Oxford Stadium Managing Director Kevin Boothby is forecasting the biggest crowd of greyhound racing’s new era on Bank Holiday Monday, where admission is free for all.
Over 1,500 people were trackside when Stefans Jet won the Cowley venue’s first race in over 3,500 days following the stadium’s decade long period of inactivity where it was kept under lock and key.
Crowds have since flocked back to the stadium in numbers for feature meetings including its Boxing Day Bonanza and the recent £20,000 Stadium Bookmakers Pall Mall Final.
But the attendance record is set to be broken when racegoers mark the one-year anniversary of the sport’s return at its Bank Holiday fixture, which coincides with the inaugural National Greyhound Week launched by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
After investing over £1m to restore the stadium to its original state, Kevin said opening the turnstiles for free was the least he could do to thank everyone connected with the venue’s regeneration.
“The regeneration of Oxford Stadium is the feel-good story of the decade locally,” said Kevin.
“We’ve created employment for local people, reinstalled much-missed sports back into the community and established a six-day-a-week multi-functional hub which has brought the good times back to the Blackbird Leys and Cowley communities.
“It’s extraordinary to think the site had been earmarked for housing and it is with no doubt in my mind the stadium’s current provisions serve a far greater purpose to local people.
“Support we’ve received throughout the regeneration project has been overwhelming.
“From the first volunteers who cleared the hedgerows on our terraces to our partners, the thousands who turn up week in week out to get behind our speedway operation and our racegoers – they’ve all made a key difference.
“This is our way of saying thank you by inviting everyone to enjoy a free night out on us to end the Bank Holiday Weekend in style.”
Doors will open on Monday, August 28, at 4pm with racegoers able to enjoy a selection of pre-meeting activities including trainer Q&As, a retired greyhound meet and greet and the opportunity to land prizes for future events via the stadium’s golden wheel.
Those who book their free admission ticket online will also be able to raise a glass to the stadium’s new era by receiving a free drink of their choice on arrival.
The first of 11 live races will start at 6.17pm with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s Owners’ Bonus Series adding commemorative trophies and race jackets to the winning owners of each race.
Kevin added: “Greyhound racing’s return to Oxford Stadium is what has made our regeneration project possible, and it’s key people understand that.
“Without greyhound racing, the stadium’s present-day operation would cease to exist. It’s why ensuring events of this kind are a huge success so we can clearly demonstrate demand for these activities is strong and this site of significant local importance remains in the hands of local people.
“We hope to see as many people trackside as possible and look forward to a great night of racing.”
Free admission tickets are available to book online via the Oxford Stadium website where a free drink can also be reserved upon arrival. Racegoers arriving on the day without an online ticket will be entitled to free admission only.