Towcester Racecourse hosts Britain's 'most prestigious greyhound race'
Winner of English Greyhound Derby will win £175,000 and 'legendary status' within sport
Britain’s most prestigious greyhound race, the Star Sports and TRC Events & Leisure English Greyhound Derby, is underway at Towcester Racecourse.
The top 188 greyhounds from across the UK and Ireland are chasing the ‘Derby dream’ for their owners and trainers.
A spokesperson for Towcester Racecourse said: "The fastest greyhound around the 500m course at this year’s final will not only scoop the substantial £175,000 prize but will also earn legendary status within the sport.
"Towcester once again has the privilege of hosting the six-week event, which will culminate in a spectacular final on Saturday July 10. This will form part of a weekend-long racing festival for greyhound racing enthusiasts to enjoy, with top-class racing and entertainment running from Friday July 9 to Sunday July 11."
The English Greyhound Derby has a rich history stretching back to 1927 and is the jewel of the British greyhound racing calendar. Originally held at White City Stadium and then Wimbledon Stadium, it moved to Towcester in 2017 before spending two years at Nottingham in 2019 and 2020. It is returning this year to the Northamptonshire venue which reopened its doors to owners and spectators last month following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Last year, the Derby had an incredibly strong Irish entry and was won by Irish runner Deerjet Sydney, trained by Pat Buckley and owned by Kenny Glen. This year’s competition looks set to be another battle of the Irish and English entries, with the home talent looking to win back the prestigious trophy.
The spokesperson added: "Making the 2021 event even more thrilling is the increased prize money up for grabs, with £175,000 going to the winner, £25,000 to the runner up, a breeder’s prize of £5,000 and £1,000 for the winning kennel staff member. In addition to this generous prize pot, sponsor Star Sports are also offering a £50,000 bonus if the winner of the English Derby also goes on to win the Irish Derby in September."
Tickets are available at the Towcester Racecourse website. For those who are not able to watch the action in person, every round of the competition will be available to view live on Racing Post Greyhound TV (Sky Channel 437, Freesat 250 and online at: www.sportystuff.tv).
Kevin Boothby, Promoter at Towcester Racecourse, said: “We are delighted to be the home of this year’s Derby and cannot wait for the first round to get underway. It is especially exciting for all of us sports fans to be able to get back to watching live racing at the track following the restrictions of the past year.
“These early rounds of the Derby are always thrilling and the time where we start to see the talent emerge – often with a few surprises. While it is difficult to predict who will end up victorious, we certainly have some phenomenal greyhounds in the line-up, including the likes of Deerjet Sydney, Ballymac Ariel and Tenpin. Time will tell if the Irish will come away as winners for the third year running, but the British entries will certainly give them a run for their money.
“Greyhound racing, like all sports, has felt the effects of Covid and although we have been successfully racing behind closed doors since June, it has not been the same without our owners and fans. It will be incredibly special to see the stadium buzzing once again and everyone experiencing the joy of watching these amazing athletes.”
Ben Keith, Founder of Star Sports, sponsor of this year’s Derby said: "The Greyhound Derby is the time when we all come together to celebrate our wonderful sport. It's about the dogs, the people, the owners and also an opportunity to introduce new people to greyhound racing who then fall in love with the sport and I am delighted to be involved.”
Mark Bird, Managing Director of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, said: "We wish the very best of luck to all those involved in this year's competition, which is our chance to celebrate our stars of the track and the people involved in getting them there. We will no doubt see some outstanding performances and it will be a joy to see owners at the track enjoying the thrill of watching their greyhounds compete for the top title in our sport."