The beat goes out and starts to drive hares towards the running ground. The object is for the hares to enter the field one at a time when the greyhounds are ready in the slips.
The Slipper, hidden from the hares by a shy or by natural cover such as a hedge, holds in the slips a pair of dogs. The dog on his left wears a distinguishing red collar, the dog on his right wears a white collar.
When a suitable hare comes through, the Slipper moves out so that both greyhounds can see the hare. When it is at least 100 yards ahead, the slipper releases the dogs.
The judge positions himself opposite to where he expects the run-up to finish, and then follows the course as it weaves about the field.
At the end of the course the judge signals the winner by holding up a red or white handkerchief according to the winning dog’s collar. If he takes off his hat instead, the scores are even; it is undecided and the course will be run again. If he waves his hand across his chest, it is a “no course” which could not be judged and the course will be run again.
In the vast majority of courses the course ends when the hare escapes unharmed. Greyhounds hunt by sight alone and stop when they lose sight of the hare. The dogs are caught as quickly as possible by their owners, trainers or handlers.
The result indicated by the judge is signalled to the crowd by the Flag Steward holding up either a red or white flag. Other flags are used. Blue indicates a “bye” is being run, the colour of the collar of the dog running the bye will be shown at the same time. Yellow means that dogs that have run an undecided course are in the slips. Green, flown with a red or white, means that a reserve dog is running in the collar indicated. Green flown alone summons a Stewards’ Meeting.
Coursing events are simple “knock-out” competitions, like a tennis tournament, in which the winners progress to the next round. A stake for eight dogs will mean four courses in the first round, two courses at the semi-final stage, and then a final. The stake is arranged by “drawing ” the runners to form four pairs. These are shown on the programme or “card “, on which spectators mark the results so that they can follow the progress of the stake.
The Greyhound Stud Book & National Coursing Club
Hill Green Cottage • Bury Road • Lavenham • Suffolk • CO10 9LS • England
Tel. 01787 212381 • Fax. 01787 211200 • E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org