Preparatory work is well underway at Sheffield as they await a return to racing on June 1.

During the shutdown period the stadium has maintained payments for all its greyhounds, including those who weren’t available on shut-down, as well as the local branch of the greyhound trust. (That is roughly 1,000 dogs at £5 per week.)

The break in racing has provided an opportunity for maintenance and improvements to the track surface.

In includes adding 30 tonnes of fresh sand, increasing the cambers on all four bends with no let-up in the continued maintenance of the track.

Venue director Dave Perry said: “Special mention must go to Dave Allan, and the board, who were quick to agree trainer payments and from the first week of shutdown until we are back racing.

“Both myself and the racing office have made weekly contact with every trainer to ensure that they have everything they need and we would like to place on record our sincere thanks for their continued support during this unprecedented time.

“We have made several adjustments to the racing paddock judges box and racing office where social distancing and government and GBGB guidelines will be maintained and followed at all times.

“Each trainer has been given the option of returning to racing or continuing their leave if they feel that they can’t return to racing during this first phase – as of now everyone is keen to return to racing and some normality with their greyhounds.

“When we do return we will be returning to a different world and what the future holds nobody quite knows but one thing is for sure Sheffield will be here and for the long term.

“We have been hit hard with the loss of some major open competitions. However we are very lucky to have the support of our sponsors, with Bresmed, BGBF and GAIN particularly prominent.

“It remains to be seen what can be saved in the latter part of the year when open racing is permitted to return.

“But I would be hopeful that we will be able to count on them and have a full roster of competitions for 2021 when hopefully we can return to some normality.”