Owlerton Stadium (Sheffield) Guide

From football to ice hockey via athletics and cricket, Sheffield has always been a sporty city. It should come as little surprise, therefore, that there’s a decent greyhound stadium thrown in the mix. The venue is often referred to as Sheffield Sports Stadium, owing to the fact that it is the home of the Sheffield Eagles rugby league club as well as the Sheffield Tigers speedway team. The latter have been their since 1929 when the stadium opened its doors for the first time.

Though greyhound racing didn’t take place here until 1932, it has since gone on to hold a prime place in Owlerton Stadium’s importance. In fact, the venue is considered to be the premier greyhound track in all of Yorkshire. The stadium is about 5-minutes outside the city centre and is close to Hillsborough – the home of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. Whether you’re heading there on your own or with a group of mates, you’ll be in for a real treat.

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Race Days & Times

Owlerton’s greyhound meetings are essentially broken into two sections: The normal meetings that take place on an evening and the Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service that is held during the daytime two days a week. For evening racing, you’ll want to head along on Tuesdays, Fridays or Saturdays. If you’re keen to go in the daytime, then it’ll be Monday and Thursday that you’ll want to get yourself down there for.

When it comes to timing, it’s a bit different for each day. The first race on a Monday is at 2.18pm with the last being at 6.18pm. It’s earlier on a Thursday, however, with the first race getting underway at 11.11am and the last one getting off at 2.35pm. Your first race on a Tuesday is at 6.38pm and the last one is 10.30pm, whilst on a Friday things get started at 6.39pm but the last race is at 10.40pm. The last race of a Saturday is also 10.40pm, but the first one is at 7.25pm. That’s not true for the last Saturday of the month, however, when it’s a 7pm start and a 10.45pm finish.

Visiting

  • Ticket Prices: It’s £3 to get in to watch racing on a Tuesday with Friday and Saturday nights costing £6 for adults, £3.50 for concessions and £1 for under-16s. Those prices include your entry and a Race Card. BAGS racing tends to be free to watch.
  • Getting There: Owlerton Stadium is just off the A61, the Penistone Road. It’s just beneath the River Don and is about five miles from Sheffield Train Station. When it comes to buses the 7, 8, 8a, 86 and H1 all stop outside the venue.
  • Parking The stadium is served by a large car park for customers who are watching the racing.

History

A plot of land for a new greyhound stadium in Owlerton was selected in 1929 – the hope being that it would be able to compete with nearby Darnall Stadium that had opened two years before. In the end, no racing took place at Owlerton in 1932, with speedway hosted there from the 30th of March, 1929 instead. Over the following two and a half years, the track was adapted to get it ready for greyhound racing, including the addition of a grandstand with a glass front.

When greyhound racing took place at Owlerton for the first time on the 12th of January in 1932 around 10,000 people turned up to watch. Seven races took place at that initial meeting and a dog named Carbrook Ted came home at 3/1 to make history as the first greyhound to win a race at Sheffield’s newest venue. Though another track named Hyde Park Greyhound Stadium opened in Sheffield in 1933, Owlerton was the city’s premier racing venue and was also licensed, unlike the independent track of Hyde Park.

Racing remained popular during the Second World War but there wasn’t a huge heap of open races because of the travel ban. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Sheffield’s Ted Brennan began to establish himself as a real name in dog training. By the 1960s, Darnall had closed down and Owlerton was bought the Sheffield Corporation for £185,000. They spent a good deal of money on improving the facilities, as its popularity continued to grow. In 1970, they introduced the Steel City Cup and, in 1978, the grass circuit was replaced by an all-sand equivalent. Problems occurred for the stadium in 1989 in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster just up the road. The council closed the venue down until improvements to safety were carried out.

In 1991, A&S Leisure bought the stadium and went about spending in the region of £3 million on refurbishment and improvements. John Gilburn, a former manager of the Greyhound Racing Association, arrived at the track. In 2009, he secured the trainers’ championship for the stadium for the first time in its existence and In 2014, he repeated the trick. As well as the Steel City Cup, Owlerton also hosts Three Steps To Victory – a race that was inaugurated for the first time in 2003.

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