Catford Stadium
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Catford Stadium

Catford Stadium
Catford Stadium in 2003
LocationCatford, London
Opened1932
Closed2003

Catford Stadium was a historic greyhound racing stadium in Catford, a suburb of London.

Origins

Charles Benstead and Frank Sutton founded the stadium on Southern Railway land between two commuter lines in 1932. The entrance was on Adenmore Road, West of Doggett Road.[1]

Greyhound Racing

Opening

The inaugural meeting was held on Saturday 30 July 1932 and consisted of a seven card race of events comprising four or five runners. Mick the Miller was paraded around the track prior to the fourth race. The first racing manager was Lt. Col. A J Vernon and there were no less than eighty bookmakers. A kennel complex was constructed at Layham's Farm, Keston, near Biggin Hill and six trainers were appointed.[2]

The track was described as a tight 369 yard circumference circuit and the hare was an 'Outside Breco Silent' before being switched to a more conventional 'Outside McKee'. Buses originally dropped patrons off just outside the main gates and by the entrance gates were tote facilities and the South bank enclosure. The West forecourt had a covered grandstand with tote facilities with the judges box directly opposite the winning line. Behind this was the race day kennels. The East forecourt had a larger covered grandstand on the back straight. The track could also be accessed from behind this grandstand because there were two bridges going across the Southern Railway line. To use the bridges to the track an entrance fee was paid at the turnstiles situated on the other side of the railway line to the stadium itself meaning the bridges were actually part of the stadium complex. Finally opposite the main entrance on bends 3 and 4 was the famous tote board nestled between the uncovered north bank enclosure.[3]

Pre War history

Early trainers at the track were Jock Hutchinson, H Hammond, Claude Champion, Albert Bedford, Harry Woolner, Dal Hawkesley and Ernie Pratt and a major event 'The Gold Collar' was introduced in 1933 which would gain classic status. Two other events called the Catford British Breeders Produce Stakes and Cobb Marathon Bowl were introduced; the former became very popular with the event being run twice during many years and the latter was sponsored by brewer Rupert Cobb and became a significant test for the leading staying stars, this race would continue until 1975.[4]

Post War history

Tote turnover after the war was extremely healthy and the seventh best in London and Great Britain just ahead of West Ham Stadium.[5] On September 20, 1946 an express train from Victoria to Ramsgate derailed and five of the ten coaches fell down the 20 foot embankment landing in the stadium car park. The stadium employees were first on to the scene and remarkably only one person died as a result of the crash.[6]

In 1952 the Managing Director Frank Sutton died; Sutton had introduced the British Breeders Produce Stakes. His son John would eventually take over from his father and take over the family business and introduced the very first jackpot pool in 1961, later to be copied by horse racing. In 1954 the Dave Barker trainer Ardskeagh Ville was the first and only hound from Catford to make the English Greyhound Derby final. Charles Benstead sold his share in the company in 1959 to Harold Clifton.[7]

By 1963 the Greyhound Racing Association purchased the track and John Sutton eventually become their Managing Director. The GRA introduced under track heating system at Catford with electric cables sewn into the track eight inches under the turf. Sister track Charlton Stadium finished racing during 1971 resulting in the Greenwich Cup and Ben Truman Stakes finding a new home at Catford. One year later the track was the first London stadium to start eight dog racing and the circuit was substantially altered with steep banking on the bends.[7]

During the 1970s trainers at the track would include Mike Smith, John Horsfall and Paddy Milligan. The legendary Scurlogue Champ set three track records over marathon distances of 718 and 888 metres from 1984-1986 and in 1987 the Scurry Gold Cup became another major event to be held at the track, the classic race arrived from Harringay Stadium after its closure.[8]

The Cesarewitch was switched to from Belle Vue Stadium to Catford in 1995 before switching to Oxford Stadium later.

Controversy

During 2001-2002, a trainer Lennie Knell was caught on camera admitting overfeeding dogs to slow them down,[9] and a greyhound died of heat exhaustion.[10][11] Subsequently, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain brought in stringent rules that required every stadium and greyhound transporter to have cool air management systems and any trainer found deliberately overfeeding dogs would lose their licence. Knell was disqualified from all licensed greyhound tracks in May 2002 after an inquiry by the governing body.

Closure

On 6 November 2003, following years of rumours, the track closed overnight without warning, when it was announced the previous day's race meeting had been the last.[12]

Trainers John Simpson, Tony Taylor, Maxine Locke and John Walsh moved to Wimbledon, Keston based Steve Gammon left for Crayford, Sonja Spiers and Kevin Connor went to Sittingbourne and Mark Lavender switched to Portsmouth. Racing Manager Derek Hope was able to take up the same position at Wimbledon soon after because Simon Harris had left for Coventry [12] Stadium bookmaker John Humphreys who had stood in the main ring since 1966 and sponsored the Gold Collar for 18 years, retired.[12]

Speedway

In 1934 several speedway meetings were held on a track constructed inside the dog track. In 1949 permission was sought to operate speedway from the stadium again but permission was refused.[13] Not to be confused with The Mount stadium, another stadium in Catford.

Redevelopment

The local amateur football side, Catford Wanderers, were mooted to move into the stadium, though this dream was never realised. The stadium has since caught on fire and was subsequently demolished, along with the iconic tote board. The site has been redeveloped for housing by Barratt Homes as "Catford Green".[14][15][16]

Competitions

Gold Collar

(an original classic competition)

Greenwich Cup

Scurry Gold Cup

(an original classic competition)

Cesarewitch

(an original classic competition)

Cobb Marathon Bowl

Ben Truman Stakes

Year Winner Breeding Trainer Time SP
1962 Greenane Boulevarde Champion Prince - Lady Item Dennis Hannafin (Wimbledon) 34.86
1963 Riobally Chum Riobally Shaun - Ivys Torment B.Saunders (New Cross) 34.94
1964 Little Baytown Baytown Drone - Little Puss G A Harding (Private) 34.64 11-8f
1965 Feakles Foot Feakles Luck - Oxgrove Dinkie Ernie Butler (Private) 35.36
1966 Galtymore Fire The Grand Fire - Nancys Twilight Norman Chambers (New Cross) 35.02
1967 Wattlehurst Riot Wattlehurst Rocket - Charity Ball Sid Ryall (Private) 35.10
1969 Meanus Donal Movealong Donal - Todays Best Wilf France (Harringay) 4.69 5-2jf
1970 Sing The Song Lovely Chieftain - Much Obliged Tim Forster (Harringay) 34.43 2-1
1971 Pepper Joe Shanes Legacy - Kirbys Turn Charlie Coyle (Private) 35.34 1-2f
1972 Ramdeen Stuart Sallys Story - Any Streak Norman Oliver (Brough Park) 35.03 11-8f
1973 Case Money Booked Out - Jamboree Ted Parker (Harringay) 35.44 1-4f
1974 Gay Kathy Monalee Champion - Kals Kathy Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley) 35.30 2-1
1975 Portlairge Tipp Spectre - Hack It Tipp Mike Smith (Catford) 36.42 4-1
1976 Kings Comet Cobbler - Robins Silver Mike Smith (Catford) 35.30 4-9f
1977 Glenvale Prince Empty Pride - April Lee Terry Duggan (Romford) 35.18 2-1
1978 Quakerfield Fun Supreme Fun - Menace Stan Gudgin (Harringay) 35.30 28-1
1979 Quest For Gold Faction Fighter - Noble Lynn John Cox (Slough) 36.00 7-2
1980 Dans Arrow Itsachampion - Ivy Hall Sally Pat Mullins Cambridge 35.11 2-5f
1981 Metalina Gaily Noble - Double Disaster Jim Sherry (Reading) 35.82 20-1
1982 Coomlogane Style Satori Style - Mountleader Inca John Horsfall (Catford) 34.90 6-4
1983 Double Handful Glin Fane - Solieado Arthur Hitch (Oxford) 46.51 9-2
1984 Lakefield Blue Xmas Holiday - Sheila Alone Kenny Linzell (Walthamstow) 46.26 7-1
1985 Rosewood Girl Sail On II - Leafy Glade Kenny Linzell (Walthamstow) 45.98 5-1
1986 Lamalighter Brief Candle - Andreas Blue Jenny March (Peterborough) 46.37 7-1
1987 Winsor Way McKays Way - Lady Sunday Fred Wiseman (Milton Keynes) 46.37 4-5f

(1962-67 New Cross), (1969-70 Charlton), (1971-87 Catford)

Track records

Pre-metric

Distance
yards
Greyhound Time Date Notes
420 Cheathas Artist 23.88 25.09.1971
440 South Tipperary 27.92 30.07.1932
440 Jazz First 26.18 05.08.1932
440 Wild Woolley 25.95 06.05.1933 Gold Collar heats
440 Jack's Joke 25.95 14.06.1935
440 Fine Jubilee 25.82 26.05.1936 Gold Collar heats
440 Fine Jubilee 25.42 25.05.1937
440 Mondays News 25.41 31.05.1947 Gold Collar semi-finals
440 Hectic Birthday =25.41 31.05.1952 Gold Collar final
440 Polonius 25.40 16.03.1953
440 Rusty Chain 25.26 19.05.1956
440 Dangerous Customer =25.26 05.07.1958
440 Shanes Rocket =25.26 1970
570 I'm Dogmatic 32.99 15.04.1963
600 Shadowlands Delight 35.20 1950
610 The Phoenix 35.08 06.01.1972
620 Music Guest 35.98 04.07.1964
620 Discretions 35.83 1970
700 May Hasty 40.03 1950
745 Gorey Hill 44.97 03.07.1965
745 Suir Peggy 44.43 1970
790 Breachs Buzzard 45.91 18.12.1971
810 Ilene Darling 53.70 31.01.1933
810 Drintyre 51.46 07.03.1933
810 Extra Smart 51.27 17.06.1933
810 Master Ralph 50.90 07.08.1933
810 Dapifir 50.35 29.03.1934
810 Real Busy 50.04 12.07.1934
810 English Warrior 49.10 16.08.1934
810 Alvaston Lulu Belle 48.58 21.07.1945
810 Tia Tina 48.48 27.09.1958
810 Rapid Prospect 48.44 04.07.1959
810 I'm Dogmatic 48.40 16.05.1964
940 Chi Chi 58.10 10.03.1962
970 Budget Surplus 58.87 1963
978 Real Darkie 58.87 11.12.1971
1156 Spots of Luck 70.94 25.09.1971
1180 Trev's Carriers 79.80 23.01.1945
1180 Western Dasher 74.42 1950
1180 Lankey Lena 72.70 04.07.1959
1180 Farma Zora 72.31 1969
420 H Sherrys Prince 24.39 02.11.1971
440 H Bright Board 26.19 1950
440 H Maggie From Cork 25.83 07.07.1962
600 H Derryboy Jubliee 36.31 1950
610 H Sherrys Prince 35.75 05.02.1972
620 H Knockshe Prince 37.93 13.02.1965

Post-metric

Distance
yards
Greyhound Time Date Notes
222 Blinding Service 13.73 1988
222 Kiltown Prior 13.68 1989
222 I'm From Tallow 13.56 1990
385 Tipper Tar [17] 23.63 03.1973 Greenwich Cup
385 One To Note 23.54 11.05.1985
385 I'm Gone 23.54 18.07.1987
385 Farncombe Black 23.42 1988
385 Bolt Home 23.35 1989
385 Union Decree 23.20 04.07.1998 Scurry Gold Cup semi-final
517 Hello Blackie 32.03 1989
555 Westmead Champ 34.65 1976
555 Track Man 34.47 22.09.1984
555 Rio Shadow 34.41 09.05.1998 Greenwich Cup semi-final
718 Scurlogue Champ 45.58 20.10.1984
850 Proud To Run 55.25 1989
888 Pitmans Brief 58.47 1976
888 Scurlogue Champ 58.00 05.06.1985
888 Scurlogue Champ 57.60 19.06.1986
1050 Cregagh Prince 69.93 25.04.1987
385 H Ballaugh Echo 24.17 19.06.1986
385 H Parktown Ranger 24.03 1988
385 H Pantile 23.85 1989
385 H Kildare Slippy 23.73 18.05.1991
517 H Breeks Rocket 33.23 1990
555 H Autumn River 35.72 1977
555 H Off You Sail 35.35 18.07.1987
555 H Freewheel Kylo 35.34 1994
555 H El Tenor 35.15 27.05.1999
718 H Kanturk Cannon 48.43 02.05.2002

External links

References

  1. ^ "OS County Series London 1916". old-maps.co.uk.
  2. ^ Ash, Edward C (1933). The Book of the Greyhound. Hutchinson & Co. p. 303.
  3. ^ Tarter, P Howard (1949). Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd. pp. 74-75.
  4. ^ Genders, Roy (1975). The Greyhound and Racing Greyhound. Page Brothers (Norwich). p. 92. ISBN 0-85020-0474.
  5. ^ Particulars of Licensed tracks, table 1 Licensed Dog Racecourses. Licensing Authorities. 1946.
  6. ^ ""Catford Train Accident." Times [London, England] 2 Oct. 1946". The Times Digital Archive.
  7. ^ a b Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 40-42. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  8. ^ Dack, Barrie (1990). Greyhound Derby, the first 60 years. Ringpress Books. pp. 30-31. ISBN 0-948955-36-8.
  9. ^ Overfeeding controversy
  10. ^ Greyhound Union
  11. ^ "Remember When in November". Greyhound Star.
  12. ^ a b c "Catford greyhound track: gone but not forgotten". Betfair.com.
  13. ^ Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
  14. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-22425127
  15. ^ BBC news item about closure
  16. ^ This is London report
  17. ^ "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 1973) March edition". Greyhound Star.

Coordinates: 51°26?56?N 0°1?28?W / 51.44889°N 0.02444°W / 51.44889; -0.02444


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