Mildenhall bowed to the inevitable when announcing its closure today “for financial reasons”. There are now 22 tracks licensed tracks operating under GBGB rules.
The greyhound operation was introduced in 1991 by former Ipswich garage owner, and ex-speedway rider Dick Partridge who leased the stadium from local farmer Terry Waters. Things have never been easy at the Suffolk venue with a series of scandals and financial calamities hanging over the stadium’s early years. In reality, greyhound racing was always the junior partner to motor sports with Dave Coventry gallantly doing his best to maintain the dogs at West Row, prior to a takeover by Spedeworth.
The track has long looked the most vulnerable of all GBGB licensed stadia following the exodus of the majority of its biggest trainers to Crayford, Henlow and Harlow. A runner shortage reduced their schedule to just one meeting per week and last Friday’s card featured just 49 runners.
It’s exactly a year to the day since the track hosted a 12 open race all sponsored gala meeting, with a decent crowd, but twelve months on and paying customers could “be counted on your fingers” according to owner trainer Gary Vincent: “I’m very sad to see it go. They probably only made money on Boxing Day to be honest. I’m proud to have had the fastest winner at what is now the last meeting, 23.05 by Jillypops, a young bitch who also won a 545 recently. It’s been perfect for introducing pups with its short straights and a good sweep to the bends”