New Zealand Derby

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NZ Derby

Date March 6, 2022
Venue Auckland Racing Club – Ellerslie Racecourse
Distance 2400 metres
Prize Money NZ $1,000,000
First Running 1973
2021 Winner Rocket Spade

The New Zealand Derby is the premier staying race for three-year-olds in New Zealand and carries a purse of $1 million, which is equal top billing with the Karaka Million as the race with most prizemoney on offer in NZ.

Held during the Auckland Cup Carnival at Ellerslie, the Carnival runs for a week and is keenly anticipated by racing fans.

First run in 1860 at Riccarton in Christchurch, the New Zealand Derby amalgamated with the Great Northern Derby and moved to Ellerslie in 1875.

Horses such as Jimmy Choux, Silent Achiever and Mongolian Khan, with the latter going on to claim the infamous Caulfield Cup across the ditch.

Best bookmakers for 2022 New Zealand Derby odds

Futures and fixed-odds betting for the New Zealand Derby are available throughout the year. As the race is one of the most prestigious in NZ, betting on the race is always at the front of mind for many punters.

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2022 New Zealand Derby results

Result Horse Trainer Barrier Jockey Weight
1st Asterix L O’Sullivan & A Scott 10 Jonathan Parkes 56.5kg
2nd La Crique S & K Alexander 1 Vinnie Colgan 54.5kg
3rd Regal Lion M Baker & A Forsman 6 Matthew Cameron 56.5kg
4th Soldier Boy G Sharrock 7 Kate Hercock 56.5kg

New Zealand Derby history

In 1987, Accountant was first past the post in the NZ Derby before Satisfy was sensationally awarded the race through protest. Since records have been kept, this is the only time the horse first past the post has been relegated.

So Casual holds the race record time with a time of 2:24.80 set back in 1998 with only Sherwood Forest getting close in the 21st century when posting a time of 2:26.77 in 2020.

Since 2000, Michael Walker (2020, 2014 & 2010) and Vincent Colgan (2016, 2013 & 2007) are the only two jockeys to have won the NZ Derby on three occasions, whilst Craig Grylls, Opie Bosson, Scott Seamer and Michael Coleman has won the race twice each in that time.

Six of the last 10 Group 2 Avondale Guineas winners have gone on to win the New Zealand Derby at their next start, solidifying the fact it is the best form race for a punter to follow.

Since 2011 the winner has saluted at an average starting price of $14.30, with the race known to spring a few surprises. In 2019 Crown Prosecutor jumped as a $101 chance when shocking the world with a win, whilst in 2012 Silent Achiever got the job done as an even money chance.

Recent New Zealand Derby runnings

  • Having been sent around as a $41 chance in the 2022 Nz Derby, Asterix stunned the world when defeating $1.30 race favourite La Crique. Having settled third to last, Jonathan Parkes had the Lance O’Sullivan & Anthony Scott-trained three-year-old on the move a fair way out from home. The move proved decisive as La Crique was locked away on the rail, whilst Asterix went past the filly four wide and had too much momentum and start for the favourite to bridge. The win handed O’Sullivan & Scott a win in the race for a second year in a row.
  • In one of the closest finishes in New Zealand history, the Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained Rocket Spade had gone into the race off a strong performance to win the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) in his final lead-up to the feature event at Ellerslie. The extra 300m paid off in the Derby, considering Craig Grylls had the colt in last position inside the final 600m mark. With a majority of his rivals fanning wide, Grylls stuck closer to the rail in hope of a run appearing. The run did come for the pair and with a nice turn of foot, the colt quickened nicely and did enough to hold off Milford and Frontman with 0.3 lengths separating the trifecta across the line in one of the tighest goes in Group 1 history in New Zealand.
  • A placegetter in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in the spring, the Tony Pike-trained Sherwood Forest claimed Group 1 glory in the NZ Derby.In what turned out to be one of the fastest run New Zealand Derby’s since So Casual clocked 2:24.8 in 1998, it was Sherwood Forest who stood strongest of all. Ridden by Michael Walker, Sherwood Forest managed to upset the two race favourites Dragon Leap and Two Illicit. It was billed to be a match race between the two market elects, but it was Sherwood Forest at $13 who claimed the win by 1.25 lengths for the Melbourne-based Walker and for trainer Tony Pike.
  • The pre-race chatter heading into 2019 was all about star prospect Surely Sacred, but a boilover ensued as Crown Prosecutor saluted at odds of $81. After getting a charmed run behind the speed the Stephen Marsh runner hit the front midway down the straight and managed to fend off all of his rivals in the home straight to grip on in one of the biggest upsets in the race’s history.
  • Vin De Dance scored his most impressive win to date in New Zealand, taking out the Derby in narrow circumstances. Vin De Dance and Mongolianconquer sailed away in the stretch, powering clear of the rest of the 18-horse field and fighting a two-horse war to the finish. The pair went stride-for-stride down the Ellerslie straight where the lead changed with every bob of the head, in the end it was the Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman-trained Vin De Dance who prevailed by a nose in a photo finish with Danzdanzdance a further short-half head back.
  • Kiwi racing favourite Gingernuts was a hot favourite heading into the 2017 New Zealand Derby and under a perfect ride from Opie Bosson, the popular runner delivered. The win helped catapult the well-named runner to further Group 1 glory, as he would go on to claim victory in the Randwick Guineas at his next start.

Previous New Zealand Derby winners since 2000

Year Horse Trainer Jockey
2022 Asterix Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott Jonathan Parkes
2021 Rocket Spade Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott Craig Grylls
2020 Sherwood Forest Tony Pike Michael Walker
2019 Crown Prosecutor Stephen Marsh Craig Grylls
2018 Vin De Dance Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Jason Waddell
2017 Gingernuts Stephen Autridge Opie Bosson
2016 Rangipo Tony Pike Vincent Colgan
2015 Mongolian Khan Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Opie Bosson
2014 Puccini Peter McKay Michael Walker
2013 Habibi Donna & Dean Logan Vincent Colgan
2012 Silent Achiever Roger James James McDonald
2011 Jimmy Choux John Bary Jonathan Riddell
2010 Military Move Shaun Ritchie Michael Walker
2009 Coniston Bluebird Bede Murray Scott Seamer
2008 C’est La Guerre Kevin Myers David Walker
2007 Redoute’s Dancer Tim martin Vincent Colgan
2006 Wahid Allan Sharrock Leith Inness
2005 Race Not Held
2004 Xcellent Michael Moroney & Andrew Scott Michael Coleman
2003 Cut The Cake Michael Moroney & Andrew Scott Michael Coleman
2002 St Reims Chris McNab Greg Childs
2001 Leica Guv Jeff McVean Scott Seamer
2000 Hail Bruce Marsh Noel Harris

New Zealand Derby Winners before 2000

Year Horse
1999 Hades
1998 So Casual
1997 Zonda
1996 Great Command
1995 Roysyn
1994 Look Who’s Talking
1993 Popsy
1992 The Phantom Chance
1991 Cavallieri
1990 Surfers Paradise
1989 Castletown
1988 The Gentry
1987 Satisfy
1986 Tidal Light
1985 Bonecrusher
1984 Jolly Jake
1983 I’m Henry
1982 Our Flight
1981 Isle Of Man
1980 Ring The Bell
1979 Ruling Lad
1978 Kaiser
1977 Uncle Remus
1976 Silver Lad
1975 Balmerino
1974 Mansingh
1973 Furys Order

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