Over 2500 people came to see Northland's first racing event for the year, the Interislander Summer Festival in Ruakaka on Saturday.

The event, which celebrated 10 years at Ruakaka this weekend, was held on a stunning day and featured eight races as well as activities such as sack races and tug of wars for the children.

Four of the day's races were won by horses from local trainers Logan Racing. Other horses from the Ruakaka-based racing organisation placed well throughout the day as they were seen to be the dominant force in the competition.

"You never expect a day like that so it's a nice bonus," Logan Racing trainer Chris Gibbs said.

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"The last couple of meetings have been a bit quiet, two meetings ago we didn't get any winners at all so this was awesome."

Gibbs said he was slightly concerned in the lead up to the event because of the region's good weather over the past few days.

"I thought the track was going to get a little bit too firm because of the weather we've had," he said.

"We just can't get enough water on our tracks at this time of the year to keep the moisture in and that's always a concern so to get four wins was very pleasing."

Race five of the day turned into one of the more interesting races with number seven horse, Etch, losing jockey Michael McNab at the starting gates and ended up finishing in front of the eventual winner, Boogie Easy ridden by Cameron Lammas.

Etch jockey Michael McNabb returns to the birdcage after losing his mount in a race five starting gate mishap. Photo / John Stone
Etch jockey Michael McNabb returns to the birdcage after losing his mount in a race five starting gate mishap. Photo / John Stone

As the gates were about to open, Etch reared up causing McNab to hold on to part of the gate in case the horse toppled over. At that moment, the gates opened and the horse raced off without a rider, proving an unexpected problem for other riders to contend with.

Gibbs, who had attended the racing event for the last 16 years, said the day was so successful because how many other activities there were.

"It's neat because in between races the kids have lots of stuff for them to do, there's people everywhere, lots of private functions and things, it's just a great day."

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Jockey Cameron Lammas was a shining light in the field winning three races and finishing in the top three in three other races.

Lammas takes Red Dynamo to a comfortable win in race four at the races in Ruakaka. Photo / John Stone
Lammas takes Red Dynamo to a comfortable win in race four at the races in Ruakaka. Photo / John Stone

Ruakaka Racing general manager Bill Colgan said it was good opportunity to see one of the country's best riders.

"He's one of the leading jockeys in New Zealand so he's always not far away from the lead."

Colgan said the annual summer event had lived up to its reputation as an enjoyable day at the races.

"We had 20 scratchings on the day so that did dampen the racing side of things but we had eight races and they were all competitive and we had no major incidents on the day."

He said the aim of the event was to have a relaxed fun-filled day of activities with racing in the backgroud so people would associate a good day out with going to the races.

"The whole focus is to bring families to the track using those activities for them to participate in and then to engage with them around being on the track.

"Many of the families are three generations, the grandparents, the parents and the kids all coming together so the kids can take off and enjoy everything and the grandparents love to watch the kids out on the track."

Colgan said the winner of race three (Selvamani) and race four (Red Dynamo) showed some potential for the future and were ones to look out for.

The summer festival marked the end of the local racing scene until the winter season commences in mid-May.

Race results:


Race 1

Quizmaster (C Lammas) 1st
Mercy Hill (K McCulloch) 2nd equal
Spindle (S Spratt) 2nd equal

Race 2

Gino Severini (T Yanagida) 1
Tavlin (A Goindasamy) 2
Toitoi (C Lammas) 3

Race 3

Selvamani (M Coleman) 1
Viva La Blues (C Lammas) 2
Bahamas (K McCulloch) 3

Race 4

Red Dynamo (M Cameron) 1
Highland Dancer (T Yanagida) 2
Call Me Murphy (C Lammas) 3

Race 5

Boogie Easy (C Lammas) 1
Keep The Cash (M Cameron) 2
Senor Moss (A Goindasamy) 3

Race 6

Lowprofile (T Yanagida) 1
Massachusetts (K McCulloch) 2
Power Of Strength (M Cameron) 3

Race 7

Final Suggestion (C Lammas) 1
Neeson (M McNab) 2
Uabasso (R Smyth) 3

Race 8

Star Karen (M Coleman) 1
Dangerman (S Spratt) 2
Charred (C Dell) 3