Golden week­end

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL MITCHELL

The Palmer­ston North Gold Cup has had a suc­cess­ful sopho­more year in its quest to be­come one of New Zealand’s pre­miere rac­ing events, or­gan­is­ers say.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser An­dre Neill said the Gold Cup’s sec­ond year had been a roar­ing suc­cess.

Neill es­ti­mated more than 5000 peo­ple at­tended the fes­ti­val this year, although the fi­nal fig­ures were still to be de­ter­mined.

Or­gan­is­ers were pleased with the stream of pos­i­tive feed­back from a pub­lic de­lighted by a fun­filled week of mu­sic, games, fash­ion and the big Awa­puni race day on Satur­day, he said.

One of Neill’s favourite events was the celebrity sulky races.

This year, Palmer­ston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway re­turned to the track – only to nar­rowly lose his Gold Cup ti­tle to Black Ferns star Sel­ica Wini­ata.

A Gov­ern­ment min­is­ter rac­ing against a top ath­lete as they whip around the track in a light­weight horse-cart was an un­usual spec­ta­cle, Neill said.

"It’s one of the unique matchups you’d only see at the Gold Cup."

Neill said, as the lo­cal MP, Lees-Galloway had been an en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter of the fledg­ling race fes­ti­val since its plan­ning stages last year.

"He was very af­fa­ble and keen, he couldn’t wait to get in­volved. And Iain’s still pretty ea­ger to come back next year and try to re­take his ti­tle."

If Lees-Galloway’s governmental re­spon­si­bil­i­ties ever got in the way, or he bowed out for any rea­son, Neill thought it’d be great to get another politi­cian to take up the reins.

"I think it could be­come a great tra­di­tion – the politi­cian ver­sus the sports star, the ath­lete ver­sus the pen-pusher."

Neill said one of the main races was a par­tic­u­larly tal­ented and closely con­tested event in New Zealand’s premier 2-year-old group one race.

"It cer­tainly didn’t let any­one down.

"One of the top fillies in the coun­try, from a top sta­ble, won the race in a very com­pet­i­tive field this year."

The Fash­ion on the Field com­pe­ti­tion saw 50 race-day fash­ion­istas from around the coun­try, strut the cat­walk to see which man and woman had the sharpest sar­to­rial game.

Palmer­ston North woman Samantha Flipp took out the supreme award with an out­fit based around a classic black dress.

Flipp’s out­fit was cus­tom­made, based on her own de­sign, by Palmer­ston North-based fash­ion de­signer Pene Peneha and milliner Anel Hey­man.

"So, I can’t take the credit, re­ally. I went in with a plan in my head, but they made it come to life."

She didn’t think the fact two of the judges had helped cre­ate her out­fit was a unique ad­van­tage – Peneha and Hey­man had at least a lit­tle bit of a hand in most of the com­peti­tors’ out­fits, she said.

One of Flipp’s favourites was the beau­ti­ful green dress worn by the woman who came in as run­ner-up, she said.

But she was most im­pressed by the keen eye for style dis­played by the un­der-25s cat­e­gory win­ner, Olivia McCabe.

Flipp said McCabe had put to­gether an in­cred­i­ble en­sem­ble, with a sim­ple white and black hal­ter top and plain black skirt con­trasted with an elab­o­rate black mesh hat and com­plex cape made of black flow­ers.

"And she put it all to­gether for un­der $50, all from the op-shop.’’

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/STUFF

Fash­ion On The Field supreme win­ner Samantha Flipp gets her prize from judge Pene Peneha, and event or­gan­iser Ge­or­gia Berg­er­son.

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