Horses who finish in the top three placings of the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) will now be exempt from the ballot for the Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m).
This amendment to the balloting conditions of the Derby comes after a recent review undertaken by the Auckland Racing Club’s (ARC) management and board.
”We had an unfortunate case this year when the third placed horse in the Waikato Guineas, a race recognised as a significant lead-up event to the Vodafone New Zealand Derby, missed a start in the big race due to not earning enough stake money,” ARC Executive GM of Racing & Operations, Craig Baker said.
“Giving ballot exemption status to the first three placed horses fixes that anomaly.”
It was also decided that the fourth-placed horse in the Avondale Guineas will no longer receive ballot exemption from the Derby and only horses placed in the top five in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) will have their stake earnings from that race counted towards the Derby order of entry.
”Ultimately, we did not believe it was fair that horses that were well beaten in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic had stake money count towards the order of entry in the Vodafone New Zealand Derby,” Baker said.
“We believe that including stake money for horses that finished first to fifth is a fair compromise.”
Nominations for the 2020 $1 million Vodafone New Zealand Derby close in November with the race to be run at Ellerslie Racecourse as part of Auckland Cup Week on Saturday, February 29.