SWINDON joined Monmore, Belle Vue and Hove in the final of one of greyhound racing’s biggest competitions - the 2012 BAGS Track Championship - as they saw off the challenge of Oxford and sister track Poole in the third round of matches in Group D.
Taking a huge lead to the Dorset circuit after romping their home tie and then consolidating at Oxford, Clive Oseman’s team never looked in trouble, although there was cheer for the locals and Oxford’s runners along the way.
Oxford struck first in the bitches’ race as the Richard Baker-trained Moorstown Mystiq (26.85) made all, and the Baker kennel were at it again as Old Codger (26.73) justified favouritism in the puppy contest.
Swindon effectively ended any prospect of an upset when winning the sprint, although rubbed it in slightly as the Ken Mitchell-trained Hastetothewind (15.00) used to be based at Poole before switching to Swindon handler Mitchell.
Shaun Gresham’s Droopys Harris (15.05) cheered the local faithful with victory in the Stayers, but Swindon were again on the mark when Stanton Apollo (26.99) stuck for Kevin Hutton.
And it was trainer Hutton who was on the mark again when Hoots Mon (26.86) won the closing dogs leg to repeat his victory in the home tie, and thus seal the deal for Swindon.
The Blunsdon outfit are now on their way to Birmingham’s Perry Barr track on December 23.
BAGS secretary Graham McLennan said: “It’s been a great event thus far and well done to Swindon for making the final, they have set a really high standard. They will certainly be feared in the final.”
The 2012 BAGS Track Championship features 18 of the UK’s greyhound tracks competing in a Champions League-style round-robin series of matches with the top track in each of six groups making the decider.
Overall prizemoney is £160,000 and Swindon have posted the highest individual track score.
The competition kicked off at Belle Vue when the Manchester track held off the challenge of Nottingham and Sheffield on October 31, with the last of the round-robin fixtures set for Romford on Thursday, when Peterborough and Yarmouth will be the visitors.
Reigning champions Monmore began the defence of their title by making the final again as they saw of the twin Birmingham challenge of Perry Barr and Hall Green.
Poole meeting result: Swindon 67, Poole 58, Oxford 43.
Aggregate meeting result: Swindon 215, Oxford 152, Poole 137.
Overall scores: Monmore (q) 201, Perry Barr 140, Hall Green 163, Newcastle 146, KInsley 96, Sunderland 94, Swindon (q) 215, Oxford 152, Poole 137, Hove (q) 199, Sittingbourne 184, Crayford 121, Belle Vue (q) 171, Nottingham 164, Sheffield 169, Peterborough 126, Yarmouth 112, Romford 97.