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    Premier Greyhound Racing Oaks at Perry Bar
Premier Greyhound Racing Oaks at Perry Bar

Premier Greyhound Racing Oaks at Perry Bar


Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium is set to host the 93rd edition of the Premier Greyhound Racing Oaks in October 2024. 

Arena Racing Company (ARK), the operator that has leased Perry Barr Racecourse since 2019, has introduced a TRP television service to broadcast the races. Starting in January 2024, an agreement with the prominent British gambling holding company, Entain, on media rights will commence, making Oaks Racing accessible to the general public and significantly expanding opportunities for fans to place bets on dog racing. 

Photo: https://greyhoundstar.co.uk/
Oaks at Swindon 2018

The name Oaks holds a rich history, indirectly linked to greyhounds. In 1779, on the current grounds of Oaks Park, situated east of Epsom, there was an estate of the 12th Earl of Derby with the same name. During a gathering with friends, it was decided to organise the Oaks Stakes race for young three-year-old fillies. The event was a success, with Count Bridget's mare emerging as the winner. This led to the establishment of the annual Epsom Oaks race in Epsom. Subsequently, the concept of racing fillies was adopted in other countries, becoming a tradition to label female horse races as "Oaks," such as the Irish Oaks, Oaks d'Italia, or New Zealand Oaks. 

In 1927, the organisers of greyhound racing took inspiration from horse races involving fillies. The city hosted its inaugural female Oaks Greyhound competition at the White City Race Course in 1927. The first victor was the female Three of Spades, trained by Sid Jennings, Harringay. 

In September 1939, the race attained classic status, but the outbreak of the Second World War shifted the focus of the British people to more pressing matters than greyhound racing. Post-war, since 1959, the race has changed locations multiple times, being held at Harringay, Wimbledon, Belle Vue, Towcester, and Swindon stadiums. 

Starting from 2021, the Oaks will take place at Perry Barr Stadium in Birmingham. The stadium recently underwent a multi-million-pound renovation, transforming Perry Barr into a distinctive modern complex. For greyhound racing enthusiasts, the venue now offers restaurants, hotel boxes, bars, and snack bars with panoramic views of the track.

The stadium has a capacity of 1500 people, and the running track spans 434 meters. Dog races are scheduled every Thursday and Saturday throughout the year. Perry Barr Stadium is home to four classic races: the St Leger, Laurels, Oaks, and Scurry Gold Cup, with the Greyhound Racing Oaks taking place in October.

Photo: https://www.perrybarr-greyhounds.co.uk/
2023 Oaks winner No Rush

The reigning champion in 2023 was the three-year-old greyhound No Rush, trained by Carol Weatherall. No Rush secured victory in the final moments, beating Kevin Hutton by half a length and earning £20,000. Co-owner Jon Purdy revealed that the realization of No Rush's victory only occurred after reviewing the photo finish sometime after the race. Since May 2022, No Rush has participated in a series of 11 finals across Category 1, 2, and 3 competitions, without securing a win. No Rush has one final appearance in Ireland and will soon be sent to a kennel for breeding.

Behind a dog's triumph lies the dedicated work of a person; the athlete's talent, flair, and the focused efforts of the trainer lead to a victorious finish. Trainer James Stanley Biss has claimed victory in the Greyhound Racing Oaks seven times over the years, with six of his dogs becoming race winners. Notable champions include Faithful Kitty in 1930, Queen of the Suir in 1932 and 1933, and subsequent winners in 1937, 1946, 1947, and 1948.

Between 1951 and 1962, English greyhound trainer Jack Harvey secured victory in the Oaks five times. In the nineties, the renowned trainer Nick Savva became a medallist in the race four times. Recent years have seen talented trainers like Mark Wallace, Kevin Hutton, and Patrick Janssens guiding greyhounds to Oaks victory.

Competitions for female greyhounds are held in various countries. In Ireland, the Oaks for Irish greyhounds have been a tradition since 1930, with Shelbourne Park hosting since 1992. The WA Oaks in Australia have been held since 1976. Due to differences in physical characteristics, physiology, and temperament, female greyhounds face challenges competing against males. However, they engage in races on equal footing and often secure clear victories, bringing immense pleasure to their owners, fans, and all enthusiasts of this sport.

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