Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium is the last remaining dog racing track in London, and one of a handful of tracks in the UK. Is the sport literally going to the dogs?
My husband likes a flutter, so we headed to the stadium in Plough Lane, as part of one of many regular Instameets organised by the London Instagram community. This one organised by the queen of Instameets, Natalie. We gained free entry and a printed sheet with the races and runners listed, using their Oyster Card offer, one of many packages on offer by the stadium, clearly doing all they can to get
punters customers through the gates. The stadium is past its best, a bit shabby around the edges, a posh venue this isn’t! It’s all part of the charm and adds to the ambiance of a pastime that has seen better days.
As a small group of mobile, and other, photographers, we took a position near to the starting traps in the hope of capturing the dogs in full motion as they leaped out chasing after the toy bunny hurtling round the outside of the track. Sadly, an iPhone is not an ideal camera in these conditions – the low light and the slower shutter speeds nowhere near good enough. Any captures would be more by luck than judgement, although some of the group did get some great shots with their ‘big’ cameras.
But the lack of doggie photos meant there was more time for people watching, and what an interesting crowd! From a lady celebrating her 90th birthday, old chain smoking guys with faces full of character, groups of younger people on the piss, families with children and couples just out together for the evening. All life was here.
While I walked around attempting to take candid shots of some of the characters, my husband was busy placing a few bets. As I said, he does loves a flutter, mainly on horse races it has to be said, so he did his usual bit of research with the Sporting Life, and came up with a few ‘naps‘. He put his bets on all sorts of combinations, reverse forecasts, tricasts, even a straight bet to win. Nothing! You might as well bet on an interesting sounding name, that’s what Natalie did, and she came away with four winners! But here’s the thing, out of 13 races, seven of the winners came from Trap 4. Coincidence?
Would I go again? Might do, it’s not far from home so it’s convenient. But for me, as someone who doesn’t really find betting (especially losing!) pleasurable, I’m not sure what else it has to offer. Except great photo opportunities of course!