Owlerton Stadium

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Owlerton Stadium
Owlerton Stadium.jpg
Aerial view of Owlerton Stadium from Shirecliffe to the NE.
Full nameOwlerton Stadium
LocationOwlerton, Sheffield
Coordinates53°24′23″N 1°29′33″W / 53.40639°N 1.49250°W / 53.40639; -1.49250Coordinates: 53°24′23″N 1°29′33″W / 53.40639°N 1.49250°W / 53.40639; -1.49250
OwnerA&S Leisure Group
Capacity4,000
Construction
Built1929
Tenants

Owlerton Stadium, sometimes referred to as Sheffield Sports Stadium, is a greyhound racing track in Owlerton near Hillsborough in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.[1] Greyhound Racing takes place on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings and every Monday and Thursday afternoon. There is a modern glass-fronted Panorama Restaurant accommodating up to 300 people, executive suites, fast food facilities and a number of bars.

The stadium is also home to the Sheffield Tigers Speedway team and hosts BriSCA Formula One stock car racing events.[2][3] Speedway takes place on a Thursday evening and the stadium has a total capacity for 4,000 spectators.

It is operated by the A & S Leisure Group, the majority shareholder of which is Dave Allen. Allen was previously the chairman of football team Sheffield Wednesday who play at the nearby Hillsborough Stadium, which coincidentally was originally named Owlerton Stadium.

Rugby League[edit]

The stadium hosted the Sheffield Eagles' first ever game in September 1984; they left five years later following changes to crowd rules, however they returned for one season in 2014 after their previous home the Don Valley Stadium was demolished.

Greyhound racing[edit]

Origins and opening[edit]

In 1929 construction began on a 20-acre freehold site to build a new greyhound stadium in Owlerton. The site was surrounded by steel works with a steel forge directly on the north side and a cutlery forge directly on the west side. To the south was the Birley Meadow steel forge and Owlerton Bridge Rolling Mills steel works. The only area without steel works was on the east side where allotments and gardens were to be found. The Penistone Road ran alongside the west and where Lowther Road originated it could take you directly to the stadium although today the main car park is on Livesey Street on the south side. With the Darnall Stadium opening in 1927 Owlerton track became the second oval circuit greyhound racing in Sheffield. On 12 January 1932 an official opening night took place in regards to greyhound racing. The venue had initially been used for speedway with a first meeting held on 30 March 1929. The stands were subsequently altered to accommodate the impending greyhound racing with a newly built glass fronted grandstand.[4]

The opening night attracted a crowd of 10,000. The press described the tote as a "mechanical and electrical marvel as it registered bets within fractions of a second as they were placed". Seven races were held and the first race over 525 yards the 'Oxford Stakes' was claimed by 3–1 shot 'Carbrook Ted' winning by two lengths in 33.63 secs. Adding variety to the meeting was a 700-yard race and a hurdle race. The five 525 yard flat race winning times spanned 32.40 to 35.78 secs.[5]

Pre-war history[edit]

A third track arrived to the city of Sheffield in the form of Hyde Park Greyhound Stadium which would always remain independent leaving Darnall and Owlerton to licensed racing. Owlerton owned by Sheffield Sports Stadium Ltd became the primary track in Sheffield and the set-up of the track consisted of a 472 yards circumference with distances of 300, 500, 525 and 700 yards. The grandstand and club were situated on the home straight and there was a parade ring to be found behind these which allowed the public to view the greyhounds pre-race. The track had two hares, an 'Inside Sumner' and an 'Outside MS Cable'. The racing kennels were next to the parade ring and there were another 120 resident kennels that replaced the kennels formerly located at Wardsend Farm in a range of stone buildings.[6]

Sam Vintner joined the track in the thirties as Racing Manager and owner/breeder Alf Morton bred and supplied the track with greyhounds using Irish Derby winner Marching Through Georgia as the sire. Morton was responsible for breeding Victor Ben Hur a track champion and record holder over both 500 & 700 yards in 1940. Duffys Arrival was once trained at the track before he went to (Coventry) trainer George McKay and two of the early trainers at the track were Harry Bidwell, who would have a thirty-year association with Owlerton, and Ted Brennan.[7]

Post-war history[edit]

Trade during the war was exceptional but there was very little open racing due to travel issues and it was not until 1950 that Ted Brennan started to establish himself as one of the leading northern trainers. The track claimed the 1951 News of the World Intertrack Championship, the greyhound racing equivalent of the F.A. Cup at the time. Jim Hookway became a resident trainer in 1953 and joined Brennan in dominating the northern scene. In 1959 Ted Brennan’s brother Jack switched from the Darnall kennels to join Owlerton and Dancing Sheik trained by Ted Brennan became the first Derby finalist for the track.[8]

The sixties saw rival track Darnall close down and Owlerton was bought by the Sheffield Corporation after a £185,000 offer had been accepted. The corporation converted the three private clubs into public bars which helped boost attendance figures and in 1969 they made £30,000 improvements to the Lowther Road grandstand. Hookway was rewarded with the title of Trainer of the Year which he shared with John Bassett in 1965.[9] The accolade had been helped considerably by a greyhound called Clonmannon Flash who had won the Scottish Greyhound Derby & Edinburgh Cup double.

In February 1965 an Irish litter by Crazy Parachute out of Supreme Witch bred by Leo Stack included Tric-Trac, Spectre II, Forward King and Forward Flash. This litter made its way to Hookway and the Brennan brothers kennels and would become one of the greatest litters of all time. At White City on 24 June 1967 Tric-Trac defeated his brother Spectre II by one length in the 1967 English Greyhound Derby final. Hookway received the Trainer of the Year accolade for a second time.[10]

By 1970 Owlerton introduced the Steel City Cup and as the decade progressed Sam Vintner the long serving Racing Manager retired in 1973 to be replaced by Terry Meynell. Ted Brennan retired the following year and his place was taken by Harry Crapper and Jim Hookway also retired after a very successful career. Sheffield replaced the grass circuit with an all-sand surface in 1978.[11]

Terry Corden who held the lease at Derby Stadium added Sheffield to his portfolio by obtaining the lease at the track but the ageing stadium became a problem following the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989 which resulted in ramifications for the track. The Taylor Report and subsequent government actions on stadium safety meant a substantial financial boost was required at many stadia and as a result Corden sold Derby and the local council closed Sheffield until the improvements were completed. Corden, General Manager Jon Carter and Racing Manager Jimmy Nunn were powerless to stop the stadium closing for the first time since it had opened in 1932.[12]

The stadium was to re-open following investment and David Gunson was brought in as Racing Manager but the track suffered a second closure in the spring of 1990 following a mistake with the betting licence. Tennents provided major sponsorship deals[13] until 1991 when A&S Leisure (owners of five casino restaurants) stepped in and purchased the track spending a £3 million on refurbishment. Attendances rose and Dave Baldwin stepped in to take over from Dave Gunson and Barrie Draper became a major trainer.

21st century[edit]

Another major refurbishment took place in 2008.[14] Former Greyhound Racing Association manager John Gilburn arrived as Managing Director and secured the prestigious trainers' championship for the first time in the track's history in 2009 and then again in 2014. Additionally a second home competition the Three Steps to Victory was inaugurated in 2003.[15]

In 2018 the stadium signed a deal with ARC to race every Monday and Thursday afternoon and every Tuesday and Saturday evening.[16]

Competitions[edit]

Track records[edit]

Current records[edit]

Distance
(metres)
Greyhound Time Date Notes
280 Brogan Tee Bone [17] 15.67 15 December 2015
480 Candlelight King [18] 27.32 06 August 2014
500 Domino Storm [19] 28.27 26 April 2016
660 Billys Bullet [20] 38.29 07 April 2015
720 Ballyard Buddy [21] 42.33 14 August 2012
800 Hollinwood Poppy [22] 48.25 27 December 2000
915 King Kane [23] 55.58 06 August 2014 TV Trophy final
934 Roxholme Magic [24] 56.28 26 April 2016
500 H Razldazl Raidio [25] 28.96 25 April 2017

Pre Metric records[edit]

[26]

Distance
(yards)
Greyhound Time Date Notes
300 Silver Wire 16.70 12.05.1939
450 Brilliant Shore 25.63 06.03.1938
500 Victor Ben Hur 28.02 19.10.1940
525 Latin Pearl 29.25 29.07.1946
525 Mad Astley 29.16 1954
525 S.S.Leader 28.66 22.09.1961
525 Tric Trac 28.48 09.09.1966
550 Airbourne General 30.07 10.04.1964
550 Eleventh Wonder 29.95 06.07.1971
550 Kudas Honour 29.88 1972 Steel City Cup Final
700 Victor Ben Hur 40.28 17.08.1940
700 Leinster Elm 39.04 19.07.1963
770 Black Magic 44.03 09.08.1955
770 Airbourne General 27.05.1966
770 Rainbow Trout 43.12 22.07.1966
880 Poor Barney 49.70 09.10.1971
525 H Gaullsmill Again 30.67 1950
525 H Celtic Rebel 29.78 1970
525 H Bingo Basher 29.76 24.03.1972

Post Metric records[edit]

[27]

Distance
(metres)
Greyhound Time Date Notes
280 Parliament Act 16.38 22.07.2000
280 Laser Beam 16.27 14.08.2005
280 Magna Maisie 16.26 30.09.2006
280 Smooth Mac 16.19 17.10.2006
280 Camp Bugler 16.14 17.11.2006
280 Lunar Vacation 15.94 23.06.2007
280 Tyrur Hestor 15.84 28.02.2009
280 Tyrur Hestor 15.78 17.03.2009
280 Boherbradda Mac 15.78 04.04.2009
280 Droopys Quincy 15.70 07.05.2013
290 Fearless Prince 16.78 13.08.1980
290 Melton Hill 16.78 19.10.1990
290 Fosse Way 16.77 27.02.1999
290 Fosse Way 16.72 08.05.1999
362 Check Out 20.97 03.05.1989
362 Farloe Bubble 20.82 04.10.1997
380 Loughlass Champ 22.09 1987
480 Cheeky Hero 28.07 1994
480 Reggies Hero 28.04 14.11.1997
480 Farloe Superman 28.00 23.02.2008
480 Coolavanny Smoke 27.86 17.03.2009
480 Farloe Firefox 27.76 16.06.2009
480 Carden Bert 27.66 04.08.2009
480 Bandicoot Mafi 27.64 01.11.2009
480 Reluctant 27.55 06.07.2010
480 Eden Star [28] 27.39 21 June 2011
500 Tillbrook Herald 29.21 1976 Steel City Cup final
500 Desert Pilot 29.65 1978 Steel City Cup semi-final
500 Jebb Rambler 29.61 1979 Bass Cup final
500 Desert Pilot 29.38 25.04.1980 Steel City Cup final
500 Galtymore Lad 29.25 19.01.1990
500 He Knows 29.01 02.05.1997 Embassy Cup Final
500 Plasterscene Gem 29.00 08.08.1998
500 Zigzag Dutchman 28.93 05.09.2006
500 Farloe Hobbs 28.90 12.09.2006 Steel City Cup heats
500 Farloe Reason 28.83 14.02.2009
500 Thurlesbeg Joker 28.79 07.03.2009
500 Thurlesbeg Joker 28.50 17.03.2009
500 Boher Paddy [29] 28.44 31 August 2010
650 Brainy Prince 39.36 11.08.1979
650 Desert Pilot 38.80 09.08.1980
660 Suncrest Sail 39.40 19.07.1996
660 Droopys Rhys 39.40 27.11.2001
660 Larkhill Bird 39.39 10.12.2006
660 Stepaside Yoda 39.26 15.02.2008
660 Capel Wilson 38.88 07.03.2009
660 Raving Black 38.71 04.08.2009
660 Ballymac Eske 38.61 24.06.2014 Three Steps to Victory final
715 White Rooms 43.78 1987
720 Let Us Know 43.48 30.03.2001
720 Cherry Andy 43.44 27.11.2001
720 Top Plan 43.40 29.03.2003
720 Droopys Sporty 43.28 17.01.2006
720 Tinrah Lad 43.04 21.01.2006
720 Swift Ninja 42.80 03.11.2007
720 Run of the Hawk 42.80 29.09.2009
730 Beano Blondie 44.63 22.08.1986
730 Suncrest Sail 43.64 30.04.1995
800 Change Guard 49.02 15.08.1986
800 Hollinwood Poppy 48.25 27.12.2000
915 Souda Bay 57.97 22.03.1998
915 Hollinwood Poppy 56.25 04.07.2000
915 King Kane [30] 55.80 29.07.2014 TV Trophy heats
934 Thornfield Poppy 58.83 13.11.1998
934 Seathwaite Robby 57.87 05.09.2006
934 Barley Bussell 57.69 03.11.2013
500 H Castlelyons Cash 30.85 22.08.1986
500 H Autumn Merlin 29.94 04.07.2000
500 H Trojan Flight 29.72 24.04.2005
500 H Jills Fault 29.65 06.11.2007
500 H Bomber Bailey 29.23 04.08.2009

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Find A Track". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
  2. ^ Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
  3. ^ "About Owlerton Stadium Sheffield". Sheffield Sports Stadium Ltd. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  4. ^ "Greyhound Racing, Auspicious Opening at Owlerton Wednesday 13 January". Daily Telegraph. 1932.
  5. ^ "Greyhound Racing, Auspicious Opening at Owlerton Wednesday 13 January". Daily Telegraph. 1932.
  6. ^ Tarter, P Howard (1949). Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd. p. 59.
  7. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 58–61. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  8. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 58–61. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  9. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 58–61. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  10. ^ Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound. Page Brothers (Norwich). pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-85020-0474.
  11. ^ Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  12. ^ Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  13. ^ Barnes/Sellers, Julia/John (1992). Ladbrokes Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. pp. 108–110. ISBN 0-948955-22-8.
  14. ^ "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 2008) January edition". Greyhound Star.
  15. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008. Raceform. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4.
  16. ^ "Arc Schedule Released". Greyhound Star. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  17. ^ "2015 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[dead link]
  18. ^ "2014 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[dead link]
  19. ^ "2016 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[dead link]
  20. ^ "2015 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[dead link]
  21. ^ "2012 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[dead link]
  22. ^ "2000 result". Greyhound Data.
  23. ^ "2014 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[dead link]
  24. ^ "2016 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[dead link]
  25. ^ "2017 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.[dead link]
  26. ^ Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound, page 61. Page Brothers (Norwich). ISBN 0-85020-0474.
  27. ^ "Sheffield Track records". Greyhound Data.
  28. ^ "2011 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
  29. ^ "2010 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
  30. ^ "2014 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain.

External links[edit]