Cup fashion turns heads
Wellington Cup day has kicked off but at this stage the fashion on show is turning more heads than the horses.
Denlee won the first race at 12.25.
There are eight more races, including the big one - the 2400m Wellington Cup race at 5.26pm - though in the meantime, it's the bright and stylish clothing that are making a splash.
Auckland sisters Charlotte and Olivia Moor are hoping their outfits, designed and made by their mother, will help them take top prizes.
Both have won fashion gongs at races before and hope to repeat the feat in Wellington.
Older sister Charlotte, 23, said the women will both be entering the Fashion in the Field competition, where mostly ladies and a few gents,will compete in seven categories including the best hat, the best pastel get-up - this year's festival colour - and the supreme winner.
"Olivia is doing the Classic Lady [category] and I'm doing the Contemporary. So we can cheer on each other."
The competition kicks off this afternoon but she said it was already shaping up to be a stellar day.
"We like the atmosphere, coming and placing bets - I'm horrible at it but it's fun."
"It's just an excuses to get out of Auckland and do something different and I love seeing everyone done up. Even the guys with suits."
Hutt Valley Area commander inspector Mike Hill said police were hoping the fine weather would not encourage alcohol-related misbehaviour, but it was early in the day.
"There's a few that have clearly arrived having had too much [to drink] and they've been turned away. It's a beautiful day and there's a few people with the mistaken belief that they should preload.''
By mid-afternoon, one person had been taken to the St John medical tent for an alcohol-related condition.
There are 72 police officers involved in monitoring people at and coming to and from the races and 100 security staff.
HATS SNAPPED UP FOR RACES
Hats and fascinators were snapped up around the city yesterday as people prepared for today's forecast cracker of a race day.
Bijoux Moda owner Claire Ferguson said the usual pre- Wellington Cup Day buying spree would even continue well into today.
"They come with their dresses on, man in tow, then jump in the car and head to the races," she said.
First-time racegoers Sarah Buttar, Lauren McAndrew and Ebony Davison were out searching for the perfect headgear - and of course, sunscreen - after checking the weather forecast. "It's going to be beautiful," Ms Davison said.
Fine, sunny weather and temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius were forecast today. Even better, the sun was predicted to continue for the next 10 days.
It's particularly great news for Wellington sevens fans, with sunshine expected for next weekend's event, and the long-range forecast showing highs of 24C for both Friday and Saturday.
MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said a "big, fat" high had moved over the country and would park itself over New Zealand for the next week, bringing mainly fine weather to most areas.
"Instead of weather systems moving along . . . this high is going to drop its anchor and sit in place."
As the high lingered over the country, the mercury would rise, hitting 25C in the capital on Tuesday and the late 20s in the Wairarapa and further north.
Wellington would also experience light, warm winds, Mr Corbett said.
"This is one of the nicest settled spells we would have seen for this summer."
Niwa climate scientist Andrew Tait said while it was common to see high pressure systems that "parked" for several days, it was rare for one to stay for a week, as this one was predicted to.
"It's something that probably only happens once or twice a year, if that."
With La Nina raining out most of the North Island last summer, while drought conditions hit the south of the country, this year's summer had been a reversal.
Most of the South Island had seen above average rainfall, while the upper North Island had basked in exceptionally dry, warm weather, Mr Tait said.
Holidaymakers might be revelling in the sunny conditions, but the low soil moisture content not only brought a higher fire risk, but was causing problems for many North Island farmers, he said.
The Dominion Post