Greyhound Board steps in to save Newbridge stadium

The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) stepped in last week to save Newbridge Greyhound Stadium after the former operators pulled out.

The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) stepped in last week to save Newbridge Greyhound Stadium after the former operators pulled out.

The greyhound industry, which is worth €30 million a year in the county, is now in the hands of the IGB and there were excellent crowds at the dog track last weekend.

In a statement released last week, it said; “The Irish Greyhound Board confirm that the current operators of Newbridge Greyhound Stadium, Morwell Racing Ltd, have ceased to operate at the venue and their private commercial arrangement with the landlords of the greyhound stadium has come to an end. However racing schedules will recommence on Friday 12 April and the venue will be run by an IGB management team led by Philip Peake on an interim basis.”

IGB Chief Executive Adrian Neilan said; “Newbridge has a long and distinguished history of greyhound racing over many decades especially with special events like the Cox Cup being so integral to the racing calendar in Co. Kildare. The greyhound industry is worth €30 million per annum to the county and supports 40 full and part time jobs at the venue.”

David Morgan from Morwell Racing Ltd said “I’d like to thank the Newbridge Stadium supporters club for all their support and help to us during our time there. We are also very grateful to all the patrons sponsors and bookmakers who supported us and to all the staff who worked so hard with us. This stadium in Newbridge is a very fine venue but lately it’s been very difficult trading-wise for us in the current economic environment and I wish everyone involved here the best of luck into the future.”

Speaking on behalf of the Cox family, David Cox stressed; “Newbridge Greyhound Stadium has been in our family for three generations and we are grateful for the support from Adrian Neilan and the team in Born na gCon. The stadium is an excellent modern facility and generates jobs locally. I’m sure it will get great support from the community and the bookings will come in for racing each Friday and Saturday.”

The statement said IGB management is in ongoing discussions with the stadium’s landlords and is committed to finding a long term solution to maintain racing at the venue. However, when pressed on whether the IGB will remain in charge of the running of the stadium on a permanent basis, the spokesperson declined to go any further.

The stadium has had a turbulent few years. In January 2012, it announced a reduction in the number of race days due to a dwindling racing prize fund from the Irish Greyhound Board.

Back then, CEO David Morgan, quashed any rumours the stadium was going to close, and described it as a “matter of managing” the reduced prize money from the board, which had dropped by 37 percent since 2009.

At the time, a spokesperson for Irish Greyhound Board acknowledged; “There was a 26 percent drop in the Horse and Greyhound fund since 2009.”

“And a drop of 11 percent since 2010 and there is no figure for 2011 as the track was closed for six months.”

- Niamh O’Donoghue