Kinsley

Kinsley Greyhound Stadium
Bill Henderson / geograph.org.uk

Located in the village of Kinsley in West Yorkshire, Kinsley Dog Track is ideally located for people who live in both Leeds and Doncaster, sitting in the middle of the two. It was built in 1939, opening that same year, not quite well timed when you consider that the Second World War broke out that year. It is an impressive venue, having been voted as the Best National Greyhound Racing Club Stadium in the North for 2008. Obviously that was a fair length of time ago, with the venue not being as impressive as it once was.

Racing takes place on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays for Arena Racing Company, with racing happening on Saturdays for those of you that want to actually physically turn up and get involved. The track circumference is 385 metres and the deal with ARC was signed in 2018, allowing for some more investment into the track from the owners, who have been responsible for Kinsley since 1985 and have ensured that racing will continue there indefinitely. There is enough room at the venue for plenty of spectators, with restaurants and bars available too.

The Track & Facilities

Kinsley Greyhound Stadium
Image thanks to Kinsley Greyhound Stadium

With a circumference of 385 metres, the track at Kinsley Stadium is able to put on some different length races during the week, which are as follows:

  • 268 Metres
  • 462 Metres
  • 650 Metres
  • 844 Metres

The hare on offer is an Outside Swaffham McGee, which helps to the get the greyhounds on their way around the course. With a capacity of 3,000 and a car park that can fit 300 vehicles, it is fair to say that Kinsley is capable of welcoming more than enough people for a sport that is losing its popularity with the general public.

If you want to get a bite to eat whilst you’re there then you can either head to the snack bar or else make a booking for the Jubilee Restaurant, whilst those of you that like a hospitality experience can aim for the Spycatcher Executive Suite.

Major Races & Events

Kinsley dog

It is not uncommon for racecourses around the United Kingdom to have a major race or two attached to them. The bigger the venue is, the more prestigious the race that they put on each year. In the case of Kinsley Stadium that race is the Gymcrack.

The Gymcrack

First run in 1994, the Gymcrack was initially run at Hackney Wick Stadium and won by the likes of Night Trooper, Staplers Jo and Moral Standards. It was discontinued in 1996, but then started back up again in 2000 at Hall Green Stadium. In the years since, the race has grown in stature, not least of all thanks to its switch to Kinsley Stadium in 2011. It is open to horses over 15 months old but under two and in 2017 an Irish entrant won it for the first time. There was a fear that it would have to be cancelled from 2019 when the race failed to gain a sponsor.

In the News

Towards the end of 2021, Kinsley Stadium was in the news thanks to a report that Greyhound Media Group were looking to invest some finances into prize money and support for trainers and owners at four stadiums: Swindon, Sheffield, Yarmouth and Kinsley. The investment came after GMG spoke with Arena Racing Company and made sure that the two bodies were aligned in wanting to see a significantly increase in the prize money. The run money was also increased, ensuring a decent basic for all dogs.

In 2022, the stadium was back in the news when the owners felt the need to respond to rumours that had been circulating Yorkshire at the time. It was being said by some that Kinsley was preparing to close its doors for the final time, but Keith John Murrell and John Curran, the owners, responded by saying that the families were ‘committed to continue the core business of greyhound racing’. That was obviously good news for the local community, which was hammered home by the statement saying that the land was ‘not for sale’.

About Kinsley Stadium

A snowy Kinsley Greyhound Stadium
A snowy Kinsley Greyhound Stadium (Christine Johnstone / geograph.org.uk)

Built and opened in the same year of 1939, Kinsley Stadium was an independent venue that served the local mining village during its formative years. In the wake of the Second World War, the track was able to accommodate about 3,500 people, with things remaining much the same for the next few decades. The biggest changes began to come about in 1985, which was the point at which John Curran and Keith Murrell took over ownership and began investing in improving the facilities available to visitors, trainers and dogs.

Kinsley Greyhound Derby

The distances were changed to 100 metres, 260 metres, 330 metres, 460 metres and 630 metres, with an in Sumner hare being installed. The Kinsley Greyhound Derby was introduced as a new race, offering £20,000 in prize money that allowed it to eclipse many of the events that the National Greyhound Racing Club offered at the time. Twelve bookmakers were available on course and a totalisator computer was also added. The Jubilee Restaurant could serve 160 covers, whilst 48 kennels stood on site.

The Track Gains a Licence

In 2000, the decision was taken to apply for a National Greyhound Racing Club licence, meaning that Kinsley would stop being an independent track for the first time in more than 60 years. The distances changed again, this time seeing races run over 275 metres, 450 metres, 485 metres and 656 metres. Keith Murrell took on the role was Racing Manager until the team could bring Craig Hunt in, with the first meeting under the track’s new look taking place on the 15th of January 2000. In the years that followed, the distances changed twice more and a Swaffham hare was introduced.

Arena Racing Company Steps In

In 2010, a big change came to Kinsley thanks to the introduction of the Television Trophy, before the Gymcrack made the switch the following year. The first running of the Gymcrack saw a black and white dog called Taranis Rex break the track record on his way to victory. In 2018, a deal was signed with Arena Racing Company that would ensure racing would take place on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with the latter being promoted as a ‘family fun day’ by the stadium, whist racing is also run on a Saturday.

Track Records at Kinsley Greyhound Stadium

The records for the distances run at Kinsley Stadium are as follows:

Distance Record Time Date Set
268 Metres 15.79 Seconds 22nd April 2018
462 Metres 26.95 Seconds 22nd April 2018
650 Metres 39.68 Seconds 16th May 2017
844 Metres 51.95 Seconds 20th April 2016

The record set over 462 metres was in the Gymcrack final by a dog called Brinkley Poet, breaking the previous record that Taranis Rex had set.