|Location||Belle Vue, Manchester, England|
|Owned by||Crown Oil Pension Fund|
|Operated by||Greyhound Racing Association|
|Date opened||24 July 1926|
Belle Vue Stadium is a greyhound racing track in Belle Vue, Manchester, England,where the first race around an oval track in Britain was held on 24 July 1926. It has also been used for motorcycle speedway, as the home ground of Elite League team Belle Vue Aces from 1988 until 2015, and since 1999 stock car racing and banger racing.
Greyhound racing is an industry in the United Kingdom. The industry uses a Parimutuel betting tote system with on-course and off-course betting available, with a turnover of £75,100,000.
Belle Vue is an area of Manchester, England, east of the city centre, bordered by the Hope Valley Line on the east and the Glossop Line on the west. It is known for the former Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and Belle Vue Stadium.
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 in 2017; the Greater Manchester Built-up Area is the United Kingdom's second-most populous, with a population of 2.55 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.
The track is operated by the Greyhound Racing Association, who lease it from owners the Crown Oil Pension Fund. The stadium has luxury glass-fronted grandstands, restaurants, hospitality boxes and bars. Greyhound racing takes place on Saturday eveningplus the Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service (BAGS) meetings usually staged on Sunday and Wednesdays.
The Greyhound Racing Association is a UK-based private company founded in 1925 and involved in the management of sports venues, notably greyhound racing stadia. The company now trades as GRA Acquisition following the sale of the GRA by parent company Wembley plc in 2005.
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Speedway was first held at the stadium during 1928 but was not held again until 1 April 1988, when the Belle Vue Aces returned to the stadium. The team departed Kirkmanshulme Lane at the end of the 2015 season, prior to moving to the new National Speedway Stadium for the 2016 campaign. The shale speedway track was 285 metres (312 yards) in length.
Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering or bedding less than one centimeter in thickness, called fissility. It is the most common sedimentary rock.
In 1925, Charles A. Munn, an American businessman, made a deal with Smith and Sawyer for the rights to promote the greyhound racing in Britain. Although the earlier attempt to introduce mechanical racing at Hendon had almost been forgotten, the pastime of coursing was still strong in Britain. The first person Munn contacted was Major L. Lyne Dixson. The Major was a leading figure in British field sports and was quickly won over to the idea presented to him by the American entrepreneur.
Finding other supporters proved to rather difficult however. With the General Strike of 1926 looming, the two men scoured the country in an attempt to find others who would join them. Eventually they met Brigadier-General Alfred Critchley, who in turn introduced them to Sir William Gentle JP. Between them they raised £22,000 and formed the Greyhound Racing Association Ltd. When deciding where to situate their new stadium, Manchester was considered to be the ideal place because of its sporting and gambling links. Close to the city centre, the consortium erected the first custom-built greyhound stadium and called it Belle Vue. The name of the stadium came from the nearby Belle Vue Zoological Gardens that had been built in 1836 and the land on which the stadium was to stand had been an area of farmland known as Higher Catsknowl and Lower Catsknowl.
The 1926 general strike in the United Kingdom was a general strike that lasted nine days, from 3 May 1926 to 12 May 1926. It was called by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in an unsuccessful attempt to force the British government to act to prevent wage reduction and worsening conditions for 1.2 million locked-out coal miners. Some 1.7 million workers went out, especially in transport and heavy industry. The government was prepared and enlisted middle class volunteers to maintain essential services. There was little violence and the TUC gave up in defeat. Though nine days in, the TUC leadership knew 'the government could hold out longer than the workers', it was perceived at the time as a 'brilliant failure'. According to a leading TUC researcher, Walter Milne-Bailey, 'There has never been a more amazing display of labour solidarity and the effect of such a demonstration must inevitably be deep and enduring. Workers have learnt a new sense of their oneness and their power.' In the 1929 general election, the Labour Party won more seats than any other party in Parliament for the first time in its history.
Air Commodore Alfred Cecil Critchley, was a military commander, entrepreneur and politician in the United Kingdom. He served as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) from 1934 to 1935.
Sir William Benjamin Gentle was known for his work in fighting racecourse crime and was jointly responsible for promoting greyhound racing in the United Kingdom.
The very first race around an oval track in Britain was held on 24 July 1926. More than 1,700 people were attracted to the meeting where they watched a greyhound called Mistley win over 440 yards (402 m).
Six races with seven dogs in each race were held in the first meeting. Fifty years later a stand was named after Mistley, the winner of the first race at 6-1 from trap one. Running the quarter-mile flat course in 25 seconds, Mistley romped home eight lengths clear at 6–1.
The first Director of racing was Major-General T Anderson and the first Racing Manager was L.V.Browne. Trainers included Tom Fear, Bill Brinkley & Jack Harvey. After the end of that first meeting, the GRA were horrified to find they had made a loss of £50 but as it turned out they clearly had made a good decision because 16,000 turned up the following week. The first three-month racing season saw more than 11,000 racegoers, 37 meetings and 221 races The consortium repaid a £10,000 bank loan and shares in the new company rose from their initial value of one shilling to £37–10–00 (the equivalent of £37.50 for an outlay of 5p).
Going to the dogs became a national pastime and the GRA became a substantial company.
By June 1927, the stadium was attracting almost 70,000 visitors a week. Belle Vue increased the number of runners per race to seven, but after the formation of the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) in 1928 the maximum number of dogs per race was limited to six. The phenomenal success resulted in an almost instant and dramatic mass build of greyhound stadiums. One early supplier of greyhounds to Belle Vue was Sidney Orton, a Norfolk farmer who sold 17 greyhounds to Belle Vue for £170 in 1927. Orton would eventually turn his attention to training them at Burhill kennels for Wimbledon Stadium.In 1927, Bonzo, handled by Belle Vue trainer Harry Buck, was the first winner of the Grand National, known as the Champion Hurdle at the time. In 1930, Belle Vue had an English Greyhound Derby finalist when Dresden trained by Eddie Wright finished fourth to none other than Mick the Miller.
Belle Vue introduced the Northern Flat as their first major event in 1927. In 1930, as the sport continued as the nation’s leading pastime, the GRA acquired the nearby White City track in the Old Trafford area from Canine Sports Ltd.The first major Belle Vue hound was Wild Woolley; the brindle dog had won the Derby with Jack Rimmer in 1932 but switched kennels to join Jimmy Campbell. Belle Vue had 320 heated kennels housing both track's greyhounds and Wild Woolley won the Northern Flat in a world record time and the Laurels the following year before returning to Rimmer.
In 1936, Banksell won the Edinburgh Cup for John Dickenson and Genial Radiance claimed the Oaks for A.G.Hiscock. The Northern 700 was set up as a new race in 1937 joining the Northern Flat as prominent events. It was in 1937 that GRA purchased the land on which the stadium sat bringing the whole operation into their hands. Crowds continued to flock to the race meetings even as war broke out and racing was restricted to daytimes or summer.Billy Butlin sat on the board of directors in 1947.
In 1957, Cyril Beamount’s Ballypatrick took the Scottish Greyhound Derby title and during June 1964 Belle Vue won the Greyhound Derby for the first time, Hack Up Chieftain trained by Percy Stagg and owned by S.Donohue had won a minor open at Belle Vue when watched by Brigadier General Critchley a GRA Director. Critchley suggested that the greyhound be offered the 48th and last place in that year’s event. Mr W S Mulley became Racing Manager in the early fifties and would eventually be replaced by Arthur Aldridge in 1959 who in turn left to be replaced by Norman Russell in the early sixties. The track was chosen by the NGRC to host the BBC Television Trophy four times from 1961 to 1982.
In 1961, the GRA introduced under track heating systems at Belle Vue, Harringay and White City following a successful trial in Scotland. Electric cables were basically sewn into the track by the tractor and a team of workers about eight inches under the turf. They would prove to be useful until the advent of all sand tracks. In 1971 Hall Green Racing Manager Sid Wood moved to Belle Vue and Bob Rowe (son of Leicester Racing Manager John Rowe) filled the position at Hall Green. This was the same year that the GRA experimented with eight dog racing. In fact the Northern Flat took place as an eight dog competition, the first major event to do so.
The 1970s started well when Stan Mitchell was named Greyhound Trainer of the Year.Following the closure of West Ham in 1972, the classic race known as the Cesarewitch was transferred to sister track Belle Vue and GRA Director of Racing Major Percy Brown retired after 40 years in the sport. It was in the seventies that Belle Vue underwent a £500,000 facelift, the previously mentioned Mistley stand was built and the track was able to offer a state of the art restaurant and tote facilities. The popular side stand was also renamed the Chieftain stand after their Derby champion.
During the Silver Jubilee year of 1977 Balliniska Band trained by Eddie Moore claimed a second Greyhound Derby crown for Belle Vue and owner Raphael Bacci. Norman Porter was the Racing Manager at Belle Vue in 1983 when the White City track in Manchester closed its doors. Consequently, the Cock O’the North race was switched to Belle Vue but the Manchester Cup, a former Belle Vue event was scrapped.
Ian Travis became Racing Manager in 1987 and the Cesarewitch was moved to sister track Catford Stadium.
In 1995 but the Laurels arrived from Wimbledon in 1997.
In 2004, the Gold Collar was hosted by the track following the closure of Catford and a few years later the original classic race the Scurry Gold Cup was brought to the track in an attempt to save the classic race.The Gold Collar and Gorton Cup were discontinued.
In 2014, the National Asset Management Agency (who is the parent company of the GRA) sold Belle Vue Stadium for £2.6 million to Crown Oil Pension Fund,but have a leaseback until 2028 at a rent of £249,000 per year. Mutual break options were included in the 15 year tenancy agreement. A similar lease back agreement was agreed in the sale of the Hall Green Stadium with a break clause after five years which was exercised and Hall Green closed in July 2017.
In 2018, the Oaks was given to Towcester following the decision by GRA to reduce their major race schedule.During the same year the stadium signed a deal with ARC to race every Wednesday afternoon and Sunday morning.
|1991||Mr Bawn||Special Merchant – Bawnard Mona||Mick Cowley (Private)||28.19||4-1|
|1992||Pond Tornado||I'm Slippy – Pond Mosquito||Harry Williams (Sunderland)||28.00||7-4f|
|1993||Watch The Bunny||I'm Slippy – Mixed Up Lady||Frank Watson (Belle Vue)||28.06||4-1|
|1994||Just Right Kylie||Kyle Jack – Im A Duchess||Charlie Lister (Private)||28.30||2-1|
|1995||White Ink||Alpine Minister – Cailfornia Blue||Jimmy Gibson (Belle Vue)||28.31||2-1f|
|1996||Burnpark Lord||Airmount Grand – Burnpark Lisa||Dave Hopper (Sheffield)||27.78||7-4f|
|1997||Aztec Travel||Adraville Bridge – Lisnac Flyer||Nick Savva - Walthamstow||28.36||3-1|
|1998||Spoonbill Snowey||Right Wish – Clohast Wish||Michael Bacon (Perry Barr)||28.59||11-8f|
|1999||Thornfield Flash||Highmoor Glen – Thornfield Sophi||Ron Coulton (Private)||28.23||5-4f|
|2000||Farloe Cobbler||Cry Dalcash – Farloe Post||Barrie Draper (Sheffield)||28.02||1-1f|
|2001||Forans Field||Staplers Jo – Much Better||Barrie Draper (Sheffield)||27.81||9-2|
|2002||Pack Them In||Spiral Nikita – Supa Score||Andy Heyes (Belle Vue)||29.05||5-6f|
|2003||Lockup Firedice||Cushie Draco – Cushie Flair||John Mullins (Walthamstow)||27.87||8-1|
|2004||Holdyoursilence||Top Honcho – Misshenrietabell||Liz McNair (Private)||27.72||10-1|
|2005||Joes Gem||Larkhill Jo – Droopys Nancy||Otto Kueres (Belle Vue)||27.71||7-1|
|2006*||Ballymac Rooster||Roanokee – Ballymac Pepes||Carly Philpott (Private)||27.69||7-4|
|2007||Manic Mile||Pacific Mile – Cute Mandie||Graham Hutt (Private)||27.91||6-4f|
|2008||Blenhiem Dubh||Droopys Vieri – Blenhiem Queen||Julie Bateson (Private)||27.95||7-4f|
|2009||Royal Warrior||Spiral Nikita – Axle Grease||Stuart Mason (Private)||27.82||6-4f|
Formerly the Northern 700
|1937||Sleeping Horner||Jimmy Campbell Harringay)||41.01||5-4f|
|1946||Torard Rose||R Hencher (Belle Vue)||41.36||4-1|
|1947||Jersey Creamery||Roeside Creamery – Jersey Lily||Percy Stagg (White City, Man)||41.58||9-4|
|1948||Kilbelin Dancer||Bellas Prince – Kilgowan||Percy Stagg –(White City, Man)||40.93||4-7f|
|1949||Rio Cepretta||Flying Dart – Rio Czarina||Stanley Biss (Clapton)||40.99||8-1|
|1950||Caledonian Faith||Train – Caledonian Desire||A Mountfield (Private)||40.96||6-1|
|1951||Brooklands Express||K Fraser (Belle Vue)||41.22||11-2|
|1952||Malanna Mace||Henry Parsons (Crayford)||40.88||1-2f|
|1953||Mottram Hero||Kilrid Hero – Samsons Spider||R Hencher (Belle Vue)||40.94||7-4f|
|1955||Registered Cash||Bahs Choice – Any Cash||Percy Stagg (White City, Man)||40.90||7-2|
|1956||Duke Of Alva||Ballymac Ball - Marchioness Minnie||Ted Brennan (Owlerton)||41.22||1-2f|
|1957||Baytown Drone||Ollys Pal – Baytown Button||Harry Bidwell (Owlerton)||40.93||6-1|
|1958||Lancewood Olly||Ollys Pal – Maggies Choice II||Ted Brennan (Owlerton)||41.88||6-1|
|1959||Come To Johnny||The Grand Champion – Shaggy Lake||Jack Brennan (Darnall)||40.12||6-1|
|1960||Finisk River||The Grand Champion – Kilahalla Peggy||Cyril Beumont (Belle Vue)||41.80||2-1|
|1961||Master Mac Murragh||Solar Prince – Cailin Orgha||Cyril Beumont (Belle Vue)||41.06|
|1962||Devilment||Solar Prince – All Steel||Ron Chamberlain (Private)||40.53|
|1963||Buckwheat||Crazy Parachute – Tornado Lass||Paddy Keane (Private)||41.28|
|1964||Joystick||Crazy Parachute – Snowfire Lady||Harry Bamford (White City, Man)||40.59||8-1|
|1965||Grove Rambler||Hi There – Grove Cheerful||Harry Bamford (Private)||41.97|
|1966||Coloured Bill||Buffalo Bill – Fast Sister||Jim Hookway (Owlerton)||40.54|
|1967||Outcast Mad||Crazy Parachute – Stokesfield Lass||Jim Irving (Private)||40.86|
|1968||Booked Six||Booked Out - Technician||Wilf France (Belle Vue)||41.38|
|1969||Aughgar King||Monalee King – White May||John Horsfall (Catford)||40.43||10-1|
|1970||Meronome||Prince of Roses – Meteoric||Harry Bamford (White City, Man)||40.18||7-1|
|1971||Knock Off||Aristos – Last Pot||Harry Bamford (Belle Vue)||39.29|
|1972||Albany Ranger||Shanes Legacy – Little Justice||Eddie Moore (White City, Man)||40.16||5-1|
|1973||Poor Rudolf||Movealong Santa – Light Madam||Harry Bamford (Belle Vue)||39.80||7-2|
|1975||Moy Mona||Monlaee Gambler - Mronome||Harry Bamford (White City, Man)||39.72|
|1976||Wow||Sole Aim – Ardnalee Gallant||Ron Saunders (White City, Man)||39.30||5-2|
|1977||Montreen||Moordyke Spot - Avondale||Harry Bamford (Belle Vue)||39.25||4-6f|
|1978||Jims Image||Jimsun – Wall Tie||Andy Agnew (Perry Barr)||39.96|
|1979||Kilbelin Ruler||Supreme Fun - Duritza||George Barnett (White City, Man)||40.85|
|1980||Honeygar Kid||Itsachampion – Moorstown Fog||Ray Andrews (Leeds)||40.23|
|1982||Catsrock Tiger||Hunday Champion – Lighter Side||A Smith (Private)||39.54||5-1|
|1983||Sugar Palm||Brave Bran – Bridgeview Star||40.47|
|1984||Feeling Great||Suir Miller – Single Luck||41.36|
|1990||Fair And Square||Game Ball – Veazie Ann||D Hicken (Private)||40.60||8-1|
1937-74 (700 yards), 1975-90 (647 metres)
|470||Barnfield On Air||27.20||04.10.2007|
|260||Pennylane Flash||15.05||28.05.2009||Scurry Gold Cup Heats|
|260||Centaur Allstar||15.00||04.06.2009||Scurry Gold Cup Semi-finals|
|260||Drumcove Lad||14.96||20.10.2011||Scurry Gold Cup Final|
|260 hurdles||Blonde Chief||15.76||26.02.2006|
|460||Hillville Flyer||27.15||May 1982|
|460||Fearless Mover||27.04||May 1982|
|460||Precious Prince||27.99||01.12.1984||Northern Flat Final|
|460||Fearless Action||27.57||19.10.1985||Manchester Puppy Cup Heats|
|460||Fearless Action||27.56||24.10.1985||Manchester Puppy Cup semi-f|
|465||Bat On||27.34||10.05.2005||Gold Collar Final|
|465 hurdles||Meanus Dandy||28.13||27.08.1977|
|465 hurdles||Bewitching Tess||29.34||15.03.1986|
|465 hurdles||Distant Panther||28.99||24.09.1988|
|465 hurdles||Greek Commander||28.60||02.08.1994|
|465 hurdles||Born to Go||28.15||24.07.2001|
|465 hurdles||Drive Up Sam||27.92||06.07.2004|
|470||Sky Blue Honcho||28.04||18.08.2005|
|470||Fear Me||27.45||17.09.2005||Manchester Puppy Cup Heats|
|470||Geordie Parker||27.41||13.07.2006||Northern Flat Semi-finals|
|470||Barnfield On Air||27.32||27.09.2007||Laurels Heats|
|590||Vatican Jinky||35.06||25.09.2007||Gold Collar Final|
|645 hurdles||January Prince||42.00||14.04.1962|
|647||Creamery Puzzle||39.11||29.06.2004||Cock o' the North semi-finals|
|647||Roxholme Girl||39.01||25.11.2004||Gold Collar Final|
|647||Zigzag Kit||38.95||18.08.2005||Cock o' the North heats|
|647||Zigzag Kit||38.85||23.08.2005||Cock o' the North semi-finals|
|647 hurdles||El Tenor||41.09||18.05.1999|
|670||Roxholme Boy||40.54||20.07.2006||Cock o' the North heats|
|670||Hurleys Hero||40.18||09.06.2009||Cock o' the North Final|
|875||Let Us Know||54.50||23.10.2001|
|878||Roxholme Girl||54.33||18.03.2006||Television Trophy Heats|
|500||Wild Woolley||28.49||1932||Northern Flat final, world record|
|700||Come To Johnny||40.12||10.10.1959|
|700||Knock Off||39.38||1971||8 runner race|
|880||Chantilly Lace||51.38||1961||TV Trophy final|
|500 H||Douro||29.45||26.09.1928||National Record|
|500 H||Moorbrook Airmouse||29.19||25.07.1959|
|500 H||Mystic Scamp||=29.19||11.08.1965|
|500 H||Blue Sprite||29.12||11.08.1965|
|500 H||Feakles Wish||28.92||1970|
|525 C||Clarehill Rambler||30.02||08.08.1959||chase|
|525 C||Clarehill Rambler||=30.02||15.08.1959||chase|
1926 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year
Since 2007 weekly protests have been held against the greyhound racing by animal welfare organisations including a 2014 protest held on the 88th anniversary of the opening of Belle Vue.
In 2008, the Sunday Times revealed that Belle Vue greyhounds had been sent for research at Liverpool Veterinary School by Charles Pickering. The Greyhound Board of Great Britain Disciplinary Committee found Pickering in breach of nine rules of racing and ordered that he be made a Warned Off person and fined the sum of £5,000.Incidents during 2010 and 2014 raised concerns over injury rates at Belle Vue. As of 2017 all injury data was made publicly available and independently verified. A 2012 article by the Sunday Express alleged that the kennels of two trainers were in kept in unacceptable conditions and highlighted welfare issues. In 2018 licensing and inspecting trainer's kennels was changed and to be conducted through the government-approved, UKAS accredited method.
Owlerton Stadium, sometimes referred to as Sheffield Sports Stadium, is a greyhound racing track in Owlerton near Hillsborough in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. 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.
Wimbledon Stadium, also known as Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium, was a greyhound racing track located in Wimbledon in southwest London, England.
Brighton & Hove Greyhound Stadium is a greyhound racing track located in the Hove Park area of the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex. The stadium also has a restaurant and a number of bars and is owned by the Gala Coral Group and race meetings are held every Thursday and Saturday evening, in addition to three afternoon meetings.
Newcastle Stadium is a greyhound stadium located on The Fossway, Byker, Newcastle. Racing at the stadium takes place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The circumference of the track is 415 metres.
The Scurry Gold Cup is an original classic greyhound competition held at Belle Vue Stadium.
White City Greyhounds was the greyhound racing operation held at White City Stadium in London. The venue was regarded as the sport's primary track during its existence.
The Northern Flat is a greyhound racing competition held annually at Belle Vue Stadium.
The Edinburgh Cup was a greyhound racing competition held annually at Powderhall Stadium in Powderhall, Scotland.
The Blue Riband was a greyhound racing competition held annually at Wembley Stadium and Hall Green Stadium. It was inaugurated in 1981 as a replacement competition for the Wembley Spring Cup which finished in 1980.
Jimmy Jowett was an English greyhound trainer. He was the British champion trainer.
The 1926 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year was the inaugural year of 'track' greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The 1931 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year was the sixth year of greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The total annual attendance across the country for 1931 increased to 17,906,917 from 17,119,120, a fifth consecutive annual increase.
The 1936 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year was the 11th year of greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The 1938 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year was the 13th year of greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The 1957 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year was the 31st year of greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The 1964 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year was the 38th year of greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The 1971 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year was the 45th year of greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The 1972 UK & Ireland Greyhound Racing Year was the 46th year of greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Stamford Bridge Greyhounds was the greyhound racing operation held at Stamford Bridge in London.
Patrick Mullins known as Pat (1929-1981), was an Irish born champion trainer of Great Britain.