Thursday, January 1, 2015

Thames (NZ): Thames Horse Races

Horse races have been held in Thames since the goldfields opened. Although on a less grand scale, another race meeting will be held at the Parawai Racecourse on Saturday 3 January 2015.
Parawai Racecourse, Thames
Johnny Williams' book " Racing for Gold" gives a full history of racing at The Thames.
An overview of racing at Thames:
-First Thames Race meeting held at Shortland 2 January 1868.
-By mid 1870's racing established, meetings held Parawai and Tararu.
-1901 Thames Jockey Club purchased 50 acres of land from Robert Comer and 43 acres of Native land. Parawai course developed. Track originally left-handed and 6 furlongs. 1926 track altered to a right-handed 7 furlong track.

Below is a 1947 view of the Parawai area, with the contrasting photo on the right, showing the amount of housing development that has occurred around the racecourse area.

At the end of 1914, the Thames Jockey Club Races were held on 26 and 28 December 1914. The day was well attended and the results fully published in The Thames Star.
Tender notice for Rights and Privileges Thames Jockey Club meeting
Thames Star 23/11/1914

 C1940s view of the Thames Jockey Club grandstands at the Parawai Racecourse, Thames
Source: Racing for Gold by Johnny Williams

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