“There wouldn’t be many occasions when I could watch one of our dogs run and not find a fault. Last night was one of those occasions, I thought she was absolutely stunning.”

By necessity, gamblers make the harshest judges by assistant trainer Mark Keightley seemed genuinely in awe of what can only be described as the best performance ever by a stayer at Yarmouth as Roxholme Poppy ran away with the George Ing St.Leger Final.

The 5-4f trapped in front, by pursued by pack of ‘Cat One’ performers and ran away from them. Her 16.38 sectional was only bettered by seven spots by Swift Biscuit in the fastest sprint open and her winning time was a further 11 spots inside her own track record.  Marathon Greyhound of the Year Slippy Maggie ran on powerfully to take second place.

Keightley said: “I thought she did everything absolutely perfectly. She trapped well, and whereas a month ago, she might have hesitated when she felt dogs around her, she drove the bend with losing her balance and pulled away. There were some good greyhounds in that field and several had the opportunity to run her down, but she was simply too good.

“She has been fit for a while, but mentally she has her confidence back now and that is the main difference. I’ll have a look in the calendar before deciding where we go next.”

ROXHOLME POPPY . Co-owner Martin Green holds the George Ing Leger trophy aloft next to Hayley and Mark Keightley, with kennelhand Craig Morris far left; to the right is sponsor Jack Cranfield and his mum Tracy, who made the presentation.
Yarmouth 18th May 2019 Photo: © Steve Nash