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RPGTV Oaks - Belle Vue - 470m - £10,000







FOREST TWILIGHT completed her rehabilitation from injury in the best possible fashion with success in a Category One final.

The bitch connections feared would never race again stormed to victory in the RPGTV Oaks over 470 metres at Belle Vue on Wednesday and in doing so denied a fairy tale career-ending for Domino Storm.

Connections had long decided the £10,000 final was going to be the last race for Domino Storm, who was bidding to become only the fourth bitch in the near 90-year history of the race to successfully defend an Oaks title.

Forest Twilight and Domino Storm had thrilled the Belle Vue racegoers and the many thousand watching on TV with a sizzling semi-final clash which the latter shaded by the minimum margin.

We wanted more of the same in the final and we got it as Domino Storm broke the quicker from trap four but she was soon joined by Forest Storm, in trap two, and the pair settled down for what was to be another thriller.

Forest Twilight, courtesy of her draw nearer the rails, managed to get round the first bend in front and in doing so she gave her old sparring partner a little nudge at the first and, for good measure, at the second bend. Not enough to take her off her feet but enough to impeded her progress.

Off they set along the far side. Forest Twilight led the charge. The Hayley Keightley-trained bitch was a length, possibly two, ahead. Domino Storm gave chase, and, at the half way point, Droopys Two began to make progress.

The order stayed the same as the entered the home straight as Forest Twilight extinguished any hope supports of Domino Storm still had by maintaining a ferocious pace right to the wire to score by a length and a half in 27.79sec.

A measure of the performance is that Droopys Two, who boasts a powerful finish, was still three-parts-of-a-length behind the second-placed Domino Storm at the wire.

Domino Storm can retire to the breeding paddocks with her reputation completely intact. Mark Wallis’ bitch earned the nickname ‘Pocket Rocket’ because of her diminutive stature and explosive pace.

It is pace she used to such good effect during her highly rewarding career and pace which connections hope she will pass on to her progeny in the years to come.

As for Forest Twilight – the world is her oyster!


Mark Keightley (husband of Hayley, trainer of Forest Twilight): “The win took my breath away. It’s been a long, long road with this bitch (Forest Twilight). She has had injuries and illness. It has been nothing short of torment. But with the help of a lady called Sue O’Neill, who did a great job rehabilitating her, and Hayley, who is a first-class trainer, we have been able to get her back.”

Martin Green (owner Forest twilight): “To win a category One final is fantastic. And after such a great semi-final. Everybody was wondering if the final could be anything like the semi-final and it was. We were up against an outstanding bitch in Domino Storm. But Twilight has always been as fast as her – even if she hasn’t been able to get to track quite as often. Domino Storm won the Oaks last year but this year our bitch has been able to show her class, and she is the champion of 2016.”

Hayley Keightley (trainer of Forest Twilight): “It has been very difficult getting her to this point. I’ve worked tirelessly treating her. Making sure her head was right…that she was happy. So, you can understand when I say this is absolutely brilliant.”



EARLIER in the evening Hiya Butt ensured that whatever happened in the RPGTV Oaks, Mark and Hayley Keightley were going home with a big prize when successful in the Laurels, which is also sponsored by greyhound racing’s only dedicated TV channel.

The William Hill Derby third broke behind the very talented Oscar Junior but he had picked up Charlie Lister’s dog by the time they had reached the first bend and shot through to lead.

The result was never in doubt thereafter as Hiya Butt stayed on strongly to defeat Oscar Junior by a length and three quarters in a slick 27.49sec (0.20sec slow).


Mark Keightely (husband of trainer Hayley) said: “He’s got massive ability. When Oscar Junior trapped so well I was worried but our lad has so much pace, and it was a tremendous achievement to win.”

Greg O’Donnell (Co-Owner of Hiya Butt) said: “Our lad is good from two to three (bends) and it takes a good one to catch him when he is in front. Although I got a bit of a fright when Oscar Junior trapped so well.”