Welcome to the first ever edition of THE LOFTY VIEW, where our resident greyhound expert MARTIN CHAPMAN, otherwise known as ‘Lofty’, takes a lighthearted deep dive into the wonderful world of greyhound racing.
🐶 High Definition, words that have been screamed out to us since Sky invented sport… See a golf ball rotate from a Rory McIlroy drive, the chalk fly from a Ronnie O’Sullivan pot, feel the spray of a Wayne Rooney spit, well now greyhound racing enters the brave new world. Yes, you can see Jonathan Kay in glorious High Definition.
I must admit the new tracks have made an effort. Doncaster, which always televised well when previously on RPGTV looked well. As for Harlow, despite leaving up a couple of Christmas trees, they had also spruced (no pun intended there) the place up a bit and at least put the mower round the infield, which when I went there about 18 months ago resembled the Everglades.
Some tracks could learn a bit from presentation. After all, UK greyhound racing is beamed all over the globe, even simple things like the Hollywood style K I N S L E Y sign at the Yorkshire venue make you take notice. It’s a shame their fellow Yorkshire track 20 miles south don’t take notice.
Now, I’m not knocking Sheffield here. I’ve enjoyed my visits there, had dogs there and good luck as an owner with a couple of Category 1 finalists and a Trainers Championship winner. Also, the restaurant food (although I’m not in the same food critic category as the boss!) is the best at any greyhound stadium in the country, in my opinion. But surely they can do better than handlers trudging dogs around a pair of traffic cones in a puddle covered shale infield. Plenty of dogs there run under the ‘Coney’ prefix, maybe it’s the most subtle sponsorship deal in history? Somehow, though, I doubt it.
🐶 Australian greyhound racing seems to have taken on an interest in the UK, whether it was first lockdown and the Aussie dogs kept us amused and punting – even if a few races contained plenty of 30/1 plus chances (maybe the Poole grader emigrated?) – or the fact a few pro punters have turned their attention down under and we have even got UK-owned syndicate dogs now. Although, it’s a bit of a trek for a Sunday morning kennel visit or to use your owners pass you cannot enjoy that luxury in the UK at the moment, so maybe it’s not a bad idea after all.
Though, with UK racing being beamed around the globe under the new deal, I cannot quite imagine the scene in some TAB shop down under watching the Poms with dogs running for fifty dollars and you’re a million if you’ve a draw on the rails.
🐶 Towcester announced its accommodation for the upcoming Derby Festival and, although the pricing structure was met with a few raised eyebrows, the luxury end of the market would appeal to some. Although I think whoever books the hot tub pods might be over subscribed!
Maybe the slightly older audience who attend these nights (as in ones who are unlikely to be seen at Glastonbury) will fancy one last hurrah out in the open air? Either way those who go for the on-site festival vibe will enjoy themselves, compact and bijou as estate agents say!
🐶 Big punting weekend coming up, Golden Jacket and Blue Riband, plus a good Monmore and Shelbourne card on RPGTV, square eyes all round. Don’t feel sorry for me on a long shift trying to keep up with it all!
MARTIN ‘LOFTY’ CHAPMAN