Sheffield re-opened to the public on Tuesday night following its £400K track renovation and ironically, the most positive thing you could say about it was – it was uneventful!

On the pristine new circuit, the first race back went to A1 winner Ballyboss Emioli . . .

The winner clocked 29.32 on normal going. His five prevoius calculated times were clocked at: 29.56, 29.43, 29.34, 29.34.

RM Andrew Mascarenhas unveils the new circuit

Racing Manager Andrew Mascarenhas said: “The most important thing was that there were no injuries reported. There was one dog tailed off but he had caught his foot in his muzzle and was checked over fine by the vet. There was one lame dog in trials, but he was returning from a lameness issue six weeks ago and it was unlikely to be a new injury.”

The grader was meticulous in his pre-racing checks having walked the course several times during the day for the GBGB inspections. He also walked the track before every race.

He said: “I ended up doing fourteen and a half miles on the day. When we were checking earlier, we found a few stones in the sand and removed them. I was slightly surprised that the track felt quite firm underfoot and I was expecting it to run quicker. We did make the later races .10 fast.

“There had been a lot of preparation work. We had waterered throughout the day. There had been 37 bowser loads of water at 2,500 litres per bowser.

“It is going to take a while for the pan to develop, possibly four or five months so there will be no harrowing for the forseeable future, though we may need to lightly use the tynes.”

So were the trainers pleased with the surface?

Andrew replied: “What do you think? There were a few comments about the hare rail being higher, but that is the way it should always have been. And a few moans that we should have done the outside rail as well. Pretty much what I was expecting really.”

Open race trainers will be able to see for themselves from next Tuesday with the opens scheduled over three distances.

Andrew said: “The automatic entry system has now been launched to enable trainers to book their entries on-line and the first one has been entered. Trainers will be able to see how many other dogs have been entered and the names of the trainers, but not the names of the dogs or their seeding.

“The only thing that it won’t show is whether the dogs are actually eligible until we check through them.”