Dunstan Stayers Series

Dunstan Stayers Series

Boxing Day at Pukekohe Park is the last opportunity for horses nominated for the $120,000 Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final to qualify for the race to be run on New Year’s Day.

Eight nominated up and coming stayers will run in the 2200 metre Dunstan Feeds Stayers Qualifier at Pukekohe Park in a bid to make the field of this prestigious staying event.

A win by Brookbourne, Rock My Heart, Youledo, She’s Outrageous, Wolfgang, I’m Alice or Lots of Zees would ensure that they make the final field of 16 for the event to be run at Te Rapa a week later.

“It looks like it is going to be quite a competitive final this year,” said Dunstan Feeds director Dave Smith.
“From the 94 horses nominated there has been some promising stayers emerge in some very competitive qualifying heats.

“And it has been really good that from about late November, to hear trainers when they are being interviewed in the media, state that they are setting this horse or that one for the Dunstan Final. It’s become a sought-after race on the calendar now, when before it was just the hack staying race on New Year’s Day.
Smith recalled how a conversation with champion trainer the late Trevor McKee encouraged him into sponsoring the series.

“Trevor suggested it would be good to have a series for up and coming stayers and having a bend towards stayers myself and New Zealand’s affinity with stayers, I approached the then Auckland Racing Club with the idea and it went from there.”

The final is run over 2400 metres, and horses that have not won more than three races are eligible for nomination. They then run in a series of qualifying races across the country and those that accrue the highest number of points compete in the final.

Over the years the race has produced subsequent Wellington and Auckland Cup winners and place getters along with a number of good weight-for-age horses. It is worth noting that those successful horses have come from around the country and from small and large stables endorsing its success and popularity.

“We are very proud of the way the race has developed over the past 24 years, and I think once again we have seen that reflected in the stayers that raced in the Counties and Waikato Cup this year. I’m sure we will see some of the budding stayers that have competed this year marking their mark over the next few years.”

Pictured: 2021 Dunstan Stayers Series Championship Winner, Star Tsar