Karl Benz makes the first motorcycle.


April - "Russian scare" leads to building of gun emplacements around Lyttelton Harbour.

A crowd of 25,000 people meets in Hagley Park to urge the construction of a railway to the West Coast.

Credit: Ch-Ch City Libraries



In the month of February, 1885, the Plumpton Park Jockey Club had on its card a trotting event worth 30 sovs, with 5 sovs to the second horse from the stakes, distance about three miles.

The event was won by a bay mare, named Daisy, owned by Dr W E Hacon. She won easily in 8.58. Cock Robin, Princess, Warrior, Raddle, Energy, Rambler, Curley Kate and Creeping Jack also started

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 10 Jan 1945



Trotting races in the 1880's in Christchurch could be just as exciting as the New Zealand Cup meeting will be next month. But they could also be different.

Daisy was a mare which was gifted to medical health specialist Dr Hacon, who headed hospitals for the mentally affected in England and North America before coming to Sunnyside Hospital in Christchurch. The good doctor gave the mare to Mortimer Davie to break to harness. One day, Davie put her between the shafts with a colt and set off for the city to buy some tobacco. In Colombo Street, there were two dods fighting in the road. The colt took fright and bolted. He could not be restrained until he reached Bishopscourt on Papanui Road. But it was the otherwise plain and ungainly looking mare which was the centre of attention. During the whole episode, she had not once broken out of a trot. Davie was as amazed as the onlookers.

Representations were made to the good doctor to allow the mare to race at Plumpton Park (Sockburn), and he reluctantly agreed. But there was one proviso. The mare was to be driven by his hospital stableman. The clever ones were appalled. The stableman had not only never driven in a race, but was a simple man who was a patient at the hospital as well as a worker. The doctor, not a betting man, could not be moved. The punters had to watch while the hapless driver, well out of his depth, responded to advice and instructions from other drivers instead of driving his own race.

Daisy was unbreakable but her driver, eager to please, spent a good deal of time slowing her down so the breaking horses and their plaintive drivers, calling to be given a chance, could catch up. In the end she was beaten. It was a long time before she was beaten again. Brought from the good doctor, she became the champion trotter of New Zealand and later crossed the Tasman and also was the champion in Australia.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in The Press 31Oct08


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