A desire to attract more fans is behind a move to shift glamour race meeting the Auckland Cup Day to a Saturday.
The Cup, part of Auckland Cup Week, has been run at Ellerslie Racecourse on a Wednesday since 2006. The cup was first raced for in 1874.
"The way people want to be entertained, and when, is changing, Auckland Racing Club chief executive Cameron George said. "As a club, we are keen to ensure all Aucklanders of all generations get to experience this iconic event."
Auckland Cup Week will still kick off with New Zealand Derby Day, which features the $750,000 New Zealand Derby - this country's richest group 1 race. Auckland Cup Day will feature three group 1 races - the $500,000 Auckland Cup, $200,000 Diamond Stakes and $200,000 New Zealand Stakes. Total stakes are expected to be more than $2.5 million.
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The Auckland Racing Club are also planning on increasing the minimum race stakes to $50,000, and adding additional catwalk fashion competitions and increased off-track entertainment.
Cup Day will still feature the New Zealand Fashion in the Field final and Viva Prix de Fashion with more than $30,000 in prizes are up for grabs for the best-dressed racegoers.
"Our aim is to create an Auckland Cup Week carnival that features the glamorous tradition of Derby Day on the first Saturday followed a week later by the excitement and prestige of an Auckland Cup Day for the people of Auckland," George said.
"The Cup has been run since 1874. Back then, it was a day for farm and town workers alike to relax, enjoy some exciting horse racing and catch up with family and friends. By returning to a Saturday, we'll essentially be taking the cup back to the people of Auckland and creating and entertainment day for all.
"We're also conscious that March is increasingly congested with numerous events. By consolidating into two amazing days of racing, fashion and entertainment, we'll create a must-attend carnival."
Next year's Auckland Cup week will run from March 5-12.
The Auckland Cup is an open handicap race for thoroughbred horses run over 3200m. For years, it was the richest horse race in New Zealand and won by the likes of Kindergarten, Beaumaris, Jezabeel and Who Shot the Barman. This year's race was won by Rock Diva.