Sunshine, horses, food and fashion galore

FEATHERS flapped and fascinators flew, but wind chill failed to blow away the good cheer at yesterday's Coffs Coast Advocate Race Day.

Sunshine, horses, fashion and food drew out a crowd estimated at just less than 1500 to enjoy a bet, a drink and the pleasure of watching good horses stretching out down the straight.

In the Style Magazine Fashions on the Field, Coffs Harbour's Nuccia Hughes blitzed the competition for the best-dressed woman with a witty and wild international ensemble that combined leopard skin print, fur and feathers.

Keen racegoer Nuccia combined a hat and jacket she bought on a trip to Paris with matching shoes and a black pleated skirt and top from Sally Smith in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

Ben Mackenzie and Jenna McInerney of Coffs Harbour took a break from working in hospitality to pace the catwalk to the winners circle in matching black and white outfits as the best-dressed couple.

Coffs Harbour Racing Club member Trudy Taylor took out the Best Hat parade, with a classic black hat made for her to wear to this year's Cox Plate by Gold Coast milliner Tracy Mack.

The hat was a gift from "lovely friends".

With the Taste of the Coast food and wine fair and chefs from Aqualuna and Opal Cove, sampling the nibbles was always going to be an important part of the day and racegoers were able to choose from all kinds of hot and cold food and drinks, with resorts, wineries and brewers, caterers, cooking schools and confectioners all represented.

Opal Cove Resort's Susan Peacock said she was kept busy answering questions and handing out Mediterranean barbecue prawn pots, mini-baguettes and cremes brulee while the Coffs Coast Cooking School's Anna Mavin said they had plenty of customers, with Moroccan lamb and Vietnamese spring rolls proving the most popular dishes.

Ralph and Helen Nicholls said they had 'a good crowd' at Relen's Mini Donuts and Jean Maher of Nana Glen's Two Tails Wines said her only complaint was the wind.

Children bounced in the jumping castle and lined up three deep to have their faces painted.

As a result the racecourse sprouted every kind of pint-sized character from the cute to the downright scary, like the two very-much-alive green-faced 'zombies' who took over the catwalk while the fashionistas were elsewhere.

The nippy wind saw many punters retreat to the warmth and cheer of the Racing Club grandstand as the day wore on, but Coffs Harbour Racing Club CEO Russ Atkinson said it had been a very successful day, with the visit by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter 'a great hit'.

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