The Kapiti Harness Racing Club’s annual two day meeting at the Otaki Race Course, over Wellington Anniversary weekend, was another great for the club, the community and the wider region.
“A very excited humming crowd, especially on Friday when Wendy Devenport, local trainer and part owner of Bully’s Rocket won,” Mary Colman president of the KHRC said. “Both days were well attended, with record crowds and on track turnover.”
Starting with the twilight meeting on Friday, then the Interisland Summer Festival meeting on Sunday and the great weather on each day brought in the crowds.
“Friday was well attended, with a lot of Auckland people attending along with owners and trainers of horses running,” Mrs Colman said. “Sunday was a well-attended family oriented fun festival, with attendance up on the previous two years. Results across the board were well spread.”
It was also a great weekend for some of the Phelan family, son Scott, who grew up in Otaki, was the driver for a second and third on Friday and two winners and a third on Sunday. His mother, Sue Phelan collected the cup following Sunday’s feature race, the 3000 metre Railway Hotel Otaki Cup, on behalf of race winner, Sweet Art’s owners’ Steve and Jill Stockman from Stonewall Stud. Sweet Art, from Papakura, paid $9.10 for the win and $3.70 for a place, making for good returns to the lucky punters.
Horses come from the top of the North Island, down to the south. The two day event is proving very popular with the trotting fraternity. With all the horses, plus their trainers, many of the owners and all the drivers, accommodation in Otaki is at a premium, with many having to travel elsewhere for a bed.
“Having the two day event encourages drivers and owners to come to Otaki,” Mrs Colman said. “It’s a lovely venue, we get good feedback from owners and trainers.”
The activities behind the stands were for the younger generation, at the Summer Festival of Racing Kids Go Racing events. With activities running all day, there was plenty to keep all the children busy; a colouring competition was very popular, as were the bouncy castles and a giant-sized racing themed snakes and ladders game out on the grass, finishing the day with an ever-popular lolly scramble. Between horse races on the track, the youngsters could show there prowess in the sack races. For the second year the Waikato Kidz Kartz team were at Otaki with the miniature horses and ponies and mini-sized sulkies. The young drivers competed out on the track both days of the meeting.
These kids are aged 10-17 and are learning all the basics of driving the horses along the track.
“It’s good fun,” 15 year old Caleb Bublitz said. He owns and trains his own pony, Caramello. “The age limit for the junior drivers is 17.”
After their race the young drivers gave local kids the opportunity to “drive” the mini racers as they were led around the lawn.
With the brilliant sunshine the food, drink and ice cream stalls all did a roaring trade.