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



WUHEIDA completed an unbeaten run through the Greyhound Media Group Oaks at Belle Vue on Wednesday to become one of the youngest winners of the bitches’ Classic - landing trainer Phillip Simmonds his biggest success in the process in terms of prestige.


“We were fortunate enough to win a Monmore Puppy Derby with Castell Henry, and I bred a Derby champion in Salad Dodger, but to win an Oaks really is extra special,” said the Romford handler, who paid tribute to all the team at his Cambridge kennels including head kennelhand Luke Staunton, and assistant trainers Sarah Treadgold and Nathan Hunt - plus credited sports physiotherapist Ron Mills for his work.


“Ron is fantastic at what he does, and his work this year has been remarkable I understand - he tells me he’s worked with the winners of the Derby, St Leger, TV Trophy and now the Oaks. We’re delighted to have him come to the kennels, and his work with Wuheida has certainly paid off. She’s been fantastic throughout at Belle Vue.”


Knocked out after finding trouble in the semi-finals of the Puppy Derby at Towcester, Simmonds suggests elimination there was a blessing in disguise for the January 2016 daughter of Head Bound and Droopys Thrill. “It meant we could concentrate on Belle Vue and the Oaks, and I think she’s showed great form from start to finish,” he added.


Capable of leading up, but also from coming from off the pace, Wuheida was headed early by fast-starting Sylvias Chloe but despite a wider-than-usual draw in trap five had soon raced into a promising position and mounted a winning challenge down the back straight, edging ahead at the third bend to run out a one-and-a-quarter length winner in 28.74sec.


Tony Harmes’s Swift Luscious ran on well to finish second, just ahead of the unlucky-in-running favourite Ballydoyle Maura (Hayley Keightley) who came from way back after bumping off the second bend to finish a close-up third. Sylvias Chloe was fourth, with Donation (Heather Dimmock) never really going after first-bend crowding and was reported to have suffered a shoulder injury.


Nathan Hunt, assistant to the winning trainer, said of the Amy Hawes, Robin and Melissa Sharp-owned Wuheida: “She’s game, determined and, in not ideal conditions for them all, has come through. When she’s turned handy you felt she’d win, and it’s great for the kennel. We're delighted for the owners.”


Wuheida will not run again this year and Simmonds does not expect her back on the track until March. “She’s on her bed now,” he said. “She’s had a fantastic campaign with nine wins from 13 races, and has really developed. The pace was always there, but those early 400m races at Romford helped her learn to deal with any scrapes she finds herself in.


“Paul Holland, Graham’s brother, sourced her and she’s proved a real boost to all of us here. Us Romford trainers have had a sticky time of it lately, so this win is really welcome. I liked to think she can have a crack at defending her title next year, but we’re enjoy this. It’s a fantastic Christmas present and we’re all delighted,” he added.


*Jumeriah Lolls was disqualified and withdrawn from the Oaks final under GBGB rule 173(ii) following a positive analysis of a sample taken from the bitch on December 2 at the second-round stage. She tested positive for metabolites of pentobarbital.