• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Greyhound racing has big future at Oxford Stadium

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 6, 2022

Greyhound racing returned to Oxford last weekend and the stadium has big plans for the future of the sport.

From next week, Oxford Stadium will be adding a third racing day to its schedule, which will take place on Thursday mornings.

The venue will also be hosting two Category One events – the highest calibre competition in UK greyhound racing – between now and Christmas.

They are the RPGTV Cowley Puppy Collar; a world-cup style progression race series that begins with 48 greyhounds.

The winner will take home £10,000.

Then there’s the Bet365 Challenge Cup, which takes on the same format as the puppy collar but on a longer racecourse.

Speaking on last weekend’s first greyhound racing event in Oxford in more than 10 years, Oxford Stadium Racing Manager Kiaran O’Brien said: “It was an extraordinary success, and we’d like to thank the thousands of racegoers who contributed towards a memorable weekend of greyhound racing.

“There was a terrific feel-good factor on the terraces, and the feedback we have received from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.

“There is a collective ambition at Oxford Stadium to make our facility the best greyhound racing venue in the county, and I believe we have every possibility of turning that vision into reality.

Managing director of Oxford Stadium Kevin Boothby extended the Sandy Lane venue’s capacity for last weekend’s races and said beforehand that executive tickets were sold out.

Read more: Over 3,000 people turn up to Oxford Stadium's first greyhound races in over 10 years

The venue was reopened in April after Mr Boothby secured a 10-year lease on the stadium last year.

It had hosted speedway and greyhound racing for 73 years before closing in 2012.

The reopening of the stadium for greyhound racing was met with some opposition from animal rights groups.

Around 20 protesters turned up to the stadium with placards, engaging guests as they drove into the stadium, trying to dissuade them from taking part.

A member of PETA at the demonstration, Molly Elsden, said: “Many greyhounds get serious injuries or die during this ‘sport’, and we don’t think it’s fair that any animal should be used for entertainment.

“Many of the public don’t know what happens to the dogs involved in this practice and we really need to spread the message.

“The dogs don’t choose to be here, and they’re not here for our use.”

Mr O’Brien said: “Our trainers were really encouraged by how the track behaved too, and we’re pleased to report no racing injuries in the 113 dogs who participated across the two days.

“Consequently, races this weekend have been oversubscribed and we look forward to hosting another all-open card on Friday 9 at 6.19pm and graded racing on Saturday 10 at 7.30pm.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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