Race day a winner as rain blows away

Kurow Races fashion in the field winners, from left, Clarissa Doran, of Timaru (third), winner Shelley Small, of Cattle Creek, and Cushla McCarthy, of Waiheke Island (second). Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Kurow Races fashion in the field winners, from left, Clarissa Doran, of Timaru (third), winner Shelley Small, of Cattle Creek, and Cushla McCarthy, of Waiheke Island (second). Photo by Andrew Ashton.
A large crowd turned out to enjoy a flutter, a drop of Waitaki Valley wine and lashings of strawberries and cream under bright sunshine at the annual Kurow races yesterday. Organisers acknowledged they were fortunate with the weather.

A morning downpour before the first race had threatened to scupper the day before it had started. Another heavy shower fell after the last race.

Gallop South general manager Malcolm Little said an inspection after the morning rain gave the course the all-clear for racing and the rain clouds later ''blew away nicely''.

A crowd of 2568 packed the stands, down on last year's record-breaking attendance of 5000 ''The numbers are holding. There are a lot of tourists around looking for something to do and they always seem to enjoy coming here.''

The race meeting followed the annual Kurow festival market day on Saturday.

Ostler Wines proprietor Jim Jerram said the good turnout on race day had topped off a perfect weekend for Kurow.

He said race day was a perfect way to promote local produce.

With many out-of-towners arriving for the races, there were benefits for the whole of Kurow.

''We come here every year. We were one of the first to start selling wine here, two or three years ago.

''It seems to be a hugely popular event with a lot of people.''

The day even ended on a good note for locals, as Shelley Small, from Cattle Creek, took first place in the race day's inaugural ladies' fashion in the field competition.

-andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz