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    The Rise of Open Races: A Closer Look
The Rise of Open Races: A Closer Look
 Joint Maiden Derby ante post favourite IVY HILL THUNDER. Photo: Steve Nash. Source: greyhoundstar.co.uk

The Rise of Open Races: A Closer Look

Recently, a prominent trainer remarked, "Open races never seem to fill these days." This sentiment is shared by many racegoers, highlighting a perceived struggle in filling open races. Indeed, between Monday and Wednesday, only Nottingham consistently stages open races.

However, it might surprise some to learn that despite there being five fewer tracks compared to ten years ago (25 vs. 20), the number of open races has actually increased significantly.

A study conducted in March 2014 revealed that 383 open races were staged, distributed as follows: 66 in Sheffield, 50 in Romford, 49 in Nottingham, 37 in Monmore, 36 in Central Park, 34 in Hove, 32 in Henlow, 15 in Swindon, and 10 each in Crayford, Perry Barr, Shawfield, and Wimbledon. Additionally, there were 6 in Doncaster, 5 in Pelaw Grange and Poole, and 4 each in Sunderland and Wimbledon. Intriguingly, of these 383 open races, 65 were dedicated to stayers, 20 to marathons, and 10 to hurdle events.

Fast forward ten years to March 2024, and the number of open races had increased to 457, marking a 16% rise. These races were spread across various tracks, including 59 in Oxford, 47 in Hove, 46 in Romford, 40 in Doncaster, and 39 in Sheffield. Monmore, Towcester, and Central Park also hosted a significant number of open races. Notably, there were 93 dedicated to stayers and 22 to marathons.

Despite this increase in the number of open races, the relative competitiveness of each race remains less clear.

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