With 2021 quickly drawing to a close, the greyhound racing calendar is about to start afresh. But with over 50 Category 1 finals spread out over the course of next year, it can be incredibly daunting for those looking for a greyhound bet to pick and choose what races they actually want to keep an eye out for.
That’s why, to save you the hassle of scouring through the internet with a fine-tooth comb to find out when and where the big meetings are taking place, we have put together this list of key dates for your 2022 diary. Read on to find out more!
19 Feb: Golden Jacket, Crayford
We kick things off with the Golden Jacket. Despite taking place as early as February 19th, the Crayford-based race is the fourth Category 1 final of the year. However, it is the first really notable one as it boasts a winning prize purse of £17,500 — making it one of the richest races on the calendar. Inaugurated in 1975, the 714-metre race has been held at Harringay, Hall Green and Monmore before settling at Crayford. This year’s winner, Punk Rock Mutley, became the biggest starting price winner in the history of the event, romping home from 33/1.
25 Jun: English Greyhound Derby, Towcester
Jumping forward a few months to June, but for good reason, as the English Greyhound Derby takes place back at Towcester on June 25th. The most prestigious event in the entire sport, the 500m race dates back to 1927, when Entry Badge won the first edition at White City. The race has since been hosted by Harringay, Wimbledon, Nottingham and Towcester — the £175,000 competition’s current home. Every owner and trainer will make it their goal to win the race next June, making it a very competitive, high-quality final.
15 Sept: East Anglian Derby, Yarmouth
It might not carry the same prestige as the Derby itself, but with a prize purse of £15,000 for the winner, the East Anglian Derby is still one of the most sought-after races on the calendar. First held in 1975, the Category 1 race, which is contested over 462m, has remained at Yarmouth since its inauguration almost 50 years ago. Four-time Greyhound Trainer of the Year Charlie Lister has won the East Anglian Derby an impressive 12 times, with his best run being three successive victories between 2008 and 2010 — two of which were won by Fear Zafonic.
24 Oct: The Oaks, Perry Barr
Perry Barr in Birmingham hosts it fair share of Category 1 finals throughout the course of the year, including the Arena Racing Company Laurels (£6,500), the Birmingham Cup (£6,500) and the ARC St. Leger (£10,000). However, the pick of the bunch has to be The Oaks. With a £15,000 prize purse, the 480m contest, which dates back to 1927, is the biggest race on the calendar for bitches. Held at Harringay, Wimbledon, Belle Vue and Swindon throughout its rich history, the original classic was moved to Perry Barr just this year.
26 Dec: The Puppy Derby, Towcester
Rounding the year off with the biggest race of the year for dogs aged 15-24 months, the Puppy Derby will take place at Towcester on Boxing Day. The prestigious 500m race was inaugurated at Wimbledon in 1929 but was relocated to the picturesque Northamptonshire track after the closure of the south London venue in 2016. With Towcester going into administration after just one renewal, the Puppy Derby was held at Henlow for three years. The good news is, Towcester has since been saved and the Puppy Derby will return there later this month.