Holiday racing in the south began in earnest with the Wairio Trotting Club's Cup meeting at Winton on Saturday.
A high number of entries resulted in 12 races being carded.
Southern star Ted West had an army of supporters for the $20,000 Wairio Cup, while his stablemate Cruzin Ima Livin is coming off two workout wins when he steps out in the last race at 6.44pm.
Southern Harness Racing promotion officer Lindsay Beer said all the hospitality areas at the Central Southland Raceway were booked.
''We've got quite a few businesses and picnic groups on course,'' Mr Beer said.
He predicted large crowds at all southern meetings during the Christmas and New Year period.
''It's an exciting time of the year, lots of people and good race-fields,'' he said.
''I'm looking forward to two weeks of brilliant racing.''
After Winton, the holiday circuit continues with the Gore Harness Racing Club meeting on Thursday, followed by the Winton Harness Racing Club's fixture two days later.
The action moves to Central Otago early next month for meetings at Omakau on January 2 (harness) and 3 (gallops), Roxburgh (harness) on January 4 and Cromwell (harness) two days later.
- The Southland Times
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