And They're Off!
Celebrate Canterbury's biggest party in style during the week-long mix of glam parties, champagne brekkies, high-end fashion, and rural flavour.
Expect thrills, frills and spills during the New Zealand Cup and Show Week, where fascinators and fillies join trackside action and blue-ribbon cuteness.
With the city’s biggest week on the social calendar hitting this month in the form of New Zealand Cup & Show Week, we give you the run down on the big races, best spots, making it through a full-on day, and collecting some winnings, along with some expert tips on taking out the Style Stakes and Fashion in the Field. Read on for everything you need to know about Christchurch’s biggest party!
Addington Raceway has a racing history on site that goes back to 1899. Now one of the country’s premier racing facilities (and also a busy standalone events venue), it hosts nearly 40 race meetings per year, with the big one in November that encompasses the New Zealand Trotting Cup dating all the way back to 1904 (for the record, that inaugural event was won by Monte Carlo in a time of 4 minutes, 44 and 3/5ths seconds over the 2-mile distance.)
The event today, this year held on Tuesday 14th, sees the very best harness racers in Australasia race for a purse which last year was worth $765,000, and has become the premier event on the Christchurch social calendar; not only one of Australasia’s top racing events, but also a celebration of fashion, food and fun. Crowd numbers top 20,000 each year. The Show Day Races (Friday 17th) are a big occasion too; with more of a family vibe, it’s perfect for the kids and a picnic. Look out too for the New Zealand Greyhound Cup, raced for at an evening meeting on Thursday 16th; the winner takes home $100K.
Getting into the action on Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day can be done in plenty of ways; hospitality options abound. If you’ve been lucky enough to secure tickets, the place to be is very much in the Johnny Globe Marquee at Spectators. Located on the outer track and offering spectacular views across the home straight, it offers a prestigious racing and entertainment package that includes premium catering with canapés on arrival, antipasto station, carvery, gourmet buffet lunch, dessert and afternoon tea, continuous espresso coffee, an open bar, live entertainment and private TAB facilities.
If you’re not sashaying your way into one of the many hospitality options around the course on the day though, you might want to head for the Lindauer Lawn, a grassed area close to the track that offers the chance to mix with a who’s who of New Zealand society as you get a great view of the racing action. Even a general entry ticket grants access to the Public Village which offers bars, seating, food stalls, a live band and the Westfield Riccarton Style Stakes and the ZM Body Art heats – everything you need for a great day out.
Riccarton Park Racecourse
With a history even older than that of Addington, Riccarton Park was reserved as a public recreation ground by the Canterbury Provincial Council in 1858. Since then the park’s administrative body, the Canterbury Jockey Club, has been at the forefront of New Zealand’s racing scene. Riccarton Park hosts 23 race days each season, with highlights besides this month’s Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup & gavelhouse.com 1000 Guineas Day including the Grand National Racing Carnival in August and the four-day Autumn Racing Season.
A number of high-profile races are run at the course over Cup and Show Week; celebrations are kicked off in fine style on Saturday 11th with the big occasion that is Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas Day. The Coupland's Bakeries Mile on Wednesday 15th (AKA Ladies’ Day) combines the country’s richest handicap over 1,600 metres and spectacular fashion in the field, and the biggie comes on Saturday 18th at the New Zealand Cup, which has been run over 3,200 metres every year since 1865 and is still one of the most popular race events in the country.
To glam up your New Zealand Cup Day good and proper, you’ll want to be in one of the hospitality marquees trackside; sited on the Grand National Lawn, they offer an all-inclusive food and beverage package and a prime spot. You might also like to think about new hospitality option the Christchurch Casino Stables for Guineas Day, New Zealand Cup Day or Ladies’ Day on the Wednesday – parking you in an elevated area on the Guineas Terrace, this package offers a full day of food and entertainment, with high tea and platters on Ladies’ Day or a two course lunch on both Saturdays, with complimentary snacks and champagne or beer on arrival.
It’s Show Time!
So world-famous-in-Christchurch that we just call it “The Show”, the Canterbury A&P Show is always jam-packed with livestock, entertainment and attractions, indoor and outdoor exhibits, feature marquees and pavilions. Delighting town and country alike since 1863, it’s a spectacular mix of colour, excitement and competition (it’s weirdly easy to forget that over 3,000 animals are on site competing in over 1,700 classes, with north of $100,000 in prize money up for grabs). In addition to the usual mix of gourmet delights in the Food & Wine Village, fairground rides and retail therapy (pick yourself up the killer combo of a new frock and a new combine harvester), this year’s entertainment line-up includes Ladi6, The Jordan Luck Band, New Zealand Army Band, Kaylee Bell, and local music mainstays Assembly Required. Hit the swish new Town & Country Bar (formerly the Baa Baa Bar), check out the cute baby animals, and eat more candy floss that your dentist would probably recommend – it’s all sweet!