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Gold Fever strikes the races in Matamata
08 Mar 2017

Ideal summer weather, a perfect track and quality fields combined to make Matamata's biggest raceday of the year one to remember.

A capacity crowd flocked to the Matamata racecourse on Saturday for the J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders' Stakes meeting and no-one was left disappointed by the action on the track nor the style on show in the Tuscany Road Fashion in the Field.

The day's headline race, the $100,000 Matamata Breeders' Stakes, was won by one of the strong local contingent, Gold Fever.

It was a first in Matamata's flagship race for co-trainer Jamie Richards, but it marked the fourth for his Te Akau Racing partner Stephen Autridge to go with the wins by Bayremah, Maxamore and Catamarca over a five-year period in the late 1990s.

Saturday's result was something of a replay of last year's Matamata Breeders' Stakes, which was won by Gold Fever's half-sister Gold Rush.

The significant difference was that the latter was trained by Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott and beat the Te Akau runner Sassy 'N' Smart by a nose.

The Wexford training partners claimed a share of Saturday's action when their highly rated colt Summer Passage downed Te Akau's Summer Monsoon in the other two-year-old feature, the Reid & Harrison Slipper.

Gold Fever and Summer Passage were two of six Matamata-trained winners on the nine-race programme but neither may have got the loudest cheer.

That belonged to Massofdash, or more specifically her 21-year-old jockey Tegan Newman, who was having her first ever raceday ride when she brought the Jim Collett-trained mare home for an easy win in the New World Matamata 1400.

The competition was just as keen for the Tuscany Road Fashion in the Field where it was Pokeno woman Belinda Green who was named Surpreme Winner.

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She will go forward to compete at Derby Day Fashion in the Field in Auckland on March 4.

Green said someone thought her outfit looked like "a liquorice lolly" but hoped it was the point of difference judges were looking for.

"Also my headwear was made to match and was a quirky piece. I used fabric from the dress on my headwear." 

It was the third time she had entered Matamata Breeders' Stakes Fashion in the Field.

She enjoyed returning each year because the event was well organised and the prizes "extremely generous from local businesses".

"I loved catching up with fellow fashionistas - a lovely bunch of ladies - all with a common passion for raceday attire.

"This was my first race day with my three-month-old daughter. I'm now learning to juggle going to the races and motherhood responsibilities."

Green has a keen interest in race day headwear which kept her up to date with racing fashion trends.

"I follow the Australian racing fashion scene on social media and am inspired by the creativity and bold looks.

"They are not afraid to push the fashion boundaries over there and it gives me the confidence to try something different in New Zealand."

She enjoyed customising headwear.

"One time, I made three different hats for my dress, I really wanted to make sure my outfit was spot on!"

She has some advice for others looking to impress judges at fashion in the field events.

"When preparing your raceday outfit, pop on the entire ensemble and take a photo of yourself.

"This is really helpful in editing and reviewing your look, adding or subtracting accessories to compliment."

She said competing in a fashion in the field event may appear daunting at first but organisers and other contestants were always helpful and friendly.

"A few minutes on the catwalk gives you such an adrenaline buzz, it's addictive and I highly recommend it."

Fashion in the Field results:

Janes Fashion and Accessories Avante Garde: 1st Belinda Green; 2nd Jane Bennett; 3rd Tammie Stuck. Envisage Raceday Elegance: 1st Sheree Sheehan; 2nd Janelle Burnside; 3rd Alisha Burnside. Moda Models: 1st Ainhoa Tejades; 2nd Alisha Maxwell; 3rd  Jacki  Reynolds. Tuscany Road Supreme Winner: Belinda Green.

Junior Fashion in the Field: 3-4 yrs: Lily Ferguson; Braxton Popplewell; Lennox Thompson. 5-7 yrs: Sofia Gorham; Ashton Knowlton; Mischa Thomson. 8-10 yrs: Liz Bennet; Delta Ritchie; Victoria Roskem. ‚Äč11-13 yrs: Sari Gold; Lily Pearl Hunter.

Dennis Ryan and Lawrence Gullery