Coventry Dogs is preparing itself for its busiest month yet, but owner Harry Findlay says this is just the start for the Brandon-based track.
A hectic December will see Coventry stage meetings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, culminating in the final of the Swettenham Stud Golden Muzzle on Sunday December 16, with £30,000 on offer to the winner.
The track will also be putting on its first hurdles races, with the category two Christmas Hurdles Trophy being staged over the first three Saturdays of the month.
But despite the rapid progress of the track since its reopening in May, professional gambler Findlay, who lives in Leamington, wants to increase the stakes. “The sport is in trouble and that will come to my benefit,” said Findlay, who believes Coventry is the leading contender to stage the Derby should Wimbledon bite the dust.
“Champion trainer Chris Allsop has been given permission to have his dogs here and while other tracks are short of trainers, we’ve got lots of people wanting to come in.
“We’re the number one track in the country for safety in terms of injuries and casualties and we’re the only track that can hold premier events.
“There’s no doubt we’re going to get the biggest greyhound races in the country.
“There’s absolutely no chance of us not kicking on.”
With Coventry’s tote retention also being half that of other tracks in the country, Findlay says the smaller punters are being attracted back to the sport thanks to their increased chances of making a profit.
“People go to the greyhounds to make money and that’s not always possible at other tracks with the Tote taking out 30 per cent,” he said.
“We’ve worked out how much more chance you have with 14 per cent and your average small punters who bet on names and colours have got three times more chance of winning at my track. The skilled punter has four times as much chance.
“We’ve got three professional gamblers doing the form and while that helps the bookmakers, it also helps the punters.
“We’re trying to educate people all the time.
“We’re what Betfair could have been if they hadn’t taken their eye off the ball and we’ll force other tracks to follow suit.”
Ultimately, though, despite talk of tote percentages and professional gambler-compiled form, Coventry is still about giving the customer a good night out in a traditional setting.
And the Courier and Weekly News columnist says that is what those arriving through December will most take away from the experience.
“We’ve got a hardcore of 250 who don’t miss a meeting and we’re expecting crowds of 900 over the Christmas period.
“We’ve already got that good old-fashioned greyhound atmosphere that you don’t get at other tracks any more.
“This track’s going to have a big future.”