Kirsty Harland (left) and Emmalene Dic, of Byron Bay, all dressed up at the Ballina Races on Saturday.
Kirsty Harland (left) and Emmalene Dic, of Byron Bay, all dressed up at the Ballina Races on Saturday.

Ballina race crowd is a winner

THERE were party animals, Marilyn Monroe and plenty of fun to be had at the Ballina Jockey Club Boxing Day Cup this year.

More than 5000 punters poured through the gates, and Ballina Jockey Club CEO Sarah Wills and Ballina police said they were ‘generally well behaved’.

“It was a pretty good day, and we’re very happy with it,” Ms Wills said.

“I’m happy everyone supported the races, and had a good fun day.”

Apprentice jockey Gabrielle Coleman certainly did.

At her first official race meeting she achieved three top-four results out of her five rides.

Making the day more memorable for Gabrielle was the fact she was racing against her father, six-times Northern Rivers champion jockey Darron Coleman and beat him home on more than one occasion.

Punter Matt Vado and his mates also had fun in the race-day atmosphere

“It’s been heaps good,” he said.

“We haven’t come before, but it’s going to be a new tradition now.”

Mr Vado and his friends were suitably suited up for the occasion, wearing an array of African animal prints and checks.

“We got them tailor-made in Bali, especially for the races,” said the tiger-printed Alex Hepworth.

Reid Brydon ditched the party animal look for a checkered suit.

“Everyone else wore animal print, and I was going to get giraffe or something, but then I saw the checks,” he said.

“We came to the races for the family friendly atmosphere.”

Fashion and racing aside, Ballina Senior Constable Mark Woolven said only four people were ejected from the races, one of which was issued a move-on direction and was allowed to go home with his family after spending some time with police.

Senior Constable Woolven said there were a few minor alcohol-related street offences around the Ballina CBD following the event, but no arrests were made.



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