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Sat 8 Mar 2008, 11:00am

Where: Castlepoint Beach, Masterton

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $3.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: Jo Blyth

UPDATED: 24th February 2008: It is with much regret the 2008 Beach Races have been abandoned due to recent changes in beach conditions at Castlepoint. The last few weeks have seen sand washed off the beach, exposing rocks and making racing unsafe. As disappointed as we are, we look forward to the return of the sand in time for the March 2009 Races. We would also like to thank you for your interest. Here's to the 2009 Castlepoint Races.

Jo Blyth, Sec/Treas, Castlepoint Racing Club Inc.

The Castlepoint Racing Club Annual Beach Meet: where picturesque Castlepoint comes alive to the sound of thundering hooves; keenly cheered along by a large crowd of punters, picnickers and spectators.

Equalisator betting ($2 tickets) over eight races.

A Family Picnic Race Day with activities including children's games, a fun fashion parade where participants are chosen from the crowd for the title of 'Best Dressed for a Day at the Castlepoint Races', lucky race book numbers and other entertainment, all within the delightful ambience of Castlepoint.

Horse racing at Castlepoint dates back to the first days of European settlement in the district. Thomas Guthrie, the first white settler in the area, is said to have encouraged sporting evenings on the beach in front of his station with the station hands taking part in various athletic contests.

If there were schooners in the bay the sailors would also come ashore and contest the running, jumping and field events.

Needless to say the station hands, all of whom owned their own horses, also liked to wager with their fellow workers as to the relative merits of their horses, and bottles of rum were laid as wagers for the horse races along the Castlepoint beachfront.

As time went on these races became more organised, and picnic days were held on the beach with horses from the whole district lining up in a series of hastily organised, and not very well documented, races.

Just when the first organised races were actually held along the waterside at Castlepoint is difficult to tell. The only hint of the first races is in a newspaper report in 1875, which reported that the scheduled meeting at Castlepoint had not been held.

There is, however, a good record of the first organised meeting of the Whareama races, on Boxing Day 1872, and it is from this meeting that the Castlepoint Racing Club dates itself.

The Club became the first in New Zealand to use equalisator betting facilities, now regarded as a quaint feature of the meet, and the station hacks have been joined by horses with more aristocratic bloodlines.

Photo credits: Eric Lui.