It goes without saying that greyhound racing certainly isn’t as popular now as it once was. In fact, at times it’s hard to believe that going to ‘the dogs’ was once second only to football in popularity. However, a night at the races, whether it’s your local track or one of the biggest in the country, is still a fantastic social occasion to have with your friends, and if you’ve never been before, it’s certainly worth checking out when the current covid-19 restrictions are eased.
Putting a small wager on a dog on a site like Betdaq and then watching its jaw-dropping athleticism as it races around the track at speeds of around 40 miles per hour is actually quite the thrill. So, if you’re new to the sport or just want to know a little more about it, then continue reading our beginner’s guide to greyhound racing…
How greyhound racing began in the United Kingdom
Greyhound racing can be linked back to coursing, which was an event where two greyhounds would chase a live hare with the first one to catch it deemed the winner. Of course, it was later deemed unfair on the animal. However, coursing’s loss was greyhound racing’s gain, and the first official meeting as we know it today was held at Belle Vue Stadium in Manchester in 1926. From there, the sport took off and after just one year there were 40 tracks up and down the country. Greyhound racing peaked after World War II as it became hugely popular with the working-class community. The sport’s decline started in the 1960s and the number of tracks scattered across the United Kingdom has halved since.
Greyhound race types are very similar to those of horse racing. Likes horses, certain dogs are more accustomed to different distances, whilst age is also a factor. In terms of distances, races can be divided into four different categories, sprints (D), middle (A), stayers (S) and marathon (E). *How they are marked on the racecards. The dogs’ age will decide what category they race in. Any dog under two qualifies as a puppy. At 21-30 months old they are primed for sprints and more experienced greyhounds are better suited to marathons. Races also categorised, with Category 1 races being the best. There are also hurdle races, most notably the Champion Hurdle at Central Park and the Novices’ Hurdle. However, they aren’t as common.
Colours and traps
As opposed to horse racing, where colours are decided by the owners, the colours donned by greyhounds represent their traps. There are six traps in greyhound racing, and these are assigned to give equal chances to all those competing. The colours that align with each trap are as follows:
- Red with white number
- Blue with white number
- White with black number
- Black with white number
- Orange with black number
- Black and white stripes with red number
What are the biggest races in the UK?
Ok, so now we have talked all about the race types, it’s time to mention some of the country’s biggest meetings. The English Greyhound Derby is arguably the most prestigious event in the entire sport. It dates back to 1927, when it was first run at White City Stadium. This year, the 500-metre race will return to Towcester after short stint at Nottingham, and the prize pot will be around a whopping £175,000. Other top races include the Kent St Leger and the Oaks, which is the biggest race for bitches.
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