Vaccination passes key part of making premier event happen

Southland Racing Club president Sean Bellew with his wife Becky at last year's Christmas at the Races. Photo: File

“IT’S the same, same but different.”

That is how Southland Racing Club president Sean Bellew described how Christmas at the Races was going ahead under the new traffic light system in Invercargill.

The traditional event happens this Saturday and the club was expecting about 6000 attendees

Last month, Mr Bellew signalled the club was thinking of introducing the passport for patrons at the event, but after the recent Government’s announcement, he said it was the only way the event could happen.

“We are going to funnel people through a marquee system where people who are coming in need to show their Covid-19 passport and some kind of photographic identification.

“Then they get their wristband and the entire property is for them. They can go wherever they like.”

All staff would be fully vaccinated as well and popular events like Fashion in the Field and the T-Rex race would go ahead as normal, he said.

About 70% of the tickets were already sold, but people who wanted to buy one needed to do so online as organisers required contact details of every person who entered the venue.

“This is part of our risk assessment plan. So it is important to have all the details of everyone in case something happens.”

Mr Bellew believed there was an appetite for events, especially at this time of the year, as many other main events had to be cancelled or postponed.

“We have a responsibility with the community and the economy as well, as this event injects thousands of dollars into many local businesses.

“We expect people to have a good time and have a jolly Christmas time.”

  • Christmas At The Races, Saturday, from 11am, Ascot Park Racecourse. For tickets, go to