Founded as the Wellington Jockey Club in 1854, the first race meetings held by the club were at Hutt Park in 1854 and at Burnham Water on the Miramar Peninsula.
The Club first ran its signature competition, the Wellington Cup, in 1867. The name of the club was changed to the Wellington Racing Club in 1879, to denote its status as Wellington's premier racing club. The next year the totalisator was used at Hutt Park for the first time. The Hutt Hack Racing Club also held races at Hutt Park. Arguments over the shortcomings of Hutt Park as the racecourse for the capital city came to a head in 1903 when the New Zealand Railways Department refused to improve the transport to the course. It was served by the Hutt Park Railway, which had been opened in 1885, but a new line following a similar alignment to the present day Hutt Valley Line and the Gracefield Branch would have provided better access.
In 1903 the Club conceived the idea of building a new course at Trentham. The new Trentham Racecourse held its first meeting on 20 January 1906. It was appropriate that at the first meeting Ropa won the Wellington Cup in 2 min 33 sec, then a New Zealand record for a mile and a half. Three stands were built between 1922 and 1924.
In 1994, the Club leased part of its former properties to Hutt International Boys' School.
Famous quotes containing the words club, wellington and/or racing:
“He loved to sit silent in a corner of his club and listen to the loud chattering of politicians, and to think how they all were in his powerhow he could smite the loudest of them, were it worth his while to raise his pen for such a purpose.”
—Anthony Trollope (18151882)
“To define it rudely but not inaptly, engineering ... is the art of doing that well with one dollar, which any bungler can do with two after a fashion.”
—Arthur Mellen Wellington (18471895)
“Upscale people are fixated with food simply because they are now able to eat so much of it without getting fat, and the reason they dont get fat is that they maintain a profligate level of calorie expenditure. The very same people whose evenings begin with melted goats cheese ... get up at dawn to run, break for a mid-morning aerobics class, and watch the evening news while racing on a stationary bicycle.”
—Barbara Ehrenreich (b. 1941)