18 June 2022
There is always a sense of anticipation when a familiar trainer acquires a new greyhound – doubly so if word gets round that its trials have been held in private.
Road Warrior won last year’s Welsh Greyhound Derby while Little Warrior and Lady Warrior have racked up more than two-dozen wins between them. So, the first appearance on the card of young Princess Warrior had tongues wagging. Spies suggested that sprint trials had gone well and the bookmakers were taking no chances with the odds. She walked out of the boxes but showed such strong early pace that she had carved through the field before the bend and pulled well clear for an impressive debut.
Leigh Williams’s mystery dog, Ice Hot, was forced straight into the top heat for his introduction. He promptly bolted out to the third fastest sectional of the year and was six-or-seven lengths clear going up the back straight. On a wet night, the unplated track was getting churned up and he looked tired in the closing stages, but it was still a more than satisfactory debut.
Elsewhere, it was an evening of sibling rivalries. Symphony proved the fastest of three littermates out of the joint-winner of last year’s Tri-distance Track Championship, Storm Alert, while Zuma put a first career win on the board in the battle of 2019 Glamorgan Cup winner Paw Patrol’s pups.
Dawn, Valley Edward and Le Rondel Fusee all have different owners but they come from the same litter and brought home a family treble, with Dawn, in particular, looking stylish as she pulled well clear of the in-form Ali G in the supporting heat. (Recordings of some of the evening’s top races are available in the Videos section of this website).

GBGB  start date announced.
Valley to become licensed track in January 2024.

Dave Barclay – since last November, the owner of the Valley Greyhound Stadium – has announced that he has struck a deal that will see the track aiming to become Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) licensed in January 2024. The track will continue to be leased back to the former owner, Malcolm Tams, to operate as an independent track while the stadium is upgraded to meet GBGB licensing standards.
The Valley is currently a ‘flapping’ track, licensed by the local authority, where amateur trainers run their own greyhounds.
“I know that a lot of locals have been looking for some certainty about the future,” said Malcolm Tams. “I hope that the timetable will give people the confidence to invest in greyhounds to keep flapping right up to the end of next year.”
In 2024, licensed racing will see professional trainers running dogs for appearance and prize money that is ultimately funded by high street bookmakers and media rights companies. Two main media rights companies, ARC and SIS, pay greyhound tracks for the right to broadcast their races live, not only into high street betting shops, but online around the world.
Four of the biggest greyhound stadiums that were affiliated to SIS have announced that they will transfer to ARC by 2024 and a fifth SIS-affiliated track, Central Park, will switch to ARC as early as 2023. This means that SIS, which has deals to provide live coverage of UK greyhound racing to many overseas markets, would be facing a shortage of races that they would be able to broadcast. Dave Barclay has confirmed that he has signed a contract with SIS for The Valley to help plug the gap.
“Eventually, I’d like to think we could race up to four times a week,” said Dave Barclay, who is the owner and promoter of the highly-successful GBGB-licensed track at Harlow in Essex.
Richard Brankley, Head of Greyhound Operations for SIS, said, “I’ve been so impressed with Harlow, which is one of the best-managed tracks in the country and, if The Valley is run half as well as that, then it will be a fantastic addition.”
The project will require significant development of The Valley Greyhound Stadium. “We need to build on-site kennels, as there are none at the moment, the racing office will be repositioned and then there is the hare to think about,” said Dave Barclay. “It’s an inside hare at the moment. I did consider leaving it as inside, but it would be the only one in the country and I think it’s sensible to stick with what everyone else uses.”
It is likely that both sets of traps will eventually be brought forward to shorten the run to the first bend, which will mean that the standard four-bend distance will be significantly shorter than the current 515 yards (475 metres). Work may be done to increase the camber on the bends but the track layout is likely to remain, as it is thought that there will be sufficient room to accommodate an outside hare rail without remodelling the circuit.
Dave Barclay has asked Malcolm Tams to manage the planning and development issues and Malcolm is confident that the timetable will enable independent greyhound racing to continue while the building work takes place.
“I put my money into Harlow to run it as a greyhound track and, thankfully, we’ve been very successful in recent years and I’m hoping for more of the same at The Valley,” said Dave Barclay. “I fell in love with it the minute I drove in. I told Malcolm that I’d definitely buy it. We shook hands on a deal pretty quickly.
“It’s been bought in my family name and my son Lee and daughter Kate will be involved in running it. There’s a lot to do.”
The Welsh Government’s Valleys Task Force Initiative has identified Caerphilly/Ystrad Mynach as one of seven strategic hubs across the South Wales Valleys “that will act as a focus for public investment and business growth.”
Caerphilly County Borough Council published its ‘Ystrad Mynach Masterplan’, which identifies the Valley Greyhound Stadium as being key to this strategy.
It notes how the stadium is “ideally located to capitalise on the many visitors to the area and there is opportunity to expand and increase the potential of the site as a tourism destination. Furthermore, there is opportunity for spin-off between this site and potential hotel and restaurant development on adjacent land.”
The Masterplan states that GBGB licensing of the Valley Greyhound Stadium presents an opportunity to create “a vibrant and accessible visitor destination” and to improve Ystrad Mynach’s status as a tourist destination. The plan highlights the prospects for job creation at the stadium with a knock-on effect for Ystrad Mynach town centre of increased footfall, bolstering the night-time economy.
With plans to stage up to four meetings per week, around £2 million per year could go directly into creating local jobs for local people and appearance money for local greyhound trainers to enable them to train and care for local greyhounds.

Dave Barclay has developed a reputation as one of the most progressive and successful promoters in the sport.
A successful building contractor in partnership with his brother, Dean, Dave became a keen punter and greyhound owner at Harlow after the track opened in 1995. In 2005, he bought the track from the original owners, Leaside Leisure, and continued to invest in the site, which now includes a restaurant, function rooms and a social club famous for popular poker and darts tournaments.
Harlow took off as a greyhound venue when Walthamstow closed in 2008. A raft of leading trainers moved to the Roydon Road stadium, including Mark Wallis who won the 2009 Greyhound Derby with Kinda Ready while attached to Harlow.
Crowds grew and, within a few years, Harlow was hosting live televised meetings on Sky Sports. A deal with broadcaster SIS to beam pictures live to betting shops has enabled the expansion of racing to five times a week with the track featuring live on RPGTV twice weekly.

4 June 2022
It was an evening of surprises everywhere you turned – not a single favourite won all night.
The top sprint brought together five of the track’s top ten two-benders and it looked a question of whether consistent fast starter Smoky Brown would survive a late challenge from Kelly’s Eye. However, as they turned for home, Smoky found that it was Le Rondel Fusee – who had walked out of the boxes yet again – who was creeping up on his outside. They went at it hammer-and-tongs all down the home straight with Le Rondel Fusee just nosing ahead on the line only for the completely unpredictable Smithy’s Baz to come over the top of the pair of them in the shadow of the post.
You would have made proven D1 sprinter Dawn the favourite if she had been in the top sprint but, somehow, she was thrown into the supporting event where she looked an absolute shoo-in. Yet she made an utter mess of the start and then ran headlong into trouble at the bend, leaving Breathless to gallop home in the fastest time of the evening.
Ali G had won her last two races by a combined twenty-and-a-half lengths and looked a good price in the top heat even as an odds-on favourite. But, despite another good start, she was bumped out of it at the bend as the returning Sandstorm turned inside. Having been off the track for four months, he was gasping for air as they reached the closing stages and it looked like Ali G might pull the race out of the fire before the line arrived just in time for the handsome brindle.
Rhythmic Jive scooted clear of trouble behind in her fastest time yet and, in the final race, the previously utterly uninspiring Don’t Be Late flew out of the traps as if he had been fired from a rifle to lead all the way against a quartet of very inexperienced pups. (Recordings of some of the evening’s top races are available in the Videos section of this website).

28 May 2022
Smoky Brown continues to be the most enigmatic dog at The Valley. Bought on the basis of the staying power he had shown over six bends in Ireland, he has consistently failed to last home over four, yet has zoomed to the top of the sprinting charts. Even though Kelly’s Eye shot out of the boxes to lead the top sprint, Smoky brushed her aside on the way to the bend. Kelly came flying home to her fastest sprint time for nearly a year, but Smoky held firm for his fourth win in his last five starts over 310 yards.
He is likely to face his kennelmate, Tommy Brown, the next time he goes to the traps. The handsome fawn dog has been almost impossible to catch right until recently, being just as likely to ping out as he is to fluff the start completely. But he seems to be finding some consistency of late and he franked his improved form by holding off a strong run from the returning Kung Fu Panda.
Another greyhound who is surely ready for a step up in class is Ali G. Having charged ten lengths clear of Rose Brown a week ago, she repeated the feat for another highly impressive win.
The real surprise of the evening came in the opener. Harry’s Gold made his racing debut almost two years ago but has never pulled up any trees and his infrequent wins have generally come against very mediocre opposition. He carried hardly a penny of anyone’s money in the opener but pinged out and kept daylight between him and the chasing pack as he recorded his fastest ever time to land only his second win in the last eleven months. (Recordings of some of the evening’s top races are available in the Videos section of this website).