Sunderland Greyhound Stadium Guide

The 378-metre track of Sunderland Greyhound Stadium is located in the Fulwell district of the city. It opened its doors for the first time in 1940 when it was known as the Boldon Greyhound Stadium. Over the years, it has also been known as the Newcastle Sports Stadium, but Geordies and Mackems are known to have a bit of a rivalry, so it’s little wonder that that name got changed at some point to give it a more specifically local feel.

The stadium offers you delicious catering its glass-fronted restaurant, should you be in the mood for a gastronomic feast, or else a more typically ‘British’ affair at one of the bars within its confines. They have numerous packages available depending on what sort of night you’re hoping for, so whether you’re party of a hen or stag party looking for a great laugh or a serious bettor who likes to study the form – you’re in for a treat.

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Race Days & Times

Sunderland Greyhound Stadium offers both standard racing and Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service meetings, so it’s open five days a week. The BAGS racing takes place on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings, whilst the normal racing is on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

On Tuesdays, doors open at 1pm and the first race is at 2.18pm, with the last one taking place at 6.19pm. On Wednesdays, it’s doors open at 6pm, first race at 6.38pm and the final race gets underway at 9.20pm. You can enter the stadium from 10am on Thursday mornings ready for a first race at 11.03am, with the day finishing a little after the last race at 1.51pm. It’s back to evenings on Friday as doors open at 6.20pm and the first race starts at 7.25pm. The last race is at 10.35pm, perhaps, so they can get the venue ready for another 6pm opening on Saturday evening. The first race starts just 20-minutes after that and the last race is at 10pm.

Visiting

  • Ticket Prices: If you want to get a feel for the day then you’re best going to one of the BAGS meetings as entry is free. On a Wednesday and a Friday, when the ‘real’ racing is on, it’s £5 in or you’ll pay £6 if you want to go on a Saturday. The admission prices includes a Race Card. Senior citizens pay half price and kids under 17 get in for free.
  • Getting There: The stadium is just off the A164, so if you’re driving you’ll want to get on the A1018 and come off onto that. East Boldon Train Station about 20-minutes walk away or the number 9 bus calls right past.
  • Parking There is a decent-sized car park outside the stadium that you’ll almost certainly be able to find a space in.

History

Matkin and Hawkins were the architects who were asked to design the stadium in 1940. It cost £60,000 and was built not far from the nearby London & North Eastern Railway line. Boldon, the nearby Sunderland district where the track was built, was a mining community and that was a key part of the reason why that specific location was chosen. It opened its doors for the first time on the 23rd of March in 1940 and a dog named Percheron, running out of trap 2, was the first ever winner of the first ever race, completing it in 28.35 seconds and coming home at 5/2.

Although Sunderland Greyhound Stadium had a long spell as an independent track, it has been affiliated to the National Greyhound Racing Club twice over the years. It first joined just after the Second World War, leaving its control in 1951. They dealt with this change by offering significant prize money compared to NGRC tracks, meaning that trainers were keen to race there. It started out as a grass-track but changed to sand in the latter stages of the 1970s. The change wasn’t enough to rescue it from closure in June of 1980, however.

It re-opened under the owner of John Young, who introduced whippet racing to keep things interesting. In 1988, it was bought by Terry Robson, a race horse owner, and Harry Williams, a former trainer. They spent over £1 million renovating the place and building new facilities, which included a restaurant and private boxes. That was also when an application to re-join the NGRC was made. They didn’t return to the world of NGRC racing until 1990, however, when a twelve race meeting took place.

Since then, the track has been owned by numerous different companies and individuals. It was when William Hill became interested that things really took a turn for the interesting, though, as they bought the venue for £9.4 million in September of 2002. Three years later it was named as the Northern Greyhound Track of the Year. The bookmakers continue to run a festival of racing at the track, with the William Hill Grand Prix considered to be the principal event.

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