Oxford Stadium has revealed further plans for a star-studded first weekend of greyhound racing when the opening fixtures take place at the beginning of September.
The Cowley venue will operate 12 races on Friday, September 2, for its Star Sports Gala Opening Evening with racing scheduled to get underway at 7.30pm.
All races will be at Open level – the highest standard of UK greyhound racing – with connections of each winner receiving £500 in prize money.
A sprint event over 253 metres will launch opening night before six races take place over the standard 450-metre trip for Standard, Maiden, Puppy, Bitches, British Bred and Senior categories.
Two 650-metre contests will follow before the evening concludes with an 847-metre marathon and 1047-metre maxi-marathon. A replica card for a second wave of entries will then be held on Saturday, September 3.
Kevin Boothby, Oxford Stadium Managing Director, described the venue’s opening weekend as a must for any greyhound enthusiast and those in search of a memorable night out.
“It’s going to be a celebration of UK greyhound racing,” said Kevin. “To get to the stage where we’re ready to welcome crowds back for a night at the dogs in Oxford following a decade of closure has been hard work but thoroughly worth it.
“Our opening weekend will showcase everything that is fantastic about greyhound racing in its modern format.
“From world-leading welfare standards to providing enjoyable lives for every dog before, during and after their racing careers and delivering a quality night out for racegoers – Oxford Stadium will have it all.
“We’re forecasting over 2,000 people to be trackside when the traps rise. It’s going to generate an unparalleled atmosphere and we look forward to confirming entries very soon.”
The Stadium was cleared to host its first greyhound racing meeting since December 29, 2012, earlier this month when Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) inspectors officially granted a race license.
A license is only handed out to venues which can demonstrate the ability to operate racing within the GBGB’s strict Rules of Racing requirements which prioritise the safety and welfare of participating greyhounds.
Stadium bosses expect entries for opening weekend to be oversubscribed and hope the sport’s return can inspire more people in Oxfordshire to consider homing a retired greyhound.
Kevin added: “Everyone connected to the sport wants to be part of launch weekend, that’s how much Oxford’s reopening means to people in greyhound racing.
“Part of our long-term strategy, though, is to attract new people to the sport and educate the general public about how greyhound racing operates in modern times. We’ll be placing just as much emphasis on the action on-track as we do for what happens off it.
“That means finding a loving home for all greyhounds connected to Oxford Stadium and inspiring more people in the city to consider adopting a greyhound when their racing careers end.
“They’re magnificent, kind and gentle animals which are easy-going and require far less exercise than other breeds of dogs we commonly see in family homes. We’d love to see more greyhounds enjoying retired life in Oxfordshire, hopefully our launch next month can inspire more families to get involved.”
Tickets for Oxford Stadium’s first greyhound racing fixture since 2012 on Friday, September 2, are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here.