Strong Turnout Forecast For Harry Williams Memorial Night


26 June 2024

A strong turnout is forecast at Sunderland Stadium on Friday evening as racegoers celebrate the life of the venue’s previous owner and greyhound racing legend Harry Williams. 

The Newcastle Road venue will host its first Harry Williams Memorial Race Night almost a year after the legendary breeder and trainer – affectionately known as greyhound racing’s Geordie Gentleman – passed away, aged 82.

A bumper programme of racing is planned, with the £7,500 Arena Racing Company Puppy Cup taking centre stage and supported by the Harry Williams Blue Artisan BGBF British Bred final worth £1,500.

Williams was best known locally for transforming Sunderland Stadium into a licensed racing facility in the 1980s after he and businessman Terry Robson committed over £1million to a major regeneration. He also trained the winner of the 1993 Scottish Greyhound Derby, when New Level scooped the £20,000 prize.

Couple Jill Sutherst and Glenn Lynas were close friends with Harry and continue to race dogs at Sunderland today. Glenn described his late friend as a master trainer and is looking forward to the evening.

“Harry was one of the best trainers in the UK,” said Glenn. “He was a gentleman, and a seriously good trainer.

“Harry never spent big money when purchasing his greyhounds. He started from scratch and developed his own breeding lines, which is not an easy thing to do, and loved his greyhounds.

“He’s very much missed, and I’ll remember Harry as a top man – Friday will be a great occasion to remember one of our sport’s greats.”

It could be a poignant night for Jill and Glenn who run homebred star Witton Margaret in the Harry Williams Blue Artisan British Bred final.

She finished second to two-times Category One finalist Acomb Irene in Friday’s first qualifying heat – clocking a career best time over Sunderland’s 450m trip in the process.

Glenn rates the chances of his rising star, but is hoping for a quicker getaway from the boxes.

“She’s a lovely greyhound,” said Glen. “Acomb Irene is a very talented greyhound, and Witton Margaret made her work hard for the win in the qualifying heats.

“We’ve always thought a lot of her, but the key to success is making a good start and clearing Blackhouse Alan on the run to the first turn. If she does that, she has the ability to win.”

Race one for Sunderland Stadium’s Harry Williams Memorial Race Night on Friday evening begins at 7.08pm, with doors opening at 6.15pm. Tickets, trackside packages and restaurant bookings can be made in advance online by clicking here.

Arena Racing Company Puppy Cup: No Better Feelin, Keefill Maverick, Untold Ruble, Droopys Extragud, Slingshot Ali, Newinn Souly.

Harry Williams Blue Artisan BGBF British Bred final: Blackhouse Alan, Witton Margaret, The Bulldog, Acomb Irene, Acomb Johnny, Romeo Cypher.


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