YEAR: 1949


The old-established Canterbury Park Trotting Club will be the first in Canterbury to use the doubles totalisator. The unit for this innovation at the club's summer meeting on 31 December and January 2 will be of 10/-.

The Canterbury Park Club's meeting at New Year has always been a most popular fixture, and some of the best horses of both gaits compete here annually. Last season Highland Fling gave the public some great thrills when he finished third in the principal event on the first day and, from his long mark of 96yds in the Mason Handicap, of a mile and five furlongs on the second day, he ran Plunder Bar, 24yds, to a length. Dundee Sandy, Loyal Nurse and Knave of Diamonds were other high class pacers competing at the club's meeting last New Year, and this year's classes, with liberal prize-money, are again expected to attract some of the best horses of both gaits.

A semi-classic race that has become a big draw card for the Canterbury Park Club is the Charles Cross Stakes, named after a former president of the club. The Charles Cross Stakes is for three and four-year-olds, and this mile and five furlongs event never fails to attract most of the best horses of their ages in the Dominion.

The Canterbury Park Club's origins go well back into last century. In 1888 its sponsors organised dog racing. Later it ran mixed programmes for gallopers and trotters and finally concentrated on trotting meetings. From the modest 255 given in stakes at the first meeting, the total has grown to 15,100. In 1894 a committee of several men who made their mark in racing and trotting circles was appointed to the management. Among them were Messrs R J Mason, F Beverley, J L Carl, J Cresswell, A S Clarkson, J A Holmes, A Loughrey, G McKay, E W Roper, and C S Howell, the latter being chairman. The following year the club sought the services of Mr A I Rattray as secretary, and this distinguished and far-sighted pioneer was one of the finest investments the Canterbury Park Club and the sport of trotting in general ever made.

The club was for many years known as the Plumpton Park Trotting Club, the name of the property on which it raced. In 1920 the club changed its name to Canterbury Park. Two years later when the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club planned to move to a block of land it had purchased in Lower Riccarton (now an expansive state House settlement), the Canterbury Park Club purchased the plant and equipment at Addington for 15,000 and took over the lease of the Addington property. Eventually the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club abandoned its Riccarton project and has been a tenant of the Canterbury Park Club ever since.

As the secretary of the three Christchurch Trotting Clubs, Mr H E Goggin remarked after the recent record NZ Cup meeting, "trotting is in the people's blood," and the Canterbury Park Club has reason to look forward to a share in this ever-widening public appeal over the New Year period.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 14Dec49


YEAR: 1921


The father of Charles Selby old Peninsula veteran, having been taken by a press gang in Bristol. He served for some 12 years; his last ship, the 'Duke of York'...of which he was paymaster, was at the taking of Martinique from the French in 1794.

Later Mr Howell was 'schoolmaster and parish clerk for over 50 years' at Stroud, Gloucestershire. The school was 'known as the Red Coat School because the boys wore scarlet coats and vests in fulfilment of a benefaction left by some ancient hunting squire for that purpose'.

Charles Selby was born at Stroud on 23 June 1836 and educated at his father's school. He became a saddler and worked at Bristol, Bath, Penzance, Birmingham, Oxford, London and towns in South Wales.

Howell boarded the 'Roman Emperor' as an assisted immigrant bound for Canterbury. Perhaps, like future author Samuel Butler, one of the gentlemen who came on this vessel, he transhipped from the 'Burmah' which was specially fitted out for stock which it was to bring to the Antipodes and then disappeared without trace.

The 'Roman Emperor' arrived in 1860. Howell worked in Christchurch, moved to Sydney, and then came back as foreman to his old employer, John Craib Angus, a man prominent in business and the Presbyterian church. In 1873 Howell went into partnership with William White. After 18 months he set up his own establishment in Tattersall's Buildings at 162 Cashel Street. He carried 'on a profitable and successful business until December 1895 when he sold out to his two eldest sons'. For a time he again took over the reins before becoming interested in the Timaru Flour Milling Company and Zealandia Soap and Candle Works. In old age he decided to take a trip 'home'. Prior to his departure a dinner was tendered him as a mark of respect and goodwill. Like many businessmen, he was active in the Masonic Lodge.

Interested in racing and trotting 'as almost part of his business', Howell was one of the convenors and first chairman of the first Trotting Conference in 1895. A club - originally intended to be a coursing club - was formed at Plumpton Park, Sockburn. This did not flourish and there was established the Plumpton Park Racing and Trotting Club.

Howell was one of the original promoters, being 'gateman, secretary, treasurer, judge and chairman' and helping 'to bring the club to the successful position which it...attained'. In 1903 he could state that the club had 75 acres of freehold property at Sockburn, these being in good order and...equipped with granstand, boxes and all necessary buildings'. Indeed Plumpton Park was the only club in New Zealand which possessed 'a racing and training track with grounds of its own'. In his last years Howell saw his beloved park - now 106 acres in extent - purchased by Henry (later Sir Henry) Wigram for his air school. The park was to become the Wigram Air Force Base.

In his dealings with others in the trotting world Howell showed 'enthusiasm, ability, integrity and geniality'. In 1908 his peers commissioned Sydney Lough Thompson to paint his likeness. As well, the C S Howell Handicap was established to perpetuate 'the name of one of the most honourable and respected men in the early days of trotting'.

On 30 March 1867, at St John's Anglican church, Latimer Square, Christchurch, C S Howell harness maker, married Maggie Hall. Charles died at his daughter's residence in New Brighton, leaving four sons and two daughters. The gravestone recalls Charles Selby Howell who was born on 23 June 1836 and died on 29 April 1921; and his wife Maggie, 64, who died at Opawa on 2 October 1906.

Credit: Ch-Ch Library: Woolston/Heathcote Cemetery Records


YEAR: 1907

Decided to include a race for trotters only on each programme. Later in the year it was decided to include two such races in each programme

Credit: CPTC: Centenial History


YEAR: 1906

Mr N Goodwin operated the totalisator until 1906, after which Mr W McDougall was appointed to the position.

Credit: CPTC: Centennial History


YEAR: 1904

OCTOBER - The Christchurch Racing Club offered 100 towards the cost of a new stewards stand. This was declined, with the committee deciding to go ahead without outside help.

The tender of Mr H J Otley of 508/5/- was accepted for the erection of the grandstand.

NOVEMBER - Decided to hold a meeting on December 26, 1904 and January 2 & 3, 1905. The main race was the New Year Handicap, a 4min 55s class race over two miles. Nomination fees were set at 2 and acceptance fees at 1/10/-.

Decided that the Christchurch Racing Club be charged 20 a day for the use of the course.

Credit: CPTC: Centennial History


YEAR: 1903

Three sections were sold for 150.

Resolved to run an eight-race programme between 2.30pm and 4.45pm, four races to be in harness and the other four in saddle, all events over one and two miles.

Two racecourse inspectors were engaged.

Credit: CPTC: Centennial History


YEAR: 1902

The Club arranged a motgage of 1,400 and the committee gave consideration to selling some of the property.

A change of rules of the Club was made to provide for the bracketing of horses produced by the one trainer.

Credit: CPTC: Centennial History


YEAR: 1901

The Club ran into difficult times and reduced the stakes for the main races from 120 to 60.

Credit: CPTC: Centennial History


YEAR: 1900

Stakes of 598/10/- were paid for a two-day meeting on March 10 & 15, with prizes from 25 to 60 for each event.

Credit: CPTC: CentennialHistory


YEAR: 1900


The Spring meeting of the Plumpton Park Trotting Club was begun today (Friday, 3 November) in beautiful weather. The sum of 2934 passed through the totalisator. The following are the results:-

TRIAL HANDICAP of 35sovs. Two miles - Royal Tar, 12sec, 1; The Fly, 12sec, 2; Jerry H, 10sec, 3. Four others started. Won by 10 lengths. Time 5min 35sec. Dividend 5 12s.

PONY HANDICAP (harness) of 30sovs. One mile and a half - Rushlight, 30sec, 1; The Duckling, 29sec, 2; Gipsy, 27sec, 3. Seven others started. Won by four lengths. Time 4min 22 2/5sec. Dividend 5 14s.

SOCKBURN HANDICAP of 90sovs. Two miles - Rothschild Boy, 13sec, 1; Kingston, 22sec, 2; Wenlock, 19sec, 3. Three others started. Won by eight lengths. Time 5min 10sec. Dividend 2 10s.

PROGRESSIVE HANDICAP of 50sovs. Two miles - Forsaken Child, 27sec, 1; Eltee More, 11sec, 2; Miracle Jack, 15sec, 3. Six others started. Won comfortably by eight lengths. Time 5min 40 1/2sec. Dividend 2.

SELLING HANDICAP of 35sovs. Two miles - Lady Audley, 32sec, 1; Bess II, 22sec, 2; Michael Malone, 10sec, 3. Three others started. Won by about 100 yards. Time 5min 49 3/5sec. Dividend 1 14s.

PLUMPTON HANDICAP (harness) of 100sovs. Two miles - Little Archie, 22sec, 1; The Heir, 24sec 2; Victory II, 3sec, 3. Collector (3sec) also started. Won by a bare length. Time 5min 9 1/5sec. Dividend 1 10s.

ELECTRIC HANDICAP of 50sovs. One mile - Honest Jack, 13sec 1; Principal, 18sec, 2; Linda, 13sec, 3. Four others started. Won by a length. Time 2min 32sec. Dividend 7 10s.

DASH HANDICAP (harness) of 50sovs. One mile - Rimu, 18sec, 1; Valour, 6sec, 2; Hollis II, 11sec, 3. Four others started. Won by six lengths. Time 2min 36 3/5sec. Dividend 3 2s.

Credit: Otago Daily Times 3 Nov 1900

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