Racing capital of New Zealand

Matamata Racing Ahead

Horse racing is deeply rooted in Matamata’s identity. The small town in the heart of Waikato is a hive of equine activity and training excellence.

The town is known for its thoroughbred horse breeding and training pursuits.

Stables and studs are dotted all around the racing township, and even Matamata’s slogan relates back to its racing pedigree: The Town That Is Racing Ahead.

The emerging Maea Fields subdivision is in the horse haven, with the famous Matamata Racing Club and the Te Akau Racing Stables nearby.

Stables surrounded by beautiful established oak trees will also be a focal point of Maea Fields and further developments, holding onto the land’s history.

Racing Roots

Horse racing is one of New Zealand’s oldest organised sports.

The Waikato region’s horse racing history dates back to the late 1800s, with Māori and European employees competing on stock horses on the Firth Estate in Matamata.

One of New Zealand’s most significant training centres is Matamata Racing Club. In 2019, the club celebrated 100 years of racing, honouring the achievements of the champions in the area.

Matamata has produced many fine thoroughbred horses that are now racing internationally.

Some of the racing town’s most notable champions include Dave O’Sullivan, who won the trainer premiership 11 times before retiring in 1998, and his son, Lance, New Zealand’s most successful jockey.

Matamata Racing Club now hosts 14 race meetings per season. It also holds Fashion in the Field in February and Christmas at the Races in December.

With its central location near Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, Matamata is the ideal location for trainers to operate from. The town also has the perfect climate and pasture for breeding horses.

One of the biggest stables in Matamata is Te Akau, which has 100-plus horses. It has large paddocks for the horses to run freely and develop naturally.

Nearly one-third of workers in Matamata are now employed in horse racing.

Side of horse statue in matamata
Muster of horses in field

The town has skilled veterinarians, farriers, pre-trainers, horse breakers, saddlers, and equine transporters.

Earlier this year, a three-tonne metal horse and jockey statue took pride of place on Matamata’s main street.

The statue, made from copper hot water cylinders, pays homage to the town’s long-standing history on the racetrack.

Horse racing and training are big parts of Matamata’s identity, and the community is working hard to keep the history alive and continue its success.

Side of horse statue in matamata

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