Capacity crowd transforms racecourse

22:07, Dec 16 2012
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Strutting their stuff during the judging of the Fashion in the Field (with a large crowd watching) are Gina Stephenson and Michael Morgan.
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Pictured some of the crowd watching the judging of the Fashion in the Field.
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Pictured enjoying their lunch in the Christmas Cracker tent are (from left) Kerry Smith, Tracey O'Rourke, Sandra Cockroft-Gerken, Wayne Gerken, Alistair Lake (obscured by hand), Stephen Gerken, Kate Williamson, Maria Gerken (obscured) and Debbie Lake (blue-front right).
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Some of the crowd in front of the grandstand enjoying the racing.
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The finish of Race 3 with No3 Berenice winning with jockey Chris Johnson.
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All dressed up and enjoying a day out at the Races are (from left) Cole Soper 8, Alex Soper 6, Tania Dronsfield and Shane Soper.
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Some of the punters watching the racing.
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About 7150 people were greeted by a hot sunny day. Pictured some of the pretty dresses and high heels.
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Still looking lovely at the end of the day are punters as they leave the Ascot Park Racecourse, Invercargill.
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Some of the large crowd sitting in front of one of the grandstands enjoying the day.
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Place-getters in the Mens Fashion in the Field competition (from left) Brian Scully, 1, Craig Tait, 3, and Chris Gale, 2.
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The place-getters in the Womens Fashion in the Field competition (from left) Sarah Bannerman-3rd, Maria Wright-in pink-1st, and Samantha Lindley 2nd.
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The 10 finalists in the Mens Fashion in the Field competition (first place is Brian Scully-on far right).
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The 10 finalists in the Womens Fashion in the Field competition (first place is second from the left Maria Wright-in pink).
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Southland Girls' High School leavers enjoying a day out together before they all go their different ways next year.
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Jessica McClelland (standing on right) is the Bride to Be on January 26. She is having her hens party at the races.
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Hunter Shepard, left, Ben Leeming and Stan McDowall.
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Ryan Pope, left, and Michael Hoffman.
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Having fun, from left, Sam Bolger, Lisa Dyer and Jordan Bolger.
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Young race-goers in one of the grandstands enjoying the day.
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The finish of Race 8 with No1 El Chico (jockey Chris Johnson) winning with No2 Infallible (jockey Terry Moseley) coming second.
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Young punters resting on the curb at the end of the day.

A sunny Southland day attracted a record crowd of more than 7000 people, many dressed to the nines, to Ascot Park's annual Christmas at the Races on Saturday.

The smell of barbecued food wafted through the air and green lawns were transformed into squares of colour as racegoers sprawled out, quenched their thirst and applied sunscreen in the scorching sun.

A mixed crowd of business Christmas parties, hen parties, school-leavers and friends on social outings enjoyed the day.

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The place-getters in the Womens Fashion in the Field competition (from left) Sarah Bannerman-3rd, Maria Wright-in pink-1st, and Samantha Lindley 2nd.
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The 10 finalists in the Mens Fashion in the Field competition (first place is Brian Scully-on far right).
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The 10 finalists in the Womens Fashion in the Field competition (first place is second from the left Maria Wright-in pink).
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Southland Girls' High School leavers enjoying a day out together before they all go their different ways next year.
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Jessica McClelland (standing on right) is the Bride to Be on January 26. She is having her hens party at the races.
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Hunter Shepard, left, Ben Leeming and Stan McDowall.
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Ryan Pope, left, and Michael Hoffman.
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Having fun, from left, Sam Bolger, Lisa Dyer and Jordan Bolger.
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Young race-goers in one of the grandstands enjoying the day.
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The finish of Race 8 with No1 El Chico (jockey Chris Johnson) winning with No2 Infallible (jockey Terry Moseley) coming second.
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Young punters resting on the curb at the end of the day.

New Zealand Racing Board member Tony Russell travelled from Christchurch for the day.

It was the biggest turnout that he could remember and there was no more space to put any more people, he said.

"What's great about these races is that 30 per cent of the people had never been to the races and they had a great time."

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Gina Stephenson and Michael Morgan
DRESSED TO IMPRESS: Racegoers Gina Stephenson and Michael Morgan on the catwalk for the judging of Fashion in the Field during Christmas at the Races at the Ascot Park racecourse on Saturday.

Malcolm Little, from Gallop South, said the day had a great atmosphere, with the sun shining and racegoers having a good time.

Almost everyone dressed to impress which made Fashion in the Field a hard decision for the judges this year.

Hundreds of people watched the fashion heats and cheered for their favourites. Southland Racing Club Ascot women's judge Anne McFarlane said the standard of entries was high and it was good to see women of all ages taking part.

Pale pinks, florals and bright-coloured dresses teamed with matching fascinators, bags and shoes were favoured by the women, with the trend for men being black and white suits and ties, with statement shoes.

New Zealand's Got Talent crooner Jack Fraser belted out a few songs during the competition as sun-kissed spectators danced on the lawns.

Trudie Clay and Andrea Thomas enjoyed the competition. "It's good to see Invercargill glammed up and the sun has made it an enjoyable day," Ms Thomas said.

Best-dressed woman was awarded to Maria Wright, of Christchurch, whose mother had made her dusky pink dress and jacket.Samantha Lindley, of Winton, who wore a burnt red, floral dress, came second.

Best-dressed man, Brian Scully, said he did not normally attend the races but had enjoyed himself and had not expected to win.

collette.devlin@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times