Blog – Greyhound Derby venue and Jay Leno for Top Gear

Blog from Roy The Boy looking at the closure of Towcester and Jay Leno to be the next Top Gear presenter.

Surely Towcester has a Great Leighs type future

The Towcester dream has died, at least temporarily.  The question is… will the stadium/circuit lay in ruin and suffer the same fate as ‘the new Hackney’, which opened as a luxury stadium costing of £14 million in October 1995 but was put into receivership on its opening night.  It was closed permanently 27 months later and eventually demolished.

Or will it do a Great Leighs which opened in April 2008 and was put into administration nine months later; it then re-opened with a new name (Chelmsford City) after laying abandoned for six years.  It was Fred Done, of Betfred notoriety, which finally bought the Essex track and put racing back on the map.  As his name has been one of the first to be bounded around in regards to a possible saviour of Towcester, the omens are good.

Racehorse owner Andrew Tinkler, of Eddie Stobart recognition, was also believed to have been interested in purchasing Chelmsford, so maybe he is another candidate for an interest in Towcester.  Trevor Hemmings, owner of Blackpool Tower, Preston North End and 100+ national hunt horses could be another potential buyer.

But the overwhelming favourite to pick up the baton has to be the Arena Racing Company who acquired Newcastle and Sunderland greyhound stadiums in 2017 and currently own or operate 16 racecourses in Great Britain.

Ultimately, with both horse and greyhound racing on offer and a centrally located historic venue which is unlikely to ever be developed for housing or industry, Towcester is most unlikely ‘to do a Hackney’ and I’m confident it will re-open for business sometime in the future.

The 2019 Greyhound Derby

There’s no timeframe though and the 2019 Greyhound Derby will surely need a new home.  It may be a temporary home, it may be a full time venue, but that makes for an interesting predicament.

Sheffield made no secret that they wanted the ‘great race’ when it was up for grabs in 2017 but in taking second placed then they are unlikely to offer to stage it on a temporary basis from 2019.  The prospect of it to returning to their rivals in a year or two’s time would be unpalatable.

Anyway, here’s my tissue on where the 2019 Greyhound Derby will be staged

4/9                   Sheffield

11/4                Towcester

9/2                   Henlow

13/2                Hove

17/2                Monmore

10/1                Any/all others

Who is the next top-dog in Top Gear

It’s been almost three months since American Matt LeBlanc announced he is quitting Top Gear.  He will not depart until after the next series is filmed and that will not be broadcast until 2019.  Nevertheless the markets are up on his replacement.

Ladbrokes are going 8/1 Jeremy Clarkson and his crew (Richard Hammond and James May) returning which I don’t think is an outrageous idea.  The BBC know the trio would send global viewing figures stratospheric and the presenters may see it as the ultimate ‘fingers up’ to the BBC execs who ousted them - as they will be forced to eat some humble pie.

American connection means Jay’s a bet

Top Gear always thrived on fun and so many of the names in the frame for the series are devoid of real personality and therein, not for the first time, I’m looking at American Jay Leno getting the gig at a whopping 50/1.

Leno was just 16/1 to get the job which was eventually filled by Chris Evans in 2016.  The 22 year veteran of the Tonight Show is a car nut and is a very funny character too (currently performing 200 stand-up gigs annually across the States).  The BBC clearly like an American tie-in and despite his advancing years, 50’s is too big about him taking the job.

Recommended bet

Next Top Gear Presenter                Jay Leno                    50/1    Betfair