A GOOD crowd in holiday mode celebrated perfect racing conditions at Greenwattle racecourse on Christmas Eve.
Santa, escorted by Sale Turf Club operations manager Janet Leemon, spread Christmas cheer around the lawns and Melbourne Cup queen Michelle Payne made a special appearance.
Payne was there to ride Hvar in the last event.
Before the race, Payne took time out to talk to race fans, posing for photos with locals.
Payne won on Hvar at Terang last start and was given every chance but faded in the run to the post and finished unplaced.
Jockeys Craig Newitt and Daniel Stackhouse were on fire for Christmas riding five of the eight winners between them.
Newitt rode a winning treble and former New Zealander Stackhouse rode a double.
Newitt and Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths combined to win race one, the three year old Maiden Plate with Charlie Garcon who has been impressive with a win and two placings from only four starts.
Eight year old Bairnsdale galloper How Bout Harry, the surprise winner of race two, paid $23-$40 for the win.
It was the first win for How Bout Harry, ridden by Stackhouse and trained at Bairnsdale by Shea Reynolds.
Pakenham galloper Game Up Hardy, ridden by Brian Werner and trained by Jack Wilson was another long shot paying $22-20 for the win.
Craig Newitt and Mick Price combined to win race four the Maiden Plate with Sugar Mummy.
Newitt and Robbie Griffiths were in the winner’s circle again after Rocknet won race five the BM64 Handicap.
The six year old gelding also won at Sale on November 18.
Lardner Lou ridden by Jason Benbow and trained at Sale by Michelle Murray, who was coming off a last start win at Bairnsdale, finished in second place.
New Zealand bred Pemberley ridden by Daniel Stackhouse and trained by Peter Moody scored an impressive win in race six, the BM70 Handicap.
This four-year-old gelding raced by a syndicate, managed by Simon O’Donnell and Terry Henderson looks like a future city winner.
Smart Dart ridden by Andrew Mallyon and trained by Colin and Cindy Alderson at Cranbourne won race seven, the BM70 Handicap.
The win followed two wins at Bairnsdale and a last start at Sandown.
Captain Kittinger ridden by Ben Allen and trained at Pakenham by John Leek won race eight the BM64 Handicap.
The next event at Greenwattle will be the Life Members Day on Thursday, January 14.