With the new speedway season less than a month away, work has begun on transforming Swindon Stadium.
The development work will take place in two stages with the speedway track ready for mid-April and the greyhound track in situ by mid-May.
Peter Geeves, General Manager said “We are working within the restriction of time available on the arena of this busy Stadium, so it makes it a bit more complicated and takes longer. We will be able to prepare the new greyhound bend in advance, so that the changeover will be days, rather than weeks. I am obviously delighted that we have started work and look forward to completing the new Stadium with some very smart new customer and race facilities”
The work will see both the greyhound and speedway circuits reduced in size. Stadia UK director Bill Glass said: “It will be a smaller circuit but it will still be a decent run to the bend with the 480m start being where the current 509m traps are and the winning line moving back up the straight.”
With the new racing circuit in place, work will begin on demolishing the old grandstand. The new building has already been constructed and will be delivered, in sections, by road.
This year’s 73rd British Bred Two Year Old Produce Stakes will be the last competition staged on the old Swindon circuit.
In the coming months, regulars will see the old grandstand demolished to be replaced by a new building and work is nearly completed on the racing circuit. It will see the two straights reduced in length and the rarely used 509 metre distance will disappear.
It is hoped that the track will continue to operate from a course of 480 metres as a standard (from the old 509 position), and potentially keeping the winning line in situ.
Stadia UK Director Bill Glass said: “Josh and his team have made an excellent job of the new bends and everything is progressing as we would hope. It didn’t seem a sensible move to run the Produce Stakes and any trials associated with it, at the same time as accommodating all the graded runners with trials.
“We are currently confirming the race distances and expect to be able to announce the schedule for the switch to the new circuit within the next few days.”
The £15,000 to winner Produce Stakes gets underway on Saturday July 13 with a eliminator trial session to reduce the first round to 72 entries – if required on Tuesday July 9. The event concludes on Saturday July 27 which suggests a changeover date sometime in August
The British Greyhound Breeders Forum committee are considering options to attract more entries for Swindon’s Two Year Old Produce Stakes.
This year’s event will see just 48 of a scheduled 72 runners go to traps for the first round.
New BGBF chairman Liz Mort said: “Such a shame the entry is so small – the prize money is excellent and it is easy to enter, so long as the Breeder registers the litter at the litter entry stage! That is where some of the problems lie, I feel, and it may be we need to look into simplifying or altering the entry system!
“There were around 240 British Bred litters whelped in 2017 – to have so very few individual entries out of them – which include multiple entries from some litters – is sad. I am sure that within those 48 entries there are some excellent dogs that we will be proud to say are British Bred, but I don’t believe that out of those 240 litters there were only 48 pups that were worth entering!
“For goodness’ sake, £2,000 to the Breeder of the winner – on top of the £15,000 plus Trophy! Why would you not enter?”
Trainer Liz McNair and the KSS Syndicate are responsible for four of the field for Saturday’s £15,000 final of Swindon’s 73rd British Bred Produce Stakes after landing both of the Monday semi-finals at the Wiltshire circuit, writes Phil Donaldson of the Racing Post.
With six runners from two home-bred litters spread evenly among the two qualifying races, at one point the Central Park-based trainer threatened total domination as King Cash (28.69sec) led home litter-brother King Dylan by three lengths in the first semi-final, with kennelmate Queen Cher a head behind in third and also making the 480m decider.
However, while McNair’s well supported 4-6 favourite King Sheeran was soon in charge of the second qualifier, his kennelmate and second favourite King Lennon was unable to negotiate the corner cleanly from trap one and moved off into trouble – which involved all the other runners except Angie Kibble’s 50-1 outsider Waki Racer, who turned second.
The event then turned into a procession, with Derby semi-finalist King Sheeran clocking a rapid 28.32sec as he came home almost 12 lengths clear of Kibble’s runner who just held on for second, while a scrum for places saw John Mullins’ Saving Face take third, a short-head behind the runner-up and just a head in front of the running-on King Lennon.
The draw for the final sees King Cash retain the stripes of trap six, with his litter-brother and fellow unbeaten finalist King Sheeran on his immediate left in five.
British Bred Produce Stakes final. Swindon Saturday: 27th July 2019:::::
1 Waki Racer, 2 King Dylan, 3 Queen Cher, 4 Saving Face, 5 King Sheeran (w), 6 King Cash (w).