Iconic race day draws crowds

Iconic race day draws crowds

The annual Castlepoint beach races drew record crowds.

The chance to sit on the beach and watch horses thunder past in the shadow of the Castlepoint Lighthouse is one of the only two beach races in New Zealand.

In its 146-year history the races have been cancelled only because of wars, polio outbreaks and exposed rocks on the beach.

Anna Kitchingman entered her pony Willow in the 400-metre pony race. Although she came in well down the order it was the fun of racing up the beach that was the draw card. “Racing with my friends along the beach was so exciting, an experience that would be difficult to replicate,” she said.

The success of the day is dependent on the army of volunteers who do everything from running the equalizer to collecting money at the entrance gate.

Club secretary Lorina Goldsworthy, said that although each year there are generally fewer people who volunteer, the club was fortunate. This year it had 66 volunteers in addition to the continued support of the Crofoot family of Castlepoint Station.

“We are lucky – this is an annual event and we are well supported by the community as the day is considered a cool thing to be part of.”

Masterton-based secondary schools formed part of the volunteer army using the event to raise money for their own projects and in the process support a great Wairarapa tradition.

The challenge for the organisers was to keep the local flavour while encouraging people from far and wide to enjoy a family orientated day at the beach.

The fun family day sees people coming from as far afield as Warkworth, Taranaki, Wellington and this year at least one gentleman from Wales.

Recently the committee has introduced the Stallion and Filly undie 100, this together with the traditional children’s races, fashion on the beach, shepherd, pony and thoroughbred racing makes for an exciting and varied day out.

 

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