Legendary Kiwi racehorse Kiwi hits the big screen

Nick Blake as Snow Lupton with one of the three horses who played Kiwi a film about the Melbourne Cup winner.
Nick Blake as Snow Lupton with one of the three horses who played Kiwi in a film about the Melbourne Cup winner.

The story of Kiwi’s dramatic victory in the 1983 Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) will be screened on New Zealand’s TVNZ 1 on Sunday at 8:30pm. 

In the film Kiwi, Nick Blake and Alison Bruce play Waverley farmer Snow Lupton and his wife Anne, owners of the $1000 purchase who captured Australasian hearts.

The only horse to win the Gr.1 Wellington Cup (3200m) and Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) in the same year, Kiwi was ridden to victory by New Zealand jockey Jimmy Cassidy.

Victory in the Egmont Cup (2100m) was Lupton’s unorthodox springboard to Melbourne Cup success.

Kiwi went into the Cup without a lead-up race in Australia, and Lupton had been told it wasn’t possible to farm-train a cup prospect.

He disagreed, having used Kiwi for mustering on his farm.

The makers of Kiwi enlisted three horses to play the star thoroughbred in the documentary, which was filmed in and around Auckland earlier this year. Kiwi won the 1983 Melbourne Cup after dashing to the front from near last in the final 500m of the two-mile race.

The film received $3 million funding from NZ On Air, a lot of which went to the equine budget, said executive producer Charlotte Purdy. The film was directed by Thomas Robins, an Emmy Award winning producer, writer and director based in Wellington. Before his career behind the camera, he acted in films including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Kiwi died at age 18 in the mid 1990s, and Snow Lupton died in 2004 at the age of 84.

3 thoughts on “Legendary Kiwi racehorse Kiwi hits the big screen

  • July 10, 2018 at 11:29 am


  • April 30, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    I know its 2020 I have read the book on Kiwi by Tony Hilton and have footage of the race. Is it too late to purchase the film made by TV NZ1 NZ on Air.

    • April 30, 2020 at 8:15 pm

      As i mentioned I want to purchase the movie.. I would also like footage of the magical day at the MELBOURNE CUP DAY AND all the follow up after the race had been won by kiwi


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