Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Melbourne Cup Day in Tauranga

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Maria Taukamo left and Christine Kroll are all set for today's big race. PHOTO/ George Novak
Maria Taukamo left and Christine Kroll are all set for today's big race. PHOTO/ George Novak

Bay punters are gearing up for the biggest horse race in the Southern Hemisphere tomorrow - the Melbourne Cup.

Tauranga Citizen Club manager Joanna Young said it was going to be fantastic day at the club.

"All the usual, best-dressed ladies, best-dressed male, best male's hat."

A few hundred people came to the club each yet to celebrate the event, she said.

"Everybody generally does something towards it. It's such a big day in both New Zealand and Australia, everybody stops for the Cup so we make it a social afternoon."

Tauranga RSA office manager Shirley Fisher said they were also hosting an event for the race which was open to the public.

A few hundred people would come through the door to watch the race, she said.

Owner of Greers Gastro Bar in Greerton Ian Settle said they usually get a good crowd for the race.

"We are having happy hour at the time of the race and prizes for best-dressed lady and best male fascinator for this one."

Mr Settle said it was not a huge event for them but workers at the local businesses in Greerton would call in on the way home.

Tauranga-Te Papa Rotary member Tracey Rudduck Gudsell said the club was putting on the Melbourne Cup Rotary Charity Luncheon at ASB Baypark.

The event replaced the former CIB function on the events calendar which would take place every year, she said.

"It was a good opportunity, a lot of people love a Melbourne Cup function. Our thinking was we could bring an event which is now missing from the calendar and raise money for charity at the same time."

Proceeds from the event would be spilt evenly among the Tauranga Women's Refuge and Surf Life Saving Clubs Mount, Omanu and Papamoa.

There would be a live auction, speakers and a fashion in the field event and they were expecting about 400 people, she said.

Who are the Kiwi contenders in the big race today?

There are three New Zealand-bred horses running: Who Shot The Barman ($31), Pentathlon ($81) and Rose of Virginia ($81).

Do we have any jockeys in the Cup?

Yes, three. James McDonald is riding Hartnell ($5). This is McDonald's fifth tilt at the Melbourne Cup and he believes it's his best riding the Cup favourite.

There's also Michael Walker aboard Almoonqith ($21) and Mark Du Plessis on Pentathlon ($81).

What about Kiwi trainers?

We've got two of them this year. Chris Waller, formerly from Foxton, will saddle up Who Shot The Barman ($21) and Grand Marshal ($35). Our other representative is John Wheeler of New Plymouth, who will saddle up Pentathlon.

What time is the race on?

Tune in from around 5pm Tuesday on the TAB's Trackside 1 TV channel.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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