Establishment of harness racing

The rich history of Lancaster Park is intertwined with the formation of many sports clubs, including the establishment of formal trotting clubs in Christchurch. Horse racing had been a popular pastime - and the Canterbury Jockey Club was formed as early as 1854 in Riccarton - but many trotting events were only held informally around the city, at Hagley Park and Brighton beach. But in 1886 Lancaster Park decided to form a trotting club and add a track at the Park. It was named the Lancaster Park Trotting Club. Approximately four meetings were held per year until 1899. Betting was popular and the totalisator collections and rental payments proved lucrative for the Park. In 1899 the club was amalgamated with the Canterbury Trotting Club, which had been formed in 1888 and based at the Addington Racecourse. The new club became known as the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club, based at Addington. Hence, Lancaster Park played a major role in the establishment and popularity of trotting in NZ.