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What Started

Johnney Smith
(Verified User)
Posts 274
Dogs 3 / Races 0

19 Feb 2013 10:11


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What was the very first greyhound track to start greyhound racing.
Just came across this but is it true?Greyhound racing as it is seen today has evolved from a form of hunting called coursing, in which a dog runs after a live game animal usually a rabbit or hare. The first official coursing meet was held in 1776 at Swaffham, Norfolk. The rules of the Swaffham Coursing Society specified that only two greyhounds were to course a single hare and that the hare was to be given a head start of 240 yards.[2]

Coursing by proxy with an artificial lure was introduced at Hendon, on September 11, 1876. Six dogs raced over a 400-yard straight course, chasing an artificial hare riding. This was the first attempt of introducing mechanical racing to the UK, however it did not catch on at the time.[3]

On July 24, 1926, in front of 1,700 spectators, the first greyhound race took place at Belle Vue Stadium where seven greyhounds raced round an oval circuit to catch an electric artificial hare.[4] This marked the first ever modern greyhound race in Great Britain. Greyhound racing was brought to Britain from America by Charles Munn, an American businessman who obtained the overseas rights to the mechanical lure (hare). His business partners were Alfred Critchley and Francis Gentle and together they formed the Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) and raised 25,000 to build a racecourse at Belle Vue. They then hurried to open tracks in London at the White City and Haringey.[
Greyhound during a race.
Modern greyhound racing has its origins in coursing.[1] The first recorded attempt at racing greyhounds on a straight track was made beside the Welsh Harp reservoir, Hendon in 1876, but this experiment did not develop. The industry emerged in its recognizable modern form, featuring circular or oval tracks, with the invention of the mechanical or artificial hare in 1912 by Owen Patrick Smith. O.P. Smith had altruistic aims for the industry to stop the killing of the jack rabbits and see "greyhound racing as we see horse racing." In 1919, Smith opened the first professional dog-racing track with stands in Emeryville, California.[2] The certificates system led the way to parimutuel betting, as quarry and on-course gambling, in the United States during the 1930s.

In 1926 it was introduced to Britain by an American, Charles Munn, in association with Major Lyne-Dixon, a key figure in coursing, and a Canadian, Brigadier-General Critchley. The deal went sour with Smith never hearing from Munn again. Like the American 'International Greyhound Racing Association' (or the In.G.R.A.), Munn and Critchley launched the Greyhound Racing Association, and held the first British meeting at Manchester's Belle Vue Stadium. The industry was successful in cities and towns throughout the U.K. - by the end of 1927, there were forty tracks operating.

The industry of greyhound racing was particularly attractive to predominantly male working-class audiences, for whom the urban locations of the tracks and the evening times of the meetings were accessible, and to patrons and owners from various social backgrounds. Betting has always been a key ingredient of greyhound racing, both through on-course bookmakers and the totalisator, first introduced in 1930. Like horse racing, it is popular to bet on the greyhound races as a form of parimutuel gambling.

Greyhound racing enjoyed its highest attendances just after the Second World Warfor example, there were 34 million paying spectators in 1946. The industry experienced a decline from the early 1960s- when the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act permitted off-course cash betting- although sponsorship, limited television coverage, and the later abolition of on-course betting tax have partially offset this decline.

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