The Fengate dog track is back in the big time

Pictured is the 2011 Peterborough Puppy Derby presentation. The race was won by Monleek Sloopy from trap four. From the left are Roger Kinch, David Tailby, Steve Donaldson, sponsor Jayne Clarke, Debbie Pruhs, Mick Gough and Dave Pruhs.
Pictured is the 2011 Peterborough Puppy Derby presentation. The race was won by Monleek Sloopy from trap four. From the left are Roger Kinch, David Tailby, Steve Donaldson, sponsor Jayne Clarke, Debbie Pruhs, Mick Gough and Dave Pruhs.
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The Peterborough Greyhound Stadium will be thrust into the national spotlight once again next month when the Puppy Derby returns to the city.

The prestigious ‘William Hill/Underground Racing Puppy Derby’ will return to Peterborough following a three-year absence from the stadium’s calendar with the qualifying heats getting underway next Wednesday (June 1).

Top trainers from throughout the greyhound racing scene will travel to the city throughout June all bidding to get their hands on a big money prize.

Despite drawing big crowds in previous years, the Derby fell victim to broadcasting cuts from Sky Sports in 2014 which resulted in a drop in sponsorship levels and forced the event off the track.

However, three years on and the Puppy Derby is set to return to the sand in style with an £8,500 prize going to the 2016 champion.

The qualifying heats will begin on Wednesday at 7.25pm with the semi-finals taking place the following Wednesday (June 8 - first race 7.25pm).

The grand final will be held on Wednesday June 15 in front of the Sky Sports cameras who will be broadcasting live from the Fengate track.

The first race will go off at 6.38pm to kickstart an enthralling night of high-class greyhound racing action with £24,000 in prize money to be won across all feature races.

The grand final is set to be the largest racing event that the city track has hosted for a considerable time since the last Puppy Derby in 2013.

Director of racing Con Baker is delighted with the Puppy Derby’s return.

He said: “There is a real buzz about the place ahead of the Puppy Derby. It was sad to lose the race after 2013 but it had been such a big event in previous years we weren’t prepared to downgrade it to a lesser event.

“Thanks to the hard work of Underground Racing and sponsors we have been able to bring it back in all its glory.

“The Puppy Derby usually attracts big crowds and we are hopeful of another good turnout this year.

“We now look to maintain continuity with the event and bring it back again next year.

“Some of the best trainers from around the country have entered dogs so it really should be a Puppy Derby to remember.”