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HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

 

YEAR: 1899

NEW ZEALAND METROPOLITAN TROTTING CLUB

At a meeting of the Committee of the Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club held on 9th May, 1899 consideration was given to the purchase of 35 acres of the Twigger’s estate adjoining the Canterbury A & P Association Showgrounds at Addington for the purpose of preparing a Trotting track with facilities. The Trustees of the property, however, declined to sell for Trotting purposes but subsequently put it up to auction and a 21 year lease was knocked down to the President of the Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club at a price below the amount that the Clubs were prepared to go. At a meeting of the Club held on 19th May, 1899 the President’s action in purchasing the lease. At the winding up of the Twiggers Estate the ownership of the land was transferred to the Charitable Aid Board and the Hospital Board.
At a meeting of the committee of the Lancaster Park Trotting Club it was decided to have plans prepared for the necessary grand stands, buildings and fencing on the grounds at Addington. It was also decided to instruct a surveyor to lay out a five furlong track, and to call for tenders at once for the work. The committee decided to change the name of the club to the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club.
The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club conducted its inaugural meeting at the Addington Racecourse, now known as Addington Raceway, on Monday 6th November, 1899.
This followed the amalgamation of the Lancaster Park Trotting Club (previously raced at Lancaster Park) and the Canterbury Trotting Club (previously raced at the A&P Grounds next door).

RICCARTON PROPERTY
In 1918 the Club approached the owners with a proposal to purchase the Addington property as the then current lease had only seven years to run however this proposal was unsuccessful.
In 1919 Metropolitan Trotting Club had effected the purchase of a large area of land in the Riccarton district covering some eighty seven acres at a cost of £21,000. The new site comprised seventy acres previously owned by Mr T W J Shand, seven acres by Mr W Robinson and two smaller blocks of six acres. The property fronted Riccarton, Blenheim and Wharenui Roads.
In 1935 the land was disposed of to the Government to be used for State Housing

CANTERBURY PARK TROTTING CLUB
The Canterbury Park Trotting Club traces its origins to the Plumpton Park Club, which raced on a 74 acre course at Sockburn centred on the present Air Force Museum. The early history of the club was fairly chequered and, for three seasons, it went into recess.

On Feb 2, 1884 the CANTERBURY TIMES advertised the "inaugural" meeting of the Plumpton Park Racing Club would be held on March 11, 1884. The Club ran five meetings in the 1884-5 season.
An article appearing in the NEW ZEALAND REFEREE of 7th September 1922 reported that it had been announced that as a result of negotiations between the NZ Metropolitan and Canterbury Park Trotting Clubs the latter body would transfer its operations from Sockburn to Addington and take over the course when the Club moved to its Riccarton property. The article stated that on sentimental grounds some people would regret the departure of the Canterbury Park Trotting Club from the Course with which it was for so long associated both under its present name and under its former title of the Plumpton Park Trotting Club, the name chosen when the Club was established. The article further said that the property had had a long connection with sport of various kinds and had been used for coursing and galloping as well as trotting. When the Club was renamed the Canterbury Park Trotting Club a new era began at Sockburn and it quickly established itself as one of the most flourishing institutions in the Dominion. Its solid financial position had been a striking testimony to the efficiency of its management.
Following the passing of Notices of Motion by the Members of Canterbury Park and Metropolitan Trotting Clubs in April 1952, the body originally known as Addington Trotting Course Ltd was established to control the Course. Back in March 1953 the capital of Addington Trotting Course Ltd was increased from £36,111 to £225,357 NZMTC holding 156,016 £1 shares or nine thirteenths of the share capital, while Canterbury Park held 69,341 shares. The 9/13 and 4/13 basis related to the number of Racedays each Club conducted.

NEW BRIGHTON TROTTING CLUB
By the 1880s arrangements had been made for the running of horse races at New Brighton. But the venue was not the Queen Elizabeth II Park site - it was the beach. The beach racing club ran under very primitive conditions, an exceptionally high tide would delay the start of proceedings, and it was sometimes quite dark before the last event was concluded.

Eventually the beach was abandoned, Tom Free, licensee of the Bower Hotel, having laid out a 3/4 mile course at the Queen Elizabeth II Park property. There was then a mixed trotting and racing programme, and the first race on the site was held in 1886. At first conditions were only marginally better than on the foreshore. The judge had to carry out his duties from atop a beer barrel. And the grass having not yet consolidated the sandy soil, the latter could "wander at its own sweet will, and the majority of the visitors retuned to town half hidden in a canopy of dust." But worst of all was the mountainous sand-hill which stood in the centre of the paddock.
The New Brighton Club did not exist in those early days and was not formed until about 1890. For some time before that the New Brighton Racing Club held trotting meetings and mixed galloping and trotting meetings on the course. The New Brighton Trotting Club did not hold its first meeting until 1895, when £190 was paid in stakes and totalisator turnover amounted to £1648. The property was at that time owned by Mr Henry Mace, who with the club's first president (Mr H McIlwraith) and secretary (Mr A I Rattray) first gained Government recognition of trotting through the old NZ Trotting Association, which had been formed in Christchurch in 1888.
The New Brighton body weathered the depression years of the 1930's very well indeed, and although it was forced to give up its popular course during World War II and for some years afterwards.
In October 1962 the members of the New Brighton Trotting Club endorsed their Committee’s recommendation that shares in Addington Trotting Course Ltd be purchased, that the Club race at Addington and that Day and/or Night Meetings be held. The Club purchased sufficient shares to hold 4/17ths of the Capital, and they paid 4/17ths of the cost of the lighting installation.
The New Brighton track was sold to the Christchurch City Council in 1963 and the last meeting was held in September 1963.

FIRES
Over the years there have several major fires at Addington. In 1916 on Cup Day, the almost new Stewards and Members Stand burned to the ground. In September 1926 the Public Stand burned down. After the last race on Show Day 1953 the old Public Stand (replaced by the Twiggers Stand) was destroyed. Perhaps the most famous fire was on Show Day 1961 immediately prior to the running of the last race – the NZ Free-For-All. This race continued while the stand was ablaze, the crowd watched the race and cheered Cardigan Bay home, before turning their attention to the fire.

GOLD CUP
The present gold cup presented to the winner of the NZ Cup was first presented in 1956. At the time of purchase it was insured for £850.

TWIGGERS STAND
Opened on Cup Day 1960

NIGHT TROTTING
Introduced on the first night of the 1963 Cup Meeting

ADMINISTRATION OFFICE
The administration office was transferred the central city to Addington in 1966. The building on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Armagh Street for over 40 years was sold at auction for £38,500

CATERING
In September 1985 a lease was signed to relocate P Burke & Co to Addington. Burke’s had been catering at Addington since 1900.

LAND PURCHASE
1987

METROPLITAN STAND
Opened in April 1990 as a cost of $7.6m

AMALGAMATION
In 1998 the NZ Metropolitan TC, Canterbury Park TC and the New Brighton TC amalgamated under the name of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club.

NEW STABLING BLOCK
Opened on 15 May 2009 at a cost of $7m

EARTHQUAKES
2010 & 2011



In the event that you cannot find the information you require from the contents, please contact Colin Steele in the Racing Department at Addington Raceway.
Phone (03) 338 9094