Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire
LOCATED————————————-Just off Saply Road which runs parallel to the A141, about half a mile north of Hartford town centre.
ORIGINAL SITE——————————Farm grazing land.
DATE CONSTRUCTED———————Don’t know.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————–Don’t know.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–September 20th 1947. Not confirmed due to track shown on 1938 ordnance maps.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-Mainly independent but had a spell of NGRC Permit racing during July 1984 to April 1986.
All venues covered would have to be licensed with the government, licensed suggested in this section would refer to tracks operating under NGRC Rules.
INSIDE OR OUTSIDE HARE TYPE——-Inside Sumner.
Please note that the Electric Hare suggested is only a guidance, and would have been in operation for a certain amount of time at this venue. Although it is not necessarily guaranteed that it was operational all the time, as other types of lure may have been used and updated as time progressed.
DISTANCES———————————–254, 410 and 585 metres.
Please note that most racing venues distances had become varied throughout the years, the ones given above were at once point set and offers only a guidance to the track size.
Please note that alterations at most racing venues throughout its existence would see that the circumference of the track would vary, the one shown above offers only a guidance to the track size.
BIG RACE NAMES—————————Other than the Huntingdon Derby and Cesarewitch, it also ran the Cambridgeshire St Leger and the Hunts Cup.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Afghan Racing.
LAST MEETING——————————-May 18th 1993.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-May 1993.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————–Housing on Burnett Way and Lamport Drive.
In some cases, structure’s that originally covered the venue after the stadium had been demolished, may have been themselves demolished too, so the one described is more likely to be the one which now presently covers the site.
EVIDENCE LEFT TODAY——————–Nothing known of.
FURTHER COMMENTS———————Prior to alterations to the track during the mid 1980’s, the Hartford circuit had the reutation of being the tightest track throughout all the UK’s tracks.
Huntingdon Greyhound Stadium was found roughly two miles north of Huntingdon town centre in a district known as Sapley, situated very close to the A141 trunk road. It developed on farmland during 1947, opening up as a flapping track, ready for its opening meeting on the 20th of September 1947. It was a very tight track indeed, and certainly picked up the reputation of being the tightest of all UK tracks prior to its closure. It ran distances of 330, 440 and 710 yards, with the greyhounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare.
After successful periods of the 50’s and 60’s, a downward trend followed during the 1970’s, but by 1984 the future looked promising, after the track had accepted an offer from the NGRC to operate under a permit license. Due to required preparations, the track closed down for three months, seeing both bends becoming more banked and sanded, with the straights remaining turfed, but extra work also included more kennels being built to reach requirements. Distances were switched to metric having been calibrated at 232, 393, 525, 716 and 844 metres.
The official opening was set for the 6th of July, but unfinished work delayed the start date by some two weeks. But amazingly the bright future that was hoped began to fizzle away, when in April 1986 the licence became withdrawn due to undisclosed issues, with Huntingdon reverting back to operating as an independent track.
By 1990 the track distances had altered once again, this time offering 254 and 410 metre trips. Along with its Derby and Cesarewitch, its other attractive events were the Cambridgeshire St Leger, run over the 410-metre trip, and also The Hunts Cup. The early 1990’s had seen Afghan Hound racing introduced and also the installation of the Black Rat, a name given to a new system that would support the inside Sumner hare, as it was driven by a remote-control chain saw motor, which had variable speeds between walking pace and 50 mph. But this system was a backup idea and was only used occasionally.
Again, Huntingdon became another track to suffer from the decline of the sport, making itself an easy target for developers and persuade the owners to sell. Its final meeting came on the 18th of May 1993 and became demolished soon after. The site of stadium has now gone, as houses on Burnett Way and Lamport Drive have totally overwhelmed the site, leaving no trace at all of the track ever being there.
A programme, photograph or even memorabilia for this track is required for this page, if you can help please contact me.