When it comes to resurrecting a greyhound track, few will surely be easier than Mildenhall – the circuit that Kevin Boothby aims to re-open in around three months time writes Floyd Amphlett.
But even a cursory look at the facilities suggests that it is very do-able. On Wednesday Boothby was joined in West Row by brother Dave, who heads the building and maintenance side of the operation, and trainer Patrick Janssens who lives just over 10 minutes away. (Mark Wallis actually lives within ‘retired dog walking distance’ of the stadium).
While overgrown with no inside rail, the track is very much intact. The hare rail is half full of sand but otherwise looks as though it could have been used yesterday. Although there is no hare motor, the trolley and hare cover were still in place along the backstraight.
The kennel area has been used as a dumping ground but otherwise the weather protected kennels are in decent condition. The refurbishment plan will see the whole area covered and air conditioned.
Much of the track equipment was purchased by former Rye House promoter Eddie Lesley to whom Kevin Boothby has already spoken with a view to buying it back. Work starts on Monday in removing and replacing all the sand and removing the concrete strips that have been used for the stock cars to cross the tracks.
The bars and restaurant are already fully operational – post lock-down – with the stadium being used for motor sport.
He said: “I always liked the place. I schooled plenty of pups here, including Affleck Bolt and Affleck Lady, it is ideal for young dogs. It is obviously quite a small circuit, but like Crayford, it suited certain types of dog down to the ground.We need that variety of track.
“I would actually say that it ran more like Romford than Crayford and if a dog did a low ’23’ around here, I would have little hesitation in going all-in first time out at Romford.
“I am really pleased to see it coming back. They had a nice local following and in the summer you would often get some of the Newmarket crowd here.”
Boothby said: “It is what it is as a circuit and will provide some good solid racing for the betting shops during the week. But we will stage a set number of Saturday night meetings in the summer with plans for some Cat One races too.
“It is good to be on-site and as work gets underway it will give some confidence to our Henlow trainers as they consider the future.”