The only A-Z you'll need to read this year

Our summer of racing is so close we can almost smell the Birdcage's roses...

Of course, while it may be a little too soon to have sussed the outfit(s), it's never too late to get on with all the other fun things that come with a bustling season of racewear and racing.

Today we're helping you kick-start that planning with our A-Z of all things summer racing at Ellerslie.

A | Auckland Cup Week®

An event needing no introduction - Auckland Cup Week® - is getting set to showcase the best of the best this 5 & 12 March. From the horses & their connections vying for some of racing's biggest spoils, to the fashionistas seeking racewear glory - it's all on show at New Zealand's richest and most glamorous week of racing.

B | Blow wave

An essential to ensure your hair stays in the same place all day, particularly when Auckland really can have four seasons in one day. The placement of your headwear can be as unpredictable as the weather, so booking an up-do or sleek blowout is a necessity for tresses that will go the distance. If you can't get into your usual hairdresser, then we'd suggest Dry & Tea who have three convenient locations across the city and a great menu of looks to pick from. Remember too that if you're wearing a headpiece with an elastic band – that the band is not a chin strap and instead should be HIDDEN in your hair around the nap of your neck. Use some bobby pins to hold it in place if need be, and a bun, up-do or pony-tail also go a long way in helping 'anchor' it in.

C | Champagne

You can't help but have a spectacular start to your raceday when many of our precincts offering sparkling wine or champagne on arrival or as part of its inclusions.

If sparkling wine's your go-to then you'll be pleased to know we've got the country's most popular brand, Lindauer, available and if French champagne is more to your liking then you'll be very happy to see Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial (and Rosé), along with Veuve Clicquot and Dom Pérignon, on the list.

D | Dress

Possibly the most important thing many of you are going to need for a day at the races. Whether it's a one-hit-wonder you get just for the races (and then loan to a friend or donate to an op-shop... sustainable shopping for the win!), an investment piece that can do double duty during the summer party season or a custom-made creation to woe the fashions in the field judges, avoid any undue stress and get started on the hunt for one straight after you've finished reading this!

Working out what to wear to the races is all part of the fun
Working out what to wear to the races is all part of the fun

E | Earlybird

The past few seasons have seen hospitality precincts sell out in advance across all of the summer's big racedays and our hospitality team sounding like a stuck record telling people they've missed out. If there's one thing you can learn this summer, it's that the earlybird gets the tickets (and the preferential pricing too!). You can check out our event calendar now if you want to.

F | Facial

Not only is a facial the ultimate in rest and relaxation, but it's a great way to prep your skin for a long day outdoors in makeup. The Facialist, Mecca and Loft Skin + Beauty are all great spots around Auckland to get that skin cleansed, toned and beautiful in time for raceday.

G | Gallops

There's a few types of racing in New Zealand but when you come to the races at Ellerslie, you're, in colloquial terms, "off to the gallops". This is because we're the home of thoroughbred racing and thoroughbreds (the breed of horses that compete here) race at a gallop, as opposed to a trot, a pace or anything else you've seen doing the rounds on the 'net.

"Off to the gallops"
"Off to the gallops"

H | Headwear

Whether it's a hat, a headpiece, a bow or something completely different – these are the races and so yes, you can and definitely should be putting something on your head. A hat (or equivalent) can definitely help finish an outfit, transforming it into racewear and helping you turn heads oncourse. Hats need not be expensive either – plenty of chain stores offer reasonably-priced headpieces to suit all variety of outfits and a lot of local milliners also stock a ready-to-wear range too.

If you're wanting to go all-out, then book in with a reputable milliner well in advance of the event and make the most of what's an enjoyable process working with them to get something custom-made. We're loving local talents Belinda Green, Monika Neuhauser, Claire Hahn and, for a kiwi off-shore, we're always going to Millinery Jill who conveniently ships to New Zealand.

 A hat (or equivalent) can definitely help finish an outfit, transforming it into racewear and helping you turn heads at the races
A hat (or equivalent) can definitely help finish an outfit, transforming it into racewear and helping you turn heads at the races

I | Inclusive

Did you know that our sport is gender and age inclusive? Women and men ride against each other on equal terms, and male and female horses can race against each other too. Further, jockeys of all ages ride in the same races. In fact, there's even been cases of parents racing against their children, like this one!

J | Jitters