||Jamie Richards|
|2020||Avantage||Opie Bosson||Jamie Richards|
|2019||Enzo’s Lad||Michael McNab||Michael & Matthew Pitman|
|2018||Enzo’s Lad||Sam Weatherley||Michael & Matthew Pitman|
|2017||Signify||Racha Cunnen||Alex Cowan|
|2016||Adventador||Matthew Cameron||Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen|
|2015||Sacred Star||Vinnie Colgan||Tony Pike|
|2014||Irish Fling||Mark Du Plessis||Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen|
|2013||Final Touch||Chris Johnson||John & Karen Parsons|
|2012||Guiseppina||James McDonald||Steven Ramsay & Julia Ritchie|
|2011||Mufhasa||Sam Spratt||Stephen McKee|
|2010||Vonusti||Noel Harris||Tim & Margaret Carter|
|2009||Mufhasa||Sam Spratt||Stephen McKee|
|2008||Seachange||Gavin McKeon||Ralph Manning|
|2007||Darci Brahman||Opie Bosson||Mark Walker|
|2006||Gee I Jane||Scott Seamer||Neville Couchman|
|2005||Keeinsky||Allan Peard||Graeme Rogerson|
|2004||King’s Chapel||Noel Harris||Mark Walker|
|2003||Tit For Taat||Michael Walker||Wayne Herbert|
|2002||Vinaka||Lance O’Sullivan||Jim Gibbs|
|2001||Star Of Gold||Peter Johnson||Stephen & Trevor McKee|
|2000||Fritz||Noel Harris||Neil Coulbeck|
Telegraph Handicap winners pre-2000
|Telegraph Handicap Past Winners Pre 2000|
|1989||Festal / Mr Tiz|
|1895||King’s Bowman / Saracen|