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Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival Back to its Glory Days

Spring Carnival Back to its Glory Days as Pre-Sold Hospitality Goes ‘Gangbusters’

Excitement is building ahead of the Bostock New Zealand Spring Carnival grand finale, as Hastings’ racecourse transforms into ‘Marquee City’ for what many regard as the social event of the year.

A capacity crowd of over 6,000 racegoers is expected to swarm the racecourse on Saturdayfor a day of fun, finery and good fettle but it’s the popularity of this year’s pre-sold hospitality that’s been the surprise package for HB Racing CEO Butch Castles.

“For the first time in several years our pre-sold hospitality has completely sold out over a week in advance of the day. We have 2,250 people booked in pre-sold hospitality across the course. 1,200 of those have been early bird bookings which is double the numbers of this time last year. This is a wonderful position to be in and allows the team to now concentrate on delivering a first class event for those attending.

The interest in Livamol Classic day has certainly ramped up this year, which is great for Hawke’s Bay Racing and the wider Bay economy in general”.

Economic impact reports show over 38% of those heading to this weekend’s Spring Carnival will arrive from out of town and stay an average of two nights, wining and dining around the region.

Racing in the Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne regions generates more than $32 million in value added contribution to GDP with participants spending well over $3.6 million as a result of attending races like the Livamol Classic.

This year, the day’s feature race has a distinctive new flavour – ‘Gingernuts’.

When the redhead horse with the kiwi classic name steps out in the Livamol Classic there’ll be a groundswell of orange caps to cheer him on.

Hawke’s Bay Racing’s Butch Castles says having a horse with the rags to riches story and ability of ‘Gingernuts’ is generating huge economic upside for the Club.

“Having a horse like ‘Gingernuts’ coming to Hastings is certainly creating a buzz and will help with the walk up crowd. Gingernuts inspired some phenomenal support on the tote prior to his winning run in the Windsor Park Plate and I’d expect the G-Nuts fans to put their money where their mouth is again!”

So far ‘Gingernuts’ has bagged a packet in stakes winnings, racking up 3 Gp1 victories and over $1.2 million in prize money for his owners.

Over 30 of the Gingernuts Syndicate will descend on course at Hastings on Saturday, all decked in tangerine accesories and bright orange caps emblazoned with the horse’s catch cry “Got the bickies”.

So what’s behind the name? Advertising maestro and part owner Blair Alexander explains.

“He (the horse) is bright red or ginger so we started throwing names around like ‘Red Sheeran’ and ‘Eddie Redmane’ but ‘Gingernuts’ was so catchy, we voted and the name stuck. Redheads have been the butt of jokes for years which is what I think endears him to a lot of his fans.

“It doesn’t sound like the name of a fast horse but as it turns out, ‘Gingernuts’ is super fast!”

When it comes to the crunch this Saturday, can ’Gingernuts’’ steal the bickies again? Blair Alexander says “Hell yeah!”

“Hawke’s Bay will know we’ve won if we do! We’ll be hitting Havelock North and might even end up at a winery on the Sunday, but win, lose or draw, we hope to do that anyway. It’s a great excuse to get everyone together and make a real weekend of it enjoying great food and wine in the Hawke’s Bay.”


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