White City Stadium (Manchester)

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White City Stadium
LocationOld Trafford, Greater Manchester
Coordinates53°27′43″N 2°17′00″W / 53.46194°N 2.28333°W / 53.46194; -2.28333
Opened1927
Closed1982

White City Stadium was a greyhound racing and speedway stadium in Greater Manchester.

Origins[edit]

Construction[edit]

Manchester is synonymous with greyhound racing because Belle Vue Stadium became the first greyhound track in the United Kingdom and Ireland to hold oval course racing in 1926. One year later on 1 November 1927 the remaining eleven acres out of a sixteen-acre plot of land belonging to the Royal Botanical Gardens was sold to Canine Sports Ltd and a stadium was speedily constructed.[1] The stadium in the Old Trafford area was south of the Chester Road tramway and north of Talbot Road.[2]

Opening[edit]

The first meeting took place on 28 May 1928 followed by speedway on 16 June 1928. The circuit circumference was listed as 448⅔ yards with distances of 500, 525, 700 and 725 yards behind an 'Inside Sumner' hare system. The circuit was described as having wide well banked turns.[3]

Pre war history[edit]

One of the first track trainers was J. Madden who trained Loose Card to victory in the 1929 Scurry Gold Cup and just one year later the Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) purchased the stadium. The GRA owned multiple tracks including Belle Vue.[1]

White City struggled to match the popularity of Belle Vue and another rival track the Audenshaw Greyhound Racing and Sports Ground started in racing in 1932. In June of the same year a greyhound called Wild Woolley was propelled to national fame when winning the English Greyhound Derby for White City trainer Jack Rimmer and owner Sam Johnson. Wild Woolley defeated the legendary Mick the Miller and Future Cutlet by a neck in the final. The following year Future Cutlet became the Derby champion and Wild Woolley finished third place despite being the favourite on this occasion.[4]

The principal pre-war event was the Wilkinson Memorial Challenge Cup and amenities at the track included a home straight Grand Enclosure that offered catering and licensed bar facilities in the Members club. Starting from the back straight was the Popular Enclosure which continued around the third and fourth bends. The kennel facilities were at sister track Belle Vue and contained 320 electrically heated kennels situated well behind the first and second bends of the Belle Vue circuit. The fact that the greyhounds were housed at Belle Vue meant that the trainers at the time were attached both to Belle Vue and White City.[1]

Post war history[edit]

After the war business boomed and totalisator turnover in 1946 was £1,878,980.[5] A Derby final appearance by a greyhound called Lacken Invader was trained by L. Hague.[4]

A new Racing Manager (RM) by the name of Charlie Birch took control during the 1950s and a new cinder track being installed for athletics in 1953. In 1959 Birch was replaced by R W Payne after Birch moved to Harringay Stadium. Payne was in turn replaced by A W Williams. In 1960 the Cock O’the North, a major race was inaugurated and six years later the Manchester Cup was switched from sister track Belle Vue. Stan Mitchell a recent training addition from Perry Barr Stadium trained Barrys Shamrock when he won the first running of the Manchester Cup at White City in 1966.[6]

The trainers supplying runners in the 1960s were Stan Mitchell, Wilf France, Percy Stagg, W Holland, G England and Bill Adams. In the early 1970s three new trainers Eddie Moore, Harry Bamford and Ron Saunders joined. In 1971 the experiment by the GRA to introduce eight dog races went into full swing with trials at Harringay and racing at Belle Vue and White City.[7]

Eddie Moore’s Myrtown, a dark brindle dog finished runner up to Jimsun in the 1974 English Greyhound Derby and one year later he made the 1975 English Greyhound Derby final again.[4] Trainers continued to join the track in the late 1970s George Barnett and Jack Hurt were two such trainers, the latter experienced success with a greyhound called Kilbelin Ruler and Hurt had arrived from Preston Greyhound Stadium in 1977.[7]

Speedway[edit]

Dirt track racing started on Saturday 16 June 1928 and finished in 1930 but was revived for a meeting in 1958.[8][9]

Stock car racing[edit]

The stadium started to host BriSCA Formula 1 Stock Cars run by Mike Parker Promotions in 1972. The track was originally a very bumpy shale surface, but was tarmaced in 1976. The BriSCA Formula 1 Stock Cars World Championship World Final race was held twice at White City. In 1976 the race was won by Stuart Bamforth, and in 1979 by Frankie Wainman. The racing continued until the end of the 1981 season.[10]

Closure[edit]

Later R Thomas became RM assisted by Ian Travis but the GRA Property Trust which was an offshoot of the GRA were actively selling large city sites and White City fell into that category.[11]

The stadium was sold to developers during 1981 and the stadium closed during 1982. A few years later it was demolished to make way for the retail park. The white colonnaded entrance gateway in Chester Road remains.[12]

Competitions[edit]

Cock o' the North[edit]

Manchester Cup[edit]

Year Winner Breeding Trainer Time SP
1958 Ballypatrick The Grand Champion – D.West Cyril Beaumont (Belle Vue) 29.39 4-7f
1959 Dancing Sheik Imperial Dancer – Delias Green Ted Brennan (Owlerton) 29.50 2-1f
1961 The Red Rapparee The Grand Fire – Lisamote Princess Austin Hiscock (Belle Vue) 29.54
1962 Faithful Charlie Glittering Look – Lady Artic Jim Irving (Private) 29.41
1963 Dalcassian Son Champions Son – Dalcassian Elf Austin Hiscock (Belle Vue) 29.43
1964 Sanhedrim Odd Venture – Single Peeper Harry Bamford (Private) 29.34 6-4f
1965 Sanhedrim Odd Venture – Single Peeper Harry Bamford (Private) 29.04
1966 Barrys Shamrock Bermudas Cloud – Dromiskin Lass Stan Mitchell (White City Manchester) 29.80
1967 Forward Flash Crazy Parachute - Supreme Witch Jim Brennan (Owlerton) 30.31
1968 Special Martell Good Brandy – Tansy's Special Stan Mitchell (White City Manchester) 29.92
1969 Desert Kuda Kilbeg Kuda – Far Down Jim Irving (Private) 29.86 5-1
1970 Always A Monarch Always Proud – Libe Latinus Eddie Moore (White City Manchester) 29.49 5-2
1971 John Silver Faithful Hope - Trojan Silver Barbara Tompkins (Private) 29.50
1972 Allowdale Era Wonderful Era – Careless Smack Eddie Moore (White City Manchester) 30.24 5-1
1973 Fly Dazzler Kilbeg Kuda – Nualas Lovely Norman Oliver (Brough Park) 29.08 3-1
1974 Deise Valiant Valiant Ray – Greenville Band Ron Saunders (White City Manchester) 29.12 4-6f
1975 Myrtown Myross Again – Longstown Lassie Eddie Moore (White City Manchester) 29.00
1976 El Teide Own Pride – Steal Out Ron Ron Chamberlain (Private) 29.99 14-1
1977 Chensu Mula Sole Aim – Mark Heather Ted Parker (Harringay) 29.56 1-1f
1978 Clashing Breeze Clashing – Princess Painter Eddie Moore (Belle Vue) 29.85
1979 Kilbelin Ruler Supreme Fun - Duritza George Barnett (White City Manchester) 30.03
1980 Cushie Snowball 30.09
1981 Oakdene Sonny Here Sonny – Keslake Yanka Eddie Moore (Belle Vue) 29.75 7-4

(1958-65 Belle Vue), (1966–81 White City Manchester)

Track records[edit]

Pre-metric

Distance
yards
Greyhound Time Date
500 Coynes Castle 28.55 22.05.1946
500 Baytown Dagger 28.04 13.06.1955
525 Tindani 30.01 15.10.1941
525 Jersey Creamery 29.65 1948
525 Grangelough 29.21 15.06.1959
525 Riobally Shaun =29.21 24.09.1959
525 Poor Linda 29.00 27.07.1964
525 That Cailin 28.94 1970
700 Pork 41.26 24.05.1934
700 Dark Hissop 41.07 1946
700 S.S America 40.18 11.05.1959
725 Clady Border 42.26 1946
725 Blackberry Rambler 42.16 02.04.1956
725 Mighty Kern 41.15 30.07.1964
880 Rozels Blue Girl 50.63 15.06.1964
949 Baytown Dentist 56.40 04.07.1955
525 H Donovan 31.29 28.07.1932
525 H Mr Immaculate 30.28 04.06.1959
525 H Hunters Gift 30.04 14.05.1964
525 H Beamons Feat 30.00 1970

Post-metric

Distance
metres
Greyhound Time Date
255 Bunker Prince 15.15 15.08.1980
485 Myrtown 28.76 05.05.1976
670 Croghan Hostess 41.12 13.10.1969
485 H Beamons Feat 30.00 30.10.1969
485 H Strebor Gem 30.00 10.06.1973

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Tarter, P Howard. Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd.
  2. ^ "OS Plan 1954". old-maps.co.uk.
  3. ^ Ash, Edward C (1933). The Book of the Greyhound. Hutchinson & Co. p. 303.
  4. ^ a b c Dack, Barrie (1990). Greyhound Derby, the first 60 years. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-36-8.
  5. ^ Particulars of Licensed tracks, table 1 Licensed Dog Racecourses. Licensing Authorities. 1946.
  6. ^ Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound. Page Brothers (Norwich). ISBN 0-85020-0474.
  7. ^ a b Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  8. ^ "Manchester White City". Defunct Speedway Tracks.
  9. ^ "Manchester White City Speedway Track". The National Speedway Museum.
  10. ^ BriSCA Formula One - The first 50 years 1954-2004 Keith Barber p 188-189
  11. ^ Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  12. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.