IN Racing
Significant stakes increase compared to the start of the season.
Looking forward to strong nominations for Saturday's racing.
September 03, 2023

The Ruakaka Racing’s season for 2023 closes with the running of the Alibaba’s Flying Carpets Kerikeri Cup on Saturday September 9th when $365,000 of prizemoney will be on offer.

The prizemoney compares very favourably to the first Saturday of the season on June 10th when total prizes on offer were $235,000. Maidens for September 9 have increased from $15,000 to $25,000 and the open class races increased to $50,000 from $35,000. The standard rating races are valued at $40,000.

With payments back to tenth position runners finishing from sixth to tenth inclusively receive $600 for the standard rating races which is a significant step towards offsetting raceday expenses.

Unfortunately for the owners and trainers this level of prizemoney is not maintained by NZTR for the June and July meetings next winter because those meetings fall into NZTR’s “non-peak” season. I am sure Dragon Leap owners didn’t think their horse was any less in ability winning during the winter than in the “peak period”.

Northland owners and trainers suffer on this prizemoney front because the season of Ruakaka is almost entirely winter based with only one summer holiday meeting scheduled for Friday January 5th, 2024. The Christmas at the races meeting in December at Ruakaka has been deleted by NZTR.

During 2023 the value of the well-drained sand-based kikuyu grass track was to the fore during a wet winter. After the struggles of closure for Covid and the lack of racing at Ellerslie the local owners and trainers were pleased to have the opportunity to race on their home track, albeit an extended season and some programming improvements would be even better.

In total, the locally based trainers won twenty of the fifty-eight races held so far in 2023, with Chris Gibbs and the father-daughter combination of Kenny Rae and Krystal Williams both collecting six wins. Newly established trainer Michelle Bradley has won four so far and Ric Wells would have had his best season with three wins with the fast Patricia.

Patricia and Whiskey Lies proved their prowess by winning three races during the season. The three-year-old Whiskey Lies attracted international interest with his three consecutive wins and was subsequently sold to Hong Kong interests.

The sale robbed the Cambridge Stud Northland Breeders Stakes of a competitor for Crocetti who demolished the field. No doubt Crocetti will prove, once again, how successful this early three-year-old Group 3 race is in finding a star of the spring. The honour roll is full very successful racehorses who proved themselves not only in New Zealand but also in Australia.

For the second successive season the Group 2 winner of the Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate had a preparatory winning race at Ruakaka. This year it was Dragon Leap and last year Imperatriz (AUS).

Below is a summary of the winners at Ruakaka this calendar year for the 58 races held.

Winning Riders in 2023

Warren Kennedy 9

Tegan Newman 6

Jasmine Fawcett 4

Michael McNab 4

Opie Bosson 4


Winning Trainers in 2023

Chris Gibbs 6

Kenny Rae/Krystal Williams 6

Andrew Forsman 4

Michelle Bradley 4

Danny Walker/ Arron Tate 3

Rick Wells 3


Winning Horses in 2023

Whiskey Lies 3

Patricia 3

Crocetti 2

Leitrim Lad 2


Location of Winning Trainers in 2023

Ruakaka 20

Cambridge 12

Byerley Park 10

Matamata 6

Pukekohe 6


Winning barriers in 2023 over 58 races from all distances.

1 -11

2 - 7

3 - 5

4 - 7

5 - 2

6 - 6

7 - 5

8 - 4

9 - 2

10 - 3

11 - 1

12 - 3

13 - 2

14 - 1

Ruakaka; Kerikeri; Whangarei; Northland