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Oamaru Harness Racing Club president David Heffernan was the happiest man at the track on Saturday.
The Christmas at the Races promotion turned out to be a big success. About 2000 people attended and they spent up large. On-course turnover, at $80,222, was up $24,792 on the previous year, and there was still money left over for a good cause.
About $4000 was raised for the Cancer Foundation and CanTeen. About $1000 was put into buckets and the rest came from the "Reindeer race for charity".
Prancer, Vixen and Rudolph were all there - they looked a lot like horses close up, though.
The "reindeer" were auctioned before the start of the race and the proceeds donated to the charities.
"It was something novel and a great concept," Heffernan said.
Santa was not to be upstaged. He made an earlier-than-expected appearance and was towed around the course by some Siberian huskies.
Heffernan was also pleased the Brothers in Arms drivers challenge had finally been won by a South Island family.
The Cambridge-based Butcher family has had a mortgage on the challenge since it was first held in 2009, but had to give it up to the Barron brothers this year.
Clark Barron lives in Invercargill and Ken is based in Christchurch.