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Second half 2015 Sky fixtures announced

A feast awaits greyhound racing fans in the second half of 2015 after Bookmakers’ Afternoon Greyhound Services (BAGS) today announced their Sky Sports schedule.


BAGS, as programme commissioners, have worked closely with SIS, Sky Sports, sponsors and the GBGB to produce coverage for the second half of the year. Comprising 19 fixtures, there are three more than last year, bringing the total to 34.


With the Derby dust given no time to settle, the Sky cameras first stop in July will be the William Hill Festival of Racing at Sunderland on Wednesday 15th. This is followed by the Select Stakes at Nottingham on Tuesday 21st, won last year by super-sub Pay Freeze after Ballymac Eske’s withdrawal. Back south then to Hove for the Coral Sussex Cup on Thursday 30th for this £10,000 to the winner decider over 515 metres.


August 11th marks a moment in history for family-run Pelaw Grange, who celebrate their milestone with a special ‘50 Years Not Out” Gala Night backed by Pin Point Recruitment, the first time racing has been televised at the popular north east circuit.

The TV Trophy takes centre stage on Tuesday 18th at Towcester over a true marathon trip of 906 metres, before the cameras roll on to Monmore Green on Thursday 27th for the Ladbrokes Gold Cup.


September is set to get off to flyer with the Betfred Steel City Cup on Wednesday 2nd, which always attracts a hot entry, followed by the final of the Coral Champion Stakes at Romford on Wednesday 9th. The emotional scenes following John Mullins win with Swift Keith in last year’s Totepool East Anglian Derby at Yarmouth ranked as one of the highlights of the racing year, and the renewal on Wednesday 16th should hopefully prove just as thrilling. Heading north, the sport’s big six-bend guns will be out in force on Wednesday 30th for The Pin Point Recruitment Yorkshire St Leger at Doncaster, won in 2014 by Millwards Teddy in a pulsating finish.


There are two live-on-Sky fixtures in October, the William Hill All England Cup at Newcastle on Thursday 15th, before the spotlight focuses on the best of British breeding for the second year running with the final of the British Breeders’ Stakes at Nottingham on Tuesday 27th.


Roxholme Dream was sensational with her unbeaten run in last year’s William Hill St Leger at Wimbledon. This year’s finale gets November’s coverage underway on Tuesday 11th. The Sky cameras return to Crayford on Tuesday 17th for the second time this year, following the success of the Golden Jacket meeting back in February. This event will be a double-header, featuring two Category Two finals. Nottingham will wrap November up with the final of the Betfred Eclipse on Tuesday 24th.


The Coral Essex Vase reaches its conclusion at Romford on Tuesday, December 1st and the ECB Laurels and Oaks double-header finals night at Belle Vue takes place on Wednesday 9th.


Back with a bang is the Greyhound Premier League at Towcester, featuring a total prize fund of nearly £74,000, with the six top trainers in the standings set to battle it out on December 17th after several months of point scoring open races. Add to this an Anglo Irish Challenge, with two £5,000 to-the-winner races (£500 others) over 480 and 655 metres to attract the best Ireland has to offer, this promises to be special.


Also back by popular demand is the BAGS/SIS Track Championship Final on December 23rd at a venue to be confirmed. Viewing figures for last year’s inaugural screening was in excess of 100,000 and this year the contest will be bigger and better with new BAGS tracks Towcester, Wimbledon and Doncaster in the mix.


“Greyhound racing fans have never had it so good,” enthused Scott Harvey, race programme controller for BAGS. “It is the best second half coverage we have had by far, and represents the most fixtures ever screened by Sky Sports in a year.


“Whereas BAGS racing funds the sport through bookmakers’ contributions, it is racing on Sky which drives it. The majority of open race dogs are bought and sold on the back of this. Everyone dreams of seeing their dog on the big screen and these extra fixtures will mean that trainers and owners now have more chance of achieving this.


He added: “There are a couple of first time outs, noticeably Pelaw Grange who are celebrating 50 years in business under the McKenna family in a night backed by Pin Point Recruitment, along with several other business based in the north east.


“Pelaw’s RM David Gray is widely respected and this is his chance to shine and showcase what they have to offer. Expect the terraces and bars to be heaving.


“And a massive thanks again to Alan ‘Pin Point’ Findlay for his continued sponsorship of greyhound racing on Sky. Put simply, he is one of the best things to hit our sport in years.”


BAGS chairman Dominic Ford added: “We are delighted that our partnership with Sky continues to deliver top class Greyhound Racing into people’s living rooms.”