In the UK, there’s a strong affinity between greyhound racing and its punters. Millions of people flock to tracks up and down the country each year, enjoying (usually) a night at the races – and more often than not, also placing a wager on the favourite, according to the latest betting exchange odds. There are 20 active and registered stadia in the UK, and if you’ve not yet enjoyed a trip to the dogs, read on as we list some of the most popular tracks.
Following the closure of the White City Stadium in 1970, Nottingham didn’t have a venue for greyhound racing until 1980, when the Nottingham Stadium opened. In 2008, the racecourse underwent a renovation and has since become a popular racing venue – also winning many awards over the years. The British Greyhound Racing Board named it ‘Central Region Racecourse of the Year’ twice in four years. As a result, Nottingham hosts many major competitions, and since 2019, has been the home of the prestigious English Greyhound Derby. But it also plays host to The Eclipse, The National Sprint and the British Breeders Stakes, amongst others. Races take place Monday, Friday and Saturday evenings – with Monday being Open Race Night.
Based in the London Borough of Havering, in East London, Romford Stadium is one of two racetracks in the capital. It’s a popular venue and must-go-to for any lover of the dogs. Having opened its doors in 1929, Romford has won plenty of awards of the years, including being named as ‘Racecourse of the Year’ by the British Greyhound Racing Board twice. There are two different enclosures at the Romford Stadium – the Main Enclosure and the Millennium Enclosure – and racing takes place six days a week. Romford is home to the Champion Stakes, Golden Sprint and Coronation Cup, amongst other competitions.
The only remaining greyhound track in Scotland, Shawfield is situated in South Lanarkshire, close to the border with Glasgow. Away from the dogs, the stadium has also been home to many other tenants and sports, including Clyde FC, the Glasgow Tigers and Scottish Monarchs (speedway), as well as staging boxing and athletics competitions. Shawfield opened in 1898, and between 1970-1985 as well as from 1989, it has hosted the Scottish Greyhound Derby. It is also where the St Mungo Cup is contested. It’s a weekend affair at Shawfield with racing taking place on Friday and Saturday evenings – and the gates open at 7pm.
Towcester Stadium is one of the newer greyhound racetracks, having originally opened its doors in 2014. It recently reopened in May 2020, after Towcester Races went into administration. During 2017 and 2018, the racecourse famously hosted the English Greyhound Derby – as mentioned, the most prestigious race in the calendar – before the closure forced the race to be moved to Nottingham. It was also previously home to other competitions such as the Champion Hurdle, The Puppy Derby and The Oaks. With races currently taking place behind closed doors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Towcester will be re-opening to the public later this month, beginning with racing on Sunday afternoons.