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Get your glad rags on for Auckland Cup Week®

Pop on your fascinator and experience the fun for yourself.

By Now to Love with Auckland Racing Club
If you've not yet experienced what's been a sell-out summer of racing at Ellerslie this year, then giddy up as Auckland Cup Week® is your last chance to get trackside before the weather cools.
What makes it so good? For starters, there's some pretty great races (the $1m Vodafone New Zealand Derby and $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup to name a couple) – then there's the fact there's so much more to these events... If you put your most stylish foot forward, you may walk away with some fashionable prizes, including The Ned Prix de Fashion's $20,000+ winner-takes-all package.If you've got little ones, they're sorted too, with free entertainment, including pony rides, games and more on both days, plus the running of the Dunstan Feeds Auckland Clydesdale Cup (March 13).
If you're feeling lucky, you could win a $1750 trip to Queenstown thanks to Roaring Meg. If you love music, you'll appreciate the DJs and bands. Just want the perfect excuse to spend time with friends? Then there's great food, company and fun to be had in any number of the hospitality precincts.
We chat to some of the famous ladies behind Auckland Cup Week® to find out a little more about them, and to see what they're most looking forward to about Auckland's great summer celebration...
Information subject to change.
Carena West
FASHION JUDGE: CARENA WEST
Co-owner of cult activewear brand CLIQUE Fitness, Carena is an Auckland Racing Club ambassador and racehorse owner. In 2019, she won the Melbourne Cup Carnival's Myer Fashions on the Field title.
From swimwear, to racewear, activewear and even your own stunning wedding dress – you've designed and made it all. What haven't you designed but would love to?
Ooh, I've never been asked that before! Does it have to be clothing? Because I would love to create a range of jewellery. Maybe that can be my next side hustle! I just need a creative outlet – it doesn't matter what is it. During our first lockdown, I painted and I was quite proud of what I ended up with.
What's one thing people don't know about you?
I am a sucker for horror movies. Luckily, my husband and sister Bex indulge me because the only other person who'll go to the movies to watch one with me is my friend Alice, who
is currently living in the Netherlands.
You have extensive fashions on the field experience – what does it take to win?
I'm a huge fan of people who take risks with their outfits. It shows that they are willing to step out of the box – sometimes it's a winner, sometimes it isn't, but it really gives you an edge over contestants who want to play it safe!
What would you like people to know about racing?
Racing is an incredible industry – it's a big melting pot of different people and backgrounds that all come together for the love of the horse. I don't know a single person in racing who doesn't love horses,
and I feel as though that says so much about the industry as a whole. The energy and dedication only comes from one place – true passion for the horse.
You run your business with your sister Bex. What advice would you give to someone wanting to start out in business with a sibling?
Ensure your relationship is stable before you embark. It has been a heck of a journey for us so far, and while we definitely have had conflicts, I believe that we are very lucky that we have resolved them quickly and get back to business. We each have our own lives, but we were brought up by the same people, with the same ethics, which I believe is a huge part of why we react similarly in situations.
What are you looking forward to most about Auckland Cup Week®?
Vodafone Derby Day is one of my favourite days of the year. I love judging The Ned Prix de Fashion and seeing all of the planning and preparation that has gone into the outfits. The racing is obviously why we're all there in the first place – my favourite thing is watching the horses come into the birdcage post-race and seeing the elation of jockeys, trainers and owners. It can get quite emotional at times! (Or maybe that's just me?!)
JOCKEY: DANIELLE JOHNSON
Currently leading New Zealand's jockey premiership and about to hit an impressive 1000 career wins, Danielle has been riding horses since she was a toddler and has been a professional jockey for more than 13 years. No stranger to big wins at Ellerslie, you can expect to see this top jockey flash past the post first at some stage over Auckland Cup Week®.
While it seems you're always in the saddle, how do you enjoy spending your rare days off?
They're never the same! Sometimes I'm relaxing, other times I'm off to the beach or for a walk up Mt Manganui. I have a great family and friends, who I like to spend time with – particularly my mum, who loves lunching and shopping.
Thanks to your career, you've been lucky enough to see a lot of New Zealand. What's your favourite Kiwi destination?
I have travelled a lot of the world, but I will always come back to Queenstown in winter – there's nothing better than the fresh air, snow and mulled wine.
What would you like people to know about racing?
It's such an exciting sport to be a part of – whether you're at the races for a day out with friends, in the fashion competitions or are just a horse lover. It's the complete package!
You love your fashion and are always so well-dressed. Who is your go-to local designer?
I love Deadly Ponies – Liam is so quirky with his bag designs. I don't really have one go-to designer, though I love Fashion Society in Christchurch and Superette – they are where I buy most of my outfits from. It all depends on what I'm feeling like on the day!
What racedays do you think every New Zealander needs to attend?
The Karaka Million at Ellerslie is definitely a "save the date" event with an elite race card and, after the races are done, you have a huge night of dancing! Auckland Racing Club knows how to turn it on. Vodafone Derby Day (March 6) is also up there – I love the traditional black and white style theme. And the $1,000,000 Vodafone New Zealand Derby is a race every jockey aspires to win.
What are you looking forward to most about Auckland Cup Week®?
It's such a good week for fashion and the top horses are out to play!
Belinda Green
MILLINER: BELINDA GREEN
Visits to the races throughout her childhood turned into a passion for raceday glamour for milliner Belinda Green. No stranger to fashions in the field sashes herself, this year you can expect to see many of her designs being worn by fashion competitors during Auckland Cup Week®.
What has been the best purchase you've ever made and why?
Best purchase ever made millinery-wise was getting two tickets to the Brisbane Millinery Convention in 2015, where the hat-making landslide began. I met milliners from all over the world and attended a variety of hat- making workshops – I was in a creative frenzy. And that frenzy has never stopped!
Make a prediction about anything – what is it?
My prediction (or more like wishful thinking) is that racegoers will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup in November. It was such a poignant moment in racing history last year with spectators not being allowed to attend this iconic event, which a lot of Kiwis also head across the ditch for.
What would you like people to know about racing?
Attending a raceday is fun for both ladies and gentlemen. Seriously! They're fantastic occasions that that my husband and I both enjoy going to together – it caters for all. Dressing up, eating, socialising, watching the racing action and maybe even placing a bet – there's a lot going on. Seeing the horses parade, viewing other ladies in their finery... it's a spectator's delight! I highly recommend it.
If you weren't designing hats, what would you be designing?
Now that I'm a mum of two, soon to be three, I think I'd be designing clothes to dress my children up in. My real-life dollies!
What advice would you give to someone considering entering fashions in the field for the first time?
Let the fun shine through! Give an extra twirl, throw that judge a cheeky wink, let your personality be the star. I've seen this quality win sashes before. It may seem simple, but smiling on stage is important.
What are you looking forward to most about Auckland Cup Week®?
Two things for me – one is being part of an action-packed day – Auckland Racing Club does it so well! The other is assisting ladies to carefully articulate their outfits with finishing touches (including the most important racewear component – headwear!).
Emily Bosson
TV PRESENTER: EMILY BOSSON
Former strapper to 2013/14 (Race)Horse of the Year Dundeel, married to jockey Opie Bosson and presenter of TV shows Beyond the Winning Post and Weigh In, Emily Bosson is well-entrenched in the world of racing. Keep an eye out for her on the track over Auckland Cup Week®, where she'll be interviewing the jockeys for television.
You're a person of many skills, so what are you terrible at?
My nickname is Bridget after Bridget Jones! I am so awkward, I often get myself into some hilarious situations.
What would you like people to know about racing?
It's such a cool sport that brings people from all walks of life together. There's a misconception that it is just for the wealthy, but anybody can be involved, from
both a career and social perspective. It's an awesome way to meet people.
What are you currently binge-streaming or listening to?
I've just finished Bridgerton, which I absolutely loved! I spend a lot of time in the car, so my podcasts on rotation are The Happy Saver and Feel Better Live More. And I've just finished reading Centaur, an autobiography by jockey Declan Murphy – a fascinating read!
What's the most rewarding part of your job?
The post-race interviews with the connections of the winning horse – you are the first person they see following a win and it is so special to share in their joy. To be part of a trainer or jockey's first Group One win is really something special and I feel honoured to tell that story. Also, getting to meet so many people from such different walks of life I find fascinating.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into TV presenting?
I came into TV presenting through a pretty obscure path – my love for horses and racing resulted in a career in the media. If I could wind back the clock, I'd have done a journalism degree. From
a young age I was interested in public speaking and debating. I used my passion for horses and racing to travel the world, as I'm originally from England, and then I was very proactive at grabbing opportunities that arose – working for Trackside and the TAB was definitely one of those. It's a dream job and I'm very lucky to be in the position I am.
What are you looking forward to most about Auckland Cup Week®?
As a racing purist, it's seeing the best horses come together at one of the greatest racing venues in New Zealand. There's always a great hype about Auckland Cup Week®, from the fashion to the horses. A big crowd on track and seeing so many people enjoying the sport I love is also really rewarding.

Auckland Cup Week® 2021 starts 6th March at Ellerslie Racecourse

For tickets and more information:
Vodafone Derby Day, Saturday 6 March
Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day, Saturday 13 March
Tickets from $20pp | Under 15s get free general admission | Senior citizen general admission rates apply at the gate on the day.
Learn more and get tickets from ellerslie.co.nz
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