IN Racing
TAB Southern Alps Challenge Countdown
Field taking shape for 13 April feature
April 02, 2024

Anticipation for the inaugural running of the TAB Southern Alps Challenge heightened over Easter Weekend with several milestones relating to the race. The $350,000 feature over 1600 metres is to be held at Riccarton Park Racecourse on Saturday 13 April 2024. Besides this new feature the programme also includes the NZB Insurance Stakes for three-year-old fillies and Welcome Stakes for the two-year-olds. Both carry a stake of $80,000.

TAB NZ opened a futures market on the race with a list of 30 horses comprising those exempt from the ballot and the highest rated potential candidates. Local gelding MYSTIC PARK with a record of five wins from 9 starts including a last start win in an open handicap over 1400 metres heads the market at $2.50. SIR ALBERT at $4.80 and MATSCOT at $8 are next shortest.

The final Golden Ticket race was held at Riverton on Easter Saturday and was taken out by the Matthew and Michael Pitman trained CHARBANO. This strengthens their hand in the race as besides MYSTIC PARK they have THIRD DECREE on the fourth line of betting at $10 and now CHARBANO an $18 chance. They also train MAKABAR who won the open handicap over 1400 metres at Riverton on Monday and enters into TAB Southern Mile contention with a rating of 84

MYSTIC PARK had won the first Golden Ticket race at Riccarton Park on Saturday 10 February whilst BEAU BRUMMELL the winner of the Golden Ticket race on Saturday 23 March at Riccarton Park is ineligible for the TAB Southern Alps Challenge due to the stable not meeting the South Island stable criteria.

The first three placegetters in the Otago Racing Club 2024 ODT Southern Mile final are exempt from the ballot, they are THE GREY GOOSE, MISS PEARL, and WILLIS. MISS PEARL enhanced her chances in the TAB Southern Alps Challenge with a strong win in the $55,000 Francolin Fillies and Mares race over 1400 metres at Riverton on Saturday. THE GREY GOOSE ran sixth in the same race.

Group 1 Thorndon Mile placegetter LADY TALENA is accepted for the open 1300 metres race at Ashburton on Thursday to meet the criteria of starting twice in the South Island this calendar year.


A range of other activities have been planned for the TAB Southern Alps Challenge raceday to attract and entertain and complement what will be a strong racing programme.

·         Music in the birdcage between races provided by Kat.

·         2024 NZTR Pony Scurries. Details HERE

·         There will be fierce competition for $12,000 in prizes for in the TAB Southern Punters Challenge. Details can be found HERE. Entries close Thursday 4 April 2024.

·         The meeting is being promoted with a ‘Red and White’ theme in keeping with the colours of the TAB Southern Alps Challenge logo and you are encouraged to enter the spirit and wear red and white on the day.

·         Seek out your finest Autumnal Outfit, feature accents of Red & White in and be selected in the top 14 best dressed on course. You will then draw a horse in the TAB Southern Alps Challenge with the person who draws the winner taking home a Scenic Hotel Group accommodation package. All finalists will receive a bottle of wine from The Ned. Open to everyone and no entry needed as our experienced Fashion Ambassadors will be out spotting the Best Dressed on the day.