Full stride at Castlepoint races
Kingi Winiata thought he had the Castlepoint 'hack' race in the bag until his two children rode right past leaving him in their dust.
Thousands descended on Castlepoint Beach today to watch eight feature races that involve a mixture of professionals, stationhands, farmers, officials and a betting system that means paying no more than $2 and getting given a horse at random.
The Castlepoint Store Wairarapa Station hack race is a traditionally competitive affair that involves 14 local station hands and farmers and some of their children - and very little training.
Mr Winiata said he was too late getting up this morning and his two visiting children who ended up taking out first and second spot had saddled up the best horses before he could.
Despite riding all his life he said anything could happen on the day and there was a lot of friendly rivalry that had built up over the years.
That competitive spirit will be firing up for the last race of the day when station managers and officials from the racing club jump on a horse and try their hand at being a jockey.
Castlepoint Racing Club president Andy Pottinger was taking part and said the aim would be to "hang on tight for as long as possible''.
It's the only time of year he gets on a horse and he said the nerves had already kicked in.
"My wife has picked me a quiet horse and she has trained it up nicely - well that's what she said anyway.''
Mr Pottinger said the weather had really turned around after high winds and rain overnight and there were about 3000 people enjoying the day.
He said the fields were fuller than they'd ever been and at times the line for the tote had been about 400 people long.
Cars backed up nose-to-tail were crawling along Castlepoint Rd since early this morning and with the popular Golden Shears in Masterton later today it was expected most of those visiting town would stay on for the night.
The Dominion Post