Traditional Horse Racing Courses – Tauranga Racing

Tauranga Racecourse is one of the oldest racecourses in New Zealand and it has a long and illustrious history that’s well worth exploring. The track opened in 1872 with a meeting of gentlemen at the Tauranga Hotel to discuss stewards and other details for a track meeting.

From there the course was built on a flat area with a slight rise to the west, which would be able to provide unlimited crowd space. The first meet was held in 1874, only two years after the initial meeting.

Today Tauranga Racecourse is one of the biggest in New Zealand. The track is free to enter for all race goers, as is the member’s stand. Tauranga is a family orientated track with children’s entertainment provided free on race days.  Covered stands provide shelter for punters and race goers, and inside bars all have large televisions on which people can follow the action outside.

Races At Tauranga

Tauranga Racecourse has a partnership with Japan Racing Association, which involves trade races between the two countries. Tauranga plays host to the First Sovereign Trust Japan/NZ Trophy that is a Group Two race which is held at Tauranga each year.

The race is 37 years old and has been billed as the biggest and richest race in New Zealand. Betting on the race can be done at the track, or via select online betting sites. Tauranga racing is not as popular as racing in Australia, so the coverage is quite a bit less unless you are local.

Quality of Horses and Fields

The calibre of horses that race at Tauranga is not as high as the big races in Australia. That being said the Japan/NZ Trophy often has a decent sized field with a number of betting options for punters.

The New Zealand horse Volkstok’n’barrel has raced as Tauranga a number of times and has gone on to race in bigger races in Australia proving the quality that can be found on the New Zealand track.

Smaller, mid week races provide much smaller fields made up mostly of local horses. Horse betting online on these races is usually done by locals at a local TAB, or possibly at the track itself.


Tauranga also has a steeplechasing track, with the biggest race being the Waikato Cup. Steeplechases are run on most Saturdays, which is why the flat racing at Tauranga is predominantly done during the week.

The steeplechasing track is separate to the flat racing track, situated alongside the flat track. Bookies at Tauranga offer betting on both flat racing and steeplechasing, depending on the time of year.

Atmosphere at Tauranga

Tauranga is a family style track that hosts many different events as well as the racing. Betting is relaxed even on major race days. There is no big betting area, but a number of bookies can be found at the track on all race days.

The bigger races obviously have more bookies and a wider range of odds than the smaller ones.