HORSES, hats and a hen's party. These were just some of the sights at Ballina's annual Boxing Day races.

Samantha Tuck is marrying her partner of 16 years on January 4 and chose the Ballina racetrack as the perfect venue to celebrate her last few days without a ring on her finger.

The Ballina woman said she chose the Boxing Day races for her hen's party because most of her family had come to the area to visit for Christmas.

The ladies were set up in prime position to catch the races in a private marquee doused in red tablecloths and bunting.

The women were also dressed in red and planned to take a punt on every race.

"It's a great venue to just spend time with family and enjoy the festivities of the day," Ms Tuck said.

"And with everyone back for Christmas, it seemed like the perfect day to do it."

Ms Tuck's relatives weren't the only race patrons visiting from outside the area.

Brothers Jamie and Peter Kennedy were sitting in the shade of an umbrella enjoying a "family tradition" of drinking a few beers and having a flutter by the racetrack.

"We usually come to the Boxing Day races every year and now that I don't live in Ballina, it's nice to come home and see people I haven't seen for years," Peter said.

Peter and Jamie both remembered coming to the races as children - wearing their new Christmas clothes.

"I remember always coming to the races when we were camping at the Shaws Bay Holiday Park when I was a kid," Peter said.

"I have this memory of seeing people coming to the races in their new clothes and we always saw someone who had accidentally left the tags on them," Peter joked.

Ballina Jockey Club general manager Matt Bertram said he was happy with the turnout.



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