The heart of Alexandra Park has always been the Auckland Trotting Club. Established more than 100 years ago, it is one of the city’s oldest and most enduring institutions. Its business vision is “to be recognised as the number one venue in the Australasian harness racing industry”.
The club was formed in 1890, in the thick of horse racing action around Newmarket and Epsom. The earliest racecourse competition was held on the Epsom property of the Potter family, who were later managers of the adjacent tram barns, hence early names ‘Potters Paddock’ and ‘Tramways Corner’. In the early 1900s the New Zealand Trotting Cup was established at Addington, making Christchurch the headquarters of trotting in New Zealand. However, the Auckland Trotting Club continued to grow in stature, and rivals the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club.
Night trotting began at Alexandra Park in 1958, becoming an instant success, introducing a format that continues to get audiences excited. Alexandra Park is also home to the Thames, Manukau, Kumeu and Franklin Trotting clubs – as this is predominantly where they race in Auckland – and these clubs currently organise half of the race meetings held at Alexandra Park. Northland Harness Racing and Wairarapa Harness Racing clubs also participate in meetings here, emphasising the contribution of Alexandra Park to its industry.
Since the mid 1980s the racing industry has faced intense competition from other forms of gaming. In the 1990s the Auckland Trotting Club set out to confront this challenge head on, establishing a commercial board of directors, including two external independent directors. The club now adopts a proactive commercial attitude to meet our key objective of ensuring the future of harness racing at Alexandra Park. Race nights at Alexandra Park are now focused on providing a unique experience that combines fine food, entertainment and a social atmosphere.