Girish Mahajan

English Greyhound Derby

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Location  Towcester
Distance  500 metres (1,600 ft)
Inaugurated  1927
Surface  Sand
English Greyhound Derby

The English Greyhound Derby is the most prestigious race on the British greyhound racing calendar, with a history stretching back to 1927. It was first held at White City Stadium, but moved to Wimbledon Stadium in 1985 and from 2017 at Towcester. The first dog to win the Derby was Entry Badge, and the event went on to see Mick the Miller become the first dog to win on more than one occasion, with a record that has only been equalled by three other dogs in the Derby's history. In 2017 the winner at Towcester will receive £175,000 and total prize-money exceeds £350,000, making it the richest greyhound race in the world.

History

The first venue of the English Greyhound Derby was at White City Stadium, which had been built for the 1908 London Olympics. Greyhound racing had only recently started to take place there, with the first greyhound race only taking place a couple of weeks prior to the first Derby being run. Entry Badge won the first race to be held, winning a £1000 prize for the dog's trainer, Joe Harmon. Two years later, racing greyhound Mick the Miller became the first dog to win multiple Derbys. The 1940 final was held at Harringay stadium due to the outbreak of war.

In 1973, Spillers dog food sponsored the race for the first time, the same year that Patricia's Hope became the second dog to win the Derby on more than one occasion, and would ultimately be one of only two dogs to achieve that at White City Stadium. Spillers continued to sponsor the race, increasing the prize money to £35,000 by 1980. The Daily Mirror took over sponsorship of the race in 1983, and in 1984 the race was held at White City for the last time before it closed, with Whisper Wishes becoming the final dog to win the Derby at its original location.

The Derby was moved to Wimbledon Stadium for the 1985, and has remained there ever since. The Daily Mirror continued to be the sole sponsor the race until 1990, when Sporting Life became co-sponsor. In 1998, bookmakers William Hill became the sole sponsor, and in 2006 bookmakers Blue Square took over. William Hill renewed their involvement with greyhounds and the Wimbledon Stadium with a deal for 2010, and remain sponsors of the race as of the 2012 race.

It is likely that the 2016 Derby will be the last to be held at Wimbledon, as part-owners Galliard Homes have plans to build over 800 homes on the site. The redevelopment is currently on hold. This could result in the Derby being located outside London for the first time, as Wimbledon is the last greyhound stadium in the capital.

Charlie Lister holds the record as the most successful trainer at the Derby, having won it on seven occasions. He is hailed as the greatest Greyhound Trainer of all time and referred to as the Derby King. No greyhound has won the race on more than two occasions, with four dogs tied for most successful: Mick the Miller, Patricias Hope, Rapid Ranger and Westmead Hawk.

On the 30th January, It was announced that from 2017 Onwards, the event would relocate to Towcester, Northamptonshire at the new Greyhound stadium at Towcester Racecourse. This deal will run for 5 years.

References

English Greyhound Derby Wikipedia


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