Huge crowd flocks to racetrack
There were no rock stars or supermodels in sight but that didn't stop a modern-day record crowd turning up to party in the sun at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Official crowd numbers will not be known till later this week but initial estimates have put the attendance at Saturday's Waikato Times Gold Cup day meeting at about 15,000.
Veteran racegoers say the crowd surpassed the bumper attendances when Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter attended the meeting in 1995 and for champion mare Sunline's two appearances in 2001 and 2002.
"We've been building to this for a couple of years now and it all came together on Saturday with a clear, sunny day and a fantastic job from our marketing team, led by Faye Bax and our general manager Tony Enting," Waikato Racing Club chairman David Smith said yesterday.
"It's the culmination of a lot of work from a big team at the club and we're very happy. It's certainly the best Christmas party I can think of."
Turnover for the meeting went through the roof with a massive increase of $50,000 spent at Te Rapa, with on-course punters wagering almost $520,000.
Off-course turnover on the meeting was just shy of $2 million.
The feature race, the Waikato Times Gold Cup, was won by Matamata stayer Annie Higgins, while Taranaki mare Shez Sinsational took out the Cal Isuzu Stakes.