10 fun facts about today's Auckland Cup and Rowe Cup

10 fun facts about today's Auckland Cup and Rowe Cup

1. History awaits Self Assured if he wins his third Auckland Cup tonight. After victories in 2019 and 2022 he will be driven tonight by Natalie Rasmussen, who is also vying for her third win in the Cup. She drove Self Assured last year after winning with Vincent in 2017. No horse has won three Auckland Cup before.

2. Since the very early years (the 1890s) when it was run over three miles (4800m), the Auckland Cup has been held over 2700m and 3200m. The race record over two miles is 3:55.4 by Dream About Me in 2016, while the fastest 2700m time was 3:13.8 by Christen Me in 2015 with driver Dexter Dunn.

3. Back to back winners in the Auckland Cup have been rare with the last to do it being Elsu in 2003 and 2004. Others over the years have been Chokin (1993 and 1994), Delightful Lady (1980 and 1981), Soangetaha (1951 and 1952), Captain Sandy (1948 and 1949), Gold Jacket (1928 and 1929), and Man O War (1920 and 1921).

4. Tony Herlihy has the most wins as a driver in both the Auckland Cup and the Rowe Cup. He has won the Auckland Cup eight times, followed by the late Peter Wolfenden and Mark Purdon with 6. Herlihy has won the Rowe Cup six times, one more than Peter Wolfenden. Herlihy will drive The Big Lebowski in the Auckland Cup and Double Delight in the Rowe Cup.

5. Upsets don't come much bigger than Flight South in the 2000 Auckland Cup. Trained and driven by Andrew Neal, Flight South was the rank outsider, 14/14 in the betting in the 14-strong field, and got home by a neck, paying $108.85 and $19.35. Favourite Yulestar was second.

6. Tonight's card sees three Group 1s in a row, with the Breckon Farms Northern Derby Trot at 7.52pm, followed by the Reharvest Rowe Cup at 8.19pm, and then the Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at 8.49pm.

7. There will be a new Rowe Cup champion this year, after Bolt For Brilliance won in 2022 and the now retired Sundees Son winning the two editions before that in 2019 and 2021. Bolt For Brilliance holds the race record of 4:01.2 for the 3200m.

8. Lyell Creek won the Rowe Cup three times and is the only horse to have done so (2000 -2001-2004) while two time winners have included Great Admiral (1935-36), Pohutukawa (1962 and 1963), Single Cash (1968-1969), and I Can Doosit (2011-2012).

9. Chris Alford will be hoping to become one of the few Australian drivers to win the Rowe Cup. He drives Aldebaran Zeus for ex-pat Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley. This century fellow Aussies Chris Lang (Sundon's Gift - 2010) and Kerryn Manning (la Coocaracha - 2002) have won the great race.

10. Muscle Mountain will start the hottest of favourites in tonight's Rowe Cup. He opened at $1.50 with the TAB and has since come in to $1.45. He has not won the race before but goes into the race unbeaten in 2023 with six straight wins for Team Hope. He has also had three wins and a second from four starts at Alexandra Park.

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