Following on from the confirmed dates for the Greyhound Derby, the Oaks and St Leger, the GBGB’s Open Race Planning Committee has announced the dates for all confirmed Category One races in 2021.
A total of 46 Category One races have been confirmed this year, which is an increase from 35 in 2020 but notably also from the 42 Category One events run in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2021 diary also includes a number of revitalised competitions that have not been run in recent years – including the Northern Flat and Grand Prix – as well as new events, and races which have been upgraded to Category 1 status.
The schedule provides opportunities for each type of greyhound across all race categories and will give racing fans an exciting diary of racing to look forward to. By releasing the whole year’s calendar in advance it is hoped that owners and trainers will be able to plan long-term campaigns for their greyhounds.
The Open Race Planning Committee is hugely grateful to all the tracks that have submitted events and demonstrated their commitment to our sport’s premier races.
The schedule also includes confirmed Category Two events.
A handful of Cat One and Cat Two races are still to be confirmed and will be announced in the coming weeks and all races will be advertised in full in the GBGB Calendar in due course.
Amanda Duplock, GBGB Racing Committee Secretary, said: “Having a greyhound compete in these races is what everyone in our sport aspires to. We are therefore delighted to be able to provide owners and trainers with a full schedule for the remainder of the year which will enable them to properly plan ahead.
“We have an exciting year of racing ahead of us but it has, unsurprisingly, been a particularly challenging year to organise. The Open Race Planning Committee is hugely grateful to ARC, Entain Group, Towcester, to the British Greyhound Breeders Forum and to all the tracks that have worked on the schedule with us over recent weeks.
“We are pleased to have put together a cohesive schedule with as many opportunities as possible across all categories while avoiding overlaps and clashes wherever possible. While significant overlaps have been avoided, any remaining clashes have been carefully considered and decided to be the best option available.
“As in 2020, there has been a slight shift to the second half of the year to understandably allow for stadia to reopen their doors but, following the Prime Minister’s announcement this week, we can all be hopeful that owners and fans will be able to watch their greyhounds from the track before too long.”
Towcester Puppy Derby winner Surprising continued his comeback with a fast 16.24sec in a sprint at Hove before racing on Thursday.
The Seamus Cahill-trained youngster missed the Ladbrokes Puppy Derby after an injury setback but moved well in a spin at the Sussex venue.
In the same session, kennelmate and Derby finalist Smurfs Machine posted 29.46sec for the 500m distance.
Golfer Lee Westwood will be cheering his runner in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Puppy Derby Final at Monmore from afar.
Currently playing in the WGC Workday Championship at The Concession, Florida, he will likely be mid-round as Dannid goes to traps for the £12,500 showpiece event at the Wolverhampton venue.
Trained by Matt Dartnall, twice a winner of the former Midland Puppy Derby, Dannid finished best to win his semi-final last week and runs from trap six in the Category One competition for Westwood and Andrea Wylie.
Saturday’s card at Monmore also features the Ladbrokes Winter Derby Final, in which trainer Liz McNair has three chances including GBGB Bitch of the Year and British Bred Greyhound of the Year Queen Jessiej.
The fourth in a series of videos showcasing the love and care of greyhound racing people was launched this week.
Part of a seven-part series of video documentaries which have been commissioned by the Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation (IGOBF) and titled ‘For The Love of the Dogs’ #BehindTheTrack, the latest one features Derby-winning trainer and breeder Pat Guilfoyle.
Catch it here on YouTube or press play below.