Belle Vue Stadium
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Belle Vue Stadium is a greyhound racing track in Belle Vue, Manchester, where the very first race around an oval track in Britain was held on 24 July 1926. It is also used for speedway as the home ground of Elite League team Belle Vue Aces since 1988 and since 1999 has British Stock Car Association (BriSCA), the British governing body for stock car racing and banger racing. The stadium holds a number of BriSCA events and has become one of the most popular venues in the North-West of England.
The track has always been the property of Greyhound Racing Association Ltd. (GRA), which has invested heavily in it right through to the current day. The stadium offers luxury glass-fronted grandstands, restaurant, hospitality boxes, and several bars. Greyhound racing takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings.
In 1925 Charles A. Munn, an American businessman, made a deal with Smith and Sawyer for the rights to promote the greyhound racing in Britain.
Although the earlier attempt to introduce mechanical racing at Hendon had almost been forgotten, the pastime of coursing was as strong as ever in Britain. Fortunately for Munn, the first person he contacted with regards to reintroducing greyhound racing into Britain was Major L. Lyne Dixson. The Major was a leading figure in British field sports and was quickly won over to the idea presented to him by the American entrepreneur.
Finding other supporters proved to rather difficult however. With the General Strike of 1926 looming, the two men scoured the country in an attempt to find others who would join them. Eventually they met Brigadier-General Alfred Critchley, who in turn introduced them to Sir William Gentle JP. Between them they raised £22,000 and formed the Greyhound Racing Association Ltd.
When deciding where to situate their new stadium, Manchester was considered to be the ideal place because of its sporting and gambling links. Close to the city centre, the consortium erected the first custom-built greyhound stadium and called it Belle Vue, where the very first race around an oval track in Britain was held on 24 July 1926. More than 1,700 people were attracted to the meeting where they watched a greyhound called Mistley win over 440 yards (402 m). By June 1927, the stadium was attracting almost 70,000 visitors a week.
Six races with seven dogs in each race were held in the first meeting. Fifty years later a stand was named after Mistley, the winner of the first race. Running the quarter-mile flat course in 25 seconds, Mistley romped home eight lengths clear at 6–1.
Belle Vue increased the number of runners per race to seven, but after the formation of the NGRC in 1928 the maximum number of dogs per race was limited to six.
During the year there are two major greyhound events held at Belle Vue, they are -
- The original classic race The Scurry Gold Cup (October – 260 m)
- The original classic race The Laurels (November - 470 m)
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Since 2007 protests have been held against Greyhound racing at Belle Vue. Greyhound Action, an animal rights organisation which campaigned for an end to greyhound racing, held weekly protests outside the races each Saturday and occasionally on Fridays. In 2010 The Belle Vue Greyhound Action group also organized and held a series of demonstrations to protest at the entertainer Dara O'Briain's participation in Greyhound racing. Campaigners at Belle Vue got an article published in the Irish Press about O'Briain's Greyhound Snip Nua, an article which it is believed was the first ever In the Irish press to admit that racing Greyhounds are killed for economic reasons. In 2010 Concerns were raised about the high injury rates at Belle Vue  In 2008 The Sunday Times revealed that Belle Vue dogs were being sent for research at Liverpool vets school by Trainer Richard Fielding  Further instances of injury were highlighted in 2014, when a trial session was halted after several dogs sustained serious injuries and one death  An article in the Sunday Express, from 2012, also branded the kennels of two Belle Vue trainers, named as Beverly Heaton and Nigel Saunders, as disgusting. The article alleged that dogs were kept in cramped dilapidated kennels without heating and in some cases doors and that faeces and urine had not been adequately removed. A greyhound protection group, Greytexploitations, provided video footage to substantiate allegations of the poor conditions, these included the shocking image of a Greyhound skull on a dog waste heap.  Since Greyhound action folded in 2011, the protests have been held by a protest group who call themselves "Shut down Belle Vue."   In January 2014 Caged North West held a protest demo at Manchester's Deansgate Hilton hotel against the Greyhound board of Great Britain's awards night. Around 400 protesters attended the demo but despite this the event failed to be mentioned by the media. CAGED NW publicized the event. In July 2014 CAGED NW and other greyhound protection groups held a remembrance event in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens, held on the 88th anniversary of the opening of Belle Vue. The event featured a service by a church minister and a fly past by a light aircraft carrying a banner displaying the words 'YOU BET THEY DIE'.
A grass-track meeting took place here on 5 May 1928, with Syd Jackson emerging as the winner. The dirt track was stated to be similar in size and shape to Wimbledon and Harringay, with the first meeting going ahead on 28 July 1928, when Frank Arthur won the Golden Helmet.
When the stadium at Hyde Road was sold in 1987, the Aces moved back to the Greyhound Stadium, under the promotion of Peter Collins, John Perrin and Don Bowes. The opening meeting of the new era of the Aces was held on 1 April 1988, and saw Belle Vue take on the Bradford Dukes in the Frank Varey Northern Trophy. However, the match was abandoned after just two heats due to a waterlogged track (rain), with the Aces leading the match.
Due to other commitments, Peter Collins resigned from his promotional position in 1989, leaving Perrin and Bowes in charge of the Aces. With the amalgamation of the two leagues, Belle Vue became members of the British League Division One in 1991.
A further management change in 1994 saw George Carswell link with Perrin and Bowes as co-promoter. Both divisions of the British League joined together to form a 21 team Premier League in 1995, with the Aces becoming founder members.
A further promoting change in 1995 saw John Hall replace Don Bowes, to link up with Perrin and Carswell. The Premier League broke in two at the end of 1996, with the Aces becoming members of the new Elite League, where they have remained up until the present day.
A change of promotion occurred in late 2004 as John Perrin sold the club to Workington Promoters Tony Mole and Ian Thomas. This was Thomas's second stint in charge of The Aces. A further change in ownership occurred in December 2006 as ex-captain Chris Morton along with David Gordon and Gordon Pairman bought the club from Tony Mole and Ian Thomas.
Belle Vue still ride at Kirkmanshulme Lane and race nights are nearly always on Monday nights with an occasional Wednesday and Sunday meeting, along with Good Friday morning.
The shale speedway track is 285 metres (312 yd) in length.
In 1933, Broughton Rangers relocated to the Belle Vue Stadium inside the speedway track. In 1945/46, Broughton rebranded themselves as Belle Vue Rangers. The team folded after the 1954/55 season.
- "Track Search". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- Race days and times
- ""Week of Slaughter" at Manchester dog track". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "UK Indymedia - Yet another greyhound killed at Belle Vue". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "Greyhound death demo greets Dara". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "IT'S A DOG'S , LIFE DARA; Activists Target Comic after His Greyhound Dies". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "Dara's Dog Starred in Three Men after She Was Put Down; Comedian Too Upset to Talk about Death of His Greyhound Snip Nua". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "30 injured greyhounds put down at dog track". men. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "Greyhound breeder offers slow dogs to be killed for research - The Sunday Times". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "August carnage at Belle Vue Greyhounds". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "The secret slaves of the dog racing industry". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- Ted Jeory. "Dog kennels branded 'disgusting'". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- Greyhound Action. "Greyhound Action". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "August - 2011". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "Behind the Lights, the Tote and the Non-starters". Behind the Lights, the Tote and the Non-starters. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "Demonstration against the GBGB gala awards, Deansgate Hilton Hotel in Manchester". YouTube. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "Greyhound Remembrance 2014". CAGED. NW. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- Greyhound Board of Great Britain
- Belle Vue Dogs
- Official Belle Vue Website
- Belle Vue Owners Forum
- Belle Vue Aces Fans Site