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A beginner's guide to the races: What to wear and how to pick a winner

Jaxin Daniels

A beginner's guide to the races: What to wear and how to pick a winner

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

The Karaka Millions is making its return to the spotlight this weekend at a sold-out Ellerslie Racecourse, the first unrestricted raceday at the course in nearly four years.

If you are one of the 12,000 people heading along and don’t know what to expect, don’t worry as this guide will give you an idea of the day’s proceedings.

When and where?

The gates open at 2.30pm on Saturday, with the first race about 4.20pm.

The six races finish before 8pm, then Ellerslie is holding one of its famous after-parties until midnight featuring a laser show and headlined by Sweet Mix Kids.

There is a lot on offer at any race day and attendees can expect a day filled with celebrations and good times.

Executive general manager of marketing at Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, Laura Madden, shared some tips on what to expect on the big day.

What to wear

First, you must know what to wear before leaving your house.

“We do encourage the people to dress up when they come to the races.

“So much of our lives these days is pretty casual, so to have that opportunity to pull something nice out of the bag is absolutely recommended.”

Madden recommends that ladies wear a nice dress and a fancy headband while men wear a suit with a touch of style.

Horse-racing spectators dressed to impress. Photo / Warren Buckland
Betting responsibly

Everyone loves to have a cheeky flutter when they go to the races, it’s part of the culture.

Madden says if you do place a bet, you don’t necessarily need to know what you are doing.

“We’ve got on-course operators which are there to take your bet in person, or there is the mobile TAB app.

“You’ll probably have just as much fun betting on something that has a cool name as you would following the horses in form.”

If you are heading along, bet responsibly or just back your favourite horses the best way you can.

There is also a competition on offer where you just need to pick the winning horse of the the $1.5 million race on the night, with winners going into a draw for a trip to Hawaii.

Which horse to back?

Herald Racing Editor Michael Guerin says the Karaka Millions rumour mill has been turbocharged in recent days. You can stay up to date with Guerin’s coverage here.

The Boys Get Paid racing fan group could land a $1 million payout, having put $50,000 on Cool N Fast at $21 for their annual Karaka Millions Punter’s Club.

Bellatrix Star is another notable runner, as is Velocious.

Hero image: Ellerslie Racecourse is home to the Karaka Millions. Photo / Peter Meecham

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