As the horses pound the track at Ellerslie today, homegrown supermodel Kylie Bax will be cheering madly from beneath a parasol.

It is the 31-year-old beauty's "accessory of choice" for the New Year's Day race meeting - the third and final day of the New Zealand Herald Christmas Carnival.

"I'm not a hat person. I really don't like wearing things on my head," Bax said, laughing as she added, "I know I'm going to poke a few eyeballs out."

Her frock will be Greek-designed - either a black number by Vasilis Zoulias or black and white by Vassilios Kostestos.

"I'm going to keep with the same theme, I'll definitely have some black going on. It's safe, it's slimming."

The Thames Valley-raised model said it was at least eight years since she had been to the New Year's Day meeting.

But as part-owner of the Blandford Lodge horse stud, Bax will be cheering wildly during the $200,000 group-one Blandford Lodge Railway Stakes.

Favourites are A Gold Trail (Australia), trained by Gary Portelli, and local horse Mufhasa, trained by Stephen McKee.

Bax said she would probably have a flutter, but wasn't a big bettor. "I'm not really into that. Nothing's more exciting than watching the horses go round the track."

After growing up in horse-breeding circles, she said, she had got more into the racing side of the industry in recent times.

She said her daughter Dione, aged 2, had inherited her mother's love of horses and would be there today among a large family group. Both Dione and sister Lico, 5, were named after Greek goddesses, as their fashion photographer father, Spiros Poros, is Greek. The family recently moved to Athens and Bax flits between there and Paris.

These days, modelling is taking a backseat to the children's clothing range "Moromoro" ("Babybaby" in Greek) Bax and Mr Poros are preparing to launch.

Bax was excited about spending a day at Ellerslie. "It's my favourite time of the year to go to the races.

"I just love it when the racetrack's bustling with people and people are wearing hats and ... everything's going on and t

* What's happening & when

(approximate timings -

10.30am - Gates open.

11.30am - Hospitality options open.

12.30pm - Free children's entertainment starts in infield.

1.05pm - First race.

5.46pm - Blandford Lodge Railway Stakes ($200,000).

7.08pm - Last race.

Till Late - Birdcage Bash in Cuvée tent.


- Traditional Kiwi feast on Alfresco BBQ Lawn.

- Boot party in Ellerslie infield.

- Fine dining at Chairman's are people on the lawn in the middle."