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SIS Yorkshire St Leger - Doncaster 661m - £12,000




CHARLIE LISTER OBE landed a fifth Yorkshire St Leger title after Keplar Nine (above) made virtually all to claim a record £12,000 prize for the Doncaster showpiece in the SIS-sponsored decider on Wednesday - on a night when the ITV Racing team, in town for horseracing’s own St Leger, also joined in the fun.


Big-race commentator Richard Hoiles took over the microphone from Sky Sports’s own Errol Blyth for the marathon event on the card and was as faultless as ever as he called home Stuart Buckland’s Inch Forward for the victory, before handing back to ‘Mr Dog’ for the main event 15 minutes later.


Joint-favourites for the SIS Doncaster Yorkshire St Leger final were Jason Bloomfield’s Russelena Reggie and Lister’s other finalist Swift Hansel, but it was September 2014 whelp Keplar Nine who broke well and quickly set sail for home, and the son of Kinloch Brae and Any Time Again was never headed.


Nottingham Select Stayers winner Russelena Reggie recovered after early crowding to finish second, keeping a rallying Swift Hansel at bay by a short-head, the pair six lengths behind the 41.36sec winner who is owned by longtime owner, Irishman Larry O’Rourke, whose association with Lister goes back many years.


“I trained the likes of Knocktoosh Queen and Canimar for Larry, and it was great when he got back in touch asking me to take this dog,” said Lister. “He had a good Irish card, winning the Derby Plate at Shelbourne, and has lots of speed - but also stays. He’ll go for the St Leger at Perry Barr now.”


Keplar Nine will be joined by Cloran Paddy and Swift Hansel to give the Newark handler a strong hand in the event, which has a new Birmingham home.


“I thought Swift Hansel ran well, again,” added Lister. “He didn’t get the clearest of runs when he came to challenge, but is a good dog who came to me in terrific condition from Annaliese Thompson. But it’s great to win the competition again –Doncaster is a fantastic track, run by good people. We enjoy going there.”


Keplar Nine’s victory in the Yorkshire St Leger follows previous Lister wins in the competition which started with Farloe Divide in the inaugural running of the 661m event in 2004. Other Lister triumphs were provided by Carbarns Tom (2010), Lonely Boy (2011) and Fear Emoski (2013).


Stephen Gray, Doncaster racing manager, said: “Charlie is one of the greats, and it was fantastic to learn recently that he’s joining us as a trainer here soon. He’s always had a great relationship with the track, and that continues. We’re also soon to have runners graded in from Hayley Keightley and Elaine Parker - and a few other trainers have expressed an interest.


“It shows we’re doing things right. It’s always frustrating to have things like the traps not opening, which happened before Idle Talker’s victory. It took the edge off a little, but I thought the trackstaff handled what was a small technical hitch very well and quickly and we were able to catch up time under a tight schedule. We are constantly trying to improve things and have a great team here. It was a lovely evening’s racing, full of quality, and the next year should be very exciting.”



Yvonne Freeborn, company secretary at the Stainforth venue, added: “Everyone worked so hard to make sure this meeting went as well as possible. It’s great to have the SIS cameras and Sky Sports coverage here. I thought the track came across really well, and we’re still moving in the right direction.


“None of this would be possible without the help and support of Ted Watson and his family, the track’s owners. On their behalf, I’d also like to thank Gordon Bissett and all the team at SIS for their magnificent sponsorship tonight - as well as all our other sponsors this evening.


“In particular it was superb to see Alan Findlay here for the Pinpoint Recruitment Marathon - Alan is a great supporter of greyhound racing, plus the British-bred Oaks proved to be a great competition and we were delighted that Darren Golightly, who runs his dogs here, won with Burnfoot Dolly, and that John Marriott of the BGBF presented the trophy.”


The British Greyhound Breeders Forum Oaks (BGBF) final went to the Doncaster bitch, the September 14 daughter of Kinloch Brae and Amber Bound catching Richard Devenish’s Tea For Tess, then holding the latter’s littermate Thameside Bound by a short-head in 29.55sec to take the £4,000 prize for owner, trainer and breeder Golightly.


Greyhound of the Year Droopys Buick once again thrilled his legion of supporters as he struck in the Window Food Services Invitation, leading at the first bend to lead home the gallant Savana Donie whom he had beaten in the recent Monmore Gold Cup final. Angela Harrison’s near-senior remains at the top of his game, winning in 29.08sec.