After being missing for 60 years, an historic racing trophy has been discovered during a clean-out of a strongroom at the Woodville Racecourse.

"It was won by Hiaown on June 23, 1956, in the Hawke's Bay Steeplechase and has been sitting at our club in the safe since then," club secretary Paula McCool said. "The horse was trained by Stuart McNaughton, from Woodville, which is probably why the trophy ended up here."

Owned by a Mrs J Howell and RE Johnson, Hiaown was a five-year-old brown gelding from Hiawatha, out of an unknown mare.

"In those days, farmers had steeplechasers or jumpers and the sport was very popular," Joe Dodunski, president of the Woodville-Pahiatua Racing Club said. "I understand the first running of the Hawke's Bay Steeplechase was in 1857."

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The salver will be presented to the Hawke's Bay Racing Club.