A greyhound named after Oxford United legend Joey Beauchamp has hit the back of the net after scooping an award which recognises his achievements on the track.
Oi Oi Joey was purchased by friends and family of the late U’s striker following his passing two years ago and has raced competitively 19 times including twice at Category One level – the highest grade of UK greyhound racing.
The three-year-old black dog – trained locally by Marston-based Richard Baker – has now landed his first trophy after winning Oxford Stadium’s Greyhound of the Month award for January.
It follows an outstanding start to 2024 for the seven-times winner.
On New Year’s Day, he won an Open contest before following that effort up with two more victories at A1 level where he broke the Cowley venue’s 27-second barrier for the 450m trip – an achievement few greyhounds manage to unlock.
Mark Beauchamp, brother of Joey and keen racegoer, said: “Joey came alive at the greyhounds – it was genuinely his number one passion, even above football.
“Co-owning Oi Oi Joey with our family and Joey’s closest friends has been great fun and the progress he’s made this month especially has been incredible.
“He’s had spells on the sidelines where we’ve had to be patient, but it all clicked in January, and we’re so pleased he’s won Greyhound of the Month. It does make you wonder what he could’ve achieved earlier in his career without the setbacks, but that’s like any sport.
“Lifting the trophy was a special moment for everyone.”
The award was handed out at Oxford Stadium’s ‘Oxford United Legends Race Night’ – the venue’s second Gala Race Night of the year.
A host of club legends, former players and present members of staff were track side, including first-team manager Des Buckingham, star striker James Constable, goal scorer Pete Foley and the ever-present Peter Rhoades-Brown.
Each legend in attendance had a race named after them, and the club marked the day by hosting retired greyhound Bangerz who paraded at the Kassam Stadium ahead of United’s League One fixture against Reading.
There was also a special appearance from seven-times British Speedway champion Scott Nicholls and 2007 British Grand Prix winner Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris – who fired up a bike at half-time ahead of the beginning of Oxford Speedway’s third campaign.
Kevin Boothby, Managing Director of Oxford Stadium, added: “A big congratulations to the Joey Beauchamp Syndicate and Oi Oi Joey for winning our January Greyhound of the Month prize.
“It’s much deserved after an outstanding January for the greyhound whose story has really captured the hearts of the Oxfordshire public.
“We were delighted to see many members of the Joey Beauchamp Syndicate at the stadium to collect the trophy and hope they had an enjoyable evening.”
Oxford Stadium hosts its third Gala Race Night of the year on Saturday, March 16, with a St Patrick’s Day themed evening of live Irish music, racing and Emerald Isle-themed fun. Tickets are £10 per person – the first 150 people to book will receive a free pint of Guinness on arrival.