Perry Barr

Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium track
Image thanks to Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium

Previously known as Alexander Sports Ground, Perry Barr Stadium is located in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham. It is operated by Arena Racing Company, though it is owned by National Asset Management Agency, and sees both greyhound racing and speedway taking place at it. Perry Barr was a population location for stadiums, with the Birchfield Ladbrokes Stadium having closed in 1984 and previously known as the Perry Barr Stadium, so it is important not to confuse the two. When it opened it was the home of the Birchfield Harriers athletics club.

The stadium is open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with Thursday being the only evening slot at the time of writing. As well as an excellent restaurant and six hospitality boxes, Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium also offers four bars and different snacking areas. There are great views all around, meaning that you’ll be sure to enjoy the dog racing regardless of what the weather is like. If you’re unsure where to go then you just need to head to Birmingham City University’s main campus, which Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium is opposite, close to Perry Barr Railway Station.

The Track & Facilities

Perry Bar greyhounds
Image thanks to Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium

The fact that Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium is located so close to Birmingham city centre is obvious appealing to many fans of dog racing. There is room for around 1,500 spectators on the site, with about 400 parking spaces. It needs to be appealing because Hall Green Greyhound Stadium is also located in Birmingham, meaning that there is competition for customers between the two of them. The course’s circumference is 434 metres, with the first bend coming after 80 metres when it’s a four bend race and 50 metres on six bend races.

At the time of writing, these are the distances that are run at Perry Bar Greyhound Stadium:

  • 275 Metres
  • 460 Metres
  • 480 Metres
  • 500 Metres
  • 660 Metres
  • 710 Metres
  • 895 Metres

The on-site restaurant is well worth booking into if you’re hoping for a posh night whilst watching the racing, but if you prefer to keep things a bit more grounded then you’ll doubtless be pleased enough with any of the four eating places elsewhere in the stadium. For properly posh nights there are six hospitality boxes available for hire, but even if that isn’t your bag you’ll be able to watch the racing from both indoors and outdoors with excellent views either way.

Major Races & Events

Perry Barr track
Image thanks to Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium

The country’s biggest stadiums have been around for long enough to ensure that they have decent races for customers to watch. Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium obviously ticks that box, with more than a few important races on offer. If you time your visit right then you might get to watch one of them in person, which is a prestigious thing to be able to boast about. Here is a look at the biggest races at Perry Barr:

St Leger

One of greyhound racing’s original Classics, the St Leger was run at Wembley Stadium between when it first took place in 1928 and 1998. When Wembley Greyhounds ended the race moved to Wimbledon Stadium, where it remained until it was shifted to Perry Barr in 2017. Financial issues have seen the race’s prize money drop, though the winner in 2021 still took home £10,000 so it isn’t exactly a race for paupers. Some big industry names have won the race over the years, completing the 710 metres in phenomenal times.

Laurels

Originally run at Wimbledon Stadium until 1997, this Classic greyhound race was then moved to Belle Vue Stadium until it switched to Newcastle Stadium in 2017. The Category 1 race, which is run over 480 metres, switched to Perry Barr in 2021. It is still a prestigious race despite losing its Category 1 status for a short period of time, with the Arena Racing Company being given the event by the Greyhound Racing Association in 2017. Several dogs have won the race more than once, with Ballymac Ball being one of the best known.

Oaks

Anyone who knows anything about horse racing will be unsurprised to learn that the Oaks is another one of greyhound racing’s Classics. It was first run at White City Stadium and remained there until 1958, at which point it moved to Harringay Stadium. It was also run at Wimbledon Stadium and Belle Vue, as well as Towcester before that course was closed suddenly. It was then moved to Swindon Stadium before changing to Perry Barr in 2021. Run over 480 metres, the event is limited to bitches only and the winner takes £15,000.

Scurry Gold Cup

First run in 1928 at Clapton Stadium, the Scurry Gold Cup is another one of greyhound racing’s Classics. Run over 238 metres and promising £3,000 to the winner, it was moved to Slough Stadium in 1974. When that venue closed in 1986, a third move saw it being run at Catford Stadium. Another closure saw it have to move once again in 2002, which was when it was welcomed by Perry Barr Stadium. The GRA moved it to Belle Vue Stadium in 2009, but when that closed in 2020 it was briefly run at Harlow Stadium before being returned to Perry Barr in 2021.

Birmingham Cup

Inaugurated in 1939, the Birmingham Cup is one of the major races that has always been run in the city of Birmingham. It used to be at the Old Perry Barr Stadium, but when that was closed in 1984 it stopped being run for a time. One of the most prestigious races that is run in the Midlands, it was brought to Perry Barr stadium in 1992 until a decision to discontinue it was made in 2009. In 2020 the competition was brought back as something of a memorial for Michael Lambe Senior. It is run over 480 metres and the winner took home £6,500 in 2021.

In the News

You need to go back a couple of years to see one of the most important bits of news for Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium, which came thanks to Arena Racing Company’s acquisition of it from the Greyhound Racing Association in October of 2019. Fast-forward a couple of years and the venue was in the news again, this time thanks to the fact that it was re-opening to the public after being closed during the world health crisis. Dog owners and trainers were allowed to enter during lockdown, but the return of the watching public was the most exciting moment.

About Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium

Perry Barr sunset
Image thanks to Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium

When the stadium was first constructed it was in order to be a home for the Birchfield Harriers, an athletics ground that hosted an opening ceremony on the 27th of July, 1929. They had purchased the land three years earlier and a sign of the former tenants can be seen in the existence of the badge that still adorns the front of the stadium, complete with running stag. It had previously been the site of a rubbish tip for fly ash from a nearby power station, showing just how far the area was redeveloped in the years that followed.

It was something of a multi-purpose venue during the stadium’s more formative years, thanks to the fact that Birchfield Cycling Club used it for cycle races. In the mid-1930s, Sunbac Speedway Club used the cycle track outside the running lanes for speedway events. Aston Villa Football Club used the stadium to train the second and third teams during the 1930s and 1940s, with the government requisitioning the stadium not long after the breakout of the Second World War as a location for the Home Guard.

The Arrival of Greyhound Racing

After the closure of the old Perry Barr Stadium when Ladbrokes surprisingly decided to sell it and was demolished in 1984, Perry Barr as an area had been without greyhound racing. In 1990 negotiations started with the aim of bringing the sport back, with Alexander Sports Ground being the location chosen for it as it was no longer used for athletics. A consortium called the Perry Barr Greyhound Racing Club worked to bring greyhound racing back, earning planning permission to change the venue for the purpose.

The work was completed quickly, with the stadium opening on the 16th of October, allowing it to attract trainers of top quality to work there. Big races were either launched or moved to the venue in the years that followed, with the Greyhound Racing Association paying £4.2 million to buy the track from Perry Barr Greyhound Racing Club in 2005. When the GRA ran into financial difficulties, a decision was taken to sell the stadium to Arena Racing Company, which took place officially in 2019.

Track Records

At the time of writing, the following are the records for the distances run at the track:

Distance Record Time Date Set
275 Metres 15.81 Seconds* 17th May 2007
480 Metres 27.93 Seconds 25th September 2015
660 Metres 39.55 Seconds 31st July 2015
710 Metres 42.59 Seconds** 30th September 2021
915 Metres 56.42 Seconds 30th September 2021
480 Metre Hurdles 28.75 Seconds 23rd January 2007
660 Metre Hurdles 41.73 Seconds 18th January 2005

* This record was set during the final of the Scurry Gold Cup; ** This record was set during the final of the St Leger