Methven Trivia : 10 Fun Facts

Ahead of Sunday’s Methven Cup we thought we’d share 10 fun facts about the race and the Mt Harding Raceway.  


1. Arethusa was the first and only three-year-old to win the Methven Cup. Driven by Morrie (M.F.) Holmes,  Arethusa took out the two mile feature in 4:41.6 in 1930. The race started as a non-tote in 1920, with the first totalisator  race in 1927, three years before Arethusa’s win.

2. Only two female drivers have won the Methven Cup. Jo Herbert was the first in 2000 (Chloe Hanover) with Natalie Rasmussen winning three times with Cruz Bromac (2018), Messini (2015) and Vi Et Animo (2011).

3. Starting off the backmark of 30m Cruz Bromac’s winning time (over 3000m) was in a new record of 3:51.34. The horse went on to win the New Zealand Cup the next year (2019).

4. Winning the Methven – New Zealand Cup double in the same year is no mean feat. Flashing Red did it in 2006, and then defended the NZ Cup in 2007. In all three wins Flashing Red was trained by Tim Butt and Phil Anderson, and driven by Anthony Butt. 

5. Jack Smolenski won three Methven Cups in a row in the early 1970s with Arapaho (1971), Blackbeard (1972) and Yankee Clipper (1973). He also won with Freightman in 1984, and Unique Blue Chip in 1991.

6. Trained and driven by George Shand,  Eastwood Jaunty produced a unique double in the early 2000s, winning the Cup twice in three years (2001 and 2003).  The son of Holmes Hanover had six of his 13 career wins as a four-year-old in 2001.  

7. Colin De Filippi also had a cracking record in the big race, winning it three times in four years  with Capri (1983), Ruthless (1985), and Chipaluck (1986). 

8. The crowds will be back for the 2020 edition of the Cup, with the Punter of the Year competition winner taking away a trophy and $2500. Only owners and essential staff were allowed on course at their previous meeting in September.

9. There were 256 nominations for the meeting. All races on Sunday will have a guaranteed $10,000 First Four, with the Methven Cup set to go at 3.28pm, half an hour before the All Blacks’ Bledisloe Cup test kicks off in Wellington. 

10. The first stage of the new Equus Park subdivision that borders the Methven racecourse have been released for sale. Sections range from 1001 to 2062 square metres. Also under construction are the adjacent Opuke Hot Pools that are due to be opened mid 2021.

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