THE Windsor Park Plate (1600m) is a Group 1 thoroughbred race in New Zealand which acts as the second leg of the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown in September.
Scheduled on the second day of the carnival, after the Tarzino Trophy and before the Spring Classic, the Windsor Park Plate is of vital importance to not only the local racing sectors, but it also gives punters a guide to which horses will travel to Australia.
Named after a top stud in New Zealand, the Windsor Park Plate generates plenty of interest because it is the second leg of a triple crown (much like the Preakness Stakes in the U.S.) and bookmakers subsequently open markets early in the year.
The list of past champions is extensive and includes Starcraft, Seachange, Jimmy Choux and Mufhasa. Which budding champion will be next to etch its name into New Zealand racing history?
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Recent Windsor Park Plate winners
2018: Melody Belle came into the 2018 Windor Park Plate as a well supported favourite and she didn’t let backers down in the feature. Settling just behind the speed the horse was unleashed at the top of the straight and streaked away to win comfortably in the end in front of Savvy Coup and Wyndspelle.
2017: Class four-year-old Gingernuts showed its superior quality when beating a quality field at Hastings for the second leg of the triple crown. The Te Akau-raced gelding settle near the back of the field before switching to the outside in the straight and fighting to the line in front of Tarzino Trophy winner Close Up. Kawi was squeezed up late in the race, but was never a winning chance. Read report here.
2016: Kawi came into the 2016 Windsor Plate as the dominating favourite and although it wasn’t an easy victory, it got the job done. The Allan Sharrock-trained six-year-old was the $1.70 favourite and had to pull out all the stops to defeat Mime by a long head. Noted wet tracker Rasa Lila handled the dry conditions with the disappointment of the race going to the Australian-performed Capella.
2015: The 2015 edition of the Windsor Park Plate was abandoned at Hastings and instead run on October 24 at Trentham. Much to the disappointment of most of the connections, the race was run a month later which put pay to some spring aspirations of the well-performed runners. Julinsky Prince was the victor on the dead 6 track in Wellington which wasn’t playing like your typical hard Hastings surface. The $16.90 winner defeated a handy field, but most of the top spring chances bypassed the running.
2014: Pure Champion caused an upset in 2014 when winning at odds of $17.30. The O’Sullivan/Scott-trained runner was considered to be more of a staying type, but it showed a good turn-of-foot coming into the straight to upset the favourite on the line. The eight-year-old was a former Hong Kong runner and the first Asian runner to win a Hastings Triple Crown race. It defeated race favourite I Do by a half-neck and in behind them was the likes of 2017 Winter Cup winner Nashville, Sacred Star and Veyron. 2013 winner Xanadu couldn’t repeat its efforts of the previous year.
2013: Xanadu was a star three-year-old, but it was able to stretch its career out a little further by taking out the Windsor Park Plate at five. The Ken and Kev Kelso-trained mare was used to running as the short priced favourite, but punters were able to secure $8.40 for the talented type. The field was one of the best in recent history which included 2012 champion Mufhasa, Nashville, Final Touch and Survived. The rain that fell at Hastings on the day caused great concern for the track safety and the meeting was abandoned following the running of the Windsor Park Plate.
2012: Mufhasa was a champion New Zealand thoroughbred which had success at group one level in Australia and as an eight-year-old won the Windsor Park Plate. The Stephen McKee-trained son of Pentire was well-backed coming into the race at $3.80 and it was able to use its high cruising speed to beat Fleur de Lune and 2013 winner Xanadu. The beaten brigade included the likes of He’s Remarkable and Shez Sinsational.
Other champion winners include Seachange which scored back-to-back wins in 2006/2007.
Starcraft came over from Australia with top credentials and it would end up winning the Australian Derby, Chipping Norton and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Royal Ascot . It was crowned Australian Champion Three-Year-Old in 2014.
Windsor Park Plate past winners list
2018 – Melody Belle
2017 – Gingernuts
2016 – Kawi
2015 – Julinsky Prince
2014 – Pure Champion
2013 – Xanadu
2012 – Mufhasa
2011 – Jimmy Choux
2010 – Wall Street
2009 – Daffodil
2008 – Princess Coup
2007 – Seachange
2006 – Seachange
2005 – Miss Potential
2004 – Starcraft
2003 – Irish Rover
2002 – Hello Dolly
2001 – Hello Dolly
2000 – The Message