Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All to a Mile

The 2012 Group One Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All run on Canterbury Anniversary Day during the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup Carnival in November will be run over the distance of one mile (1609 metres).

Addington Raceway and Events Centre and The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club announced that this prestigious race to be held on 16 November 2012 will revert to a distance of one mile having been previously held over 2000 metres.

Conditions include the event to be contested over one mile from the mobile barrier with the field restricted to 10 starters plus one emergency. Configuration from behind the mobile will consist of a maximum front line of six and a maximum second line of five starters.

After a thorough period of consultation within the industry and discussions with leading horseman it has been decided that the first six horses to finish in the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup along with the winner of the Group 1 NRM Sires’ Stakes Three Year Old Final three days earlier will be automatically invited to start in the Free-For-All mile. The balance of the field will be selected at the Club’s discretion.

The race will carry a stake of $150,000. In addition to this, a special bonus of $5,000 each will be paid to the trainer and driver of the winner if the current New Zealand record for the mile is broken.

Addington’s Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt said “Cup Week in Christchurch is the greatest week in harness racing in the country and it fits well that the best pacers throughout Australasia can compete at this Carnival over the ultimate speed distance of a mile. We get the top echelon of pacers going for glory on the Tuesday in the Cup over two miles (3200m) and now they have the opportunity to compete over a mile three days later. We have been thinking of this concept for some time now and it’s been a while since we’ve staged a flying mile at Addington. Only the best pacers competing at the time will be eligible given the criteria, and this coupled with an attractive bonus should ensure the sparks are flying.

“Recent feedback from leading horseman has been positive and supportive and we feel that this initiative is a natural progression considering the success of the Harness Jewels and that series having a strong focus on mile racing.”

Addington’s Racecourse Manager John Denton went on to say “The track at Addington Raceway is somewhat different now than what it was back in 1991 when the last mile was run here under normal conditions. With the introduction of the pylons in 1995, the passing lane in 2000 and the fact that the gradient is significantly better now, I’m confident that the current New Zealand record could be given a shake given ideal conditions on the day.”

Quick Facts

  • 1.52.1 - New Zealand Record for one mile for a pacer held jointly by Smolda and Kiwi Ingenuity
  • 1.56.0 - Addington Raceway Track Record for one mile held by Blossom Lady set in 1991
  • Between 1985 and 1991 there were 105 mobile mile races staged at Addington with 11% of these won by saddlecloth 1 and 10% won by saddlecloth 2. Interestingly, 10% of the races were won by saddlecloth 5 and 8.5% were won by saddlecloth 10
  • 9 - The average race starters over the last four years in the Woodlands Free-For-All
  • Current leading drivers who have driven over a mile at Addington include Ricky May, Mark Purdon, Anthony Butt, Tony Herlihy MNZM, Maurice McKendry, Colin de Filippi, David Butt and Jimmy Curtin
  • Current leading drivers who have yet to drive over one mile at Addington include Dexter Dunn, Mark Jones, Blair Orange and John Dunn

Ranking System to select the Field for the 2012 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup

This year will see the introduction of a ranking system that will determine the field for the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup. Previously the field has been determined by the inclusion of the automatic qualifiers with the balance of the field selected by the Board of the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club from the list of final acceptors.

A move to the ranking system was considered desirable to ensure the most robust, transparent and up to date process is available to assist all industry participants in their search for Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup field selection.

A ranking panel has been assembled and will include;

  • The HRNZ Chief Handicapper
  • Assistant Handicapper
  • NZMTC Racing Manager
  • A NZMTC Board Representative

The rankings that this panel decide on will determine the final field for the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup.

Nominations will close on the 31st August and initial rankings will be available on 5th September.

Rankings will be updated and published on HRNZ website each Wednesday at 5pm thereafter until final rankings are completed.

The final rankings will be released as soon as practical after the time and date of the final late Nomination and Withdrawal time for the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup which is set at 2pm NZ time on Tuesday 6th November.

Horses shall be ranked in the following descending order:

  • Winner 2011 New Zealand Cup - Terror To Love
  • Winner 2012 Auckland Cup - Sir Lincoln
  • Winner 2012 Inter-Dominion Final – Themightyquinn
  • Winner 2012 Maurice Holmes Vase - to be held 7th September
  • Winner 2012 Avon City Ford Cup - to be held 28th September
  • Winner 2012 Canterbury Classic - to be held 12th October
  • Then competitiveness and performances in this seasons Group races leading up to the 2012 NZ Cup
  • Then competitiveness and performances in last seasons Group races
  • Then competitiveness and performances in non black type races this season


New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc.
Addington Raceway
Tuesday 13th November 2012

Stake $600,000 (Includes $300,000 Subsidy from Harness Racing New Zealand)
- Distance 3200 Metres – Standing Start – No Handicaps Apply -
A Group 1 Grand Circuit Race Open to all approved Standardbred Racehorses.

Acceptance Fee: $7,500 + GST
Winner to Receive: $300,000 plus Cup & Dress Rug
Second: $90,000
Third: $60,000
Fourth: $30,000
Fifth: $20,000
All Others Starters: $10,000

Nominations for the 2012 New Zealand Cup will close on Friday, 31st August 2012, at 3pm New Zealand time.
A Nomination Fee of $172.50 (GST inclusive) per horse will be due at this time.
There will be no sustaining fee payment due for the 2012 New Zealand Cup.
The Nomination Fee Payment is Non Refundable.
Any horse not nominated by the due date and time, may upon making the Late Entry Fee Payment option, become eligible for selection.
The amount of the Late Entry Fee Payment has been set at $6,900 (GST inclusive) per horse and payment of this fee will be due no later than 2pm New Zealand Time, Tuesday 6th November 2012.
Final withdrawal time for the 2012 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup will be at 2pm NZ Time, Tuesday 6th November 2012.