Photoshoot: Greyhound glitz as going to the dogs goes upmarket

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Down at the dogs, business is booming. "Anyone who comes through the gates once will be a convert," is the motto of greyhound racing's administrators, and a promotional blitz throughout 1997 is thought to have persuaded 100,000 spectators to pay their first visit to a track.

Attendances figures for the year are estimated to have risen by 15 per cent, a surge in popularity which even football's Premiership would struggle to match.

Our pictures capture a flavour of the action at Walthamstow, generally reckoned to be the Ascot of the greyhound racing world, and Hove, the home track of Ballyregan Bob, who is still - along with Mick The Miller - one of the few racing dogs most people have heard of.

The sport may at last be shedding its downmarket image of shabby stadiums and substandard facilities, with investment and modernisation now the name of the game. In the trackside restaurants it is no longer a case of "whatever you like as long as it's in a basket" and there is always the chance that one lucky bet will cover the bill.

- Greg Wood

l Copies of these photographs - and any others by the Independent and Independent on Sunday photographers David Ashdown, Peter Jay and Robert Hallam - can be ordered by telephoning 0171 293 2534.