Suffolk Downs hosts first greyhound racing meeting since reopening
Twelve-time champion trainer Mark Wallis has given his seal of approval to the return of greyhound racing at Mildenhall Stadium following the first meeting staged under its new name, Suffolk Downs.
After an absence of more than four years the sound of paw prints were once again heard on the sand at the West Row-based stadium during a 10-race card in front of the SIS (Sports Information Services) cameras on Tuesday morning.
The accolade of becoming the first winner at Suffolk Downs went to Sudoky Sullivan, who saw his name go into the history books when forming the opening leg of a four-timer for trainer Jim Daly.
Although not quite matching Daly’s haul of winners, Undley-based Wallis celebrated a double on the card thanks to the victories of kennel debutants Swift Xerox and Antigua Money.
Wallis said: “It was great to have our first runner here, Swift Xerox, an unraced pup, come out and win first time up while Antigua Money, who won the last, also looked full of promise.
“With it being close to our kennel in Undley it makes great sense to have runners here.
“We will supply between 30 to 40 runners here when they have three meetings a week with the dogs that would usually race at Henlow along with some new pups.
“The team here has done a tremendous job. The track looks good and is nice and safe for the dogs while the prize money is a lot different to the old Mildenhall due to the involvement of SIS and that makes a big difference.
“Hopefully this is the start of a long and successful association back at Suffolk Downs.”
Despite admitting it had been a challenge restoring the venue, track promoter Kevin Boothby was equally pleased with how proceedings went.
He said: “We have other tracks so we know what we are doing but you are always a little apprehensive, however I’m delighted.
“We had a winner come out of every box and all the dogs have come back safe and sound.
“We have made the kennels to a high standard and ensured the track is as safe as possible.
“It has been a bit of a challenge and we are probably two months behind where we wanted to be but the main thing was to make sure it was done properly.”
Looking ahead, Boothby hopes to see respectable-sized crowds back in the stands by re-introducing a few evening meetings in the near future to run alongside the morning cards at the track.
He added: “We will be racing Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings at first but I would like to sort out a gala night and get some people in.
“We want to run a few night meetings for the local community as we still want people to come in and enjoy the sport.
“With lots of tracks having closed it is nice to open a track again and bring life back to the sport.”