In a joint promotion with New Zealand Bloodstock and the Auckland Racing Club, and with the backing of the New Zealand Trainers' Association, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, Dunstan Feeds will offer a novel incentive of a $21,000 credit towards a purchase at the NZB Yearling Sales in January next year to the winning trainer.
Millions of dollars in stakes earnings has gone to connections of horses who have contested Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship races over the past two decades, with Dunstan Feeds also backing shorter-course horses through the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship, which was instigated in 2016.
Between both series this season, $1.366 million in stakes will be on offer.
Dunstan Feeds director David Smith was proud of the company's commitment to backing the racing industry with one of New Zealand racing's longest-running sponsorships.
"It's been a terrific partnership. We've loved watching some of New Zealand's best stayers come through the series and not just from the big stables either," Smith said.
"We've had an enduring loyal support base from New Zealand trainers and breeders and we're pleased to be able to give back to the industry. We are a New Zealand-owned company which buys chiefly New Zealand grain and supports New Zealand arable farmers. We are heartland Kiwi and we feel sponsorship of these series are a neat fit for us.
"We are proud of the way the stayers championship has developed over the past 20 years as a way of nurturing our young staying talent and providing a platform to develop the next class of Cup champions."
Nominations for the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship and the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship close on November 11, with the $80,000 Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship Final run at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and the $100,000 Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.
For the first time, this season's Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final will be run over 2400m, with the winner again earning an automatic entry into the Gr.1 $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on March 7.
Subsequent Auckland and Wellington Cup winners as well as weight-for-age performers have come through past series which has seen an impressive spread of small and large stables take the top prize.
"We're pleased to be offering this incentive and as we've seen before, the winner can come from anywhere," Smith said.
"Last year, Stephen Marsh was the winning trainer but in previous years we've had guys like Murray Matthews and Peter Harris train the winner and they might have only had one or two horses in their stable at the time. It's been nicely shared around."
Between the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship and the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship, there will be 43 races run, 19 in the stayers series and 24 for the 1500 Championship.
Auckland Racing Club racing manager Craig Baker was again delighted that Ellerslie would host the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final and eight heats along the way.
"The Dunstan Stayers series is an institution in New Zealand racing, highlighted by the fact that January's final will be the 21st running," he said.
"The Auckland Racing Club is blessed to have the ongoing support of Dunstan Feeds. It is not just a commercial arrangement either. It is a friendship that many from the ARC have forged with David Smith over a long period of time."
New Zealand Bloodstock managing director Andrew Seabrook welcomed the initiative and was pleased to back the winning trainer's sales credit.
"Dunstan's commitment to sponsorship within the industry is outstanding," he said.
"This initiative is another example in a long list of how they work with industry-based companies to help grow the market. We're delighted that one of our customers will be the recipient of their generosity and celebration of twenty-one years of the Dunstan Series."
With the winning trainer of the Gr.1 Sistema Railway set to pocket $12,000 for his role on the same day, the $21,000 Karaka sales credit and $6000 trainer's percentage from winning the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final will make for a coveted $27,000 windfall sure to be the talk of all trainers preparing to mount a challenge on the series.
Previous winners – Dunstan Feeds Stayers Final
|2018||Diesel||Shaun & Emma Clotworthy|
|2016||Cheeky Boy||Bruce Wallace|
|2015||Awesome Goal||John Wheeler|
|2014||Graphic||Mike Moroney & Chad Ormsby|
|2013||Grand Bellezza||Louise McGregor|
|2012||Green Supreme||Graham Richardson|
|2011||So Pristine||Richard Collett|
|2010||Seaflyte||Vanessa & Wayne Hillis|
|2008||Cross Roads||Joanne Surgenor|
|2007||The Fuzz||Vanessa & Wayne Hillis|
|2004||Royal Secret||Peter Harris|
|2003||Diamond Hill||Colin Jillings & Richard Yuill|
|2002||President Hughes||Mark Oulaghan|
|2001||Trigger||Colin Jillings & Richard Yuill|
|2000||The Red Dimple||Tony Parker|