Over the last couple of years, it can be argued that greyhound racing has lost some of its popularity. The thrill of going to a race track has been squandered since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with restrictions effecting spectators’ attendance, really dampening the atmosphere around the sport. However, the small but dedicated greyhound enthusiasts can finally return to the track as rules have begun to relax over the summer.
While the greyhound betting sites have been quieter than usual this season with races taking place behind doors, there are now a plethora of tracks welcoming back spectators after almost 19 months of eerie silence. Wherever you are across the UK, there is bound to be somewhere to spend a night at the races, so read on as we go through five of the best.
Romford Greyhound Stadium – London
The East End in renowned for its love of greyhound racing, with a casual weekend consisting of punters frantically checking the greyhound betting tips in order to pick a winner. The 4,000-capacity ground is popular because of how accessible it is. Located close to London, it is just a short train ride away from the capital and can be driven from the centre within an hour. As one of the last remaining tracks near the city, Romford hosts the Coronation Cup and Champion Stakes — big dates on the greyhound racing calendar.
Blackburn Greyhound Stadium – Blackburn
Despite being closed for the best part of 40 years, Blackburn Greyhound Stadium is steeped in history. Having held races since the 1930’s, it was a hub for racing in Lancashire before its closure and is sadly now part of a shopping complex and Tesco supermarket. It is a shame to see such a historic landmark in the sports history be demolished, especially one that survived a world war!
Shelbourne Park – Dublin
The first racetrack away from English shores, Shelbourne Park has been running for almost 100 years. Although the track has been open for so long and has a rich history, it has been able to move with the times, constantly being updated to adapt and give it a modern feel with new restaurants recently being added. The ground also used to hold speedway events and football matches but now is solely used for racing, being the home of the Irish Greyhound Derby.
Walthamstow Stadium – London
Heading back to the capital now and it is really sad to see the decline in popularity greyhound racing has faced in London, with one of its most famous grounds being closed for 13 years now. Walthamstow was possibly the most popular track in the country in the 80s, but shut its doors for the final time in 2008 after 75 years of racing. The track was deemed financially unstable and despite once being branded ‘the most charismatic greyhound track in Britain’ the demand simply wasn’t there to keep the lights on in London.
Nottingham Greyhound Stadium – Nottinghamshire
Since its decline, the Midlands has adopted greyhound racing as its new home. The English Greyhound Derby was ran here in 2019 and 2020 before returning to Towcester this year, although coronavirus has limited spectators’ presence, but with plenty of entertaining action still to come from this season, it is no wonder why the country’s most prestigious ground regularly gets all 1500 into the outskirts of Nottingham.