Remembering White City: But a stone's throw from Old Trafford a White City once stood
Darrell Williams tells all about the forgotten White City track in Manchester
While the name White City is synonymous with the sport's most prestigious track in London, there was also a second White City in Manchester. Located in the Trafford part of the city, and therefore close to both Manchester United's ground and the home of Lancashire County Cricket club, the track staged greyhound racing from 1930 until 1982.
Nowadays White City is a retail park, and apart from the famous white gateway in Chester Road close to the junction with Trafford Road there are few clues about the area's long history. It probably won't surprise you that the stadium used for greyhounds also staged other sports with speedway 'first in' just after the stadium was built in 1928. Later a six lane cinder athletics track was added in 1953 - unusually it was 2/9th of a mile round rather than the standard 1/4 mile -with Stock Car racing also a feature from 1972.
But the history of White City goes back much further, with its original use as a botanical garden dating back to1827 when the original white gateway was built. The gardens remained a feature until the early 20th century when the land was sold and an amusement park, one of the most advanced and innovative of its time, was opened before the stadium was erected ahead of its opening in July 1928.
In terms of greyhound racing, White City always lived in the shadow of its neighbour Belle Vue, the first track to stage greyhound racing in this country, and was often known as its 'junior'. The circuit was 450 yards with wide well banked turns and an inside Sumner hare with racing latterly taking place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons with a BAGS contract in place.
The most important race staged at White City was the Manchester Cup, held in March over 485m, with 1975 winner Myrtown, runner-up in the previous year's Derby, for local handler Eddie Moore one of its most noteworthy winners. Other major events staged included the Mancunian Cup, run over 670m in September, plus the Cock o'the North, nowadays run at Belle Vue, staged over the same trip in October and won in 1970 by the Harry Bamford handled Forward King, who had also won the 1968 St Leger.
Probably the greatest greyhound to be trained at White City however was Wild Woolley, trained by Jack Rimmer, who turned over the highly regarded Future Cutlet to win the 1932 Derby; he would later finish third in the next two Derbies in addition to winning the inaugural Gold Collar at Catford.
White City stadium closed in 1982 and was demolished in the late 1980s.
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