Snow Lupton, QSM, racehorse trainer. Died aged 84.

The 1983 Melbourne Cup is one New Zealand's racing fraternity will never forget. That was the year Kiwi, the horse from a farm in Waverley, near Wanganui, roared in from the back of the field to an exhilarating win.

Ewen Sneddon "Snow" Lupton, Kiwi's trainer, died in hospital in Hawera on Tuesday after a long battle with emphysema.

He took Kiwi's victory in his stride, jockey Jim Cassidy said this week. "He was very unflappable, Snowy."

Cassidy said it was a measure of Mr Lupton's character that when Kiwi was controversially scratched before the 1984 Melbourne Cup, his integrity remained intact.

Kiwi was judged by a Victoria racing veterinarian to be lame because of its scratchy action, despite Mr Lupton's insistence the horse was fit.

"I think that was probably the lowest point of his career," Cassidy said, "but he came through it with dignity, he kept his head high. That was the sort of man he was."

Cassidy said Mr Lupton had a great affinity with his horses: "He was as good a horseman as I ever rode for."

Anne Lupton, his wife, wanted to put the record straight. She said it was reported that the $1000 it cost to buy Kiwi at a Waikato sale had come from the housekeeping budget.

"I didn't use the housekeeping money like the some of the papers have reported. I had my own money, not the housekeeping money. I paid for him."

The name Kiwi was her idea "because I always liked kiwi birds".

But it was not a name that her husband initially approved of.

"As far as he was concerned they were slow birds. He didn't think that was a good name for a racehorse."

Kiwi died in 1995 and is buried on the Lupton farm. A headstone carries the few words: "Kiwi, 1983 Melbourne Cup." Mrs Lupton said that typified her husband.

"Snowy is a non-fuss fellow. If it had just 'Kiwi' written on it, he would have been happy."

Snow Lupton had a gravel voice, spoke slowly and had an unflappable nature. It was that nature that had her concerned on the night of the Melbourne Cup win.

They were to attend the lavish after-cup function. She made her own way there while he took Kiwi back to his stables.

As time went by there was no sign of him and organisers became anxious. She assured them he would turn up but she remembered thinking at the time: "I hope he hasn't gone to bed."

The funeral will be at the property where son Warwick is now farming, like his father and grandfather before him.

- NZPA