Sports

How new spectators can get into greyhound racing

Greyhound racing can seem a little intimidating at first. For a sport that is steeped in so much history, predominantly in the 20th century, the demand for a night at the track may have dropped a bit in recent years but there is still plenty of entertainment on offer. While the stands aren’t as busy as they once were, there still remains a small but dedicated, passionate set of spectators ready to observe the best races and place a greyhound bet.

Despite so many of the biggest greyhound stadiums having to close their doors due to financial troubles, there are still a number of brilliant tracks with state-of-the-art facilities, hospitality seating with food and drink and plenty of entertainment to make for a great night. So even if you aren’t a regular at the racetrack there is plenty on offer to experience a new sport that is re-emerging in popularity now coronavirus restrictions are hopefully a thing of the past. Read on, as we discuss the ins and outs of greyhound racing for the novices and hopefully provide some fun tips for the more experienced racegoer.

Know your races

There are certain races on the greyhound calendar that you simply can’t afford to miss. Coronavirus meant that the majority of the big names this year were forced to run behind closed doors but since the return of spectators the quality looks like it has been amped up a notch. The biggest races are the English Greyhound Derby, which is has been back and forth between Towcester and Nottingham in recent years as well as the East Anglian Cup in Yarmouth.

Category 1 races are the highest standard you will see, throughout the year you only see a handful of the best racers and trainers in the sport competing against each other, with the ultimate goal being to win the English Derby’s massive prize fund of £125,000.

Learn the history

As mentioned before, in a sad state of affairs most of the biggest tracks across the country have had to shut down — with the majority now renovated into shopping centres or car parks. In the peak of its power, greyhound racing was a predominantly working-class sport, something for people to do after a hard day’s work. Interestingly, a lot of major stadia that is used now, such as Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, was once a home to racing. Nowadays, the sport has moved away from London, with the Midlands adopting it as a new spiritual home. Almost all of the tracks from the capital have shut down, with Romford the last remaining.

There have been a number of famous trainers and dogs who have written their names in the history books, some of the best being Ballyregan Bob, who won 32 races in a row back in the 1980s and Charlie Lister, the trainer with the most Derby victors, winning a record seven times.

Pick the best track for you

With the Midlands now hosting the biggest events, it may seem like a logical decision to go there if you want to experience the best of the best.However, there are plenty of races for you to get your greyhound fix even if you are based elsewhere. Doncaster, Yarmouth and Sheffield also host some fantastic events, all of which are easily accessible and while the standard may not be as high as the top races on the calendar there will still be plenty of entertainment on hand and lots of races to enjoy.

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