26th May 2020
(Opens to a third party website)
At last we started back from our long absence due to Covid-19 with three trial sessions at Henlow on Monday, Thursday and Friday with 40 runners in total. Henlow only allowed dogs that had graded at the track before the lockdown, this was to try and get as many as they can requalified in readiness for the first meeting back next Monday since March 23rd. The actual SIS fixture lists have yet to be confirmed but it’s thought that Henlow will have five meetings, these will be 10 races with a 30 minute gap between each race. It certainly will be good to get back racing but firstly all the dogs that had sprints last week will have to have a 460m trial this week starting today. Last week's sprints went well but all looked short of a run, for the record the quickest of ours was Towstar Billy (16.81), Algo For You (16.87), Muxton Teddy (16.90), Playbook and Jesses Sister (16.96).
Towcester’s planned trial session this Monday and Tuesday has been put back to Thursday and Friday which was a bit of a blow as we had an array of stars lined up for the trial sessions. The reason for the cancellation could well have a lot to do with the intended SIS fixture list where Towcester will need some slots to be able to set some targets to achieve. Without a doubt Towcester will try to be one of the first tracks to start open racing as promoter Kevin Boothby has his heart set on having at least one meeting a week (most likely Saturday nights) to showcase what’s great about our sport and Towcester.
Greyhound racing is no different from any other sports and will have to come back behind closed doors as no crowd gatherings of more than just a few people will be allowed at any time and most likely will be in place until a vaccine is in place which might not be until this time next year, hence the reason that a media deal is essential for greyhound tracks to operate. Already we have seen two casualties of the current climate with both Peterborough and Poole shutting as they relied heavily on people coming through the turnstiles rather than media deals, you would have to say it’s very doubtful they will ever be used for greyhound racing again. Although Poole is not a track we frequented too much, Peterborough at one time was. We have won three Peterborough Derby’s over the years with Kinda Magic (2001), Fear No One (2005) and Lil Risky (2012) as well as few other competitions like the Puppy Derby and Fengate Collar. As said Peterborough was once one of the shining lights of success in our industry with extensions to their vast restaurant costing fortunes producing massive crowds and it's not that long ago they won the Bags Championship beating some more illustrious tracks in the process. For me the fact they stopped doing opens in recent years and the constant moaning of owners and trainers at the track about the lack of prize money etc etc was not addressed and they never actively sought to get a proper media deal was always going to be their downfall as well as the fact they didn’t invest into changing the track slightly and their tight bends made it difficult to sell top class racing to sponsors and trainers.
Not too much else happening and we are really waiting for the racing to begin and I’m positive the sport can deliver a good safe environment for all the staff that will travel to the tracks.
Stay safe and well