BENS BLOG The Towcester Report

first_img[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was a pleasure to attend the opening night, at Towcester Greyhounds, on Saturday night writes BEN KEITH (right). And thanks go to Harry Macadam, for inviting myself and all the gang, to spend the evening taking the piss out of him, in his very own private hospitality box.My early observations would be thus:It was simply the best running track I have ever seen. Even in the eight dog events, the dogs seemed to glide round the bends without much trouble. Trainers will feel very comfortable to run their best animals here, and I’m sure it will be THE model for future surfaces around the World.For the first time in Greyhound Racing, in years, there was a hugely positive buzz about the whole stadium and event itself. This was a team effort and you could cut the adrenaline and atmosphere with a knife.The box was spacious, balcony superb, and food very good (if rather oddly, on a cold night, without hot options being offered. Come on, Towcester, get a decent casserole on the go!). The viewing was good, without being excellent, as much of the ‘run-up’ is obscured by a huge screen, and we couldn’t see the bookies prices (nothing lost there – but we’ll come on to that later.)Ample free parking, and also free entry (then £3 for a racecard). Well, if that doesn’t encourage newbies to the track…what does?I was delighted to see Mark Wallis, a gentleman and true asset to the sport, starring on the first night. Mark was in the winners enclosure and also appeared in several very positive interviews.The greyhound community is banging the drum of unified positivity, and so it should. The track is not in a built up area, and when I questioned Jim Cremin that they may struggle with attendances in time, he made a strict-face, and I was instantly hushed-up and told there was, in fact, a huge catchment area. (Err, I think the Stow, Hackney, and Catford all, possibly, had bigger pools of punters, didn’t they?)It was very ‘open’ outside, will be bloody cold at times, and I thought that the ring could have been slightly better lit up.And now onto the bookmakers…Five in total. four betting straight, one without (I would have said, 15 years ago, that to bet without the FAV, at an open-race track, would have been the prize. Do modern Facebookers/drunk-Six-Packers have the necessary IQ for such a bet?)This was a showcase night for the game.All the stops were pulled out.It was THE BEST card they could possibly have put on.The racing was as competitive as ANY sporting medium.The books averaged a 143% SP return…oh dear, oh dear…I am the first to defend, protect, and champion the on-course betting-market.I am the first to say that The Punters can do with a much deserved rumping.BUT…guys…come on…That was an insult to the game, it really was. The ring looked, to me, more like a horse-racing ring, that moved in unison, with the books gliding backwards and forwards with the exchange market. It lacked a dog-track cut and thrust, and character. In time, I’m sure that Nigel Flowers, a strong and experienced Midlands layer, who I bet next to at Coventry, will lead. And that’s what it appeared to need to me – a leader. The betting-market, at the dogs, is SO important. Lose its competitive nature, spirit and fun, and the track, as a whole; will have a major problem. PLAY THE GAME LADS.I take this opportunity, to wish all those connected with Towcester, the very best of luck.Over and out, B xMAIN PIC VIA: Alan Howes @HowesCallerlast_img

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