Pound­ing hooves in the Porirua Har­bour derby

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON MCCON­NELL

Hold your horses – for­get sand­cas­tles and walks at sun­set. The shores of Porirua Har­bour were once used for horse rac­ing.

The ear­li­est recorded race meet­ing was re­ported in March 1862. Nearly 500 people, many on horse­back, came to watch seven races along the har­bour mud­flats.

A news­pa­per re­port de­scribed the course as ‘‘… a good one, al­though rather heavy for the horses’’.

In the 1870s Jos Prosser and his broth­ers were op­er­at­ing Prosser’s Coaches which ran a ser­vice be­tween Fox­ton and Welling­ton.

Prosser set­tled in Porirua and es­tab­lished him­self as one of the best horse rac­ing train­ers in the Welling­ton re­gion. His horses and jock­eys won ma­jor jump­ing and hand­i­cap events in New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

Prosser and Wil­liam Jil­lett or­gan­ised early race meet­ings on the shores of Porirua Har­bour and trained horses there.

Some res­i­dents re­called be­ing able to lean out of their bed­room win­dows and hear the horses race up and down the beach. Prosser was re­puted to have had a race­course marked out and a spec­ta­tors’ stand on his land in Porirua.

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