Challenge Stakes (New Zealand)
The Challenge Stakes is a Thoroughbred horse race run at Hastings Racecourse in Hawke's Bay and is New Zealand's first Group One race of the season. It is run over a distance of 1400m on the first Saturday in September. It was formerly known as the Mudgway Stakes, Mudgway Challenge Stakes and Makfi Challenge Stakes. It was renamed the Tarzino Trophy in 2017. named after Tarzino, winner of the 2015 Victoria Derby and 2016 Rosehill Guineas and an active sire at Westbury Stud.
|Group I race|
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
|Race type||Thoroughbred - Flat racing|
|Distance||1400m (7 furlongs)|
|Qualification||Three-year-olds and up|
|Weight||Weight for Age|
The race is the first of the Hawkes Bay Triple Crown events and is followed by:
- the 1600m Windsor Park Plate in late September, and
- the 2040m Spring Classic on the first Saturday in October.
The race's timing, weight-for-age conditions and the reliably dry weather of the region at that time of the year combine to ensure that the race sees one of the strongest fields assembled in any race all season as a number of horses heading towards a campaign in Australia choose it as a starting point.
As a result, the winners list is extraordinarily strong for a New Zealand race. Included among the winners are champion mare Sunline, the brilliant Xcellent, W S Cox Plate winners Poetic Prince and Ocean Park and the Australian visitor and subsequent European Group 1 winner Starcraft. Seachange, Kawi and Melody Belle were all back-to-back winners of the race.
As hard as it is to believe by looking at the winners list, the race was only given Group 2 status until 2003, when Miss Potential took out the first Group 1 running of the race.
Winners of the Challenge Stakes
|2010||Keep The Peace|
|2003 (at Wanganui)||Miss Potential|
A list of winners of all 3 Hawkes Bay Triple Crown races is at Thoroughbred racing in New Zealand.