December is more or less the perfect time of the year for sports fans. There is football pretty much every day during the festive period, the World Darts Championship returns to the iconic Alexandra Palace for what tends to be a three-week party up the hill in north London, while there are plenty of Christmas Festivals for the horse racing fans to keep themselves occupied as 2021 winds down.
Not to be left out, the greyhound racing schedule is just as busy in the build-up to Christmas and New Year’s, providing the sport’s small, yet loyal following with their fix of action, while offering great entertainment for those looking for Christmas nights out with their mates.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the big races December has to offer on the greyhound racing front. Read on to find out more!
Sat 18 Dec: Olympic – Brighton & Hove
Contested over 515 metres at Brighton and Hove Greyhound Stadium and with £7,500 up for grabs for the winner, the Olympic is a Category 1 race that was inaugurated in 1947. Like many of today’s greyhound races, the Olympic has bounced between tracks during its time. First raced at Wandsworth, the race moved to Charlton Stadium in 1966 upon the south London stadium’s closure. However, just five years later, its new home suffered the same fate and it was some eight years before the Olympic was given a new lease of life at Brighton, where it has stayed since. Newinn Jacko won the race from 7/2 in the greyhound betting for Ernest Gaskin Jr. last year.
Sun 19 Dec: Puppy Derby – Towcester
The most prestigious race for greyhounds aged between 15-24 months, the English Puppy Derby will return to Towcester on December 19th. The 500m race was held at Wimbledon Stadium for almost 90 years from its maiden run in 1929 until the venue closed its doors in 2016. Relocated to Towcester, which is also the home of the Greyhound Derby, in 2017, it was just one year before the race was moved again as the Northamptonshire track entered administration. After three renewals at Henlow, the Puppy Derby will return to the reopened Towcester this year and Signet Denver looks like the one to beat as he set the pace in the heats.
Sun 19 Dec: Champion Hurdle – Central Park
Held at Central Park Stadium in Kent on the same night as the Puppy Derby, the Champion Hurdle has suffered from the same circumstances as its rival meeting in recent years. Inaugurated at Wimbledon in 1990, the 480-metre hurdle was contested on the same night as the Derby and that was still the case when both moved to Towcester in 2017. However, when the sport’s showpiece race moved to Nottingham just 12 months later, the Champion Hurdle was reverted to Central Park. Despite Towcester’s revival, the £8,000 race will remain in Kent this year.
Wed 29 Dec: All England Cup – Newcastle
Unlike the other races on this list, the All England Cup has stayed at Newcastle since it was first contested back in 1938. The 1946 edition of the competition is famous for featuring all four of the winners from the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Derbies. However, unfortunately just two reached the final, with English Derby winner Monday’s News beating Scotland’s Lattin Pearl over the line. This year’s renewal of the 480m race is due to take place on December 29th with £8,000 up for grabs.