Last night I hosted a party at Hove Greyhound stadium with the primary aim of watching Guinness Run run as this is a target of the National Rust Sussex syndicate. Ivan, Nancy Bright Thompson and Bryony joined me. Dog nights provide an enjoyable fusion of a meal, socialising and sports-watching as you can do all three at the same time. I had only been to Wimbledon dogs. Hove’s skyline restaurant was similar to that of Wimbledon with banked tables in front of a plate glass window affording the spectator a fine view of the track. You can have at best a reliable meal but Daffers would be impressed by the service though not the greeting desk that had my name misspelt. The restaurant was full up and although greyhound racing is supposed to be on the wane we were informed that 1200 spectators were present.
All equestrian sports require an input from the rider but with greyhound racing it’s a case of 6 leaving the trap unaided scampering after the hare and battling it out. Seamus Cahill, Hove’s most successful trainer, joined us for a few moments. He was confident that his puppy Guinness Run in which we are interested would win. I decided in the earlier races to back Seamus’ and Jason Heath’s dogs that resulted in 4 wins.
The race-goers were principally young, white, male and – by 9pm – drunk. They are not much of an advertisement for a country who wants to turn its back on immigrants and export such yobs to create havoc in resorts in Greece and the Balearic Islands. We decided to leave at race 9, three before the end, to avoid the crush. I enjoyed the evening greatly and we will probably go ahead to buy a dog from Seamus to give us all a greater connection.