star Jodi Anasta is set to join thousands of punters for the last hurrah of the summer racing season.

The Aussie actress and style icon has crossed the ditch for today's Auckland Cup Day at Ellerslie Racecourse, which features fashion, cocktails and the group one $500,000 Barfoot and Thompson Auckland Cup race.

Despite being a regular at racing events around Australia this will be Anasta's first time at the races in New Zealand.


"I'm really excited to see the fashion. For me, races [are] always about the fashion," said Anasta who plays school teacher Elly Conway on Australian soap Neighbours and is the ex-wife of former rugby league star Braith Anasta.

"I've pretty much judged fashions on the field at [every] race day I've gone to. That's why it will be interesting for me now to come over to New Zealand and see how the Kiwis do it."

Anasta was set to get a good view of the event's top fashionistas, with the important role of crowning the winners of the Cup's new fashion competition.

The unique competition would see judges including Silver Fern Maria Folau (nee Tutaia) comb the course for the 13 best-dressed people. Those 13 would then draw the name of a horse in one of the day's races, and the fashionista whose horse wins will take out the competition and 200,000 Hawaiian Airlines air miles.

Racegoers were encouraged to dress to the nines and incorporate a touch of blue into their outfits to celebrate the big day.

Anasta will tick both boxes with a dress by Australian fashion label Zimmermann.

"It's very fashion, it's a little bit sexy but it's also really womanly and sophisticated," she said.

"I find that there is always a really theatrical element to race wear fashion and I think it's exciting and fun to dress up."


She advised men and women attending today's event to push the boundaries with their outfits, with the likes of interesting shapes, different textures and clashing prints.

"I like everyone to follow the race wear guidelines but I also think it's really interesting when you inject your own style and personality into your outfit," she said.

And the glitz and glamour didn't stop there.

The winner of the day's main race would be awarded a trophy made by Queen Victoria's personal jeweller, House of Garrard, in 1889.

The jeweller also crafted Princess Diana's engagement ring, now worn by Kate Middleton.

Auckland Racing Club CEO Paul Wilcox said the silverware gifted to the Club in the 1930s by member Moss Davis was "a cool bit of history".

"We're proud to have it and we love showing it off."

Auckland Cup Day is one of many events happening around the city today including the Volvo Ocean Race New Zealand Herald In-Port Race and Neil Finn performing his new album Out of Silence at Silo Park as part of the Auckland Arts Festival.

The In-Port Race is set to kick off at 2pm opposite the race village in the Viaduct Harbour, where there will also be live entertainment including performances from the Hipstamatics and Jordan Luck Band.

The race will be broadcast on two big screens from the iHeartRadio stage at the race village. Spectators can also get a good view at spots along the water from North Head to the Harbour Bridge.

The Volvo Ocean Race boats are set to leave Auckland on March 18.