Racing club gears up for impressive turnout

Southland Racing Club president Sean Bellew at the Ascot Park Raceway ahead of this weekend's Christmas at the Races.

ORGANISERS of Christmas At The Races believe this year’s edition will be bigger and better than ever.

With only a few days before the event, Southland Racing Club president Sean Bellew and events manager Ana Corkery were excited with the preliminary numbers.

About 100 marquees and 6000 entertainment packages were already booked still be available at the event.

Ms Corkery said she never experienced such a turnout.

“We always have been popular, but this year we are very impressed.

“We already sold 100 marquees and people are coming through the door to buy tickets all day. It is great.”

Mr Bellew agreed: “The event now is not only the biggest race event in Southland, but the biggest event in the region.”

They were expecting about 6500 people to enjoy the traditional horse races and entertainment, which included live music, the Fashion on the Field competition and even a T-Rex race.

“I think that is one of the reasons the event is so popular has something for everyone. It is about having a good day out,” Ms Corkery said.

Mr Bellew said the event, which cost about “half a million” to host, usually took 12 months of planning, 14 days to set up and six months of preparation of the track.

“It is a lot of work, but it is great to see everybody turning up to have a good time.”

Sport Southland’s Healthy Families Invercargill team partnered with the Invercargill Young Professionals network and local video maker James Jubb to design and produce a video which would be used to promote a healthy attitude towards alcohol consumption at the event.

Mr Bellew said the event especially in a challenging year with Covid-19

“The event is for people in Southland to get their social life back on track.”

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