2023 Waikato Sprint: Race History

The Waikato Sprint run at Te Rapa on Saturday shapes as a cracker.

LEVANTE winning the Bcd Group Sprint
LEVANTE winning the Bcd Group Sprint Picture: Trish Dunell

It was last year when two top ones fought it out. Will the 2023 Waikato Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on Saturday live up to expectation?


The Waikato Sprint is a Group 1 race run under Weight For Age conditions for sprinters at Te Rapa race course conducted by the Waikato Racing Club.

The Waikato Sprint is run over 1400m. It was first run in 1974 and won by Kings Romance.

The Waikato Sprint is one of New Zealand's best WFA sprints and is a forerunner to many horses coming to Australia for bigger Autumn targets.

Xtravagant won as 3yo in 2016 by an incredible eight lengths.

The great Sunline won twice in 2001 and 2002 – her second win was followed by victories in the Coolmore Classic, Doncaster and All Aged Stakes.

Another Cox Plate winner (Our) Poetic Prince won the race in 1989 and then won the Tancred and Queen Elizabeth in the same campaign.

Top mare Melody Belle began a string of G1 wins including the Otaki Maori and the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes after taking the Waikato Sprint. She kept going later that Spring at home and in Australia.

Te Akau Shark finally won his G1 taking the Sprint when coming from near last in 2020.

In the second coming of Melody Belle, Avantage won her 7th G1 as she made it a trifecta of G1 sprints from the 2021 Autumn.

The Waikato Sprint was worth NZ$300,000 in 2023.

Notable winners of Waikato Sprint include Levante (2022), Avantage (2021), Te Akau Shark (2020), Melody Belle (2019), Start Wondering (2017/2018), Xtravagant (2016), Sacred Star (2015), Veyron (2012), Mufhasa (2009/2011), Tavistock (2010), Seachange (2008), Darci Brahma (2007), Sedecrem (2004/2005), Tit For Taat (2003), Sunline (2001/2002), Rebel (1998), Snap (1995), Western Red (1994), Veandercross (1993), Mr Tiz (1991), Poetic Prince (1989) and Courier Bay (1987/1988).

The 2022 Waikato Sprint was won by Levante from Entriviere and Mascarpone.

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