The winter months aren’t just a time for the jump jockeys to shine, each year the Amateur Riders Series is held comprising of 10 races at racecourses all over the country. The riders themselves come from a range of backgrounds, however, the majority are directly involved in the industry and work full time as stable hands, trackwork riders, and some are even ex-professional Jockeys.
A points system based on finishing position provides an exciting and variable competition for the riders, who, unlike the professionals, do not get paid for their work.
Many riders have used their experience as Amateur Jockeys to move into a full time professional role a Jumps Jockeys which also runs during the winter.
It is thanks to the support of generous sponsors such as FLAIR Inc that some recognition is provided after each race with the winning rider receiving a voucher as well as the overall winner of the series being presented a trophy at the end of the year.
|Date||Track||Class||Distance||Stake||Winning Jockey and Horse|
|26 April '23||Hawera||MDN||2100m||$14,000||Dead heat: Scotty MacNab (The Jakkal) & Chelsea Sharp (Legally Blonde)|
|11 May '23||Wanganui||R65||2040m||$14,000||Scotty MacNab (Second Divison)|
|21 May '23||Hawera||MDN||2100m||$14,000||Meeting abandoned|
|25 June '23||Woodville||R65||2200m||$14,000||Amber Riddell (Billy Boy)|
|25 June '23||Woodville||MDN||2200m||$14,000||Emma Quinn (Country Bumpkin)|
|15 July '23||Trentham||R65||2100m||$30,000||Michelle Northcott (Madam Zara)|
|19 July '23||Avondale||MDN||2100m||$14,000||Adam Scott (Roc Up Ralph)|
|29 July '23||Te Rapa||R65||2100m||$30,000||Hayley Hassman (Hill Of Kings)|
|9 August '23||Riccarton||R65||2200m||$35,000||Amber Riddell (Bad Flamingo)|
|20 August '23||Rotorua||R65 & Jmp||1950m||$17,000||Corey Wiles (Kid Warrior)|
|25 August '23||Waverley||Mdn||2200m||$17,000||Adam Scott (Hamish)|
|3 September '23||Hawera||R65 & Jmp||2200m||$40,000||Lucas Olsen (Sailor Jack)|
|5 October '23||Woodville||Mdn||2100m||$18,500||Hayley Hassman (Maggie Ruth)|
Congratulations Scotty MacNab
The Amateur Rider series is run on a points system where a rider is awarded points for placing in any of the 10 amateur races throughout the season. 1st place receives 10 points, 2nd - 7, 3rd - 5, 4th - 3, 5th - 2 and 6th place gets 1 point.
Past winners of the Amateur Riders Series:
2022 - Lisa Kennedy
2021 - Scotty MacNab
2020 - Not contested
2019 - Luke Myers
2018 - Clinton Isdale
2017 - Scotty MacNab
2016 - Sarah MacNab
2015 - Scotty MacNab
2014 - Rebecca Goldsbury
2013 - Scott Wenn
2012 - Scotty MacNab
2011 - Michelle Northcott
Duke of Gloucester Cup. Photo: Race Images
2023 Duke of Gloucester Cup Amateur riders, with winner, Michelle Northcott. Photo: Race Images
Duke Of Gloucester Cup History
Ingrained in the history of New Zealand racing is the Duke Of Gloucester Cup, which is held at a different racecourse every year.
One of the most memorable racedays in the Marton Jockey Club’s proud history took place in 1935 when Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, who was the son of the reigning monarch King George V attended the Club’s New Year’s day race meeting at Marton.
It was reported that over 10,000 patrons attended the Marton races that day and when the military band struck up Land of Hope and Glory and the National anthem everyone oncourse burst into song. Not only did his Royal Highness Prince Henry attend the races that day, at the invitation of his host Sir Thomas Duncan, arrangements were made for the Duke to ride a horse called Black Man in the one mile and 137 yard Ladies’ Bracelet race for amateur riders which carried a stake of 50 pounds plus a trophy. Black Man and the Duke of Gloucester led clearly in the early stages, but the favourite began to wilt as the field turned for home under his big weight of 13 stone 2 pounds and they faded to finish fourth.
Later that day the Duke presented the Marton Cup trophy won by the very good mare Cuddle to her Hasting owner-trainer C J Stowe. After her win in the 1935 Marton Cup, Cuddle went on to be one of New Zealand’s very best staying mares, winning two Auckland Cups, the New Zealand Cup and Doncaster Handicap in Australia. Wellington Racing Club’s Cuddle Stakes is still run in recognition of her prowess.
The Duke was obviously impressed with the hospitality he received from the Marton Jockey Club and later presented a trophy to be known as the Duke of Gloucester Cup, for competition amongst amateur riders. The Duke of Gloucester Trophy is still competed for annually in New Zealand, and changes venue each year.