Reading Stadium (Oxford Road)

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Reading Stadium (Oxford Road)
LocationReading
Opened1931
Closed1974
Tenants
Greyhound racing

Reading Stadium (Oxford Road) was a greyhound racing stadium in Reading.

It is not to be confused with Reading Stadium in Bennet Road that opened one year after Oxford Road closed and is located further to the south of Reading.[1]

Opening[edit]

Reading Stadium was situated north-west of the town and was built adjacent to the Great Western Railway and north of Wigmore Lane off the Oxford Road.[2] It opened on Saturday 14 November 1931.[1]

The stadium attracted a crowd estimated to be between four and five thousand who came to watch a seven race card produced by Racing Manager Mr J Compton with the first race starting at 7.30pm. The first race was won by 'Symbol' but the feature events of the evening were the Berkshire Stakes heats and Tilehurst hurdles stakes heats.[3]

The success of the first nights racing resulted in two more meetings on the Monday and Wednesday and track alterations took place in time for the finals of the events mentioned that were held the following Saturday. The reason for alterations was because the public required a better view of the greyhounds from the run up to the winning post. The rails were moved back five yards and the track was lowered slightly.[3]

History[edit]

In 1932 Guideless Joe set a track & national record of 22.00 secs for the 400 yards trip, the brindle dog would go on to win the very first official Irish National Derby at Shelbourne Park.[4]

Clapton Stadium Ltd acquired the track in 1934 with the Managing Director being Mr H Garland Wells, the Director of Racing was Major C E R Moss and the Racing Manager was Mr H Craven. The track was running under National Greyhound Racing Club rules and the trainers included G F Spencer & George McKay. McKay went on to train the track's first big race winner when Black Lion Favourite won the Trafalgar Cup.[5] Race distances were 400, 525 & 600 yards, the 400 yard distance was unique because it was the only race of that length that could be held over just two bends due to the extremely large nature of the track. Some of the fastest track times set in Britain were at Reading on the 526 yard circumference circuit.[4]

The main grandstand was next to the racing kennels on the home straight and was accessed from the car park on Wigmore Lane and Oxford Road. The Popular Grandstand on the north side was opposite the main stand next to the railway line. The resident kennels were in a rural setting in nearby Tilehurst.[4]

John Snowball the trainer of the first ever Scottish Greyhound Derby winner was appointed Racing Manager in 1944 after spending some time in Egypt with the Egyptian Greyhound Racing Association.[6]

Snowball left for sister track Clapton Stadium in 1946 as Assistant Racing Manager before reverting to being a trainer once more. Tom Smith a former Catford Stadium trainer was also transferred to Clapton by the company in 1948 after a short spell as a trainer at Reading. Further company changes saw Eric Godfrey installed as Racing Manager before he became Director of Racing and was replaced by John Collins. In 1960 both were replaced, Collins by Ron Fraser and Godfrey by H J Richardson.[6]

The premier event at the track was the Hunt Cup and during 1963 Clapton Stadiums Ltd scrapped evening starting times in an attempt to scupper the bookmaker shops from being able to take advantage of off-course betting without paying the industry its due worth.[6]

Achievements[edit]

The first notable open race success for a Reading greyhound was in 1945 when Bally Rambler won the Midland Puppy Derby, the fawn dog would break the Reading track record twice the following year.[7]

Wayside Abbey who won the Golden Crest for trainer Joe Farrand in 1954 and Jim Sherry younger brother of Jack Sherry the well-known Ramsgate Stadium trainer won the Oxford Two Year Old Produce Stakes with Corrigeen Prince in 1965.[7]

Closure[edit]

Clapton Stadiums Ltd sold up to the Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) in 1966 and worryingly the GRA at this time ran the Property Trust who were responsible for selling land to developers (three stadiums had already been closed by them). Racing continued on Thursday and Saturday evenings with the greyhounds supplied by resident trainers Jim Sherry, Ron Jeffrey and Jim Barker plus Yates, Jimmy Jowett & Paddy Pierce. However, in 1971 the resident kennels were sold and Reading turned to the contracted trainers system. It was the beginning of the end with the stadium being sold in 1973 by the GRA.[7]

The final meeting was held on 10 November 1973 and the stadium was closed down on 1 January 1974, the site today is the Stadium Business Park on Stadium Way.[1]

Competitions[edit]

Hunt Cup[edit]

[8]

Year Winner Trainer Time SP Notes
1932 Guideless Joe Mick Horan (Private) 22.00
1933 Beef Cutlet John Hegarty (White City Cardiff)
1934 Light Lucifer Arthur Doc Callanan (Wembley) 22.50 6-1
1938 Produski Paddy Quigley (West Ham) 22.11 9-4
1939 Brave Reward J P Young (Private) 22.51 7-1
1945 Look Out Post Jack Harvey (Wembley) 22.14 7-2
1946 Ferry Robin Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon) 22.33 3-1
1947 Rowley P. O'Shaughnessy (Wandsworth) 22.32 6-1
1948 Kerry Rally Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon) 22.48 5-2jf
1949 Burndennet Brook Leslie Reynolds (Wembley) 22.05 6-4f
1950 Derrycrussan Tom Smith (Clapton) 22.00 4-6f
1958 Knockarea Chancer Jack Harvey (Wembley) 25.74 4-7f
1963 Sir Walter Jimmy Jowett (Clapton) 28.05
1964 Captain Pike Phil Rees Sr. (Private) 28.16 7-4jf
1965 Silver Glory Paddy McEvoy (Wimbledon) 28.26
1966 Shamrock Clipper Phil Rees Sr. (Wimbledon) 28.40
1967 Lucky Me Len Drewery (Private) 28.33
1968 Dreaming Prince Reg Webb (Private) 27.87 5-1
1969 Beaverwood Wind Stan Martin (Wimbledon) 27.89 7-4jf
1970 Spotted Rory Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon) 28.48
1978 Westmead Manor Natalie Savva (Bletchley) 39.65
1980 Mogeely Honour 42.64
1981 Curragh Bridge John Honeysett (Crayford) 42.31 5-1
1982 Wolf Cub Ray Iremonger (Slough) 41.24 3-1
1983 Astrosyn Doll Ray Peacock (Harringay) 41.42
1984 Hot Candy 42.08
1985 Spill the Beans 41.28
1986 Milltown Genius Kenny Linzell (Walthamstow) 41.71 11-4
1987 Lowerton Susie 41.14
1988 Waltham Abbey Adam Jackson (Wembley) 41.17
1990 Coloured Panther Jo Burridge (Portsmouth) 41.55 7-2
1991 Snow Shoes John McGee Sr. (Canterbury) 41.16 2-1f
1992 Airmount Flash Jimmy Gibson (Belle Vue) 41.19 11-10f
1997 Lydpal Frankie Tony Meek (Hall Green) 41.49 9-2
1998 Palace Issue Linda Mullins (Walthamstow) 41.10 4-7f
1999 Palace Issue Linda Mullins (Walthamstow) 41.80 8-11f
2000 Palace Issue Linda Mullins (Walthamstow) 41.32 1-6f
2001 Southlodge Rage Nick Colton (Oxford) 41.34 5-2
2002 Princess Manor Jo Burridge (Poole) 41.15 16-1
2003 Double Take Andy Heyes (Belle Vue) 40.50 7-4f Track record
2004 Shelbourne Lyn Nick Colton (Oxford) 41.25 7-4f
2005 Call Girl Paul Foster (Swindon) 41.94 5-2jf
2006 Well Tutored Terry Dartnall (Reading) 41.31 4-1
2007 Spankee Moved Heather Dimmock (Peterborough) 41.18 9-4

(1932-50 Blackpool), (1948–73 Reading Oxford Road), (1975-2007 Reading Bennett Road)

Track Records[edit]

Distance Greyhound Time Date Notes
400y Guideless Joe 22.00 15.06.1932 National Record
400y Bally Rambler 21.99 29.05.1946
460y Captain Pike 25.67 12.09.1964
500y Peace Message 27.99 04.06.1960
500y Shady Mermaiden 27.99 20.07.1963
500y Duck Snatcher 27.81 1969
500y Beaverwood Wind 27.69 14.06.1969
525y Bella 30.05 16.04.1934
550y Lilacs Luck 31.43 15.05.1946
550y Bally Rambler 31.22 26.06.1946
600y Micks Fancy 34.22 14.11.1931
600y S.M Hector 34.13 13.04.1939
700y Pigalle Prince 39.92 25.06.1964
700y Movealong Phil 39.90 23.03.1966
775y Broomhill Broil 45.26 19.09.1936
908y Magic Brooklyn 53.57 07.05.1959
400yH Mac's Double 22.82 10.05.1933 National Record
460yH Highwood Samson 26.50 1960
500yH Mina Digger 28.68 1970
525yH Bucail Macanta 30.98 07.10.1933
600yH Mac's Double 35.13 17.05.1933

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
  2. ^ "OS County Series Berkshire 1932-1936". old-maps.co.uk.
  3. ^ a b "Track opened at Reading, Saturday 21 November". Reading Mercury. 1931.
  4. ^ a b c Tarter, P Howard (1949). Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd.
  5. ^ "Reading dog wins puppies final, Monday 12 November". Daily Herald. 1934.
  6. ^ a b c Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound. Page Brothers (Norwich). pp. 97–97. ISBN 0-85020-0474.
  7. ^ a b c Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X.
  8. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. p. 127. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.