Inaugurated in 1947, the Category 1 Champions Stakes was originally hosted at the iconic Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium in southwest London before being discontinued almost 30 years later in 1973. It wasn’t until 1988 that the top-category race was rejuvenated at Romford Stadium, where the £10,000 race has remained a fan favourite ever since.
After comfortably winning heat four, beating his nearest rivals by a huge nine lengths, Warzone Tom has been installed as the ante-post favourite with sites like Betdaq for the 575 metre race, which would be another big victory this season for trainer Liz McNair — who has already landed the Laurels with Havana Class this season.
So, with the race due to take place at Romford on October 22nd, let’s take a look back at the last four winners of the Champion Stakes. Read on to find out more!
2017 – Murrys Act
Winner of the Juvenile at Central Park before fourth in the Greyhound Derby final at Towcester earlier in the year, Murrys Act landed another big win in the 2017 renewal of the Champion Stakes. Not the fastest out of the traps, the Kevin Boon-trained greyhound, who started as the 5/2 joint-favourite, was in midfield around the first bend before chasing trap 2 for much of the race. Despite drifting wide around the final bend, Murrys Act straightened up on the final stretch to beat his counterpart at the line by a length. Sadly, the greyhound was put to sleep in 2018 after suffering a broken hock.
2018 – Bombers Bullet
Another dog to finish fourth in the Greyhound Derby, Bombers Bullet added the Champion Stakes crown to his Grand Prix triumph at Sunderland from earlier in the season. Bursting out of the traps well, Bombers Bullet made all the running to nab the £10,000 prize for a third time for trainer Mark Wallis. A collision at the last bend between second-placed Ower Boy Bullet and Kanturk Repeat, who was later disqualified, allowed Bombers Bullet to stroll home unchallenged and over seven lengths clear.
“What a tremendous win for Bombers Bullet to beat some high-class rivals,” Wallis said. “It was a superb competition from start to finish, which seemed to have everything including in the final with not many people expecting Bombers Bullet to ping out and lead up.”
2019 – Aayamza Express
It was back-to-back Champion Stakes victories for trainer Wallis as Aayamza Express won the Romford Category 1 race in 2019. Winner of her semi-final, the three-year-old exited the traps well to take the lead around the first bend and gain the perfect position along the rails, and she was never tested from there, going on to win by two and a quarter lengths clear of Ten Moore.
2020 – Desperado Dan
Last years renewal of the Champion Stakes was a thrilling encounter, but it was later marred by a failed drugs test. Smallmead, the ante-post favourite for John Mullins, narrowly beat Desperado Dan over the line by a nose. It was a fierce battle from the first bend, with Patrick Janssens’ 2019 Coronation Cup victor initially setting the pace to Smallmead, and the lead chopped and changed before the Mullins dog eventually got the slightest of advantage at the line. However, due to later failing a drugs test, the title was handed to Desperado Dan.