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Back On Track: A sure winner worth backing; First night's racing is Wednesday, April 14. For more details call 02476 542441.

A BREATHTAKINGLY bold initiative throws greyhound racing into the spotlight in Coventry on Wednesday, April 14.

From nowhere, the new Coventry Stadium track is expected to rocket into the elite of the sport - the showcase for the Midlands and a serious rival to the established London tracks.

With racing four nights a week - Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - they will be offering the most modern facilities for the trainers and their greyhounds - plus top prizes for the races, high-profile Open races and plush facilities for racegoers.

A wide, sweeping track is the centrepiece of the new-look Brandon stadium. It offers plenty of room for the greyhounds, with a long run-in to the first bend - a notorious trouble sport for dogs on tighter tracks, where collisions often occur.

This is all part of owner Avtar Sandhu's commitment to their welfare. His message to staff throughout the run-up to launch day has been: "The No 1 priority is the greyhound."

To help with that they will be building a specialised kennel block and have become the first track in the country to employ a full-time on-site veterinary team - Dennis Brearly and assistant Richard Torr.

And when they appointed greyhound manager Simon Harris, it was a stunning coup.

Harris was manager at Wimble-don, accepted as the top post in the country. For him to move here made people realise Coventry meant business.

Next came the facilities for racegoers. The sport has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity recently, notably because people are finding it an excellent social occasion.

They go to the stadium in groups and can enjoy a meal and a drink together while the action takes place.

And the old flat cap image has been well and truly dispelled with younger people - and, significantly, more women - forming a vibrant part of the new crowd.

There is an excellent view of the track from anywhere in the stadium. Track designer Jeff Sealey raised the running surface up about three feet, using hundreds of tons of sand to make sure of that.

Can Avtar Sandhu's dream become reality?

You bet.

CAPTION(S):

The thrill of the race: greyhound racing is growing in popularity
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 8, 2004
Words:359
Previous Article:Back On Track: Enjoy all the action in top surroundings.
Next Article:Back On Track: Coventry sets new high in sporting style; Jim Cremin, Greyhound Editor of the Racing Post, says Coventry is fun, exciting and has the...


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