Milton Keynes Greyhound Stadium

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Milton Keynes Greyhound Stadium
LocationAshland, Milton Keynes
SurfaceSand
Opened25 July 1963
Closed26 December 2005

Milton Keynes Greyhound Stadium was a greyhound racing track in Milton Keynes located on the Groveway in Ashland.

Origins & opening[edit]

The stadium opened as an independent track on 25 July 1963 and was called the Groveway Greyhound Stadium.[1] The name Groveway came from the Grove Way road that passed the stadium on the north side joining the small town of Bletchley with the village of Simpson. The track had been built four years before the birth of a large new town called Milton Keynes (named after one of the 15 villages) in a planned 34 square mile area. Milton Keynes proceeded to grow at speed eventually becoming the size of city.[2]

History[edit]

Racing took place on Tuesday at 8pm and Saturday at 7.30pm and the circumference was 410 yards with an 'Inside Sumner' hare. Facilities included licensed bars, a refreshment bar and a children’s playground. The promoter and Racing Manager Robert Beckett organised annual events called the Groveway Autumn Cup, Groveway Derby and Bletchley Trophy. trial day was a Sunday and six bookmakers were in attendance and race distances were 305, 440, 460, 525, 745, 900 & 965 yards.[3]

In 1972 the National Greyhound Racing Club and National Greyhound Racing Society amalgamated to form one controlling body called the National Greyhound Racing Club Ltd. Groveway Stadium joined the NGRC banner[4] and the NGRC also relaxed the rule that previously did not allow any NGRC owner or trainer to attend an independent track.[5]

In the early seventies housing estates called Bean Hill and Netherfield were built to the north of the track and the Mount Farm Industrial Estate was constructed to the south. Reg Young the former breeder and owner of 1970 English Greyhound Derby champion John Silver joined the track as a trainer. The track also changed its name to Bletchley with the 1972 Bletchley Derby now an official race in terms of being affiliated to the NGRC. In 1974 Stage Box won the BBC Television Trophy for Natalie Savva and one year later Gwen Lynds won the Greyhound Derby with Tartan Khan, the same year that Reg Young's Silver Sceptre won the Cesarewitch.[6]

In 1980 the A5 road was built nearby and Robert Beckett retired. The track reverted to independent status for a short spell but trainer Reg Young stepped in to become the new promoter with the track rejoining the NGRC under the permit scheme.[7] The stadium was now known as Milton Keynes instead of Bletchley and Robert Beckett’s son David took over the Racing Manager's position.[8]

Natalie Savva's Special Account won the Scottish Greyhound Derby and trainers Theo Mentzis, Jack Coker, Peggy Cope, Ron Bicknell, Angela McClurg, Mel Bass and Derek Law all secured major open race success for Milton Keynes in the following years. Reg Young retired in 1987 but returned as General Manager in the early nineties followed by Dan McCormick before the track was sold by Milton Keynes Stadium Ltd to the BS Group who also owned the Eastville track in Bristol.[9]

David Beckett died in 1996 and Eastville closed but Toms The Best won the 1998 English Greyhound Derby. In 1999 the BS Group bought the Milton Keynes Bowl and Pachinko as the company went into the gaming business.[10] The company then purchased Reading Stadium from Allied Presentations in 2002 and Bill Johnson became Racing Manager with Sue Conway as GM in 1998. In 2004 the BS Group were renamed to Gaming International and received criticism for the failure to re-open Bristol.

Closure[edit]

Plans to rebuild Milton Keynes Stadium at the Elfield Park site near the Milton Keynes Bowl were unveiled in 1998 [11] and early 2005 [12] The plans failed to materialise and the Greyhound Stadium closed down on Boxing Day 2005, it became derelict and then suffered major fire which resulted in the demolition of the site before a housing estate replaced it in 2014. The position of the stadium would have been underneath the current road called Wetheringsett in Ashland.

Competitions[edit]

Milton Keynes Derby[edit]

Year Winner Breeding Trainer Time SP
1972 Easy Investment Brandon Jungle – Fallen Ribocco George Curtis (Brighton) 29.18 1-1f
1973 Tims Blunder Reg Webb (Bletchley) 29.32 3-1
1974 Carriglawn Pet Sid Corley (Bletchley)
1975 Weston Oak Monalee Champion – Trojan Silver Reg Young (Bletchley)
1976 Westmead Satin Westmead Lane – Hacksaw Natalie Savva (Bletchley) 38.70
1977 Fairbourn Paddy Westmead County – Prate Box E Dilley (Bletchley) 38.74 8-1
1978 Rail Fred Rail Ship – Crooked Rampart Sid Corley (Bletchley) 38.89
1979 Kilmagoura Mist Yanka Boy - Kilmagoura Fair Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley)
1998 I'm Frankie Herbie Lambug – Fast Flo Mick Puzey - Walthamstow 26.77 9-4
1999 Black Head Barefoot Chief – Fort Flax Lady Arthur Hitch (Wimbledon) 27.97 7-2
2000 Glowing Wave Frightful Flash – Country Star Charlie Lister (Private) 26.85 8-1
2001 Whitefort Jim Larkhill Jo – Whitefort Sal Cheryl Miller (Sittingbourne) 26.60 11-4
2002 El Ronan Staplers Jo – Freds Flame Charlie Lister (Private) 26.68 5-2f
2003 Setemup Joe Staplers Jo – Wise Minnie Tom Foster (Wimbledon) 26.82 6-4
2004 Ardera Cross Droopys Kewell – Tenthill Flash Maxine Locke (Wimbledon) 26.44 7-2
2005 Wheres Yer Man Droopys Woods – Dower Beauty Peter Rich (Romford) 27.02 11-10f

Track records[edit]

Distance
metres
Greyhound Time Date Notes
245 Westfield Earl 14.76 24.08.1978
245 Tims Crow 14.73 23.10.2003
430 Super System 26.31 26.04.1975
440 Fortune King 26.72 25.09.1983
440 Siroco 26.56 22.03.1984
440 Dawlish Chance 26.55 11.10.1986
440 Broken Quest 26.28 21.04.1998
620 Countville 39.05 26.07.1975
620 Weston Oak 38.19 29.04.1976
620 Frame Evelyn 3 8.19 12.04.1984
620 Glenowen Queen 38.11 08.08.1985 Autumn Cup semi-final
620 Jerpoint Diamond [13] 38.08 19.01.1989
620 Cushie Amazing 37.96 31.01.1998
620 Farloe Bonus 37.86 22.08.1998 Summer Cup
805 Silver Sceptre 51.84 29.03.1975
815 Tartan Sarah 51.84 19.04.1984
815 Grange Glen Sam 51.73 08.09.1984
815 Spenwood Gem 51.22 24.04.1999
995 Souda Bay 64.79 27.02.1997
995 Gift of Gold 64.10 19.09.2000
440 H Springwell Boost 27.15 21.10.1997
620 H El Tenor 39.31 31.08.1998

References[edit]

  1. ^ Furby, R (1968). Independent Greyhound Racing, page 6. New Dominion House.
  2. ^ "OA Plan - Ashland". Old Maps.co.uk.
  3. ^ Furby, R (1968). Independent Greyhound Racing, page 6. New Dominion House.
  4. ^ "Remember When - July 1972". Greyhound Star.
  5. ^ Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound, page 96. Page Brothers (Norwich). ISBN 0-85020-0474.
  6. ^ Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing, page 47. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  7. ^ "Remember When - October 1980". Greyhound Star.
  8. ^ Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing, page 47. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  9. ^ Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing, page 47. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  10. ^ "BS Group in 7.8 million pachinko takeover". growthcompany.co.uk.
  11. ^ "Remember When - October 1998". Greyhound Star.
  12. ^ "The National Bowl". David Grindley Architects.
  13. ^ "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 1989) January edition". Greyhound Star.