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    Henlow Closure – Sunday 21st January
Henlow Closure – Sunday 21st January

Henlow Closure – Sunday 21st January

Henlow will cease greyhound racing following the meeting on Sunday 21st January, as reported by Floyd Amphlett. The decision was unavoidable following a court ruling last month, and though the short notice may disappoint owners, trainers, and greyhound supporters.

Promoter Kevin Boothby said, “The first point I should make is that I am absolutely gutted, but we have reached the end of the road. We have been attempting to renew the lease over several years and felt we had a strong legal case, even though the judge disagreed. The recent court case has cost in the region of £150K, and although we stand by that initial view, there is no guarantee that we would win an appeal."

“In terms of our local trainers, all are welcome at our other tracks. The majority are already indicating that they will transfer to Towcester, where Graham Payne, one of the three Henlow on-site trainers, will have a new range in the stable block. Jason Bloomfield already has another kennel in March, and I am still waiting to hear Steve Fletcher’s plans. I gather that a couple of the smaller kennels may want to run some at Suffolk Downs. We only have around 60-80 Henlow based graders anyway, and many of the trainers already race at Towcester. There is no welfare issue.”

Boothby took over Henlow in October 2004 when the place was struggling. He managed to keep the track from closure, remortgaging his home at one point. Despite being his first venture into track ownership, Boothby played a crucial role in the track's survival. He personally oversaw track preparation and invested in a new restaurant, proving to be the venue's savior.

The emergence of the media rights war gave the stadium a second chance, with SIS seizing the opportunity. Plans for 2024 were dependent on the court judgment. Had the outcome been more favorable, Boothby intended to reopen the restaurant, reintroduce major events, including the Bedfordshire Derby, and make Henlow a popular nightspot.

Boothby expressed his sadness about the closure and invited supporters to the final three Sunday meetings. He mentioned that entries for the week close on Thursday and shared plans for a bit of a farewell with pizza and chips at the final meeting. The stadium must be dismantled by April 5, including the restaurant.

Boothby concluded, “I can’t tell you how sad this makes me; I love Henlow, and I honestly think there is still a place in greyhound racing for a track like it. But we will move on and put all our energies into the other three.”

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