Dog-racing teams from throughout New Zealand have begun one of the country's biggest events of its type at a winery, just north of Napier.

The Ridge Runners Sled Dog Racing Club 25th anniversary race weekend, being held at Linden Estate, began yesterday and will end tomorrow with an early and chilly start at 7am as perhaps befitting the origins of the dog racing.

In particular, it meets a need for conditions under 13C, although according to national forecasters MetService the minimum temperature at nearby Hawke's Bay Airport overnight would be no less than 3C, rising to a maximum of 18C in the afternoon.

The events, with the anniversary race today, have attracted 40 teams of dog racers, competing in four classes.

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As well as some of the hosts' fine products, more than a dozen trophies are up for grabs, including the special anniversary prize for the fastest team in the anniversary run - a tough event especially in the senior rig class covering 6km, with up to six dogs in a rig. There are also scooter classes up to 4km.

Helmets were compulsory in all classes and headlights were recommended.