Wembley Greyhounds

Wembley Greyhounds was the greyhound racing operation held at Wembley Stadium in London.

Wembley Greyhounds
LocationWembley Stadium, London
Coordinates51°33′20.0″N 0°16′46.8″W / 51.555556°N 0.279667°W / 51.555556; -0.279667
Greyhound racing hurdles, Wembley Stadium c.1960



After the 1924-25 British Empire Exhibition Wembley Stadium was in liquidation before eventually being purchased by Arthur Elvin. For the stadium to survive into the future it required much needed revenue and it was greyhound racing that provided it.[1][2]


The first meeting was held on 10 December 1927 when 70,000 people witnessed the first ever winner called Spin claim the Empire Stakes over 525 yards. The Director of Racing and Racing Manager was Captain Arthur Brice, he was well known as the judge for the Waterloo Cup.[3]

Pre war historyEdit

In 1928 the stadium introduced a major competition called the St Leger which became one of the most prominent classic races in the greyhound racing calendar ranking only lower than the English Greyhound Derby. The first ever running in 1928 was won by a local hound by the name of Burletta trained by Alf Mulliner.[4] Over the following decades Wembley would become unrivalled in terms of major competition success and at times become almost dominant. Despite the success it was never seen as the spiritual home of greyhound racing because the White City Stadium which hosted the Derby took this honour and even after the closure of White City it was Walthamstow Stadium that took over the mantle.[5]

Wembley attracted all of the sports greatest greyhounds and introduced further events called the Coronation Stakes in 1928 for bitches only, the Trafalgar Cup which started in 1929 and was as significant an event for puppies as was the Puppy Derby at the time, the Wembley Gold Cup in 1929, the Wembley Spring Cup in 1930 and the Wembley Summer Cup in 1937.[2]

Mick the Miller won the 1930 Wembley Spring Stakes defeating a greyhound called Swashbuckler by a short head, Swashbuckler had won by 20 lengths in a race on the opening night and held five track records over all distances between 1928 and 1929. Mick the Miller successfully defended his title in 1931 culminating in a track record performance in the final and then claimed the St Leger later in the year.[3]

Another star called Future Cutlet arrived on the track in 1931; he had come over from Ireland after being purchased for £600 by W.A. Evershed to race at Wembley Stadium; the Probert trained brindle dog became the first Derby winner for Wembley.[6]

Arthur 'Doc' Callanan joined the training ranks in 1931 which included Alf Mulliner, Thomas Cudmore, Bob Burls, Sidney Probert and Jim Syder Sr. The track characteristics were described as a fast galloping track 463 yards in circumference with long straights and easy turns, it was also noted that the track was well kept and well turfed but the course was too rigorous for the smaller type of dog and an 'Inside MacWhirter Trackless' hare system was used. The greyhounds were kept on site in the grounds of the stadium with facilities found on the left hand side of the famous Twin Towers, they included six sets of kennels housing 300 greyhounds in total with incorporated kitchens, each had its own paddock area and they were situated next door to the racing and administration offices. In addition there were isolation kennels for sick greyhounds, a large training gallop a large paddock by the racing kennels, and a veterinary surgery. The racing kennels were only on race nights.[7][8]

Two significant training appointments were made starting with Harry 'Jack' Harvey in 1936 and Leslie Reynolds three years later in 1939. The pair embarked on a series of competition wins that was the most successful in the industry for three decades.[1]


In 1946 Bah's Choice an English bred greyhound trained by Bob Burls clocked 29.04 sec to set a new 525 yards world and track record. Under the leadership of Arthur Elvin the greyhound racing made very large profits in 1947 of £610,000 of which £343,000 was taken by the government in tax. The totalisator turnover was a £10,905,145[9] the equivalent of a staggering £411 million as of 2015.[10]


In 1952 the track underwent changes, the circumference was shortened to 435 metres and the Inside MacWhirter Trackless hare system was replaced by an Outside McKee Scott. Three of the most well-known owners the all ran their greyhounds at Wembley; the trio of George Flintham, Noel Purvis and Norman Dupont purchased and owned many of the sports leading greyhounds.[1] In 1953, which was the year Elvin died, 30,000 people watched the final of the St Leger with Magourna Reject and the race was screened on television. John Jolliffe had taken over as Racing Manager in the late 1940s and he recruited Jack Tetlow as his deputy.[5]

During 1958 Pigalle Wonder recorded 28.78 sec at Wembley, a best time that stood for almost 20 years until the distance was changed to metres. Jim Syder Jr retired and Leslie Reynolds died with the latter leaving a legacy and record of training five Derby winners. Their replacements were Jack Kinsley and Jimmy Rimmer.[5]


In 1966 the government extended on course betting tax to all greyhound tracks. In the same year during the 1966 World Cup greyhound racing history was made when Wembley refused to cancel the greyhound meeting scheduled resulting in the Uruguay versus France fixture moving to be played at White City.[2] In 1968 Jolliffe retired after a 37-year career, also retiring was the well respected trainer Ronnie Melville replaced by the Tom Johnston Jr.[2]


The Wembley kennels were demolished in 1973 which forced some of the trainers to relocate. Jack Harvey, Bob Burls and Jack Kinsley all chose early retirement. Using a contract trainer system replacements included John Coleman from Romford Stadium and Wally Ginzel. Jack Tetlow also retired ending a 43-year association with the stadium to be replaced by a new Racing Manager called Ron Fraser.[5]

Westpark Mustard trained by Tom Johnston Jr. embarked on a record run in 1974 and after sixteen successive wins she would race and win four times at Wembley to break Mick the Miller's existing record.[3] In 1978 Peter Shotton took the role of head of racing at Wembley followed by his assistant Jim Cremin who would later become editor of the Racing Post[5]


An event called 'The Blue Riband' was introduced in 1981 which replaced the long running Spring Cup which had been one of the first major competitions in the greyhound racing calendar.[11] The stadium hosted the only ever meeting between Ballyregan Bob and Scurlogue Champ in 1985, the invitation race saw Ballyregan Bob equal the Westpark Mustard's record but sadly Scurlogue Champ failed to finish after pulling up lame. A future BBC Television trophy winner Glenowen Queen finished second but 11¾ lengths adrift.[3]

The Greyhound Racing Association GRA was taken over by Wembley plc in 1987 in a £68.5 million merger, meaning that the Wembley greyhound operation now came entirely under the GRA banner. John Rowley was the Wembley Racing Manager assisted by Peter Miller with trainers attached to the track being Ted Dickson, Pam Heasman, Adam Jackson, Wally Ginzel, John Honeysett, Tom Johnston Jr. and Hazel Walden.[5]


By 1992 GRA parent company Wembley plc announced losses of £8 million despite a £13 million profit in its UK operation. Later the Wembley plc American greyhound operation saw profits fall from £5.9 to £3.3 million and the British tracks made a £2.1 million profit but Wembley plc was servicing a sizeable debt.[12]


In 1998 during a very difficult spell the news arrived that the greyhound racing would end as plans were revealed for the stadium rebuild. The sport that had been responsible for the survival of the stadium for decades had not been included in the new plans. The last race was held on Friday 18 December 1998.[4]


St LegerEdit

Trafalgar CupEdit

Wembley Spring CupEdit

Coronation StakesEdit

Blue RibandEdit

Select StakesEdit

Wembley Gold CupEdit

The Wembley Gold Cup was a competition held from 1929 over the stayers distance until the stadium closed.[13][14]

Year Winner Trainer Time SP
1929 Chain Mail Jack Kennedy Harringay) 41.52
1930 War Cloud 41.45
1931 Maidens Boy S Young (Private) 41.42
1932 Maidens Boy S Young (Private) 41.46
1933 Jubilee Jim 41.15 1-3f
1934 Scallywag II Claude Champion (Catford) 41.11
1935 Mick The Moocher 41.12
1936 Satans Baby Les Parry (White City) 41.30 2-1f
1937 Grosvenor Edwin Jim Syder Sr. (Wimbledon) 41.07 7-2
1938 Grosvenor Edwin F Rolfe (Private) 40.96 1-2f
1939 Catherine of Waterhall Bill Cowell (West Ham) 40.71 100-6
1940 Muskerry Cream Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon) 39.90 8-11f
1941 Majestic Sandills C Crowley (Catford) 40.71 2-1jf
1942 Patty Dear (dead-heat) John Snowball (Clapton) 41.26 9-2
1942 Ashfield Star (dead-heat) Gordon Beesley (Wembley) 41.26 8-1
1943 Maidens Champion Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon) 40.44 11-10f
1944 Model Dasher Tom Baldwin (Perry Barr) 39.93 4-5f
1945 Kampion Sailor Sidney Orton (Wimbledon) 40.19 4-9f
1946 Lilacs Luck R Jones (Doncaster) 40.06 4-6f
1947 Mad Midnight Jack Toseland (Perry Barr) 40.03 1-4f
1948 Northam Star Leslie Reynolds (Wembley) 40.65 5-4f
1949 Rising Tide II Sidney Probert (Wembley) 40.60 6-1
1950 Captain The Killer Norman Merchant (Private) 40.40 7-4f
1951 Rapid Choice Paddy McEvoy (Private) 40.62 7-4
1952 Pass On Express Tom Lightfoot (White City) 40.56 1-5f
1953 Malanna Mace Henry Parsons (Crayford) 41.09 9-2
1954 Mottram Hero Leslie Reynolds (Wembley) 40.39 3-1
1955 Catchman F Quill (Private) 41.04 2-1
1956 Title Role Jack Harvey (Wembley) 40.62 7-2
1957 Shandon Joe Booth (Private) 40.37 6-1
1958 Highwood Sovereign Leslie Reynolds (Wembley) 40.26 4-9f
1959 Greenane Airlines Jim Irving (Private) 39.97 5-1
1960 Coradun W Holland (White City, Man) 40.55 4-1
1961 What Cheer Leslie Reynolds (Wembley) 40.60
1962 Watch Kern Tony Dennis (Private) 40.10
1963 Northern Dante Paddy Keane (Private) 40.03
1964 Lucky Hi There Jimmy Jowett (Clapton) 39.28 TR 1-3f
1965 Carols Champion Johnny Bullock {West Ham) 40.08
1966 Miss Taft Bob Burls (Wembley) 39.68
1967 Cullen Era Clare Orton (Wimbledon) 39.79
1968 Forward King Ted Brennan (Owlerton) 39.81
1969 Special Cognac David Pett (Private) 40.19 10-1
1970 Monalee Peter Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley) 39.92 10-1
1971 Pallas Melody Phil Rees Sr. (Wimbledon) 39.58
1972 Pepper Joe Charlie Coyle (Private) 39.93 6-4
1973 Scintillas Champ 40.26
1974 Streaky Sheila Charlie Coyle (Private) 40.28 6-1
1975 Glin Bridge George Curtis (Brighton) 40.09
1976 Paradise Peg Ted Griffin (Bletchley) 40.07 5-2
1977 Westpark Kale Phil Rees Sr. (Wimbledon) 40.14 6-4f
1978 Meadlands John Coleman (Wembley) 40.28
1979 Roystons Supreme Adam Jackson (Wembley) 40.37
1980 Black Earl Ray Iremonger (Slough) 39.97
1981 Linkside Liquor Gordon Bailey (Yarmouth) 43.53
1982 Big Dom Sam Salvin (Owlerton) 43.76 10-1
1983 Minnies Matador Paddy Milligan (Private) 43.50
1984 Blue Shirt George Curtis (Brighton) 43.76
1985 Scurlogue Champ Ken Peckham (Ipswich) 43.43
1986 Track Man Adam Jackson (Wembley) 43.43
1988 Cottage Sparrow 43.83
1990 Clonbrin Basket Graham Sharp (Walthamstow) 43.45 1-2f
1991 Summer Fisher Terry Atkins (Wembley) 43.51 9-4
1992 One For Shamie Hazel Dickson (Wembley) 43.48 9-2
1993 Trans Domino Maldwyn Thomas (Reading) 42.79 1-10f
1994 Miles Dempsey Ray Peacock (Catford) 43.94 5-1

1929-1974 (700y), 1975-1980 (655m), 1981-1998 (710m)

Wembley Summer CupEdit

The Wembley Summer Cup was a competition held from 1937 over the standard distance until 1980.[13][14]

Year Winner Trainer Time SP
1937 Eves Welcome E Harfield (Private) 30.34 100-7
1938 Ballyjoker Sidney Orton (Wimbledon) 30.07 3-1
1940 Junior Classic Joe Harmon (Wimbledon) 29.60 5-2
1941 Ballynennan Moon Sidney Orton (Wimbledon) 29.73 5-1
1942 Ballynennan Moon Sidney Orton (Wimbledon) 29.40 5-6f
1943 Tower Style Sid Jennings (Wembley) 29.65 10-1
1944 Ballyhennessy Seal Stan Martin (Wimbledon) 29.29 11-4
1945 Newtown Defender Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon) 29.25 4-1
1946 Bahs Choice Bob Burls (Wembley) 29.60 2-1
1947 Dante II Bob Burls (Wembley) 29.96 1-4f
1949 Behattan Marquis Bob Burls (Wembley) 29.57 7-2
1950 Paving Stone Jimmy Jowett (Private) 29.41 11-10f
1951 Mad Miller Leslie Reynolds (Wembley) 29.30 100-8
1952 Endless Gossip Leslie Reynolds (Wembley) 29.22 11-10f
1953 Galtee Cleo Jack Harvey (Wembley) 29.36 5-4f
1955 Gulf Of Honduras Jack Harvey (Wembley) 29.36 2-1f
1956 Northern King Jack Harvey (Wembley) 29.40 2-5f
1957 Scoutbush Bob Burls (Wembley) 29.34 4-7f
1958 Beware Champ George Waterman (Wimbledon) 29.08 7-1
1959 Society Wonder Jim Syder Sr. (Wembley) 29.48 3-1
1960 Clonalvy Pride Jack Harvey (Wembley) 29.51 4-5f
1961 Sherrys Pal Jack Harvey (Wembley) 29.37
1962 Any Harm Ronnie Melville (Wembley) 29.34
1963 Shady Mermaiden Phil Rees Sr. (Clapton) 29.53
1964 Die Cast Jimmy Rimmer (Wembley) 29.09 5-4f
1965 Venture Again Dave Geggus (Walthamstow) 29.51
1966 Cons Duke Lionel Maxen (Hackney) 29.28
1967 Taper Speed Les Crawley (Private) 29.61
1968 Yellow Printer John Bassett (Clapton) 29.20
1969 Northern Glow Vicky Holloway (Private) 29.02 2-1f
1970 Valiant Ray Jimmy Rimmer (Wembley) 29.04
1971 Cobbler Dave Geggus (Walthamstow) 29.15
1972 Westmead County Natalie Savva (Private) 29.56 6-4
1973 Butchers Flash Tom Johnston Jr. (Wembley) 29.39 5-2
1974 Mones Hero John Coleman (Wembley) 29.50 10-1
1975 Tory Mor Paddy Milligan (Private) 29.25
1976 Doon Fantasy Terry Dartnall (Reading) 29.56 7-4
1977 Huberts Consort Tom Paddy Reilly (Walthamstow) 29.17 3-1
1978 Pat Seamur Geoff De Mulder (Hall Green) 29.02
1979 Desert Pilot Geoff De Mulder (Hall Green) 29.33
1980 Super Glow 29.54

1937-1974 (500y), 1975-1980 (490m)

Breeders Forum StakesEdit

The Breeders Forum Stakes was a competition held from 1972 over the standard distance.[13][14]

Year Winner Trainer Time SP
1972 Decimal Queen Mick Hawkins (Private) 29.45
1973 Drynham Rocket Natalie Savva (Private) 29.55 14-1
1974 Hollpark Rejon Fred Lugg (Private) 29.63 11-4
1975 Daemonic Gambol Paddy McEvoy (Wimbledon) 29.45 1-1f
1976 Dundrum Sid Ryall (Wembley) 30.19 7-1
1977 Glenesk Comet Randolph Singleton (White City) 29.34 5-4f
1978 Durfold Dandy John Honeysett (Crayford) 29.42 7-1
1979 Close Encounter Ted Dickson (Slough) 29.87 3-1
1980 Dodford Bill Dave Drinkwater (Bletchley) 29.60 1-1f
1981 Duke of Hazard John Coleman (Wembley) 29.16 4-6f
1982 Duke of Hazard John Coleman (Wembley) 29.62 8-11f
1983 Glatton Grange Kenny Linzell (Walthamstow) 29.25 10-11f
1984 Indian Trail Smith (Monmore) 29.48 4-1
1985 Fearless Champ Geoff De Mulder (Oxford) 29.15 4-6f
1986 Westmead Cannon Mel Bass (Milton Keynes) 29.44 12-1
1987 Sandwinder Vicky Holloway (Oxford) 29.20 5-1
1990 Burham Boy D Walters (Canterbury) 29.79 5-2f
1991 Hare Flik Peter Rich (Ramsgate) 29.33 10-1
1992 Westmead Spirit Natalie Savva (Milton Keynes) 29.39 3-1


Empire Stadium StakesEdit

The Empire Hurdles Stakes was a competition held from 1930 over hurdles.[13][14]

Year Winner Trainer Time SP
1930 Smart Fashion Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon)
1931 Rule The Roost Joe Harmon (White City)
1932 Long Hop Ian McCorkindale – Harringay
1933 Scallywag II Claude Champion (Catford)
1934 The Longfellow II Sidney Orton (Wimbledon)
1935 Era Jem Mount
1936 Red Car Joe Harmon (Wimbledon) 31.09 7-4jf
1937 Border Mutton Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon) 30.91 8-11f
1938 Lenins Ring Joe Harmon (Wimbledon) 30.93 4-5f
1939 Printer Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon) 30.23 5-4f
1940 Juvenile Classic Joe Harmon (Wimbledon) 30.56 4-5f
1941 Tact Paddy McEllistrim (Wimbledon) 30.49 9-4
1942 Still Moving Paddy Fortune (Wimbledon) 30.56 11-8f
1943 Frating Dan A F Dandridge (Catford) 30.17 2-1
1944 Derryboy Jubilee Stan Biss (Catford) 30.25 6-4
1945 Nilo
1947 Obstinate Invader Jerry Hannafin (Wimbledon) 30.50 5-4f
1950 Shauns Bandit Stanley Biss (Private) 30.65 100-8
1951 Devil O'Leer W Taylor (White City) 30.15 11-10f
1964 Knowing Nowt Gordon Hodson (White City) 41.86 7-1
1970 Petronius Jack Harvey (Wembley) 41.56
1972 Clinker Pat 41.61
1973 Mad Cavalier 41.56
1974 Secret Armour Tom Paddy Reilly (Walthamstow) 30.49
1975 Try It Blackie Frank Melville Harringay) 30.22
1976 Black Pengola Phil Rees Sr. (Wimbledon) 31.05 4-5f
1977 Meanus Dandy Joe Pickering (White City) 30.16 5-2
1978 Meanus Dandy Joe Pickering (White City) 30.46
1979 Bowery Music 30.67
1980 Laurdella Wizard Mrs Berry Bateman (Hackney) 30.49 9-2
1981 Westlands Steve Gunner Smith (Brighton) 29.98 10-11f
1990 Gizmo Pasha Linda Mullins (Romford) 30.83 11-8
1991 Ballinlough Hill Arthur Hitch (Wimbledon) 30.09 12-1
1992 Regular Yank Bernie Doyle (Oxford) 30.08 4-6f
1993 Heavenly Duke Linda Mullins (Walthamstow) 30.14 4-1
1994 Lammermuir Lad Bert Meadows (Oxford) 30.25 9-2
1995 In The Doghouse Tom Foster (Wimbledon) 30.03 8-1
1996 Bodrun Sunshine Linda Mullins (Walthamstow) 30.49 33-1
1997 Delightful Star Russell Samson (Private) 30.02 10-1

1930-1973 (700y H), 1974 (525y H), 1975-1997 (490m H), 1952-1960 (not held)

Track recordsEdit


Distance Greyhound Time Date Notes
525y Mick the Miller 30.04 23.03.1931 Spring Cup final
525y Duffys Arrival [15] 29.09 1945 National Record
525y Bah's Choice 29.04 22.04.1946 World & National Record
525y Pauls Fun [16] 28.91 1956
525y Pigalle Wonder 28.78 26.05.1958
700y Model Dasher 39.73 09.09.1944 National Record
700y Dante II 39.72 05.1947 St Leger semi-finals
700y Dante II 39.70 01.06.1947 St Leger Final
700y Clonalvy Pride 39.64 06.06.1961
700y Lucky Hi There 39.28 15.06.1964 Gold Cup Final
725y Lucky Arrow II 41.19 30.08.1965
880y Avis 51.30 1962 TV Trophy final
880y Chieftains Envoy 51.24 08.03.1965
880y Ballyhandy Cedar 21.03.1966
880y Miss Taft 50.78 17.07.1967
900y Hillstride 51.93 11.05.1964
900y Poor Mick 51.84 29.07.1968
990y Gananocque Ranger 58.32 29.05.1939 National Record
990y Canada's Glory 58.20 18.09.1948
990y The Popular Streak 57.87 18.05.1959
990y Chantilly Lace =57.87 16.05.1960
525yH Dark General 30.09 20.05.1946 National Record
525yH Ballinatona Special 30.10 04.09.1961
525yH Sherrys Prince 29.81 20.10.1969
700yH Saucy Lad 40.85 01.08.1960

Post-Metric Track recordsEdit

Distance Greyhound Time Date Notes
275m Bray Vale 16.22 08.06.1979
275m Travara Rock [17] 16.21 1981
275m Celtic Mythology 16.09 18.11.1983
275m Often Hungry 16.06 13.08.1986
275m Flashy Rocket 15.99 17.10.1988
490m Myroyal 29.01 03.09.1979
490m Decoy Ranger [17] 28.99 1981
490m Glen Miner [18] 28.98 05.02.1982
490m Fearless Champ 28.89 11.04.1986
490m Gino 28.82 22.04.1988
490m Yes Speedy 28.82 1989
490m Phantom Flash [19] 28.79 01.10.1990 Produce heats
490m Certain Way 28.76 14.02.1992
655m Tartan Khan 39.45 01.09.1975 St Leger Final
655m Cullane Again 39.56 23.08.1982
655m Track Man 39.56 24.08.1984
655m Black Earl [17] 39.73 19.05.1980
655m Ballyregan Bob 39.46 23.08.1985 St Leger Second Round
655m Chicita Banana 39.51 05.05.1989
655m Spring Rose 39.29 05.10.1996 St Leger Final
710m Roystons Supreme 43.40 03.09.1979
710m Try Travelscene 42.90 21.05.1982
710m Ballyregan Bob 42.63 11.12.1985 John Power Showdown
845m Dunworkin 52.59 24.11.1975
850m Jolly United 53.13 01.01.1980
850m Croshea Echo [17] 52.88 1981
850m Pineapple Choice 52.53 26.07.1982
925m My Tootsie 58.03 1987
490mH Westlands Steve 29.83 09.01.1981
490mH Castlelyons Cash 29.70 28.04.1986 6 flights
490mH Gizmo Pasha 30.05 1989
490mH Ballinlough Hill 29.88 08.01.1992 5 flights
655mH Trixies Snipe 41.60 02.09.1983
655mH Ellas Ivy 40.99 14.08.1987

Wembley Greyhound Derby winnersEdit

See alsoEdit

Wembley Stadium (1923)


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