Why horse lovers love us!
Cambridge and its surrounding rural area is often called the Equine Capital of New Zealand - and with good reason.
Some of the world’s best racehorses have been bred in the area and many thoroughbred (gallops) and standardbred (harness racing) trainers are based here.
Cambridge has a full–sized training track in Racecourse Rd and watching the gallops at dawn is an exhilarating experience. The Cambridge Jockey Club races at Te Rapa Racecourse, Hamilton (27kms, 31 mins drive from Cambridge) while other racetracks within easy distance include Te Awamutu (26kms,29 mins), Matamata (42kms, 33 mins), Te Aroha (52kms, 48 mins) and Rotorua (84kms, 67 mins).
Harness and greyhound racing
The Cambridge Raceway, Taylor St, hosts about 25 harness race meetings a year, as well as about 30 greyhound racing meetings.
The Cambridge Polo Club has two ﬁelds at grounds in Lamb Street, Leamington. It’s one of four polo clubs in the Waikato, one of the strongest polo–playing regions in the country, from which players are regularly selected for New Zealand teams.
Some of the world’s leading horse studs are at Cambridge, including,
- Sir Patrick Hogan’s Cambridge Stud, home of the late champion sire Sir Tristram and his son, Zabeel. Progeny of Sir Tristram have won more than $65 million in prizemoney.
- Trelawney Stud,founded in 1930, has produced seven Melbourne Cup winners while other prominent studs include Windsor Park, Wentworth Grange, Chequers Stud,
- The Oaks and Linwood Park. Some local studs allow public tours. For more information, contact Cambridge i-Site Information Centre.
- The Cambridge Thoroughbred Lodge, 3km south of town, is a working stud, and opens itself to the public for regular tours and New Zealand Horse Magic shows. The hour–long performances, hosted by a ringmaster, include showings of prize thoroughbreds and standardbreds, show jumping demonstrations and even the chance for visitors to get a ride.
The Waikato Hunt is centred at Cambridge and has about 250 members who ride two or three times a week during the hunting season (late March to mid–July). The hunt was established in 1891 and members hunt through private property with the agreement of landowners.
Riding schools and trekking
One of the largest Waikato riding schools is Phillips Equine at Matangi, about 10 minutes drive from Cambridge. It has a 1000–metre training track and an all-weather arena with jumps and dressage markers. It can also provide horses for trekking, and if you want to trek along a beach, the nearest facility is at Kawhia (90km and 78 mins) where you can ride past a gannet colony and admire the wonders of Pirongia Forest in the distance. Cambridge also has a Riding for the Disabled centre behind the Gaslight Theatre, corner of Hall St and Alpha St.
Sir Mark Todd (winner of ﬁve Olympic medals for equestrian events) and Andrew Nicholson (silver and bronze Olympic medalist) are Cambridge’s highest–proﬁle equestrians and local riders are always among the contenders for New Zealand teams.
Top Things To Do
- Take a guided tour of a local horse stud and see some of the world’s most valuable thoroughbreds.
- Watch dawn gallops as trainers work horses at Cambridge’s training track.
- Enjoy a meal and ﬂutter at a harness or greyhound meeting at Cambridge Raceway
- Marvel at the skills of some of New Zealand’s best polo players.
- Book a riding lesson or a trek on a horse or pony.
- Check out the statue of mare and foal and the Equine Walk of Fame.
- The Cambridge Jockey Club holds its race meetings in April, June and November.
- Top polo matches are held between December and March every summer.
- Harness and dog racing takes place all year but the $1.2 million Harness Jewels series is held bi–annually in June.
Plan it now!
Ready to find out more or to book your visit to Cambridge?
The Cambridge i–SITE Information Centre can help you plan or book any of the activities described here. We’re on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets, Cambridge — next to the Town Hall.
Phone: 07 823 3456
Fax: 07 823 3457