Christmas races ‘seamless’ event

    Fashion in the Field finalists (from left) June Youngman, Abbey Button, Gemma Kirk, Janet Bramham and Andree Callaghan show colour and style at Christmas at the Races in Invercargill on Saturday.

    BESIDES the fascinators and flash outfits, attendees of the Christmas at the Races in Invercargill had a new ‘‘must-have’’ accessory this year — a My Vaccination Pass.

    The first event in Southland under the Government’s traffic light system requiring the My Vaccination Pass, worked without incident and was ‘‘seamless’’.

    The Southland Racing Club held its annual Christmas at the Races event on Saturday which attracted about 4000 people to Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill.

    Narissa Diack and Amelia Edwards, of Invercargill, expected lines of people, but were happy with what they found.

    ‘‘It was pretty easy, actually. We came prepared to wait, but it took less than five minutes to get into the facility,’’ Ms Diack said.

    With many events cancelled throughout New Zealand because of the uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic, Christchurch woman Adriana Mawhinney was happy she was able to enjoy the event.

    ‘‘Everything was cancelled.

    ‘‘So when my friend told me she was coming to these races, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to come and visit her. I needed to make up for the races in Christchurch that were cancelled.’’

    Southland Racing Club president Sean Bellew was delighted to be able to host the event in its 15th year.

    Uncertainties around the Covid-19 restrictions placed extra pressure and anxiety but he was happy the club decided to go ahead with the races.

    ‘‘This is one of the main events in the whole region and Southland has always embraced the event so we had to be a little bit stubborn and back up ourselves to have the races.’’

    With more than 150 staff, he believed the club had to increase its crew by 25% in order to secure a smooth process in all areas of the racecourse, he said.

    ‘‘It is great to see people dressing up, having fun and behaving well. People are stoked and celebrating Christmas as they should.’’