IN Racing
An exciting new racing initiative for the Northern Region.
Bill Colgan | February 18, 2022
The $300,000 2022 ITM/GIB Northern Region Winter Championships is an exciting, innovative new concept to raise interest in winter flat racing for owners and racing fans.
The Championships will culminate at Ruakaka on Saturday, 16 July with FIVE $60,000 Finals.

Mike Beazley, Chair of Whangarei Racing Club stated, “After two years of very disrupted winter racing in the northern region, the club is very excited to be the first to host the ITM/GIB Northern Region Winter Championships and greatly appreciates the addition of the local sponsorship support in 2022, led by Shayne Heape of Whangarei ITM.”

Mike added, “NZTR is to be congratulated on the creation of the Innovation Fund that allows various racing initiatives across New Zealand to be developed from the ground up by clubs. The clubs, in many cases, are the owners and breeders who are passionate about racing and understand their regional needs.”

In the two months leading to Saturday, 16 July, there will be qualifying races throughout the northern region for the five different Winter Championships. Entry to each final will be subject to qualification in heats across venues that include Te Rapa, Avondale, Pukekohe, Matamata, Ruakaka, Cambridge, and Tauranga.

Great opportunities exist for all classes of horses in the Winter Championships. There will be a final for - open class sprinters; open class stayers; a progressive final for the intermediate class horse who is rising through the ranks starting with only one win at nomination time; and separate finals for three-year-olds and two-year-olds run at set weights and penalties.

Auckland Thoroughbred Racing’s Executive General Manager Racing and Operations Craig Baker has led the development of the concept and commented - “given the level of prize money on offer, we expect there to be strong participation. The five finals will make for a very competitive race meeting at Ruakaka that will encourage punter interest and be a winter highlight for flat racing in the northern region.”

Background Information

The ITM/GIB Northern Region Winter Championships is a NZTR Innovation Fund initiative developed by Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, Waikato Racing Club and Whangarei Racing Club. The Championships Finals’ race meeting will be rotated annually between the Clubs in order of Whangarei Racing Club, Waikato Racing Club and Auckland Thoroughbred Racing.

The Stakes Innovation Fund was announced when NZTR’s stake increases were flagged in early July and clubs were invited to apply to the fund to further improve their race meeting performance.

To enter the series, a horse must be nominated for one (or more) of the Winter Championships at the Racing Service Bureau by 4pm Tuesday 3 May 2022. The five $60,000 finals are: Open 2100m; Open 1400m; Progressive 1600m; 3yo 1600m and 2yo 1200m. Points to qualify for the finals are determined on a horse’s finishing position in the qualifying races.  1st 9pts, 2nd 7pts, 3rd 5pts, 4th 3pts, 5th 2pts, every other runner 1pt.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Craig Baker +64 27 441 2920


The Club is thrilled with 529 nominations for the 5 races in the Winter Championships. Below is a summary and for each series you can click on the PDF link to view or print the nominations.

106 nominations for the 2 year old series headed by Pacific Dragon, Charmario, Patton, Wessex and Westwood.

112 nominations for the 3 year old series headed by La Bella Beals, Hoard The Bourbon, Habana, Mercurial and Superette.

150 nominations for the Progressive series headed by Hit The Switch and Taoiseach.

69 nominations for the Sprinters series headed by Crystallize, Irish Girl, On The Rocks and Germanicus.

92 nominations for the Stayers series headed by On The Rocks, Masetto, Quiz Kid and Two Maison.