Drumbo Park stages a gala night of racing next Tuesday in conjunction with Cool FM to celebrate the stadium’s first anniversary.
It is hard to believe a year has gone by since the new £3m facility opened and with it, bringing a new dimension to sport and entertainment in Northern Ireland.
Much water has flowed under the bridge in 12 months but the overall view has to be that the stadium and what it provides, has proved a great success with an influx of new and younger people joining the established greyhound follower for what is a good night’s craic.
Chief Executive John McCollum and his business partners Michael McAdam and Tommy Anderson, deserve all the plaudits for their bold venture which has given local greyhound racing a major shot in the arm and provided facilities which are the best that any sport has to offer in the country.
Of course, it would be naive to think that everything is perfect — it never can be — as several interests have to be met in the delicate balancing act between marrying the old with the new and keeping both bookmakers and punters happy.
Overall, we have seen some outstanding achievements on the track, notably from greyhounds such as Faypoint Man who is one of the market leaders for the Irish Derby which gets underway at Shelbourne this week, Gilbeyhall Jake and lately Drumcrow Obama.
One issue that has been the subject of debate is the amount of prize money for graded racing and the need for more sweepstake competitions rather than one-off big prizes which are generally taken by the best dogs from the south.
The success of Drumbo is reflected in the number of sponsors willing to come on board and hence it’s no surprise to see Cool FM keen to back next Tuesday’s programme.
There will be free goodies, free concert tickets, free admission, race card and drink or Tote voucher to the first 250 to register online at www.coolfm.co.uk/partyatthepark. And there will be a special A La Carte menu at the restaurant for only £29.95.
Happy birthday and may the success continue to run and run.