Race day has usual country charm

The popular 52nd annual Glenorchy Races event is on track to raise an estimated $10,000 for community projects at the top of the lake.

About 3500 Wakatipu residents and visitors flocked to the Glenorchy Recreational Ground for the series of 10 sponsored races on Saturday.

Lakeside Rugby Club president and race day co-organiser Peter Reid, of Glenorchy, said the size of the crowd was possibly on a par with if not up on last year, due to the event being held closer to New Year's Day.

Next year's race is scheduled to be even closer to New Year, on January 3, Mr Reid said.

''Last year was on the sixth and as it gets closer to New Year's, the numbers do pick up a wee bit. Few more people around, but that was a pretty good crowd for us.''

Mr Reid said quite of lot of overseas visitors came through the gate.

''The whole day was very successful. Good break in the weather; we got that one day of sunshine with a bit of a breeze, so it wasn't too hot and all the races went well.

''Horses entering were probably down a little bit, but we were still able to run all the races and everyone had a pretty good day.''

Queenstown police and St John Glenorchy attended the event, but no incidents were reported.

Experienced racegoers came early and staked their claim for the best vantage spots before the 11am start.

By the peak of lunchtime, the recreational ground was a sea of tents and marquees with about seven times the resident population of Glenorchy. Barbecues were sizzling, cold beers refreshing, spectators sat on sofas on flatbed trucks tucked into picnics.

The Glenorchy Races are renowned for their rural charm as demonstrated when a generator failure delayed the first race by 25 minutes.

No drama - officials borrowed a replacement from the fire station and the display of skilled horsemanship was back on.

Results were: Walk, trot and gallop: Joe McStay on Jack; saddling race: Grace Perry on Red; trotting race: Naomi Taylor on Odin; relay race: Haast Team (Trevor Diack, Clint Foreman and Matt Nolan); ladies' gallop: Casey Irvine on Hemi; double banking: Grace Percy and Andrew Green on Sienna; Galloping Cup: Alex Clarke on Jack; stockman's race: Casey Irvine on Hemi; quarter-mile sprint: Grace Percy on Sienna; locals' gallop: Grace Percy on Spider; aggregate: Grace Percy.