Cleveland Park Stadium

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Cleveland Park Stadium
LocationMiddlesbrough
Coordinates54°33′54″N 1°15′52″W / 54.56500°N 1.26444°W / 54.56500; -1.26444
Opened1928
Closed1996

Cleveland Park Stadium was a greyhound racing and speedway stadium in Middlesbrough.

Origins[edit]

The idea of constructing a greyhound track in Middlesbrough came from Jack French who formed the National Greyhounds Middlesbrough Ltd. An eleven-acre site of former allotments in the Ayresome Ward, south of the River Tees and directly south of the Tees Marshalling Yard Railways and Stockton Road Tramway was chosen in 1928.[1]

Originally the greyhound track had a circumference of 412 yards (377 m) and used a Mono-Rail type hare system running on a bogie which would later be replaced by an 'Inside Sumner' in 1939.[2]

Opening[edit]

The first greyhound meeting was held on 19 May 1928 watched by an attendance of eight thousand. A greyhound called Just Alone won the first race over 500 yards with the meeting consisting of seven races including two hurdle races and two handicap races.[3] Middlesbrough Speedway followed three months later on 23 August 1928.

Pre war history[edit]

The stadium facilities included two enclosures both featuring members clubs, one on the home straight and another slightly larger one on the back straight. Between the first and second bends was the hare control and between the third and fourth bends was the tote control which opened later in 1936. The stewards box and offices were situated on the home straight before the first bend.[2]

A greyhound called Cheerful Chinaman won his first race on 20 August 1928 and went on to win 138 races from 452 outings when retiring on 21 November 1934. (A record believed to be still held today). The first track champion was a greyhound called Brilliant Gambler an Irish import that held the track records over 470 and 650 yards.[3]

In 1938 all greyhounds were owned by the company after privately owned greyhounds were phased out, a move designed to foil doping. Distances changed to 288, 500, 518 and 700 yards.[2]

Post war history[edit]

Totalisator turnover during 1946 equated to £656,386 and one year later a new Electro-Mechanical tote was installed.[4]

In 1956 there was a triple dead heat between Law Maker, Red Bay and Spinach Lad in 30.36 over 518 yards, an excellent grading achievement by Racing Manager R W Burns. The feat was repeated three years later when Quarry Tanist, Sandboy & Skip Me crossed the line together on 12 July 1959. In 1961 the track hosted a heat of the BBC Television Trophy shown live on Sportsview.[5]

Throughout the 1960s the raced on Wednesday and Saturday nights and the resident trainers were Harry Gendle and K Nelson. The principal event was the Cleveland Stayers Championship and amenities on offer to the public included four bars and three cafes.[6]

Vic Abbott replaced R W Burns as Racing Manager and the decision was taken in 1967 to sand the bends replacing the grass. The entire track would be converted to sand in 1984. During 1978 Harry Gendle retired after 46 years as a trainer at the track.[5]

The only major race win by a Middlesbrough greyhound came in 1982 when Irish Grand National champion Face The Mutt won the Scottish Grand National for trainer Reece before moving to Norah McEllistrim at Wimbledon Stadium the same year and completed the triple crown of by winning the English Grand National.[7]

In 1985 a serious arson attack destroyed the main stand and Ross Searle took over from Vic Abbott. In 1987 the track hosted auctions for the first time but during 1990 the track suffered an exodus of trainers because a revamped Sunderland had opened.

Speedway[edit]

Closure[edit]

In September 1996 the site was sold and the track was demolished to make way for the Goals soccer centre football pitches and the Macmillan City Technology College extension (part of the Macmillan Academy)

Notable track records[edit]

[5]

Pre-Metric[edit]

Distance
yards
Greyhound Time Date
240 Fred Thornley 14.82 14.10.1929
270 Hettys Heir 15.92 17.06.1936
280 Stockbroker 17.50 01.06.1938
288 Blue Dusty 16.61 28.09.1957
288 Lincolns Inn 16.18 24.07.1971
306 Sandys Peach 17.61 29.09.1956
470 Brilliant Gambler 27.29 21.08.1929
475 Brilliant Gambler 28.19 23.06.1928
480 Daegrease 28.80 29.05.1937
500 Shanes Al 28.61 07.06.1965
500 Idle Sailor 28.48 24.09.1966
500 Malaria 27.96 06.07.1968
518 Boy Mack 30.08 1946
518 Dusky Guy 30.27 26.10.1946
518 Blue Dusty 29.70 09.07.1956
650 Brilliant Gambler 1928
650 Pennine Jock 38.81 02.07.1930
682 Stocky 41.71 19.07.1933
692 Captain Horner 43.88 13.08.1938
700 Maylin Justice 41.83 30.07.1962
700 Claudyne 39.75 11.07.1965
718 Sound Hero 42.96 23.06.1962
880 Student Life 52.23 26.04.1961
882 Kirkleatham Leader 57.46 06.05.1935
470 H Corah Hill 28.61 02.07.1930
475 H Burnebe 30.15 13.06.1928
650 H Cleveland Lass 42.54 22.02.1930

Post-Metric[edit]

Distance
metres
Greyhound Time Date
266 Mattie Jo 16.28 1989
266 Well Keeper 16.24 29.07.1991
266 Seaview 15.97 01.08.1994
282 Kipplings Fox 17.55 1976
450m Move Along Myna 27.84 20.04.1988
450m Ballynaught Five 27.82 1989
462m Swift Linnet 28.36 04.03.1989
462m Jubilee Rocco 28.18 18.06.1993
478m Lazy John 29.59 1978
478m Lucky Saint 29.25 11.06.1983
640m Grace Line 40.79 04.10.1989
640m Keiberwood Bob 40.26 23.09.1994
774m Hollands Sand 50.91 12.11.1993
824m Desert Tan 55.11 17.02.1988
836m Dampit Pride 54.94 25.07.1990
847m Ryehope Dawn 55.90 1987

References[edit]

  1. ^ "OS Plan 1951-1952". old-maps.co.uk.
  2. ^ a b c Tarter, P Howard. Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd.
  3. ^ a b "A Good Beginning at Middlesbrough, Monday 20 May". Northern Echo. 1928.
  4. ^ Particulars of Licensed tracks, table 1 Licensed Dog Racecourses. Licensing Authorities. 1946.
  5. ^ a b c "Milestones, 13 May". Souvenir Racecard. 1988.
  6. ^ Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound. Page Brothers (Norwich). ISBN 0-85020-0474.
  7. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.