Crayford Stadium Guide

Crayford Stadium declares itself to be ‘the home of greyhound racing’, based largely on the fact that it has been in operation since 1937. There are older tracks, of course, but this is one of the oldest in the South of England. It’s located in Bexley, a borough of London that is about sixteen-miles from the Palace of Westminster.

The course is one of the most popular in the country. Perhaps that’s why the afternoon races are referred to as matinées. The evening races are not called Gala Performances, which feels like a bit of a shame. Regardless, a trip here will enjoy a decent atmosphere and plenty of excitement; especially if the dog you bet on wins! It is also sometimes referred to as 'Ladbrokes Stadium' owing to the fact that they sponsor it.

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Race Days & Times

If you want to head to matinée then you’ll be looking to make your way to the stadium on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. During the week, the doors open at 1pm with racing starting at 2.08pm on a Tuesday and ten-minutes later on a Thursday. Saturdays see the doors open at 10am for a 10.38am start and entry is free on all three days.

The evenings are where the real action is, though, so you’ll have to pay £7 to get in then or £5 if you’re a child accompanied by a grown-up. The doors open at 5.30pm on Friday nights and the first race is at 6.33pm, whilst on Saturday evenings it’s doors open at 6.15pm and a first race time of 7.30pm. Presumably you have to clear out after the matinée so they can clean up any rogue popcorn and sweet wrappers.

Visiting

  • Ticket Prices: As mentioned above, it’s £7 for adults to watch the racing in the evening and £5 for accompanied kids. If you want to go for free then you’re best heading there in the afternoon when the racing is aimed more at the television audience watching from home. You get a race card included with your entrance fee and can buy additional ones for £2.
  • Getting There: The stadium is about an hours drive from Central London, which is ludicrous when you realise it’s only sixteen-miles away. Therefore, it might be better to look to public transport and Crayford Train Station is almost literally on the doorstep. Crayford Town Hall is not far away and bus numbers 96, 428 and 492 all stop there.
  • Parking There’s a massive car park to be found at the stadium, so if you do choose to drive then don’t worry about not finding a space.

History

Folks at Crayford Stadium will tell you that greyhound racing has been taking place there since 1937 and, to an extent, that’s true. Given that the place was knocked down and rebuilt almost entirely between 1985 and 1986, however, that’s a little like Trigger claiming he’s been using the same brush in Only Fools and Horses.

It was Ladbrokes who decided to redevelop the area, announcing their plans to do so in 1984. Back then it was known as the Crayford & Bexleyheath Stadium and the idea was to turn the whole site into a leisure facility with five-acres given over to a new greyhound stadium. The last race at the old ground took place on the 18th of May 1985 and the new site was inaugurated on the 1st of September the following year.

Having dropped the ‘Bexleyheath’ part of the stadium’s name, owing to the fact that it had moved to a different part of the twenty-acre area, things meandered nicely for the new stadium and its setup. They went up a notch in 1987, though, when they won the right to host the Golden Jacket greyhound competition after it had failed to find a new home in the wake of Harringay’s demise. It was popular with the television audience, meaning that the track regained some interest from lovers of the sport.

As well as the Golden Jacket, the site took on a new race for its sponsor, Ladbrokes. They also came up with the Crayford Rosebowl – another competition that garnered plenty of interest. The folks at Crayford Stadium continue to innovate, resurrecting the much loved Gold Collar race that had originally been run at Catford Stadium back in 1933. When Catford closed in 2003, it moved to Belle Vue until it was discontinued in 2009. Corrin Bob, a god trained by Ernie Gaskin Jr, won the inaugural race of the new format.

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