Racing behind closed doors will put a financial strain on greyhound industry

Racing behind closed doors will put a financial strain on greyhound industry
An Employee of Shelbourne Park with a greyhound ahead of the trials before racing returns on June 15. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

THE tracks of Ireland were a hive of activity on Monday as hundreds of greyhounds trialled across the country ahead of a return to racing this week.

The prolific Beatbytheboro, trained by Clonmel trainer Kevin McLean, has impressed with his 29.38 performance around Youghal, winning his trial by 14 lengths.

McLean’s unraced December youngster was another to impress, producing a stunning 17.90 run around the 325-yard trip, winning by 11 lengths.

A son of Skywalker Puma and Knockboy Kathy, he looks to have a bright future. Of course, not forgetting that the first litter of Knockboy Kathy were very pacey.

The kennel of English Derby-winning handler Kevin Hutton has gone from strength to strength in recent years. With no open class racing in the UK at the moment, there are a lot of dogs making their way across the pond.

Hutton states in his blog, “I’m normally used to collecting dogs from the transporter, but this week we have four dogs going in the opposite direction.

“Headford Ranger and Calzaghe Sonic have the Champion Stakes and Irish Derby on the agenda while Badminton Donal heads over for a crack at the Dundalk sprint competition which we came so close to winning with Forest Natalee in 2017. Ballydoyle Terry also joins Martin Lanney as we look to get some races into him after an interrupted campaign in the UK.”

Another English track looks in serious trouble as it was announced last week that racing at Belle Vue would be suspended.

Rachel Corden, Greyhound Operations Director, said “The suspension of greyhound racing throughout the national period of lockdown has had a significant impact on many businesses involved in greyhound racing, as it has across all sports.

“While we are pleased to be back racing behind closed doors, having reassessed the short-term financial requirements, it is simply uneconomical to operate fixtures at Belle Vue at this time.

“We know how much local and national support there is for racing to continue at Belle Vue but, as a large site that relies heavily on the leisure crowd and without footfall it just not viable.

“This decision will be reassessed at the end of August, and we would like to thank all of the staff and trainers for their ongoing support.”

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