|Sire Blarney Kiss|
Species Equus caballus
|Grandsire Irish Lancer|
Earnings 549,839 NZD
Kiwi (1977 – 2 February 1995) was a New Zealand thoroughbred racehorse who in 1983 won the Wellington Cup in New Zealand and the Melbourne Cup in Australia. Kiwi raced from 1980 to 1987 and remains the only horse ever to win both cups.
Kiwi was bred by H. B. Fischer and bought by Waverley sheep farmer Snow Lupton and his wife Ann for only NZ$1000. They had previously owned a Blarney Kiss horse and wanted another, with Ann insisting it had to be chestnut.
Kiwi showed promise, but Lupton knew the horse would be more of a distance runner. He proved this when he won the Wellington Cup from the rear of the field in a close finish.
No Wellington Cup winner had ever gone on to win a Melbourne Cup which is esteemed as the premier staying race in Australia and New Zealand. Some considered this reflects a lower quality field in the Wellington Cup, however it is more likely to be related to when the races are held - the Wellington Cup in late January and the Melbourne Cup in November.
When entered for the Melbourne Cup, despite having won over 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, on the Flemington track, with 500 metres to run, 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. So quick was his run that many race commentators only picked up Kiwi as he neared the finish line..."and here comes Kiwi out of the blue". His win has become one of the most memorable performances in the history of the Melbourne Cup, especially as it illustrated a classic stayers victory.
On winning the race, Kiwi became a household sporting hero in New Zealand, an example of the underdog winning against the odds. It showed that a simple trainer, with a good horse, can win the greatest prize. 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.
Kiwi entered the 1984 Melbourne Cup but was controversially scratched due to a veterinary check. Lupton always maintained Kiwi was fit for the race and could have won. Some historians consider the scratching had elements of bad sportsmanship due to the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia. Kiwi ran in the 1985 Melbourne Cup, running fifth and in 1986 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. Kiwi died in 1995 and is buried on the Lupton farm. The headstone simply states: "Kiwi, 1983 Melbourne Cup". A plaque commemorating Kiwi is also located at the Waverley Racecourse.
In 2012, Australian rail operator CFCL Australia named locomotive CF4406 "Kiwi" after the horse.