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Bill Skelton

Champion Jockey who started a racing dynasty ...more

The oldest of five jockey brothers from Greymouth, Bill Skelton began his successful career in the South Island, moved to Levin in 1964 and continued to pump out the winners at just as high a rate. He won seven premierships spread across three decades – four in the 1950s, two in the ‘60s and one more in the ‘70s – and was either first or second leading rider in each of those three decades. His winning tally of 124 in the 1967-68 was a record until headed by David Peake, with 127, in 1982-83. Skelton was the first New Zealand jockey to ride 2000 winners and retired with a then record tally of 2156. He rode successfully as well in Australia, where his best win was the VRC Derby on Daryl’s Joy.

Bill Skelton is sponsored by Bloodstock PR Ltd a company associated with NZRHF director - Phillip Quay. Phillip is an internationally acclaimed independent journalist and can be contacted at 07-846-4507.


Raced into equine immortality in the race of the century ...more

44 starts, 18 wins (nine Group One, six of these in Australia), five seconds, 12 thirds; NZ$674,225, A$1,679,495.

Champion NZ 3YO Bonecrusher can count amongst his home wins the NZ Derby and Air New Zealand Stakes, followed up with stunning Australian wins in Sydney including the Tancred Stakes and AJC Derby.

In the following spring Bonecrusher won the most memorable Cox Plate duel with Waverley Star – being described as the “race of the century”. In this career defining race, Bonecrusher’s name continues to live on in equine immortality.

Bonecrusher beat At Talaq in the Australian Cup, again displaying a huge will to win and continued on to win another Air New Zealand Stakes at five, despite having injury problems.

Brent Thomson

An International Jockey Star ...more

Brent Thomson showed remarkable maturity as leading apprentice of his time.

He won the 1976 Auckland Cup on Perhaps when only 17, and finished third on Kythera in the Melbourne Cup in the same year.

Brent moved to Colin Hayes' stable in Australia and, over the next eight years, won just about every major Australian race except the Melbourne Cup.

Based in England for the next seven years (and then in Hong Kong for four), Thomson wound up his international career the winner of more than 3000 races, 53 of them at Group One level.

Sponsor: Swettenham Stud

Colin Jillings

Renowned champion who won 5 derbys over 50 years ...more

The trainer known as much to his friends as the racing public as “Jillo” handed in his trainers licence in 2004.  He had held that licence for an amazing 54 years.

Regarded as a master trainer of stayers, he trained 1327 winners in total, 703 of those in partnership with fellow trainer Richard Yuill.

Often referred to as “racing’s gentleman trainer” and respected and admired by his peers, Jillings was renowned for his ability to set a horse for a race after mapping out the target  a long way out.
Saddling his first winner, Lawful, while still aged in his 20s, to win the Great Northern Derby in 1958, Jillings was to go on and win a Derby in each subsequent decade up to his retirement.

As well as training five New Zealand Derby winners, he trained three New Zealand Oaks winners, and won four Auckland Cups, a Wellington Cup and two New Zealand Cups.

His versatility  as a trainer were also demonstrated in jumps racing where he won three Great Northern Steeples and two Great Northern Hurdles.

Associated with many memorable horses, some of his best performers included Uncle Remus, McGinty and The Phantom Chance, who won the WS Cox Plate from the Jillings/Yuill stable as well as the New Zealand Derby.

Dave O'Sullivan

Champion trainer of 11 premierships - producing a racing dynasty ...more

The only apprentice to salute the judge before a young Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Ellerslie meeting of 1953 – not a bad win, either: the Railway Handicap on Te Awa – O’Sullivan rode for less than a decade (125 winners) before weight problems forced him out. Setting up as a trainer at Matamata, he first became known as a successful mentor of apprentices. Roger Lang, Peter Johnson, Shane Dye and eventually his son Lance were just some of the top riders who came from the stable. Equine winners also came off the property in a steadily expanding stream until (ultimately in partnership with his son Paul) O’Sullivan found a regular place at the top of trainers’ list. Dave O’Sullivan retired in 1998 with a lifetime tally of 1877 wins (at present the New Zealand record), 1613 in partnership with Paul. Dave won the premiership on his own in 1978-79, another 10 titles in partnership with Paul. Oopik, Golden Rhapsody, Sharivari, Waverley Star, Paul De Brett, La Souvronne, Blue Denim, Mapperley Heights and champion mare Horlicks were among the many Group One performers to wear the O’Sullivan polish.

Dave O'Sullivan is proudly sponsored by TRAC racing consortium which consists of the racing clubs in the Bay of Plenty, Taupo, Te Aroha and Matamata regions.

Graeme Rogerson

Worldwide Ambassador for the NZ thoroughbred ...more

Graeme Rogerson has had stables in many parts of the racing world – including New Zealand, Australia, and even Dubai – as he set upon a campaign to take NZ racing to the world.

Fierce determination and hard work enabled “Rogie” to overcome early stoushes with officialdom to then reach the pinnacle of his profession.

By the time he trained his 2000th New Zealand winner, in 2010, he had won 12 NZ premierships, and one in Sydney, where he had operated a separate stable for years.

His major wins in Australia include the big three:

the Golden Slipper,
the Cox Plate, and
the Melbourne Cup.

Rogie was and is a tireless and enthusiastic ambassador internationally for the New Zealand thoroughbred.

Sponsor: Max Whitby


James Bartholomew "Bart" Cummings

Honorary New Zealander –Melbourne Cup's King ...more

Bart Cummings is the New Zealand Hall of Fame’s first honorary inductee.

James Bartholomew “Bart” Cummings has never raced a horse in New Zealand, but no overseas trainer has done more to promote the New Zealand stayer through the success he has achieved with the New Zealand thoroughbred.

Bart saddled an astonishing 12 Melbourne Cup winners, with eight of these being New Zealand-bred.

An astute judge, Bart has been a major buyer at New Zealand yearling sales since the early 1960s.

A legend of the Australian turf in Australia, Bart was awarded the Order of Australia and was an inaugural inductee into the Australian Hall of Fame.

Sponsor: Cambridge Stud

James Bartholomew "Bart" Cummings Interview


Bart Cummings is the New Zealand Hall of Fame’s first honorary inductee.

James Bartholomew “Bart” Cummings has never raced a horse in New Zealand, but no overseas trainer has done more to promote the New Zealand stayer through the success he has achieved with the New Zealand thoroughbred.

Bart saddled an astonishing 12 Melbourne Cup winners, with eight of these being New Zealand-bred.

An astute judge, Bart has been a major buyer at New Zealand yearling sales since the early 1960s.

A legend of the Australian turf in Australia, Bart was awarded the Order of Australia and was an inaugural inductee into the Australian Hall of Fame.

Sponsor: Cambridge Stud

Jim Cassidy

The Pumper is King! ...more

A record-breaking apprentice in New Zealand, where he won the 1981-82 jockeys’ premiership in just his fourth full season. After his famous 1983 Melbourne Cup win on Kiwi; moved to Australia where he was to perform at top level for the next 30 years. One of only seven jockeys to win the Australian “grand slam” (Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper). On Derby Day 2013 he became one of just three Australasian jockeys to win 100 Group Ones.

John Wheeler

International trainer of great gallopers and jumpers ...more

During his hay day, John Wheeler was more successful in Australia than any other New Zealand trainer of modern times.

In Australia John trained three near-champions – Poetic Prince, Rough Habit, and Veandercross and won many major Australian races (including a dozen Group Ones) with all three horses.

John has dominated the Australia's jumping scene for many years (winning seven Great Eastern Steeplechases at Oakbank) and won what is arguable the greatest jumping race in the world – the  Nakayama Grand Jump in Tokyo with outstanding jumper St Steven.

A leading trainer at home John continues to be a great ambassador for his country.

Lance O'Sullivan

NZ's most successful championship winning jockey ...more

At the end of the 2002-03 season, Lance O’Sullivan retired from race riding at the top (three winners at Tauranga from his last three rides) and with every record in New Zealand flat racing safely in his saddle bags. With a New Zealand tally of 2358 he held the record of wins by a New Zealand jockey – and that was without adding the wins in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Singapore and, yep, one in Turkey which brought his lifetime tally to 2479. In 2001-02 he rode 193 winners to reclaim the New Zealand record for wins in a season which a young Michael Walker had briefly taken from him the season before. O’Sullivan retired with 12 New Zealand premierships to his credit, having broken Bill Broughton’s long-standing record of 11 premierships. All of these records placed O’Sullivan firmly at the head of his profession at the time of his retirement. What makes them a testament to character, professionalism and determination as much to innate ability is that they were achieved – or at least completed – after a horrendous race fall at Moonee Valley in which O’Sullivan’s left leg was so badly smashed that it took three years, three operations and unguessable grinding pain before he could return to race riding in 1998-99. O’Sullivan was born on August 28 1963 into a racing family. His father Dave, a good journeyman jockey who became a champion trainer, was followed into a training partnership by Lance’s brother Paul; Lance rode 181 winners while apprenticed to his father. Over two decades the O’Sullivan trio – trainers and jockey – became the most formidable team in New Zealand’s racing history. Lance won 50 Group One races, perhaps his most memorable being the 1989 Japan Cup on Horlicks, the W.S.Cox Plate on Surfers Paradise and that remarkable third ARC Railway Handicap win on Mr Tiz, on whom he won six Group Ones. Since his retirement from the saddle, Lance O’Sullivan has seamlessly turned his talents to training.

Lance O'Sullivan is sponsored by Highview Stud. Highview Stud stands an excellent line up of stallions including exciting young sires - Johar, Align and Danbird, and well established sire - Kashani. Highview welcomes your enquiries. Please phone Brent Gillovic on 07-825-2649.

Maurice McCarten

Up to Australia's Best ...more

A champion jockey in the 1920s and 1930s, Maurice McCarten won two NZ jockey premierships, aged 20 and 21, and moved to Sydney, where he rode three winners at his first appearance on an Australian course. He won many major races in Australia and turned to training in 1942, winning four Sydney trainers premierships and then finishing second 10 times to T.J. Smith. Delta, Todman and Wenona Girl were among the champion horses he trained.

Phar Lap

The most famous horse ever to race in Australia ...more

The last generation who saw him race, even as youngsters, are pretty much gone now. Yet the big chestnut gelding’s name still has power. The son of Night Raid and Entreaty, who lifted hearts and spirits during the depths of the Depression years, remained a measuring stick long after his deeds had passed into history. Phar Lap won 37 of his 51 starts, ran three seconds and two thirds. Most of his misses were at the outset of his career, before trainer Harry Telford got “the hang of him” and his capacity for work. Phar Lap developed from a wonderful three-year-old into a virtually unbeatable older horse. Consider his four-year-old spring in 1930. In four days at the Melbourne Cup carnival, he successively won the Melbourne (now MacKinnon) Stakes, Melbourne Cup, Linlithgow Stakes (then at a mile, or 1600m) and the C.B.Fisher Plate, at a mile and a half (2400m). Before that he’d won five races in Sydney, plus the Cox Plate. Nightmarch, who’d beaten a hard-pulling, three-year-old Phar Lap in the previous year’s Melbourne Cup, trailed him home four times in the chestnut’s four-year-old spring campaign in Sydney before his connections gave up and brought Nightmarch home. Nightmarch, who’d been unable to keep Phar Lap warm in Sydney, won the New Zealand Cup under 9st 6lb (about 60kg). Four days earlier Phar Lap had cruised to a three-length victory in the Melbourne Cup under 9st 12lb (nearly 63kg). Though he never raced in New Zealand, Phar Lap drew discerning eyes to the land of his birth and undoubtedly contributed to the progress of the then fledgling National Yearling Sale at Trentham, from whence he’d been purchased for 160 guineas. The first horse to earn the indisputable “champion” tag in Australian racing, Carbine, was bred in New Zealand. So, 40 years later, was the next, Phar Lap. And so, nearly 30 years on, was the next: Tulloch.

Race Record:
51 starts, 37 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds

It is very fitting that Phar Lap should be sponsored by our sister organisation - The Australian Racing Hall of Fame. The Australian Racing Museum - Champions has honoured Phar Lap is in a very special way at their site in Melbourne.


Weight-carrying Marvel ...more

Raced 86 times for 32 wins and 20 placings.

A good horse in New Zealand, Redcraze became a great horse in Australia.

Sent to Tom Smith as a five-year-old, he became a superstar in the spring of 1956.

After winning three races in Sydney, including the Metropolitan, he won the WFA Caulfield Stakes, then the Caulfield Cup with a record 9st 13lb (63kg).

Under 10st 3lb (65kg) in the Melbourne Cup, Redcraze failed by a half-neck to overhaul the lightweight Evening Peal, to whom he was conceding the equivalent of 15kg - an outstanding performance.

Sponsor: Northfields Stud

Rising Fast

The 1st horse to win the spring grand slam ...more

Controversy was to haunt Rising Fast for much of his career, yet this son of Alonzo and Faster was undoubtedly one of the best stayers and middle-distance gallopers that ever graced the Australasian turf. Bought at a Trentham sale by a Whakatane accountant, Leicester Spring, Rising Fast was put with Cambridge trainer Jack Winder and, after a quiet three-year-old season which yielded four wins and a couple of placings from eight starts, he was set as a four-year-old for the Royal Auckland Cup of 1953. Then trainer, jockey and indeed the horse were put out after he was allegedly not ridden on his merits in the Te Awamutu Cup. And, though the horse was reinstated on appeal, he never raced in New Zealand again. Trained now by Ivan Tucker, Rising Fast was set for the 1954 Melbourne Cup. He won three of five lead-up races in Melbourne, then successively won the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, MacKinnon Stakes and, under 9st 5lb (59.5kg), the Melbourne Cup. For good measure, on the final day at Flemington, he added the C.B.Fisher Plate to his tally.

The hoodoo struck again when Rising Fast returned home and Ivan Tucker was suspended after one of his team returned a positive test. Rising Fast was sent to Melbourne trainer Fred Hoysted. His lead-up form in the spring of 1955 wasn’t as good as the previous year – until he charged to victory under 9st 10lb (61.5kg) in the Caulfield Cup. Rising Fast was an odds-on favourite to complete the never-achieved “double-double” – two Caulfield Cups and two Melbourne Cups. He struck all the interference going in a rough-house Melbourne Cup and still went under by only three-quarters of a length to Toporoa, carrying 34lb less.

Toporoa’s rider, Neville Sellwood, was afterwards suspended for two months for failing to prevent Toporoa boring out on the champion. Rising Fast tried the Melbourne Cup one more time, the following year, and ran a valiant fifth under 10st 2lb (64.5kg).

Sir Patrick Hogan

Multiple super sire producing stud master ...more

At the forefront of the thoroughbred industry as proprietor of Cambridge Stud for the past three decades, Patrick Hogan was recognised for his services to racing with a knighthood shortly before that title was removed from the New Zealand honours list. Born in Auckland in 1939, the young Patrick Hogan became involved in the breeding industry in the 1960s with his father Tom and brother John at the relatively low-key Fencourt Stud near Cambridge, where Blueskin II was a successful sire.
Wanting to operate on a bigger and more commercial scale, Patrick set up Cambridge Stud on his own in 1972. His entrepreneurial and marketing/promotional skills quickly brought him prominence. With the National Yearling Sales his focus, his “Melbourne Cup,” he moved staff and yearlings to Trentham (then the home of the sales) on a previously unknown scale, was a pioneer in the hospitality tents which became a sales feature, and became a renowned presenter of yearlings. Leading his own yearlings into the ring in those days, as brisk and well presented as the young thoroughbreds, he knew where the buyers were positioned (the Australian market was his target from the outset) and made sure the main players got a good look at the youngsters he led.
Sir Tristram, the stallion who was to build Cambridge Stud into a showplace and an unquestioned market leader, arrived in 1975 and, though greeted with lukewarm enthusiasm at first by the market and by some of Hogan’s established clients, made sensational progress from the time his oldest progeny turned three and included the likes of multiple Group One winner Sovereign Red. When he died, 22 years after coming to Cambridge Stud, Sir Tristram had been Australian champion sire six times (only once at home, where relatively few of his best-bred progeny raced) and had won five Dewar Awards (for combined Australian-New Zealand progeny earnings). He was second in the world for individual Group One winners (45). Sir Tristram founded a sire son dynasty (Grosvenor, Kaapstad, Marauding and Military Plume notable among them) but it was not until late in the great stallion’s life that Sir Patrick acquired a Sir Tristram son, the well-performed and well-bred Zabeel, to stand alongside his ageing father and take up the mantle. Zabeel was to outshine the other sons of Sir Tristram and rival his father (as at October 2005, two Australian championships and always in the top two or three; three New Zealand championships; a remarkable nine Dewar Awards; 33 individual Group One winners) and keep Cambridge Stud in a pre-eminent position. With his wife Justine Lady Hogan, Sir Patrick has been four times Mercedes Breeder of the Year and in 1991 received the Mercedes Award for Outstanding Contribution to Racing. A past president of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association and a major racing sponsor (especially at Te Rapa), he has been a large-scale racing owner in recent years. Going into the 2005-06 season, he had an interest in 46 racehorses, including a dozen two-year-olds.

Sir Patrick Hogan is sponsored by the internationally acclaimed hospitality lodge - Huka Lodge of Taupo. Huka Lodge is a NZ business icon and we are delighted to have this association. For further information on Huka Lodge and its facilities please call 07-378-5791.


New Zealand's mare of the world ...more

This wonderful mare captured the hearts of the public at the beginning of the new millennium like few other horses in post-War years. Tough-minded if not bloody-minded, she had a physique to match and was able to race competitively at top level from two to seven years. Sunline raced 45 times for 32 wins, eight seconds and two thirds and an Australasian record $11 million in stakes. She raced in four countries and won in three; she twice won the Southern Hemisphere’s weight-for-age championship, the Cox Plate (on the second occasion by a stunning seven lengths) and was narrowly beaten by Northerly going for a third. She twice won Sydney’s toughest “metric mile,” the Doncaster Handicap, and was second on another occasion when conceding 6kg to her conqueror, Over. Her optimum distance was probably 1400m, at which she was unbeaten, yet she was able to stretch her high cruising speed to the 2040m of the Cox Plate, and to hold out the redoubtable Fairy King Prawn in the tough Hong Kong International Mile. At home, where her races were usually in preparation for another overseas campaign, she was unbeaten in seven starts. Sunline was twice elected Australian Racehorse of the Year and three times New Zealand Horse of the Year. In 1999 the authoritative Timeform publication named her the best turf mare in the world.

Race Record:
48 starts, 32 wins, 8 seconds, 2 thirds
$13million, a record for her time.

Sunline is proudly sponsored by Dunstan Horse Feed - New Zealand's leading horse feed suppliers. Dunstan is a major sponsor of horse sports and racing events and we appreciate their involvement in our event. For further information please call Dave Smith at 0274-931-580.


Tommy Smith's universal yardstick for equine excellence ...more

In the inaugural series of Hall of Fame inductees, two thoroughbreds that raced almost entirely outside their country of birth made the list. Carbine, who raced in New Zealand only as an unbeaten two-year-old and achieved fame across the Tasman, and Phar Lap, who was sold at Trentham as a yearling and never raced in his homeland, were champions of such quality that it was felt they deserved to be honoured by the country where they were bred, born and raised.

One other New Zealand-bred horse, in the opinion of the HOF Historical Committee, also merits that special recognition.

Tulloch, the swampy-backed little colt who attracted the attention of top Sydney trainer Tommy Smith – and not many others – at the 1956 Trentham yearling sale, had that extra dimension, that near-freakish ability, which stamps the handful of greats.

He won 36 of his 53 starts, was only once out of the money and set a then Australasian stake-earning record of 108,293 pounds, a record for 11 years. Yet he lost nearly two years of his career – his four- and five-year-old seasons when he should have been at his prime – through a debilitating and recurrent stomach illness which nearly killed him.

You probably had to be around in the late 1950s to appreciate the excitement, emotion and controversy Tulloch aroused.

He was a star at two years, his defeat of the Victorian champion Todman in what was virtually a match race, the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes, a sensation. Todman, winner of the inaugural Golden Slipper, turned the tables at a shorter distance a week later but they never met again, Todman breaking down as a three-year-old. Meanwhile Tulloch made non-stop headlines through the first half of his three-year-old season, not only for the quality of his form (his wins in the AJC Derby, Caulfield Guineas and Caulfield Cup were all stunning performances) but for his highly controversial scratching from the Melbourne Cup. Tommy Smith rated the colt a Melbourne Cup certainty but was unable to persuade his sick and elderly owner, Evelyn Haley, to start him after a media campaign, spearheaded by the Ezra Norton-owned newspapers, against the “cruelty” of running a three-year-old in the two-mile Cup.

In Tulloch’s absence, Straight Draw won the 1957 Melbourne Cup. Who owned him? Newspaper tycoon Ezra Norton. Who ran second to Straight Draw, beaten only a neck? The three-year-old Prince Darius, whom Tulloch beat by eight lengths in the VRC Derby and, in the autumn, by 20 lengths in the AJC St Leger.

Robbed of his four-year-old season by the recurring gastroenteritis, Tulloch resumed in the autumn as a five-year-old and won each of his five comeback starts. The first of these involved a hard-slugging stretch-long duel with Victorian weight-for-age star Lord which Tulloch won by a short head. Not bad for a horse considered by most to never quite regain, after that long illness, the height of his three-year-old powers.

Tulloch was handicapped at top weight for four Melbourne Cups and raced in it only once, in the 1960 Centenary Cup (after winning the Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes). It was the only time he was unplaced, and Neville Sellwood received no plaudits for his ride. Under 10st 1lb, Tulloch was 25 lengths off the leaders at the half-mile and he made ground for seventh behind longshot New Zealand mare Hi Jinx. Tulloch wound up his career in Queensland, where he won the O’Shea Stakes and Brisbane Cup and was given an emotional farewell by a 33,000-strong Brisbane crowd.


Rewriting Sir Tristram's record book ...more

Followed his great sire Sir Tristram at Cambridge Stud and in some respects outshone him. Still alive and active in 2013 aged 27, he has achieved four NZ and two Australian general sire premierships; 15 Dewar Awards (NZ and Australian progeny earnings combined); 43 Group One winners (two behind his sire) and 148 stakeswinners (Sir Tristram 130). He has sired three Melbourne Cup winners, four Cox Plate winners, successful sire sons and grandsons, and is an outstanding broodmare sire.