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Iconic beach races celebrated


The Castlepoint Races have been a staple of Wairarapa summers for generations, and it has now been immortalised in book form through the launch of ‘Racing Against Time – 150 Years Of Horse Racing At Castlepoint’.

Commissioned by the Castlepoint Racing Club, the 200-page coffee table-sized book has been a labour of love for author Matt Philp and photographer Lottie Hedley over the last couple of years.

The book captures the community and rural feel of the iconic meeting, which takes place annually on the picturesque Castlepoint Beach, with the famed Castlepoint Lighthouse and Pacific Ocean in the backdrop.

The event is engrained in the memories of many Wairarapa locals who accompanied their parents each year to the not-to-be-missed social event of the summer, with Philp’s words and Hedley’s images bringing life to the characters and festivities behind the event.

‘Racing Against Time’ encapsulates the history of the meeting, from its rural roots to the modern day, where the Undie 100, fashion parade, and Kids Big Dig bring added entertainment to the event.

Castlepoint Racing Club President Scott Whitehead is looking forward to launching the book this weekend at the Castlepoint Woolshed, the venue of the famous Friday Night Calcutta, which is held the evening prior to the Castlepoint races every year.

“Two-and-a-half years ago, we had our first real serious meeting about putting a book together,” Whitehead said.

“We have had attempts at trying to record the history. There was a generation that was getting older, and we wanted to get their thoughts written down.

“The Club turned 150, and we thought it would be good to write a book.

“We were trying to write it in conjunction with the 150th anniversary, but covid mucked us around and the races didn’t go ahead, so we put it back a year.

“We picked the book up from the printers last week, and we are going to launch the book over Labour Weekend.”

The book launch will take place at the Castlepoint Station Old Woolshed on Sunday, October 22, at 4pm where the book will be available to purchase for $55.

Books can also be ordered via the club’s website, castlepointracingclub.com or by emailing [email protected].

The next Castlepoint race meeting is set to take place on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

News Desk

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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