|Coordinates||1° 30' 9.041"W 52° 26' 36.241"N|
|Greyhound racing & speedway|
Lythalls Lane Stadium was a greyhound racing and Motorcycle speedway stadium in Coventry. It is sometimes referred to as Foleshill Stadium or Coventry Stadium but should not be confused with Brandon Stadium.
In 1928 the Coventry Greyhounds Ltd constructed a greyhound and speedway stadium in the Holbrooks area of Coventry off Lythalls Lane, Foleshill. Opening night was 7 April 1928; the track was a reasonable size and able to accommodate over 5,000 spectators. There was a large grandstand on the home straight and tote facilities right in front of the winning line.
The track got off to an inauspicious start when the General and Racing Manager Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Nigel Fitzjohn committed suicide in the stadium offices in 1929. The 47 year old took a dose of prussic acid, a highly poisonous substance. Then in early 1933 the main stand caught fire and was destroyed.
In 1938 the Eclipse Stakes was inaugurated at the track over 500 yards. Lythalls Lane was located in a mainly a rural area during the war which luckily resulted in minimal damage during the Coventry Blitz in 1940 and 1941. Apart from the clubhouse that was burnt down the stadium fared well compared to the rest of Coventry. A year later Ballynennan Moon one of the sports great stars graced the circuit and duly won the Eclipse, the event had returned after a two-year break.
After the war the Sanderson's (Alan and wife Hilda) acquired the freehold of the stadium, Alan Sanderson owned the luxury Selsdon Park Hotel built in the 1920s and was reputed to have bottomless pockets. In addition to the Lythalls Lane purchase was the nearby Brandon Stadium that hosted the Coventry Bees speedway team. Sanderson was also a big speedway fan.
The racing was very profitable as indicated by a tote turnover of £1,529,244 in 1947 and the track could attract the best greyhounds of the era. In the Invitation Stakes run at Coventry on 9 August 1945 Bah's Choice beat Quare Times by five lengths in a new track record with a time of 29.45sec. In 1946 Clare Orton (son of the great Sidney Orton) was recruited by the track.
The company changed name in 1950 following the purchase of Leicester Stadium in Blackbird Road from Leicester Stadium Ltd. The new guise would be Midland Sports.
The Sanderson’s employed George McKay as their greyhound trainer considerable success. Duffys Arrival reached the final of the 1945 English Greyhound Derby losing out to Ballyhennessy Seal. Another of McKay’s charges Robeen Printer won the St Leger in 1945 and then went for the Oaks but had to settle for runners up spot to Prancing Kitty. Robeen Printer had arrived in England with a fine reputation following a victory in the Irish Laurels. The fawn was bought for record 1,650 guineas for a bitch by the Sanderson's. McKay would become Racing Manager at the track some years later.
Success in the fifties came in the form of Drumman Rambler trained by Olly Chetland, the Coventry greyhound finished runner up in the 1952 English Greyhound Derby final. Duke of Alva (Dicky Myles) claimed the St Leger title in 1957.
Midland Sports owned three Midlands tracks and with competition for business this ultimately let to the demise of Lythalls Lane. An agreement was reached for the redevelopment of the site and planning permission was passed. The last meeting was held on 25 September 1964.
Today there is a road called Stadium Close, the only reminder that a stadium existed beneath the housing on Compton Road.
- The Eclipse
|525||Faithful Charlie||29.19||29.08.1961||Eclipse heats|
|525||Jim's Tour||29.16||29.08.1961||Eclipse heats|
|525||SS Leader ||29.12||29.08.1961||Eclipse heats|
- Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
- "OS County Series Warwickshire 1936-1937". old-maps.co.uk.
- Tarter, P Howard (1949). Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd. p. 58.
- "Lieutenant-Colonel Jeffrey Nigel Fitzjohn, 09 August". Dundee Evening Telegraph. 1929.
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- "Greyhound Star (Remember When - April)". Greyhound Star.
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- "Remember When - September 1961". Greyhound Star.