Greyhound racing attendance smashed as over 1,500 say cheers to Oxford Stadium

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Oxford Stadium smashed its greyhound racing attendance record on Bank Holiday Monday with over 1,500 racegoers raising a glass to celebrate its extraordinary regeneration project.

The Cowley venue opened its doors for free and poured 1,500 complimentary drinks for those who booked in advance to mark the one-year anniversary of greyhound racing’s return to Oxford following a decade-long absence.

It coincided with the launch of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s inaugural National Greyhound Week which concludes on Sunday, September 3, and will showcase all aspects of the sport and its present-day operation.

Punters were treated to question-and-answer sessions with a selection of trainers, a veterinary demonstration with track vet Noah Petrovic and had the opportunity to win prizes to future events by playing ‘Spin The Wheel’.

Hundreds of pounds were also raised on the night to support the stadium’s Loved in Retirement campaign which underpins the GBGB’s Greyhound Retirement Scheme by finding retired greyhounds a home when their racing career ends.

The night proved so successful that Managing Director Kevin Boothby announced the stadium’s free admission and drink offer will apply for the remainder of National Greyhound Week, with racing returning to Sandy Lane on Saturday afternoon.

“Monday night showcased greyhound racing’s present-day operation at its absolute best,” said Kevin. “Our terraces and interior viewing spaces were packed and totally unrecognisable to the neglected space we took control of.

“Progress people have witnessed in the last two years is akin to the positive changes made to licensed greyhound racing since 2018.

“The greyhound is privileged to be the UK’s most accounted for dog breed, and that’s credit to the GBGB’s groundbreaking new programmes including its Injury Recovery Scheme, Greyhound Retirement Scheme and welfare strategy ‘A Good Life for Every Greyhound’.

“Support we have received for the return of greyhound racing has been beyond expectations and we look forward to continuing to highlight the sport’s progress through the remainder of National Greyhound Week.”

Since Kevin acquired a 10-year lease from site owners Galliard Homes in June 2021, over £1million has been invested into restoring the stadium to its former glory.

It’s now home to four greyhound racing fixtures each week, Blackbird Leys ABC – the city’s oldest boxing club – plus the world-famous Oxford Cheetahs speedway team and Oxford Chargers, Oxford’s newest professional sports club.

Kevin added: “Restoring Oxford Stadium to its current state has been without doubt our greatest challenge.

“It’s taken an extraordinary amount of work from our team, external operators and not forgetting our incredible volunteers who campaigned so hard to return this site of significant importance back into the hands of the community.

“We’d like to thank everyone who chose to celebrate the stadium’s regeneration with us and will definitely be organising similar events in the not-too-distant future.”

Greyhound racing returns to Oxford Stadium on Saturday afternoon when Round One of the first-ever Sandy Lane Maiden Derby begins.

To round off National Greyhound Week, admission is once again free with all racegoers who book in advance entitled to one free drink on arrival. Race one is due off at 1.57pm.

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