The 2022 greyhound racing season is full flow. In fact, 10 Category 1 finals have already taken place since the new campaign started with the Essex Vase at Romford on January 28th, including the Northern Puppy Derby at Newcastle, the Winter Derby at Monmore Green and the gruelling Towcester Marathon — the lengthiest race of the season at a huge 942 meters.
With the dark, cold and gloomy winter nights now firmly a thing of the past, the longer, warmer evenings of the spring and summer provide the perfect weather for you to get down to your local track, enjoy a fantastic night at the races and try your luck with a greyhound bet or two.
There are plenty of big Category 1 finales to look forward to over the course of the remainder of the year. So, read on as we take at four of the best still to come…
25 June: English Greyhound Derby, Towcester
There are some great races in the spring time, like the Laurels and the Kent St Leger, but let’s fast forward straight to June — as the English Greyhound Derby takes place at the iconicTowcester on June 25th. Dating back to 1927, when Entry Badge won the inaugural edition at White City,it’s the most prestigious event in the entire sport.
The £175,000 contest has since bounced betweenHarringay, Wimbledon, Nottingham and Towcester — the latter being the Derby’s current home. Every owner and trainer will make it their goal to win the race come June, making it a race you truly don’t want to miss.
14 September: East Anglian Derby, Yarmouth
It might not carry the same prestige as the aforementioned Category 1, but with a winning prize purse of £15,000, the East Anglian Derby is still one of the most sought-after races of the season. Inaugurated in 1975, the race is contested over 462m and has remained at Yarmouth since it was formed almost 50 years ago.
The renowned Charlie Lister, a four-time Greyhound Trainer of the Year, has won the East Anglian Derby an impressive 12 times, with his best run being three successive victories between 2008 and 2010 — two of which were won by Fear Zafonic.
27 October: The Oaks, Perry Barr
Birmingham’s Perry Barr plays host toa wealth of Category 1 finals throughout the course of the year, including the Arena Racing Company Laurels (£6,500), the Birmingham Cup (£6,500) and the ARC St. Leger (£10,000). However, The Oaks has to be the pick of the bunch.
The biggest race of the season for bitches, the 480m contest boasts a £15,000-winning prize purse. Formed at Harringay before moving to Wimbledon, Belle Vue and Swindon, the original classic was moved to Perry Bar last year and will take place back at the midlands track this October.
26 December: The Puppy Derby, Towcester
The biggest race of the year for dogs aged 15-24 months, the Puppy Derby will take place at Towcester on Boxing Day and is the penultimate Category 1 final of the season — followed only by the All England Cup at Newcastle on December 28th.
Inaugurated at Wimbledon in 1929, theprestigious 500m race was relocated to the picturesque Towcester after the closure of the south London venue in 2016. With the Northamptonshire track going into administration after just one renewal, the Puppy Derby was held at Henlow for three years. Towcester has since been saved though, and the Puppy Derby will return there for the second successive year in December,