SWINDON team captain Clive Oseman was thrilled with his dogs’ performance in the first leg of the £160,000 BAGS Track Championship Group D clash with Poole and Oxford.
Swindon have been the most successful of the home sides so far in greyhound racing's biggest team event, and will take a 47-point lead to Oxford on November 16 before a trip to Poole on December 1.
Oseman said: “We were confident of taking a lead, but a lead of that size was beyond our wildest dreams.
“However, we’re not counting our chickens yet. I remember from last year how formidable Poole are at home and how they nearly pulled off a miracle, so we can’t take anything for granted.
“Everyone has embraced the BAGS Track Championship and we’ll be out in force at both Oxford and Poole in order to maximise our chances.
“I have to thank everyone involved with every squad member, not only those who provided dogs with obvious chances, but those willing to run dogs who are up against it if necessary.”
Oseman singled out the sprint contest last Friday as the race which kickstarted the Blunsdon challenge.
“A couple of weeks ago, it looked a real weak spot for us as it was last year, but Primo Impact (rails) emerged with a good win in D1 last week, and then Hoots Mon (wide) came back from a layoff with a good sprint trial.
“Before then, Paul Foster’s middle runner Sparta Johnny had looked a certain starter, but when four middle runners were entered by Oxford and Poole it made sense to go with the rails and wide combination. And it worked.”
Another highlight for Oseman was the battle between Mercurial Lady and Primo Ryan in the Standard.
“Mercurial Lady is always likely to be among the points, but we were seriously concerned about the trap three draw for Ryan, who desperately needs red. It was important we did well in that race after the unexpected reverse in the first leg and the 17 points certainly lifted our mood,” he said.
“I’m very happy with the strength of our squad. We have good dogs who have now had their fifth graded race and an early-paced pup, in particular, who was unavailable on Friday.”
The top tracks in each of the six groups will compete in the Grand Final at Perry Barr, Birmingham, on December 23.