Day at races way to go before getting hitched

By katie Holland

For horse-lover Claire Baines a sunny day at the races was the perfect way to celebrate her final days of freedom.

Waikite Valley's Miss Baines, her new hobby horse and 10 girlfriends were among thousands enjoying the carnival atmosphere at Racing Rotorua's Interislander Summer Festival event yesterday.

English-born Miss Baines, who has lived in Rotorua for five years, said she liked to do things differently and planned to make a memorable entrance when she marries fiance Mike Cornwell at Skyline tomorrow.

"I'm going to arrive on the luge ... in my dress," she said.

Going to the races for her hen party was Miss Baines' idea, partly because, as a daytime activity, it gave her more recovery time before the wedding but mainly because she and her friends are all keen on racing.

"We work at the hospital and we ride horses, that's our passion," she said.

"I have a retired racehorse at home."

It was also perfectly timed, giving guests in town for the wedding something to do between Christmas and New Year.

Despite being just 48 hours out from the big day, Miss Baines' hens didn't plan to let her off easily - the racing-themed dares were ready (a jockey's signature just for starters) and, if she dared put her hobby horse down at any stage, a drink was waiting.

Her fiance was on his stag do yesterday as well but Miss Baines wasn't too worried about what he and his mates were getting up to.

"I'm not sure what they're doing, they're off playing golf or something I think," she said.

A good crowd enjoyed yesterday's racing, spreading out picnics and making the most of the summer weather.

Kids under 12 got in free and were catered for with mini golf, pin-the-tail-on-the-horse, and the horseshoe toss.

For the grown ups, the drinks flowed and live music kept everyone entertained between races.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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