B is for Borana

It’s been called the biggest New Zealand Cup upset of all time.

Borana, the rank outsider of the 14-strong field, produced a withering burst to win the great race in 1985 at odds of 76-to-one, in the hands of Peter Jones.

It was his second New Zealand Cup win after earlier guiding Hands Down to a thrilling victory over Delightful Lady. It was one of two Cup winners his dad, the late great Derek Jones would train. The other was with legendary racemare  Blossom Lady in 1992.

"It was a thrill to win with Hands Down in 1980," Peter Jones said at the time, "but to win today and also train the winner, well, I can tell you it's an incredible feeling." 

Jones was just 30 at the time, and among those celebrating at Addington that day was his son Mark who would go on to become world champion in 2003 and is now a successful trainer in his own right.  

The race had been billed as the “Clash of the Century” between hot favourite and Western Australian visitor Preux Chevalier and Roydon Glen (Fred Fletcher).

Borana won by 1 ¼ lengths in a time of 4:11.1 with Our Mana second for the second year running after getting the 1-1. He was behind “Our Camelot” in 1984. An unlucky Roydon Glen ran third, ahead of Preux Chevalier, who broke early and then raced in the open.

Bought for $2000 when he was just seven months old, Borana was raced by John and Doreen Murray. After starting racing as a two year old he finally retired five years later after having 126 starts in New Zealand, with 20 wins and stake-earnings of nearly $380,000.

But it was that performance by a bolter called Borana at Addington in November 35 years ago that he will always be remembered for.  

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