The Performance of the Week surely belongs to Antigua Romeo following his hugely impressive 34.66 run in the final of the Coral Essex Vase at Romford. To put the run into some perspective, it is the third fastest time ever recorded over course and distance behind the two previous track records, Sparta Master’s 34.59 and Quantum Leap’s 34.62.

Essex Vase winner Antigua Romeo with Kevin Ulla and Kat Lawrence, kennelhands to Mark Wallis. Photo: © Steve Nash

14 months ago, Romeo clocked the second fastest 480 of the year at Perry Barr with a 28.32. On Thursday, Frankies Jet was just three spots slower.

Sticking with the opens, only four greyhounds broke 40.00 for Central Park’s 642m last year. On Sunday night, Lenson Austin clocked exactly that time with a nine length win. On the same night, Along Came Polly produced a 28.39 (+10) run at Swindon, with the track staff worthy of as much credit as the winner.

Earlier in the day, ‘the lucrative’ Gartcloss Mo had won for the fourth time in nine races at Pelaw Grange, (9-4, 11-4, 7-2, 7-2). At roughly the same time, Alex Hopkins’ Kilara Diamond was landing the top A2 of the week at Doncaster. While at Kinsley, Brosna Blonde gets the nomination more for her consistency that fast times. Sunday’s D1 win was her tenth in her last 17 races, including four seconds.

With the Winter Derby just around the corner, host track Monmore will be looking for a strong local showing and few look better equipped than Shelbys Memory, who has won four of his last six, the most recent in a calculated 28.16.

Going allowances have also been important at Newcastle where Tom Heilbron’s Drumcrow Vince has the quickest run of the week, 28.83 (+10). But we have to pass him over in favour of Ice Of Diamonds, not just because her 28.87 A1 win was recorded on going rated .30 slow, but also in view of the fact that she is still four months short of her second birthday.

Saturday night saw some decent open race performances over at least five different distances at Crayford. Which was the worthiest? We’ll edge it to Antgua Romeo’s kennelmate Aayamza Lexie based on the fact that only one hound went quicker over course and distance in 2020, Dantes Inferno (33.47).

From six to five bends, and Lexie’s kennelmate Jaxx Purple was arguably the track champion over the competitive Henlow 550m trip. This week though she had to play second fiddle to the consistent Shady Diesel.

By their standards it was a fairly mediocre open race card at Nottingham on Monday with the outstanding performance going to the graded winner, Dark Ocean. Also on Monday, a fastest top heat run at Yarmouth for Montrose, whose litter brother Lochryan was late 2020 nomination following a 27.97 run.

Back in November, Quadrilateral was contesting a very hot novice bitch stake at Clonmel, won by Ballymac Notoyou in 28.65. The Harlow A5 proved a lot easier to negotiate with the best run of the week.

Sunderland’s POW last week Newinn Billy had his crown taken by newcomer Killahan Diver when the pair met in a tasty A1 on Wednesday. Paul Miller’s black is unbeaten in his three outings at the track.

But if you are really looking for competitive, nobody can compete with Hove. Three A1s on the same night: 29.53, 29.54, 29.56. The quickest of the trio, Minstrels Eleven.

Which leads us nicely onto Sheffield’s top middle distance performance of the week from Coney Calyx. A litter sister to last week’s nomination Coney Kuccini, the 27 kilo brindle not only has the fastest 500m run of the year to date (from A4), at four years old, 28.83 is the fastest of a Sheffield career that commenced in 2018.

CENTRAL PARK 40.00 642m LENSON AUSTIN (Good News-Coolavanny Kelly, Feb 18)
CRAYFORD 33.50 540m AYAMZA LEXIE (Ballymac Eske-Mountaylor Queen, Apr 18)
DONCASTER 30.60 483m KILARA DIAMOND (Scolari Me Daddy-Kilara Lizzie, Sep 18)
HARLOW 26.38 415m QUADRILATERAL (Ballymac Vic-Borna Queenie, Jan 19)
HENLOW 33.77 550m SHADY DIESEL (Over Limit-Coolmount Laura, May 18)
HOVE 29.53 500m MINSTRELS ELEVEN (Top Honcho-Ballydoyle Honey, Jan 18)
KINSLEY 16.31 268m BROSNA BLONDE (Taylors Sky-Badminton Blonde, Jul 18)
MONMORE 28.46 480m SHELBYS MEMORY (Pat C Sabbath-Glenbowen Record, Sep 18)
NEWCASTLE 28.87 480m ICE OF DIAMONDS (Holdem Spy-Bigmans Grainne, May 19)
NOTTINGHAM 29.94 500m DARK OCEAN (Candlelight King-Silverhill Erica, Jun 17)
PELAW GRANGE 26.03 435m GARTCLOSS MO (Droopys Jet-Some Tears, May 18)
PERRY BARR 28.35 480m FRANKIES JET (Droopys Jet-Nice Lass, May 18)
ROMFORD 34.66 575m ANTIGUA ROMEO (Romeo Recruit-Kilara Cher, May 17)
SHEFFIELD 28.83 500m CONEY CALYX (Makeshift-Swift Luis, Jan 17)
SUNDERLAND 28.06 450m KILLAHAN DIVER (Ballymac Matt-Pennylane Ace, Apr 18)
SWINDON 28.39 476m ALONG CAME POLLY (Droopys Cain-Turbo Diva, Nov 18)
YARMOUTH 28.01 462m MONTROSE (Pat C Sabath-Auntie, Jul 18)