Greyhound racing fans across the country are waiting in anticipation as the first round of the English Oaks is set to begin at Swindon Greyhound Stadium this Thursday. The first-round action from the prestigious competition will be available to view live on Sky Sports Racing on Thursday night (Sky channel 415).  

The classic race was inaugurated in 1927 at London’s White City Stadium and has been held at Swindon since 2018. It was won in 1927 by greyhound Three of Spades, trained by Sid Jennings from Harringay.  

This year, 72 greyhounds will compete across 12 heats over the 476m distance. The final will be held on Sunday 20th December and will see £15,000 going to the winner, with an additional £5,000 to the winning trainer.  

In recognition of the tireless work they put into caring for their greyhound athletes, The Oak’s sponsor and long-time greyhound owner Colin Davey of Property 192 announced last week that he would also be giving £1,000 to each kennelhand of the finalists.  

Oxfordshire-based champion trainer Kevin Hutton has his sights on another victory after lifting the trophy for the past two years with his superstars Ravenswood Flo in 2018 and Bull Run Byte in 2019. He also won the title in 2013 after an impressive win by Droopys Danneel.  

You can follow all the latest news, footage and photos from the competition by following Swindon Greyhound Stadium’s Twitter page here and #EnglishOaks2020 

Peter Geeves, General Manager at Swindon Greyhound Stadium said: “We are very much looking forward to getting this year’s Oaks underway at Swindon.

"It is a huge source of pride for us all at the track to be holding this historic and prestigious event.

"We are very grateful for the generous sponsorship we have received from Colin Davey in order for us to be able to run the competition this year.  

“Whilst we remain racing behind closed doors, we are delighted that all rounds will be shown live on TV on Sky Sports Racing or Racing Post Greyhound TV, meaning that fans throughout the country will be able to enjoy the action from the track.  

“The run-up to Christmas is always exciting hosting the Oaks and this year is no different. We wish all the trainers, owners and kennelhands racing with us throughout the competition the very best of luck.” 

Kevin Hutton, Greyhound Derby-winning trainer and three-times Oaks winner, said: “The English Oaks is without doubt my favourite competition in the racing diary and, with the exception of the Derby, it is our biggest race.

"It is a very special competition for us and to win it for the third year running would be incredible. We are, however, certainly up against a strong field this year. 

"Win or lose, for our kennel, our owners, as well as greyhound fans throughout the country, watching the 2020 Oaks will be a wonderful end to a tough year.”  

Colin Davey, 2020 Oaks sponsor, said: "The Oaks is the premier bitches’ competition in the British racing calendar and I am delighted and proud to be a part of it this year.

"I very much hope to stay involved with the race and see it grow and get bigger and better. Ideally, I would like to see it run earlier in the year, if the calendar allowed, to maintain momentum for the sport over the summer.  

"I am also keen to continue supporting our sport's wonderful kennelhands with prize money in recognition for their tireless work caring for our canine athletes. Without them, we wouldn’t have a sport."