We took time off on Saturday to attend the Wellington Cup at Trentham – always a great day. The weather was scorching hot, the girls were out in their tiny little strappy dresses, looking gorgeous, and everyone had fun.
But it wasn’t as much fun as the Kumara Races on the West Coast, near Hokitika, on January 10 when we were on our 4WD trek. It was the QC’s birthday, and boy were the angels smiling down on him that day. He won the quinellas in the first two races, and overall was about $100 up at the end of the day. I have to take credit for his first win. It had been torrential rain the night before so the track was pretty soft. We’d placed our bets, and were watching the horses go around the birdcage, when he spotted a grey he hadn’t backed and said, “Blast. My mother always said to back a grey in the wet.”
Quickly, I urged him, go back to the tote and back it, if it comes in and you haven’t, you’ll regret it. Well, the grey won, and the day just got better. This is how races should always be – families out having fun, oldies, babies, the Kokatahi Band playing all day, very friendly and hospitable, with whitebait sandwiches, whitebait quiche, and whitebait fritters.
We were the guests of those wonderful Coasters who came up here in November to present us with the beautiful rock of greenstone – Gerard, Michael, Richard and Patrick. Here they all are, in the morning, studying the form:
Linda and Bill filmed much of the day, to add some variety to their doco on the 4WD trek. Here’s Linda (lovely Linda) filming her friends in the famous Kokatahi Band (famous because they never practice, but somehow get it right on the night).
Kumara only has one race day a year, and people come from miles around. Mostly though, the crowd is made up of Coasters. Legend has it that the reason the racetrack remains open is because former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon visited one day, when it was under threat of closure, and declared it must remain open for ever. Now it’s maintained mostly by voluntary staff, and they do an excellent job. This place must never close. In fact, current Prime Minister John Key would earn more brownie points if he went to Kumara Races, instead of Wellington Cup as he did on Saturday, and reinforced Muldoon’s legacy.
And finally, here’s some of the crew at close of a wonderful day: