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GREYHOUNDS: Hail Xavier
It's ten years since the then-unknown Hove trainer Claude Gardiner scored a shock success in the 2002 Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon when Allen Gift won at 16-1.
But the handler got just as much pleasure seeing his Droopys Xavier land the £1,000 Cesarewitch at Oxford Stadium on Saturday.
The staying classic, much maligned mainly due to the lack of a major sponsor in recent years, carries the sport’s oldest and most valuable piece of silverware.
Xavier, who will now be aimed at the St Leger, went off at 6-1 and timed his run to perfection to pounce on the run in going away to win by half a length in a real thriller.
Meanwhile, Dave Whitton’s Warning Sign, the recent winner of the Oxfordshire Stakes, stayed on course for more big-race glory after beating Glenbane Air in the qualifiers of the Claydon Racing At Witney Oxfordshire Gold Cup.
It proved a great night, but sadly one that I missed being a guest of the JR with pneumonia. However, I am happy to report I am on the mend.