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20th May: The Stats - 'Waikato Steeples'
Published: 19 May 2017 - - Author: Newsroom

The Waikato Steeplechase was first run in 1922.  Until 1928 it was run at the meeting in November.  In 1926 and 1927 the Huntly Handicap Steeplechase was introduced to the Winter Meeting.
This race, over 3 miles, is the direct antecedent of today’s Waikato Steeplechase, and its results should be included in histories of the race.  Not run in 1929 or 1930, the springtime Waikato Steeplechase was transferred to the Winter Meeting in 1931.  In 1932 the distance was reduced to 2½ miles, but there was no race from 1933 to 1935.  In 1936 the distance was 2¾ miles and in 1937, when the distance was reduced again to 2½ miles, a new, more valuable, race over 3 miles was introduced.  This was called the Coronation Steeplechase for the first year, and the Te Rapa Steeplechase from 1938 to 1945, before being renamed the Waikato Steeplechase.  As this race is also more the forerunner of today’s race than the race named the Waikato Steeplechase from 1937 to 1941, its results should also be included in lists of winners.
The distance remained at 3 miles (or 4800 metres) until 1980, when, run at Ellerslie due to track reconstruction at Te Rapa, the distance was increased by 100 metres.  That remained the case when the race returned to its home course the following year.  The distance was reduced to 4000 metres in 2011.
Winning times:
4:55.27 Mali Juraj 2011   (4000 metres) 4:47.63 Myths And Legends 2012  4:42.34 Rioch 2013  4:36.97 Palemo 2014  4:42.92 Sea King 2015  4:38.03 Sea King 2016
Highest winning weights:
11 st 11 lb (75 kg) All Irish 1940  11 st 6 lb (72½ kg) Tuki 1926 (Huntly)  10 st 13 lb (69½ kg) Frisco Jack 1927
Since metrication in 1974, the highest winning weight carried has been 70 kg by Sea King in 2016 (65 kg minimum), although Crown Star carried 66½ kg in 1987 when the minimum was 57 kg.  The lowest was 54½ kg by Douglas Haig in 1976, the only year when jockeys could claim below the minimum weight.
The only mares to win the race were Chat in 1943 and Quenby Hall in 1964, while the only horses to win twice were Resolution (1984 and 1985), Gold Jet (2004 and 2005), Just The Man (2006 and 2008) and Sea King (as above).
The oldest winners whose ages are definitely known were Biform in 1939 and Kanamint in 1986, aged 12.  Just The Man was 11 when he won for the second time, and Pittsworth (1925) was at least 11.  The youngest were the five-year-olds Brookby Song (1946) and Powerful (1962).
Joanne Rathbone is the only jockey to win three times, with Black Eagle (2007), Just The Man (2008) and Rioch (2013).
Dual successes have gone to:
2         Waikato Steeplechase and Hurdle Edward Stanway Waikawa (1923), Pittsworth (1925) Bill Rennie Star Comet (1931), Billy Boy (1936) James McLaughlin Allegretto (1937), Windsor Lad (1938) R D (Jimmy) Samson Royalcille (1954), Pictavia Boy (1955) Morrie Coon Chat (1943), Red Bill (1957) Jim Hely Roister (1953), Prince Charles (1959) Peter Venn Resolution (1984 and 1985) Tony Gillies Chief Ore (1982), Kanamint (1986) Paul Hillis Trelay Boy (1989), Ellivani (1992) Chad Northcott Sir Barton (1993), Quiz Master (1996) Tom Hazlett Gold Jet (2004 and 2005) Mathew Gillies Palemo (2014) and Sea King (2015)
Tina Egan (Joe Trump in 1999), Joanne Rathbone (as above) and Shelley Houston (Climbing High in 2010) are the only female jockeys to win the race.
Kevin Myers holds the training record with six wins:  Broadway Lad (1997), Our Jonty (1998), Rioch (2013), Palemo (2014) and Sea King (2015 and 2016).

Sea King - winner in 2015 & 2016

The following trainers won three times:
 Ray Cotter  Royalcille (1954), Master Gregory (1958) and his own Sir Stanley (1972)  Jack Winder Ringlock (1966), Aircon (1974) and Megan’s Boy (1980), the latter two with son John as partner  Ann and Ken Browne Crown Star (1987), Trelay Boy (1989) and Drops O’Rain (2000)  

Brought to us by:

Chris McQuaid

Jumping Statistician

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