The clock is ticking down to the off for greyhound racing’s next big series. The BAGS Inter Track Championship, worth a total £160,000, starts on October 31 and will be screened exclusively by SIS into betting shops.
The full schedule and rules have been released and BAGS is producing marketing material to go into shops across the country promoting the series.
The first championship was held last year and proved a huge success, raising dog racing’s profile further among connections and fans, and seeing increased turnover at the tills.
Eighteen tracks will take part – following the addition of Peterborough – and will be split into six groups on a regional basis. The final will once again be on December 23 – a day when there is no horse racing.
Each of the tracks will stage one qualifying competition consisting of six different races, with each track supplying two runners per race.
The competition starts at Belle Vue with a Halloween thriller on Wednesday October 31 when the Manchester track will host Nottingham and Sheffield. The last qualifiers before the finals will take place at Romford on Thursday December 6 with Peterborough and Yarmouth the visitors.
Champions Monmore begin the defence of their title at Perry Barr on November 6 when Hall Green will be the third participating track. The other three groups comprise of Kinsley, Newcastle and Sunderland; Oxford, Poole and Swindon; and Crayford, Hove and Sittingbourne.
As well as generating interest among fans and punters, it is a welcome cash boost for connections. The Championship winning team will receive £6,000 and a trophy, with £4,000 for second place and £2,500 for the other teams in the finals.
Amounts of £12,500 and £5,000 will be awarded to the winning and second place tracks respectively, with this money to be used as additional prize money at BAGS meetings in the following month(s).
Each team that takes part in the BAGS Track Championship will receive £1,000 towards travelling expenses and other prize money is as follows:-
• Group qualifying heats - race winners £200, 2nd place £100, others £75.
• BAGS Championship finals - race winners £500, 2nd place £200, others £100.
• Winning Group teams - £1,500; 2nd £750; 3rd £500.
Full Groups and dates:
Group A - Belle Vue, Wed Oct 31; Nottingham, Tue Nov 13; Sheffield, Thu Nov 29.
Group B – Kinsley, Sun Nov 4; Sunderland, Tue Nov 20; Newcastle, Wed Dec 5.
Group C - Perry Barr, Tue Nov 6; Hall Green, Mon Dec 3; Monmore, Fri Nov 23.
Group D – Swindon, Fri Nov 2; Oxford, Fri Nov 16; Poole, Sat Dec 1.
Group E – Sittingbourne, Thu Nov 1; Crayford, Thu Nov 15; Hove, Wed Nov 28.
Group F – Peterborough, Fri Nov 9; Yarmouth, Wed Nov 21; Romford, Thu Dec 6.
Final - Dec 23