Hen backs a winner at the Wodonga Boxing Day races |PICTURES

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SAM Hynes’ choice of venue for her hen’s party wasn’t her own, but after the fourth race at the Boxing Day meeting at Wodonga yesterday she certainly wasn’t complaining.

Her soon-to-be father-in-law and Albury trainer Robbie Wellington produced the winner of the race, Lughaat.

“We all had a bet in the race,” she said.

“I won $80 so I can’t complain.”

Miss Hynes and Wellington’s son Tom will marry on Valentine’s Day next year.

Her entourage yesterday included sisters Tiffany and Jessica and another member of the bridal party, Alex Mitchell.

Also keeping close tabs on events was her mum, Kellie.

The Hynes’ hen’s party was part of another large crowd for the traditional Boxing Day meeting estimated at 3750 people.

Boxing Day is the club’s biggest meeting of the year and attracts an even larger crowd than its cup meeting held earlier in the month.

The crowd was full of locals, former locals and others keen for an annual catch-up following Christmas Day.

They came dressed for the occasion in casual relaxed attire and primed for a punt and a cool drink to combat the 30-plus degree temperatures.

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They also covered all ages of the spectrum.

Among the oldest on course was legendary Wodonga trainer Ollie Cox, aged 86.

The life member might be wheelchair bound these days, but he rarely misses a meeting at the track where he once had a production line of topline gallopers.

His son Brian only had a small team of runners, but the summer of racing is only just beginning with meetings at Towong and Corowa in coming days.

Wodonga trainer Liz Aalbers again produced a birthday winner in Dainty Sharnee, who had been unable to greet the judge in her previous 36 starts.

But on her 72nd birthday Aalbers struck with the horse she part-owns.

Also spotted in the crowd were three current AFL footballers who were born and bred locally, towering Geelong ruckman Dawson Simpson, recently promoted Hawthorn senior list player Jonathon Ceglar and Kangaroos’ star Jack Ziebell.

Wodonga police’s visible presence resulted in an incident free event.

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