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Greyhound Racing Hits the Front As First Sport in the UK to Resume

Greyhound Number 1While much of the fanfare was reserved for the long-awaited return of horse racing on Monday, it was actually the greyhounds who were quickest out of the traps.

The Perry Barr meeting on June 1 was the first professional sporting event in the UK following the easing of the restrictions, and the first race on the card paid tribute to the outstanding work of medical personnel and care workers – the ‘ARC Thanks to NHS and Keyworkers’ Race’.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) had revealed its first set of fixtures for ‘Phase Two’ of the sport’s resumption, and these will feature a whopping 70 races per day, seven days a week for the next fortnight!

It’s a sport that, while hugely popular with punters, is not always that well attended in person – particularly at daytime meetings, and so bringing racing back behind closed doors is less of an issue than it might be elsewhere.

To ensure that the return of dog racing went without a hitch, officials have been running a set of behind-closed-doors trial races to ensure that all necessary safety measures and protocol could be introduced effectively, and the Board confirmed that the trials were a success.

This stems from the GBGB’s new Operational Policy, which is a series of rules designed to ensure that everyone involved in the sport – from owners to track staff – are able to carry out their work safely and in line with governmental procedures on distancing and so on.

A number of guidelines remain in place, including:

    • Limits on the numbers of track staff
    • Races held 30 minutes apart
    • Thorough cleaning of the stalls between each race

Once Phase Two has been signed off, the object of the GBGB Operational Policy is to slowly relax these restrictions at a gradual pace until, hopefully, everything returns to normal.

The managing director of GBGB, Mark Bird, said:

“We have been clear from the start of the lockdown that a swift return to racing is in the best interests of our greyhounds.

“We are thrilled to be racing again and to be flying the flag for our sport as the first to return, albeit behind closed doors for the time being.

“We are in the unique position of having no human participants which has meant that, with careful planning, we have been able to get the show back on the road today.”

Open Races On Hold

Greyhound with Blue Jacket

For the time being, there will be no open races held in an attempt to minimise any problems that might arise from travelling with dogs around the country.

That means that all dogs will compete at the tracks local to them, with the open calendar resuming as part of Phase Three – and in-line with the government’s latest updates regarding the relaxation of lockdown measures.

Some trainers will not be able to return if they don’t have a track local to them, and the GBGB has confirmed that they will continue to provide financial support to them throughout June.

In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the UK greyhound fixtures from June 1-14, though are subject to change:

Day Morning Afternoon Evening
Monday Bags Perry Barr Swindon Sheffield Kinsley Yarmouth Nottingham
Monday Other Central Park Henlow Monmore Romford Doncaster Harlow
Tuesday Bags Kinsley Nottingham Newcastle Sunderland Sheffield Swindon
Tuesday Other Central Park Romford Hove Monmore Crayford Henlow
Wednesday Bags Newcastle Swindon Belle Vue Perry Barr Sheffield Sunderland
Wednesday Other Central Park Crayford Hove Monmore Doncaster Harlow
Thursday Bags Perry Barr Sunderland Nottingham Sheffield Newcastle Yarmouth
Thursday Other Central Park Henlow Crayford Romford Hove Monmore
Friday Bags Kinsley Swindon Newcastle Yarmouth Nottingham Sunderland
Friday Other Harlow Hove Crayford Monmore Central Park Romford
Saturday Bags Belle Vue Perry Barr Newcastle Nottingham Sheffield Swindon
Saturday Other Crayford Romford Doncaster Henlow Monmore Hove
Sunday Bags Belle Vue Sunderland Kinsley Pelaw Grange
Sunday Other Doncaster Harlow Henlow Hove Towcester Central Park

For more information on greyhound racing, check out our guides on “How to Bet on Greyhound Racing” and “How to Read a Greyhound Racecard”.