Kiwi (horse)

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SireBlarney Kiss
GrandsireIrish Lancer
Foaled1 August 1977[1]
CountryNew Zealand
Major wins
Wellington Cup (1983)
Melbourne Cup[2] (1983)
Last updated on 3 April 2009

Kiwi (1 August 1977 – 2 February 1995) was a New Zealand Thoroughbred racehorse who in 1983 won both the Wellington Cup in New Zealand and the Melbourne Cup in Australia. He is especially renowned for his last-to-first victory in the latter event, and remains the only horse to have ever won both cups.[3] Kiwi raced from 1980 to 1987, and died in 1995 at the age of 18.


Kiwi was bred by Brian Fischer in Parore, New Zealand.[4] He was bought by Waverley sheep farmer Snow Lupton and his wife Ann, for NZ$1000. They had previously owned a Blarney Kiss horse and therefore wanted another, with Ann's personal preference for it to have a chestnut hair coat.[3]

Racing career[edit]

Though Kiwi showed promise as a racehorse, Lupton believed the horse would show strength as a distance runner. He proved this when Kiwi won the Wellington Cup from the rear of the field in a close finish.

The Wellington Cup is held in late January each year, and the Melbourne Cup in November. Even to this day, Kiwi is the only horse to have won both the Wellington Cup and Melbourne Cup consecutively. This historical feat is highly regarded, especially as the Melbourne Cup is esteemed as the premier staying race in Australia and New Zealand.

When entered for the Melbourne Cup, despite having won over a 3200-metre distance, Kiwi was considered very much an outsider and started with odds of 10/1. As usual, Kiwi (ridden by jockey Jim Cassidy) settled at the very back of the 24-horse field. At the turn of the Flemington track, with 500 metres remaining, Kiwi was second to last (ahead of Amarant, which was running lame).

With a storming run through the field, Kiwi won the race by just over a length. The speed of his race caused many race commentators to only mention Kiwi as he neared the finish line..."and here comes Kiwi out of the blue".[5] Kiwi's victory has become one of the most memorable performances in the history of the Melbourne Cup,[6] especially as it illustrated a classic stayer's victory.

On winning the race, Kiwi became a household sporting hero in New Zealand, forming a key example of the underdog winning against the odds. It showed that a simple trainer, when equipped with a good horse, could win the greatest prize.[7]

As incredible as it may seem for a champion horse, Lupton openly admitted that Kiwi was used to "round up the sheep" as part of his conditioning routine.[8]

Kiwi entered the 1984 Melbourne Cup, but was controversially scratched due to a veterinary check. Lupton always maintained that Kiwi was fit for the race and could have won.[9] The event sparked criticism of the scratching as a potential act of bad sportsmanship, due to the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia. Kiwi also ran in the 1985 Melbourne Cup, running fifth. In 1986, he once again looked to repeat his 1983 "come-from-behind" victory, but pulled up lame close to the finish line. Later that year, he represented New Zealand in the Japan Cup, running a creditable fifth.


After his run in Japan, Kiwi was retired to the Luptons' farm, where he died and was buried in 1995.[10] The headstone simply states: "Kiwi, 1983 Melbourne Cup". A plaque commemorating Kiwi is also located at the Waverley Racecourse.

Honorific eponym[edit]

In 2012, Australian rail operator CFCL Australia named locomotive CF4406 "Kiwi" after the horse.[11]


Pedigree of KIwi (NZ), chestnut gelding 1977[1]
Blarney Kiss (USA)
Irish Lancer (USA)
Royal Charger Nearc
Sun Princess
Tige O'Myheart Bull Lea
Log House (USA)
Cosmic Bomb Pharamond
Banish Fear
Ariel Beauty Ariel
Big Beauty
Malrayvis (NZ)
Messmate (GB)
Blue Peter Fairway
Fancy Free
Run Honey Hyperion
Fancy Free
Grande Vitesse (NZ)
Beau Repaire Beau Pere
Satisfied Siegfried
Satisfy (Family 2-b)[12]


  1. ^ a b "Kiwi pedigree". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  2. ^ "Breednet - Breeding News".
  3. ^ a b "Why Kiwi Melbourne Cup winner has been immortalised in bronze". Stuff. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  4. ^ "Cup fever strikes". Stuff. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  5. ^ "Kiwi wins the 1983 Melbourne Cup - NZHistory, New Zealand history online".
  6. ^
  7. ^ (p 287)
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Obituary: Snow Lupton". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. December 18, 2004. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  10. ^ "Melbourne Cup winner Kiwi found dead". The Dominion. 3 February 1995. p. 1.
  11. ^ "Australian thoroughbreds take to the rails". Rail Express. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Squirrel Mare - Family 2-b". Thoroughbred Bloodlinest. Retrieved 2012-12-22.

See also[edit]