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What amounted to a gift of several hundreds of pounds to owners was provided by the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club in stake-money at its matinee non-totalisator meeting held at Addington an Saturday, January 23.
The provision of several races for maiden and improving pacers and trotters, with stakes on a liberal scale, is filling a great want and giving an incentive to breeding. Besides, it is a means of meeting the shortage of races for this class of horse. At on stage it looked as though the horses in the lower classes had become nobody's business, and the Metropolitan Trotting Club's generous response to the plight of owners of the maiden and improving horse is deserving of the highest praise.
One well-known owner, whose interest in the young horse has always been uppermost, sent along a donation to the club, explaining that he greatly appreciated the club's move. The inclusion of a 2-year-old parade over seven furlongs also proved most popular with owners. Trophies were presented by the club to the winners. Nominations were large, and, to give the youngsters plenty of room at the starting barrier, the club decided to run the event in two divisions. This met with the approval of all concerned. With early 2-year-old events in the offing, the parade provided most valuable education for the baby pacers, and the club is sure to be approached with a view to this parade becoming a permanent institution.
In every way the Metropolitan Club's Matinee Meeting was a success, and a red-letter day for many owners; and the social side was by no means negelected. Stewards set themselves out to entertain those interested in the sport, and the Canterbury Owners' and Breeders' Association conducted a series of sweeps for patriotic funds. There was a good attendance of the public, and under the experienced management of the secretary, Mr H E Goggin, and his staff, the meeting was run without a hitch.
Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 3Feb1943
With the declaration of War in 1914 the immediate effect on the Clubs was not noticed but as the years went by many changes were effected.
The Clubs made a valuable contribution to the war effort and the New Brighton Club was the first sporting body to make a handsome offer in connection with the expeditionary forces. It donated the sum of one hundred guineas and offered the use of the New Brighton Course and its appointments for a concentration camp or any other purpose the Defence Department might consider necessary. Other Racing and Trotting Clubs followed suit in the laudable endeavour to help the Motherland in every possible way. The NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club gave £500 and the Ashburton Trotting Club one hundred guineas to the Patriotic Fund.
When nominations were taken for the August Meeting 1914 the prospect seemed very bright but the unsettled state of the national affairs had its effect on the sport. The attendance at Addington for the August Meeting was fairly good but the day lacked something of the brightness and animation of the gatherings at the Headquarters of the Dominion’s leading Trotting Club.
The infantry lines at the Addington camp were in a very bad state following a heavy rainfall in early September 1914. The Committee of the Metropolitan Club promptly offered the use of the Stands as quarters for the men and this offer was accepted for one night, by the Camp Commandant, Colonel Smith. Quantities of fresh straw were carted to the grounds at once and although the concrete flooring may have provided rather a hard foundation the men had dry sleeping quarters.
It was reported in the REFEREE of 31st March 1915 that the Metropolitan Trotting Club had decided to give the net profit derived from the Totalisator investments on the Autumn Handicap on the first day of the approaching Meeting to the Belgian Relief Fund,
In August 1915 arrangements were in train for a patriotic Trotting Meeting to be held at Addington and the Metropolitan’s representatives on the Committee were Messrs J S Williams and E Fox. Gatekeepers and Officials gave their services free and it was anticipated the Wounded Servicemen’s Fund would greatly benefit from the Meeting which was organized by the Canterbury Owners and Breeders Association. At This time it was stated that the Metropolitan Trotting Club had decided to give its net profits for the season to the Wounded and Returned Soldiers Fund and guaranteed that the amount would not be less than £1,000.
The War was having its effect on the personalities connected with the industry and in January 1916 Mr H E Goggin, who for 12 years had been Clerical Assistant to Mr Rattray, was accepted for active service and left to join the artillery, a branch of the 12th reinforcements. The Metropolitan Club presented Mr Goggin with a wrist watch. A gathering of Members of the Canterbury Owners and Breeders Association and others connected with the sport attended a function to bid farewell to Mr Goggin on the eve of his departure for active service. Mr Howell, President of the New Brighton Trotting Club, proposed Mr Goggin’s health. Mr Moir, President of the Owners and Breeders Association, on behalf of the subscribers presented Mr Goggin with a Kodak camera and Mr Hurley, Secretary of the Association, gave Mr Goggin a gold-mounted tobacco pouch. Mr Goggin briefly replied expressing his appreciation of the kind remarks that had been made and of the gifts he had received.
One effect of the War was a resolution passed by the New Zealand Trotting Association:
“that no licence to train, ride or drive be granted to any single person who is eligible for recruiting and that it be an instruction to all Trotting Clubs to obtain from the local recruiting Committee a Certificate that the applicant is not eligible as a recruit before endorsing such application”.
The Committee decided that its profits from the three Meetings in the 1915-16 season amounting to a little over £3,915 should be set aside for patriotic purposes.
The question of the curtailment of racing dates was to become the subject of consultation and the New Zealand Racing and New Zealand Trotting Conferences both adopted a course of appointing a Committee to consult with the Government to see how far it is desirable to curtail racing during the War.
In May 1917 the Minister of Internal Affairs issued a statement to the effect that the question of Racing Permits was carefully considered by Cabinet which resolved that a substantial curtailment of racing is necessary in the interests of the Country. Accordingly a letter was dispatched to the Presidents of the Racing and Trotting Conferences stating the decision of the Government and requesting them to submit alternative proposals for the reduction of Racing Permits issued during the present year by one third and one half. The Conferences’ attention was directed to the fact that in consequence of the reduction a number of Clubs may require to discontinue racing during the War and it was desirable that the Conferences should consider this aspect of the matter and suggest financial proposals affecting Clubs which may cease racing. Members of the Racing and Trotting Conferences held discussions with the Minister of Internal Affairs on the matter and an announcement was made that Cabinet had agreed racing should be curtailed by one third. The Racing and Trotting bodies were to work out a scheme of adjustment so as to secure this reduction in each district. As a result of this decision the NZMTC lost three of its nine days and Canterbury Park and New Brighton were both reduced from four days to two. The Metropolitan Club immediately announced a reduction of its August Meeting from three days to two but no decision was made at that stage from where the other two days were to be taken.
In November 1918 it was reported that the Patriotic Trotting Carnival organized by the Canterbury Owners and Breeders Association at Addington had proved a great success with something like £500 being available for the Lady Liverpool Trench Comforts Fund. The Owners and Breeders Association expressed its appreciation of the assistance given by the Metropolitan Trotting Club which placed its course and appointments at the service of the Association.
Following the War an influenza epidemic in November 1918 played havoc in Trotting circles causing postponement of Meetings and many well known people connected with the sport died. The Forbury Park Club’s Spring Meeting was postponed as was the Methven Trotting Club’s Meeting which was set down for 5th December. It was anticipated that the New Brighton Trotting Club’s Meeting to be held on 16th December would mark the resumption of active operations but in a statement on 24th December it was reported that after an interval of six weeks, racing in the Dominion in both the North and South Islands would be resumed, this being the first Race Meeting to be held since the middle of November. The ban on Racing was lifted from 24th December.
In January 1919 it was reported that Corporal H E Goggin, Assistant to Mr A I Rattray, who was due home from overseas shortly and would resume his employment with the Trotting Clubs.
Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker