Between September 2016 and August 2017 Roswell Romanov contested 31 races over Romford’s 575m for 25 wins and 6 seconds. On Monday he showed a flash of the old form with the fastest time in the opening round of the Coral Essex Vase.

Although his 13.54 sectional was 15 spots off his best ever, the defending champ is clearly looks capable of a sturdy defense of his title with a 34.98 (N) run (His personal best is 34.73 +30). The performance of the round though was probably the 35.08 win for puppy Slick Sphinx with ante post favourite Murrys Act back in third.

SLICK SPHINX (t5) leads early in Essex Vase heat 1. Photo: Steve Nash

ROSWELL ROMANOV is clear on his way to 34.98 victory in heat 2 of the Essex Vase. Photo: Steve Nash

Droopys Who (t1) leads winner Ridgedale Max (t4) early in heat 3 of the Essex Vase. Photo: Steve Nash

Bit View Knight (t1) enjoys a solo up the inside in Essex Vase heat 4 as Barricane Carina (t5) leads early. Photo: Steve Nash

SNEEZYS FLO wins Essex Vase heat 5 at 16-1. Photo: Steve Nash

GLAMOROUS SHARIF wins Essex Vase heat 6. Photo: Steve Nash