As we step into a new year of greyhound racing, we once again take a look at some of the sport’s biggest races. Everyone is aware of how important the big events are on the racing calendar and last year saw plenty of shock victories and upsets to those who bet on greyhound racing.
Although the sport is not as popular as it once was, there are still a handful of loyal fans who are dedicated to following the big races up and down the country, with the Midlands becoming something of a new spiritual home for greyhound racing after most of London stadium’s shut their doors. With this is mind, we though we’d run through some of the best greyhound tracks the Midlands has to offer as well as some of their best events.
There was once a time where greyhound racing was amongst the most popular pastimes in the country. Both London and the Midlands were hubs for the sport, with both boasting some of the best facilities in the 1960s. However, the turn of the decade meant popularity dwindled and White City stadium, the only track in Nottingham, closed its doors, leaving the city without a racetrack well into the 1980s until Nottingham Stadium opened.
Obviously as the years went on the track grew older and to keep up with the times it received renovation in 2008 and has since redeveloped its reputation –winning many awards over the years. The track won the ‘Central Region Racecourse of the Year’ award, designated by The British Greyhound Racing Board before, so its pedigree is certainly warranted.
In the years since, Nottingham has laid host to many major competitions, and during changes to Towcester in 2019 and 2020, it took over as host of the English Greyhound Derby — perhaps the sport’s most prestigious race.
The new home of the English Greyhound Derby, work was concluded on Towcester’s racetrack making it a suitable home for all of the sports big races for years to come. The Northamptonshire town would host the event for a third time, after successive runs in 2017 and 2018, as the ground received updates to keep up with the demand of modern racing, and prevent the ground becoming outdated.
Although the coronavirus pandemic may have caused delays to the opening and robbed the track of some precious first moments on the big stage, we are sure Towcester’s popularity will be around for the foreseeable future and give both locals and greyhound enthusiasts a hub to get their racing fix.
Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium
Since its development in 2007, Perry Bar has been the go-to place for greyhound racing across the West Midlands. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the centre of Birmingham, the stadium is easily accessible from all corners of the country, down to the Perry Barr railway station and still hosts a plethora of entertaining events.
Eventually the track was given the green light to host the Laurels and Oaks last year, meaning it now holds four of the original classic races — the Scurry Gold Cup, St Leger, Laurels and Oaks.
Serving as a multipurpose arena, it also hosts Motorcycle Speedway, something racecourses have had to do in modern times to keep money coming through the door and with the excellent facilities on hand at Perry Barr, it’s no wonder that it has held its own even when so many other racetracks were forced to shut.
Monmore Green Stadium
Over to the Black Country now, Monmore Green has a great reputation with some of greyhound’s best trainers like Stuart Buckland and Kim Billingham. Hosting regular races which offer more of a hospitality package than a conventional night at the tracks, this one appeals more to the casual racing fan than those who consider themselves enthusiasts. With events most weekends, there is usually racing of some standard on at Monmore.
Image Credits: Oosoom