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18 Jan 22 12:43
Date Joined: 10 Jan 03
| Topic/replies: 10,526 | Blogger: Slicer's blog
In my early days when I was a wet behind the ears novice punter & university student, I spent some time entertaining myself at Hendon & Wembley dog tracks. Hendon track was a dump & there were more dogs running than spectators. Hendon became what is now Brent Cross Shopping Centre. However the point of this thread is that at Wembley, prices hardly ever went up outside 5 mins before a race & several times races went off without any prices posted. One could see the bookies visibly shaking in case someone knew something & was going to win big. If a "face" approached it was amazing how all the prices were wiped off the board. Bookies runners often laid off with neighbouring bookies in the row  so that if a gamble had been landed it was usually only one or two bookies who carried the can. How any of them ever made any real money is beyond me. Being frightened to stand a bet is nothing new.
Pause Switch to Standard View Cowardly bookmakers are nothing new
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Report howard January 18, 2022 1:07 PM GMT
Tricky customers punters according to Barry Dennis. Not many went to uni then. What subject ?
Report Slicer January 18, 2022 1:13 PM GMT
Dr Aristotle Slicer PhD MB BS B Pharm MRCVS DRCOG
Report Slicer January 18, 2022 1:18 PM GMT
btw- at least I did well betting on photo finishes in those days. I stood high up looking straight down on the finishing line along the lines of Alex Bird's method. Had sharp eyes in those days. They took nearly all my bets.
Report howard January 18, 2022 1:22 PM GMT
That seems to cover quite a lot.Grin
Report Slicer January 18, 2022 1:23 PM GMT
Report themightymac January 18, 2022 1:24 PM GMT
If you ever write your memoirs, I hope it's a better read than Bird's book. Biggest load of egotistical ***** I have ever been unfortunate to read.
Report loper January 18, 2022 1:24 PM GMT
Fred Binns

1/2 Head
7/4 Neck
10/1 Half a length
25/1 threequarters

Winning distance?  A short head.  If you got on then you obviously lost.
Report Slicer January 18, 2022 1:31 PM GMT
Mr Mac- very true. Would never have made the money like that these days on horse racing with the modern technology.
Report themightymac January 18, 2022 1:36 PM GMT
Indeed sir.
Report carrot1960 January 19, 2022 1:19 PM GMT
Valley greyhounds , Ystrad Mynach  (recently purchased by the owner of Towcester dog track)  is just as bad  only two "bookmakers " in attendance track owner always first to price up , goes

TRAP 1 4/6       second bookie then  goes Trap 1 4/6       
Trap 2 2/1                                Trap 2 2/1
Trap 3 4/6                                Trap 3 4/6
Trap 4 2/1                                Trap 4 2/1
Trap 5 1/1                                Trap 5 1/1
Trap 6 2/1                                Trap 6 2/1  and if Mal the owner lengthens or shortens a runner his counterpart does so in an instant
Report sparrow January 19, 2022 2:00 PM GMT
The greyhound is gone now but at least I have very fond memories of strong markets in the 60s and 70s at Clapton, White City and Harringay.
Report sparrow January 19, 2022 2:01 PM GMT
*greyhound game is gone
Report themightymac January 19, 2022 3:25 PM GMT
Greyhound racing is not my forte but I know from reading about it that it was massive between the two World Wars and post World War II.

Check the crowds out in this video:

So what went wrong Sparrow and other greyhound enthusiasts? Was it mismanagement or a simple change in population interests?

I suppose same could be said about horseracing.
Report sparrow January 19, 2022 3:42 PM GMT
Well mac, first of all the law changes in 1961 that brought about betting shops had an effect and also as in horse racing a lack of interest from younger generations but one of the more important reasons was the GRA selling off stadiums and generally stabbing the sport in the back. No longer any stadiums in London and many other towns and cities but the people with responsibility in the industry itself have not helped matters by being constantly in conflict with one another. Just a matter of time I'm afraid before we end up with just a few flapping tracks.
Report themightymac January 19, 2022 3:54 PM GMT
Good post Sparrow. Wow, I didn`t realise that there are no stadiums in London now! That is sad.
Report jimmythewon January 19, 2022 4:00 PM GMT
Yes, Mightymac, it was mismanagement. The GRA ran greyhound racing and scores of their tracks operated well. However, they made the mistake of trying to branch out. Into horse racing, casinos, betting shops? No. Into property. What expertise did they possess? None. Guess what. Belly up GRA.
Report themightymac January 19, 2022 4:25 PM GMT
Very sad jimmy. A great sport in permanent decline.
Report sparrow January 19, 2022 4:43 PM GMT
A great pity mac, but at least I saw some of the best years.
Report carrot1960 January 19, 2022 4:47 PM GMT
Takeover completed
The Valley set to become GBGB-licensed track
Dave Barclay, the owner and promoter of Harlow Greyhound Stadium in Essex, has completed a deal to buy The Valley with the intention of running Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) licensed racing at the track.
The Valley is currently an independent ‘flapping’ track licensed by the local authority where amateur trainers run their own greyhounds. The track is being leased back to the former owner, Malcolm Tams, to continue to operate as a flapping track while the stadium is upgraded to meet GBGB licensed standards. Licensed racing will see professional trainers running dogs for appearance and prize money that is ultimately funded by high street bookmakers and media rights companies.
The proposed takeover was announced in August and took only three months to finalise. “I fell in love with it the minute I drove in,” Dave Barclay told the Racing Post. “I told Malcolm that I’d definitely buy it. We shook hands on a deal pretty quickly.”
Two years ago, bookmakers Star Sports went public over their intention to buy The Valley. That deal ultimately foundered because Star Sports could not strike a deal with either of the main media rights companies, ARC or SIS, who pay greyhound tracks for the right to broadcast their races live, not only into high street betting shops, but online around the world.
Since then, four of the biggest greyhound stadiums that were affiliated to SIS have announced that they will transfer to ARC by 2024 and a fifth SIS-affiliated track, Central Park, will switch to ARC as early as 2023. This means that SIS, which has deals to provide live coverage of UK greyhound racing to many overseas markets, is facing a shortage of races that they will be able to broadcast. Dave Barclay believes that The Valley will be well-placed to plug the gap.
“This is a medium-term project and I’m probably looking at 2023 before we are ready to race under rules. Eventually, I’d like to think we could race up to four times a week and I’d be looking to get those meetings on SIS.”
Richard Brankley, Head of Greyhound Operations for SIS, said, “I’ve been so impressed with Harlow, which is one of the best-managed tracks in the country and, if The Valley is run half as well as that, then it will be a fantastic addition.”
The project will require significant development of The Valley Greyhound Stadium. “We need to build on-site kennels, as there are none at the moment, the racing office will be repositioned and then there is the hare to think about,” said Dave Barclay. “It’s an inside hare at the moment. I did consider leaving it as inside, but it would be the only one in the country and I think it’s sensible to stick with what everyone else uses.”
A switch to an outside hare would require the whole track to be moved nearer to the River Rhymney in order to accommodate the hare rail and mechanism. It is likely that the track would also be extended northwards to give room for more rounded bends than The Valley’s current sharp corners.
“I put my money into Harlow to run it as a greyhound track and, thankfully, we’ve been very successful in recent years and I’m hoping for more of the same at The Valley,” said Dave Barclay. “It’s been bought in my family name and my son Lee and daughter Kate will be involved in running it. There’s a lot to do. I’ll be getting the views of local people and listening to all parties.”
It is believed that Dave Barclay has been in discussions with Malcolm Tams about how any current amateur trainers at The Valley who would like to race at the track under GBGB rules in the future could be supported to do so.

Dave Barclay has developed a reputation as one of the most progressive and successful promoters in the sport.
A successful building contractor in partnership with his brother, Dean, Dave became a keen punter and greyhound owner at Harlow after the track opened in 1995. In 2005, he bought the track from the original owners, Leaside Leisure, and continued to invest in the site, which now includes a restaurant, function rooms and a social club famous for popular poker and darts tournaments.
Harlow took off as a greyhound venue when Walthamstow closed in 2008. A raft of leading trainers moved to the Roydon Road stadium, including Mark Wallis who won the 2009 Greyhound Derby with Kinda Ready while attached to Harlow.
Crowds grew and, within a few years, Harlow was hosting live televised meetings on Sky Sports. A deal with broadcaster SIS to beam pictures live to betting shops has enabled the expansion of racing to five times a week with the track featuring live on RPGTV twice weekly.
Report onthejim January 19, 2022 5:20 PM GMT
Sparrow, as far as I know the "few" flapping tracks are Two!!  Askern still definitely open and possibly Thornton in Scotland, ( I stand to be corrected though.)
Report dambuster January 19, 2022 5:21 PM GMT
Bring Back Dumpton park
Report sparrow January 19, 2022 5:24 PM GMT
Didn't realise it was just down to two, jim.  Although I never took any interest in flapping at the best of times.
Report longbridge January 19, 2022 5:54 PM GMT

"No longer any stadiums in London"

Not quite true - Romford dogs is still there in the London Borough of Havering but Catford, White City, Wimbledon, Walthamstow all gone in my time.  The 'stow in particular was a frequent venue for works/friends nights out. Chicken and chips in a basket in the restaurant and betting on the Tote from your table.

The Romford meeting on Boxing Day used to be a regular treat of mine - not in the last couple of years for obvious reasons - there is a whole stand on the far side of the track that (as far as I know) only opens for that meeting, crowds of thousands, queues outside waiting for the gates to open and into the bars from mid-morning.

Hopefully next year!
Report BESTMATE44 January 19, 2022 5:58 PM GMT
Anybody remember the flapping track at Aldershot,i think it was at Tongham,i must be going back at least 50 years!
Report raspberrybottom January 19, 2022 5:59 PM GMT
I used to like Eastville in Bristol.

Friday night meetings were always busy.

Big crowds, a fair few bookies, nice bar and decent food.

The track went around the Bristol Rovers pitch.

Was always a brilliant atmosphere and great fun!

Ikea there now.
Report sparrow January 19, 2022 6:00 PM GMT
Romford is Essex in my view as I left London in the 60s and it didn't change until 1965. Many more tracks than that you mentioned gone in my time including my local track Clapton which had the very best in the 60s with track trained dogs winning the Derby 4 times in 6 years during that decade.
Report TCat January 19, 2022 6:23 PM GMT
Hackney closed in 1997.
Report sparrow January 19, 2022 6:34 PM GMT
Hackney where I was brought up was just across the marshes to Clapton but not in the same class in those days.
Report dambuster January 20, 2022 12:18 PM GMT
I use to like Dumpton park ,every saturday evening in the summer, when we were down the caravan we had at Reculver
Report sparrow January 20, 2022 12:26 PM GMT
Scurlogue Champ winning at Dumpton Park track Ramsgate.
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