Henlow promoter Kevin Boothby has signed a 10 year lease deal to take over Towcester and expects to re-open for greyhound racing in March 2020 writes Floyd Amphlett.
He said: “The paperwork has been signed and I so excited about the future. I can confirm that greyhound racing will take place on Fridays and Saturdays, and hopefully increasing to a maximum of four meetings per week by next summer.
“The first thing to say is that greyhound racing will just be a part of what we are planning; we will not be relying on greyhounds to make it pay. I already have agreements in place to bring all types of other events there, starting in November with Winterland, which will be opened by the pop group E17.
“The place lends itself to so many different opportunities. We will have pop concerts, seminars, conferences . . , we have already spoken to a major caravanning society who literally turn up to weekend events in their thousands. There is another plan for drone racing. We have the TV studio, a great location and as much parking as y0u could possibly want.
“The great thing about Towcester is that everything is already in place. It is a fantastic facility waiting for the right person to promote it. I am working with a very bright young entrepreneur and am planning to employ up to five people to sell the place for a wide variety of uses.
“As far as the greyhound track is concerned, we will be moving the inside running rail outwards. The track is currently 11.5 metres wide. It will be reduced to eight metres, so it will create a bigger, safer circuit and we will adjust the distances according. The drainage wasn’t ideal, so there will be a new membrane and we may need to change the watering system. It will also be completely re-sanded using the same sand as Henlow.
“We will also be taking down the rails from the horse racing and putting down a new surface so greyhound spectators can get close to the action.
“The plan is for graded racing on Friday nights and major open race competitions on Saturday. A number of people have heard about our plans and have offered to sponsor events.
“I am absolutely determined that Towcester will be the premier greyhound venue and I intend that it will dominate racing; an English version of Shelbourne Park. We had over 1,000 through the gates for Saturday nights at Henlow and I would be confident that with similar marketing, we can at least double that at Towcester.”
In an industry already struggling for greyhounds, can Towcester will there be enough for potentially four more meetings?
Boothby said: “At Henlow, we race seven meetings per week, that is 82 races, and this week, 60 dogs didn’t get a race. That is the reason that we have cancelled our opens. There is also a waiting list of trainers who want to join us, with a combined kennel strength of somewhere close to 250 dogs.
“Henlow, which won’t be affected, though some kennels will want to be dual attached. Already though, trainers like Mark Wallis have mentioned that old owners have been on the phone looking to get involved again. Trust me, greyhounds won’t be a problem.”
And are there plans to bring the Derby back to Towcester?
Boothby said: “It will be at Nottingham next year, but if I can find the right sponsors for the following year, of course I would like to stage it at Towcester. I think it is the track best equipped to hold it.
“In my opinion, re-opening Towcester will give the industry a huge buzz. We are cracking on immediately and I really can’t wait for next March.”