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Greyhound Media Group Oaks - Belle Vue 470m - £10,000

IRISH entry Jumeirah Charm set the standard in the second round of the Greyhound Media Group Oaks at Belle Vue on Saturday as competition for places in the bitches’ Classic was ratcheted up a notch with just the first two in each of six heats making it through to the weekend’s semi-finals at the Manchester venue. 

Initiating a double for owner Jimmy Buckley, who also trains the November 2015 whelp, Jumeirah Charm paced up to lead at the bend to win heat five comfortably by six and a quarter lengths in a rapid-fire 27.42sec for the 470m trip. Some 15 minutes later, the Buckley-owned Jumeirah Lolls also struck gold for trainer Ger Holian in 27.70sec. 

Jimmy Buckley, brother of leading trainer Pat, is a leading Irish breeder and divides his time between the greyhounds and his travels as one of Ireland’s best known and most successful country and western singers. He is hoping work commitments will allow him to travel over to Belle Vue but has been represented by Liam Farrell. 

“Liam is doing a tremendous job with Charm, but of course I’m also keeping a keen eye on Ger’s bitch - I’m so proud of the pair of them,” said Buckley, who revealed he wasn’t happy with Charm after a midweek gallop following last week’s exertions in the first round. “I asked Therese Leahy to go over there because I wasn’t pleased with her after her work. 

“Therese worked on her thoroughly and really put her right. She’s fantastic at what she does as a sports physiotherapist - and while she’d be well known for her work with GAA and hurdling teams, her dad has all the ‘Headford’ dogs so she understands them! She’s been around greyhounds all her life, and it’s great to have her work with my dogs.” 

Buckley praised former Belle Vue trainer June McCombe and her family for their hospitality. “We have been overnighting in Rossendale with June and her and her daughter Alison have been so very kind and hospitable to us. Please God our good fortune at Belle Vue continues, and we are looking forward to the semi-finals.” 

The second round of the Oaks kicked off with Towcester Puppy Derby semi-finalist Wuheida (pictured above at Towcester last month) pacing up well for the Phillip Simmonds’ camp and cutting loose, although local star Swift Lucious (Tony Harmes) rattled home in great style to finish just a short-head behind the 27.74sec winner - the pair qualifying for the semis. 

Heather Dimmock’s Yorkshire Oaks champion Donation was next up as she again produced a strong-running effort to collar Fairly Sweet at the third bend and score readily from the rallying British-bred Prime Time (Bryan Turner) in 27.62sec, before Princess Aurora (Richard Baker) made all in heat three to win narrowly from the fast-finishing Tyrur Emily (Charlie Lister) in 27.85sec. 

A four-runner heat four went to Brian Thompson’s Olwinn Bella (27.86sec) who led early and held Charder Girl (Paul Prior), who just edged Ameilas Charm for second, before Irish eyes were certainly smiling in the final two heats as Jumeirah Charm and Jumeirah Lolls wrapped up the night, winning respectively from Sylvias Chloe (Richard Baker) and Ballydoyle Maura (Hayley Keightley).


The draw for Friday’s semi-finals will take place on Monday