Great Britain

As greyhound racing becomes first UK sport back from coronavirus lockdown, top trainer Kevin Hutton discusses the impact

BRITISH sport officially returns on Monday as greyhound racing resumes following the country's coronavirus lockdown hell.

While many people are still confined to their homes and there will be no fans at events, the calendar is starting to fill up with Ascot and the Premier League returning behind closed doors.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Monday's 10:21 at Perry Bar, Birmingham, will be the first live sport on these shores since the March 24 shutdown.

And top trainer Kevin Hutton has revealed that his pacey pooches are desperate to get back to doing what they do best.

He told SunSport: "Mentally, you could tell they really missed the racing - especially towards the end in the past few weeks.

"Literally, the first time the van pulled up to go to trials, they were going absolutely berserk desperate to go back to doing what they do. So it was clear they missed it greatly.

"We are lucky that we can do a lot of work at home with them. They had miles of walking and a lot of galloping on our 290m straight gallop which all the dogs ran down a minimum of three times per week.

"But in a strange way, lockdown was quite nice for us as it allowed us to spend more time with the dogs at the kennels.

"Normally you have me or a member of staff going off to races or to the vets, or the physios come - normally there's one or two major things happening each day whereas it was just a quiet time to spend time and nurture our group for a few weeks.

"All the dogs had a bath, a groom and time relaxing in our garden, they loved it!"

How to watch

EVERY race can be live streamed on your betting app or website of choice.

Tomorrow's featured racing via Racing Post Greyhound TV (RPGTV) is from Nottingham and Great Yarmouth.

RPGTV can be found From 6pm daily on Sky channel 175, Freesat 176 and some Freeview TV's channel 264.

You can also stream the action via http://greyhoundbet.racingpost.com.

Owners and trainers have been hit in the pocket by the pandemic and the return to racing will provide a much-needed boost to the industry.

But their speedy return also offers an opportunity to grow their fanbase and bring more punters to the tracks when they can safely open.

Derby winner Hutton added: "It's so important that the sport can start again as quickly as possible - the dogs were missing it greatly so getting them back doing what they love couldn't come soon enough.

"And obviously financially it's crucial, the prize money helping the owners to pay the kennel bills.

"So we have really been looking forward to getting back to it and I think the organisers have done brilliantly to get it back so soon. Being the very first back is the icing on the cake, to showcase to the nation how exciting our sport is.

"Remember we were almost the last show in town as well before lockdown, so great that we're the first live action of any sport to come back and it's a tremendous opportunity to capitalise on it to raise our profile."

CORONAVIRUS CRISIS - STAY IN THE KNOW

Don't miss the latest news and figures - and essential advice for you and your family.

Get Britain's best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day - find out more.

Football news:

Setien's future in Barca is under threat. The players don't support it
Trent on motivation: Ronaldo and Messi never relax. The more you win, the more you want to continue
Conte on criticism: attack me, Not the club or my players. There are people who want to see the glass half empty
Ancelotti on Everton: we are Happy to qualify for the Europa League
Christophe Dugarry: Setien is simply incompetent. I'm sure he has nothing against Griezmann
Sane went to Manchester City because of Guardiola, and now he is going to Bayern because of him. Why so?
Pep Guardiola: Sancho has decided to leave, why should he come back? He didn't want to be in the city