A BRIEF HISTORY OF ADDINGTON RACEWAY
The inaugural racemeeting was held at Addington by the NZMTC on Monday 6 November 1899. The intervening 104 years have seen many developments in the facilities, the track and the organization of racing.
In the early years fires caused disruption. In 1916, on Cup Day the Stewards stand burnt down. This was followed in 1926 by the Public Stand and on Show Day in 1953 the stand nearest the Showgrounds also was burnt down. However, the fire in the Public Stand near the end of Show Day in 1961, so well captured in photograghs was the most famous fire. The last race on that day was the NZ Free-For-All won by Cardigan Bay, the omen bet, however, was a horse called Smokeaway who ran 3rd in that race paying $9 for a place. Following the destructive earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011, damage sustained by the Public Stand necessitated its demolition. Replacement options are currently being considered.
The Raceway land was originally owned by the Twigger Estate who donated it to the Hospital Board. After leasing the land for 80 odd years the Raceway was finally able to purchase the property in 1981 for $1.1million. As well as replacing the stands that have burnt down the Club built the Stewards’and Members’stand in 1990. Other developments on the property have included the replacement of the running rail firstly with a hub rail in the early 1960’s and the safer pylons in the mid 1990’s. Night racing was introduced in November 1963. The original lighting was upgraded in the 1970’s before being completely replaced in 1995. In that year the Raceway reached an agreement with the Christchurch City Council to lease a portion of the property to the Council for the building of a major sport and entertainment centre. A new stabling area consisting of an L-shaped complex running along the front of the Twiggers Stand as far as the old Showgrounds boundary, and the right towards Lincoln Road was completed in 15 May 2009."
Racing at Addington has seen many changes. The introduction of the mobile barrier in 1962, electronic timing in 1982 and the Jetbet integrated computer betting system in 1983. Originally the NZMTC was the only Club racing at Addington but it was progressively joined by Canterbury Park Trotting Club in 1922 and the New Brighton Trotting Club in 1963. The three clubs agreed to amalgamate into one Club in 1998. A two-sulky width passing lane was introduced in March 2000.