Towcester has been granted its GBGB license and will be ready to return to racing in June.

Promoter Kevin Boothby said: “It is a shame about the lockdown but we are ready to go at last. We won’t be in a position to trial on Monday, but definitely within the next ten days. We have been working with Northampton Council who are aware of the need for us to trial the dogs.

“At this stage I don’t know what kind of deal I will have with SIS. I think it will be next week at least before they are in a position to talk about fixtures. Ernie Gaskin and Hayley Keightley are among the latest trainers to join us and we will start off with A1-A5 grades. The lower grade dogs will be at Henlow.

“We have 600 dogs due to trial at Henlow next week over ten sessions. We have all the PPE equipment anyone can need, visors, gloves, sanitizers, masks, the lot. All trials will be for dogs in the same kennels, with the trainers and kennel staff, who have travelled together picking up their own dogs at the pick-up. When we race, trainers will be fully wearing the gear and will pick up their own dogs.

“My biggest issue is the sheer number of dogs. We are absolutely snowed under with enquiries. I reckon that within the next month, between the two tracks, we could probably call on roughly 1,500 dogs.”

Mark Bird, Managing Director of GBGB, said:

“As we begin to emerge from what have been worrying times for us all, this is another significant vote of confidence in the future of our sport and comes at a time when the greyhound community is gearing up for a safe return. Reopening Towcester is a strong signal of our sport’s continuing popularity and restores greyhound racing in its most elegant setting to an area of the country that has always loved it.

“This is not a decision that anyone has rushed into and has been subject to many months of planning and a rigorous licensing process. But, particularly at a point when good news like this is much needed, this is an excellent return to the sport of a favourite track and further confirms we are turning a corner from the last couple of months.

“Since Towcester previously closed, there has been a lot of speculation and debate around potential re-openings. What is so important in Kevin Boothby taking on the licence is he is someone that knows the sport, appreciates the practicalities involved and understands how even in this climate Towcester can operate successfully. I know that everyone across the sport will wish Kevin and his team well as they bring back racing from Towcester to the sporting calendar.”