New Year races draw a crowd


Up to 6000 punters enjoyed a day at the races at the Interislander Summer Festival Wairarapa Racing Club New Year meeting at the Tauherenikau racecourse yesterday.

Club secretary Ginni Thurston said four harness races featured on the card for the annual New Year event alongside eight gallop races and provided "a point of difference and added opportunities" for racegoers.

She said that early morning winds had eased throughout the day and the meeting was expected to pull in about $250,000 in on-course betting turnover.

"The wind dropped away this morning and hasn't really been a problem at all. It's actually turned out to be a really good day, quite warm and quite pleasant."

Also at the races yesterday was the Wairarapa's first baby of the year in 1998, Vanessa Phillips, who was celebrating her 15th birthday, with her mother Janine Legge.

Her father James Phillips was working as a horse trainer out of Featherston when Ms Philips was born, and her birthday celebrations at the Tauherenikau New Year race meeting are an annual family tradition.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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