Media giants ARC have released their confirmed greyhound racing schedule for 2018.

The ARC/GMG schedule will surprise few with some basic elements of the current schedule allied with some significant changes, not least the introduction to the BAGS service of Towcester. The complexity of the deal cannot be made entirely apparent in the table above.

For example, some slots are shared by different tracks within the year. Also, although the majority of the RPGTV fixtures coincide with the evening cards available in the TRP contracted betting shops, a few are ‘TV exclusive’, for example Towcester’s Friday card or later races scheduled after the BAGS service finishes at 9.22pm.

GMG’s Brent Dolan said: “The timing of the confirmed list is of course a result of the comparatively recent deal with RPGTV who had their own views on content. That was in addition to the complexity of meeting the needs of the twelve tracks, and of course the customers themselves, the betting shops.

“We have also tried to bring some innovations that might not necessarily be obvious to customers and greyhound fans alike, but could prove significant for betting shops. For example, we are starting a Saturday morning meetings from Towcester at 10.16am, roughly a quarter of an hour earlier than previously. Why not, they are open already!

“Also, for some historical reason, there has always been a gap of around 26 minutes between the end of the morning greyhound fixtures and the start of the afternoon cards. We have closed that gap. Put the two together and the significant numbers of betting shop punters, on the busiest day of the week, will now get 40 extra minutes of greyhound racing.

“Why have your last greyhound race at 4.48 on New Years Day? Again another favourite with the punters. The shops are still open. Our last race will be at 5.22, another 30 minutes of first class greyhound racing.

“We will be taking feedback from the shops and if we can make further improvements to the service – we will implement them over the coming week.”