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Mark Your Card! Oxford Stadium’s Racing Office preview Round One of the bet365 Challenge Cup

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Greyhound racing’s newest superstar may have been unearthed at Oxford Stadium during our last Category One competition – and now focus turns to the bet365 Challenge Cup.

FromPostToPillar won all four of his races en route to claiming the £10,000 Cowley Puppy Collar in October as the highest grade of UK greyhound racing returned to Sandy Lane following a 10-year absence.

The £10,000 bet365 Challenge Cup will be held over the same format, with 45 greyhounds declared to run across eight Round One qualifying heats over 650m this evening.

Our field will then be reduced to 24 for Round Two and 12 for the Semi-Finals before six dogs line-up to be crowned the competition’s winner on Friday, December 23.

The Elizabeth McNair trained Havana Lover has been installed by the competition’s sponsors as the hot 9/4 favourite.

She stormed to victory on Oxford debut only a week ago, beating Crafty Galactico by over nine lengths and setting a new track record in the process (39.89). Tonight, she lines up in Heat Five at 7.44pm where Matt Dartnell’s Russmur Queen in trap one looks her biggest threat.

In Heat Six at 8.03pm, all eyes will be on the Diane Henry trained Savana Ruinart. Only six days would’ve passed since the talented three-year-old triumphed in the £10,000 Ladbrokes Gold Collar at Crayford over 540m.

She appeared to win that race with plenty in hand and has proven herself as a capable stayer over the longer distances. The slight negative is she is yet to see Oxford, so it could take a couple of runs for her to get used to the Sandy Lane track.

Another of Oxford Stadium Managing Director Kevin Boothby’s greyhounds which has caught the eye is Savana Spartacus who runs in Heat Eight at 8.43pm. He shocked many punters in March when beating Space Jet at Towcester in an Open contest over 942m.

He has since raced eight times without success, but a new track could just be the inspiration he needs. Keep an eye on Free Style Sue in the same race from trap six, she ran well in the Gain Greyhound Nutrition Maiden Vase and looks likely to benefit over the longer trip.

Racing tonight begins at 6.17pm with the first bet365 Challenge Cup heats starting at 6.33pm. Tickets are on sale now via the stadium’s website for £9 – www.oxford-stadium.co.uk.

We hope to see plenty of racegoers trackside!

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