Waikouaiti race day scorcher

About 2000 people attended the races at Waikouaiti yesterday. Photos: Christine O'Connor
About 2000 people attended the races at Waikouaiti yesterday. Photos: Christine O'Connor
Emma Pain (12), of Dunedin, celebrates her birthday with cake.
Emma Pain (12), of Dunedin, celebrates her birthday with cake.
Punters line up to place their bets.
Punters line up to place their bets.
Katrina Shephard puts sunscreen on partner Alex Gardener's nose.
Katrina Shephard puts sunscreen on partner Alex Gardener's nose.
Former Waikouaiti race clerk Ray Pledger (81), of Dunedin, still enjoys the New Year's Day event...
Former Waikouaiti race clerk Ray Pledger (81), of Dunedin, still enjoys the New Year's Day event as a spectator. He was race clerk of the event for about 40 years.

While everyone else was slathering on sunscreen in the sweltering heat at the Waikouaiti races yesterday, Alex Gardener was wandering around wearing a woolly hat - a big orange one.

Why? The 34-year-old British tourist said it was necessary because he had a habit of getting distracted by the local scenery and wandering off without his wife or family noticing.

''I'm easily identifiable like this. You can see me in a large crowd.

''I get interested in something and I just wander off and go and take some pictures.

''The hat's useful for everyone else - so they can find me again.''

He said the hat was a Christmas gift from his wife Katrina Shephard (33), of Hampshire.

The couple said they were having a fantastic time holidaying around New Zealand, and when they arrived in Dunedin at Christmas, they were told they had to attend the Waikouaiti races on New Year's Day.

''It's a wonderful family tradition, I'm told.

''And even better today, is that I won the first race and my horse just placed again in the last race,'' Mr Gardener said.

''Dinner's on me tonight - but only if we go to McDonald's.''

They were among about 2000 people who attended the races in Waikouaiti throughout the day.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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