THE best news to hit greyhound racing in goodness knows how long has been confirmed by Harry Findlay, whose bid to re-open Coventry has been given the green light by the GBGB with the granting of a licence by the ruling body.
“When I got that licence in my hand yesterday it was like a dream come true, we are now ready to rumble and the plan is to stage our first meeting on Sunday evening, 20 May with a ten-race all open card.”
Coventry’s Brandon Stadium stopped trading in December 2009 and has remained dormant greyhound-wise ever since but Findlay pledges the track will come back in style. “This is for the benefit of owners, trainers and the public and greyhound racing in general,” said the flamboyant new promoter.
“We don’t want anything to do with BAGS racing, have told the GBGB that we won’t be seeking any grants, a system which I consider wrong, and will go with this under our own steam in a bid to make what is a great track the best in the country.
“Make no mistake, this is going to be massive and you can be sure that the prizemoney will be on a par, if not better, than anywhere. Early days I know but the plans include Saturday morning open race meetings with minimum winning prizemoney of £200, and we will also look after the also-rans, something that not enough tracks do.”
Findlay has big plans for Coventry and says he would “be absolutely mortified if Coventry doesn’t stage the Derby next year. We would jump at the chance and we already have plans to put on the Masters with minimum prizemoney of £50,000.”
The Masters was formerly held at now closed Reading, where Martin Dore was racing manager and held the same position at Coventry up to its closure. “Martin has a CV second to none and he will come back to Coventry in the role he was forced to vacate more than two years ago when Coventry closed,” added Findlay.
His general manager will be Bob Webb, an accountant who played a major role in securing the new GBGB licence. “I’ve known Bob since I was a kid, he was a bookmaker at Reading in those days and is a top man and great to have in the team,” added Findlay, one of whose many intentions is to make Coventry a punter-friendly track.
“A lot of tracks take the maximum 29% out of the tote in retention, we will have a maximum of 14% on the win pool and 10% on the place pool, we will keep the customers satisfied. These are exciting times, we are champing at the bit!”