A fun day at Tauranga races was the perfect chance for an early 40th birthday celebration for a Pāpāmoa mother of two.

Among the hundreds of punters at the Crockford Real Estate Summer Raceday meeting at Tauranga Racecourse yesterday was Kim Wilkie from Pāpāmoa, who turns 40 next week, and her daughters Liliana, 2, and 4-year-old Rosa.

Wilkie said she and Shari Hammond from Bethlehem, Hammond's son Zac, 6, and daughter Stella, 8, grabbed the chance to get together for an early birthday celebration and splashed out on a picnic on the public lawn.

"My 40th birthday is on January 27 but there won't be a big party next weekend because I plan to go to Bali for a holiday during the winter," she said.

Hammond said she and Wilkie were regular Tauranga racegoers and attended at least a couple of times a year.

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"We love coming to the races, and with the free entry today, which is amazing, and the kids still on holiday, it was the ideal chance to enjoy a relaxing day at the races to help Kim celebrate her 40th."

Racing Tauranga marketing manager Andrew Love said given the race meeting was on a weekday he was expecting a crowd of up to 1000 to come along and join in the fun.

Love said summer raceday meetings were an ideal chance to introduce people to what horse racing was all about and the club also ran a punters club to add to the excitement.

A crowd of about 5000 attended the Interislander Summer Festival meeting on January 2 and the next big meeting at Tauranga Racecourse was on Waitangi Day, he said.