Towcester greyhound track due to open in the summer

Artist's impression of Towcester greyhound track
Image caption Towcester Racecourse hopes to hold three greyhound meetings a week

A new £1.2m greyhound track at Towcester Racecourse should be open by the end of the summer.

Kevin Ackerman, chief executive, said construction of the 420m track would begin shortly and take about 18 weeks to complete.

The plan is to hold 156 meetings a year on the sand track, which will be built within the horseracing course.

"The infrastructure is already here," Mr Ackerman said. "We've just got to build the track."

The investment in the track comes at a time when some are questioning whether greyhound racing is on the decline, with recent closures of circuits in Oxford, Portsmouth, Reading and Milton Keynes.

'Very dated'

But Mr Ackerman said the £10m worth of improvements made at Towcester in the past eight years would make a difference.

"A number of the greyhound and horseracing tracks which have closed didn't have that investment," he said, pointing out that horseracing courses at Folkestone and Hereford had also closed recently.

"They are dealing with facilities which are very dated."

The greyhound track is being built to maximise the use of Towcester, which currently hosts 17 horseracing meetings a year.

Mr Ackerman said he was confident it would be popular with punters, although he admitted it would be a tough task to fill the 8,500 capacity stands.

He added that the international audience would also play a part in the track's future.

"The plan will be for Towcester greyhound racing to beamed internationally, to Australia, South America and all across Europe," Mr Ackerman said.

"Bookmakers can now accept bets from different countries, so they need a good quality product for people to bet on."

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