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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Fashion and fun take the lead over fillies on Riccarton race day

Only three of the day's scheduled races took place, before the rest were postponed due to unsafe conditions.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Things

Only three of the day’s scheduled races took place, before the rest were postponed due to unsafe conditions.

The week of the Christchurch Cup and Show will last a bit longer than expected, after slippery track conditions turned Saturday’s gallops into a party and fashion show.

One of the biggest racing days in the country, the New Zealand Cup meeting at Christchurch’s Riccarton was postponed just three races due to an unsafe track.

Steward John Oatham confirmed just before 2pm on Saturday that the meeting was cancelled, after a horse slipped on the track during the third race.

The remaining nine races on the card, including the group one New Zealand 1000 Guineas and the New Zealand Cup, will now be run at Riccarton on Monday.

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Without the races to occupy the sell-out crowd (some 15,000 people), the festivities took center stage, with cheering crowds of gamblers dressed to the nines forming around the bars and the DJ booth.

That included the popular Spring Fashion in the Field competition, which went ahead as planned.

Couture milliner Susi Meares, owner of Seventh and Figg, was the women’s outright winner, scoring a trip for four to Marlborough and a year’s supply of The Ned wine.

The overall winner of Ned Spring Fashion in the Field, Susi Meares.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Things

The overall winner of Ned Spring Fashion in the Field, Susi Meares.

But the day was a double win for Meares, who also styled menswear winner Sam Schwartfeger.

“We are very lucky today to win both.”

Schwartfeger was also named the best dressed man on the day of the New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway earlier in the week in a similar outfit, pairing his dark, uneven-length pleated jacket with red polka dot accessories, white pants and hat. and a smart cane. .

“We just made some adjustments.”

Ned Spring Fashion in the Field judges Ann Armstrong, left, and Kia Sullivan looked over the talent.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Things

Ned Spring Fashion in the Field judges Ann Armstrong, left, and Kia Sullivan looked over the talent.

Meares had designed her own artfully feathered headdress, accompanied by a Spanish-style skirt in deep red.

“It’s overwhelming, especially that Sam won twice… It was very exciting to design it, winning myself was just an advantage.”

Schwartfeger said that taking out the second title had been a shock.

“I feel dizzy, I really am speechless. It was more about having fun today.”

Trainer Leonard Stewart and Ekstrememiss, who was scheduled to take part in the New Zealand Cup at Riccarton.

Alden Williams/Things

Trainer Leonard Stewart and Ekstrememiss, who was scheduled to take part in the New Zealand Cup at Riccarton.

But the postponements made the day disappointing for the coaches, many of whom had traveled a long distance to attend the meeting.

Trainer Leonard Stewart traveled 100 miles from Timaru for the races. He had three horses scheduled to race, including Ekstrememiss in the New Zealand Cup.

The cancellations were “disappointing,” he said.

SPORTS ON THE TRACK/THE SKY

The North Island horse won the $600,000 race for the second year in a row.

At 90 years old, Stewart considered that he was “probably” one of the oldest coaches there. He had ridden for the Riccarton races nearly every year since 1972, except for a few in the ’90s.

“I have a sprained leg anyway, so playing golf wouldn’t be very good.”

Racing was also a family affair for Stewart.

“I have a granddaughter who loves horses, that’s a big part of it.

Many horses left the stables early on Saturday and most races were postponed.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Things

Many horses left the stables early on Saturday and most races were postponed.

“I told him that when he was four years old I would have to buy him a pony. She stuck out her lip and said, I don’t want a pony, I want a racehorse.”

Stewart and his team were packing up their horses to head back to Timaru, still not knowing what this would mean for the horses they had scheduled to run in the remaining races.

“It’s a real shame…there’s such a crowd here today.”

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