Love was in the air in the weekend at Ellerslie Racecourse, where 5,500 attendees enjoyed the excitement of Vodafone Derby Day. The Irish tradition that females should propose to their significant others on Leap Day (29th February) was honoured when Hollie McIntyre proposed to her partner Andrew Welsh, following a competition held by Auckland Racing Club. Hollie has been battling with stage four terminal breast cancer, and was very sadly given a year to live late last year. This amazing woman has been fundraising for the Australian bush fires between chemo trips, helping others through an incredibly hard time for herself.
The happy couple have not only won the advertised prize of an engagement ring from Ellerslie Jewellers valued at $2,400, 200,000 Hawaiian Airlines Air Miles and three nights’ accommodation at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, as well as room hire in Ellerslie Event Centre’s gorgeous new space, Tote-on-Ascot, but after the Club let word out about the deserving winner, the racing community showed their support and rallied round to offer a raft of other prizes to make the couple’s future wedding day even more special.
Love wasn’t the only hero of the day at Vodafone Derby Day, with not one but THREE fashion competitions held today. The Ned Prix de Fashion was won by Katie O’Neill taking home not only a $20,000+ prize package that includes the chance to compete in MYER Fashions on the Field at the 2020 Melbourne Cup Carnival, but the title of being the country’s best-dressed racegoer. The Hawaiian Airlines Menswear Award also took place with Matt Anderson crowned the deserving winner of the day.
Here are some highlights from the eventful day...