If the start of 2021 was put in greyhound form lines it would probably be something like; ‘Stumbled badly start’. Let’s keep looking forward though and look forward we can by looking forward to start of the Essex Vase. With six heats starting from 6.43pm tonight over 575 metres we have plenty to look forward to – writes Rob Abrey.

The Essex Vase is awash with talent and any greyhound can win it. There are several greyhounds racing over their furthest distance tonight for the first time and as ever yours truly has found out more about four of them. I have also endeavoured to find out more about one more in a maiden stayers race as well.


When reading about the following four greyhounds in the Essex Vase the word Olympic will pop up quite regularly. All four competed in the Coral Olympic at Hove over 515 metres last month. Two reached the final, with two making the semi-finals. All four attempt 575 metres in race conditions for the first time tonight.


First up is Drumcrow Brent who is making his six bend and Romford race debut in the opening heat at 6.43pm for trainer Mark Wallis. The August ‘18 whelp has had one look over C&D last week in a trial where he clocked a calculated time of 35.55.

That’s pretty good for a first look with improvement surely expected. The son of Droopys Sydney and Drumcrow Kylie showed good form at Hove over 515 metres when reaching the semi-finals of the Olympic. He won his first race there in a trial stakes and followed that up with a first round win. The fact he won first time up bodes well going into heat one tonight. He seemed to handle the 515 metres well so the step up to 575 metres appears within his reach.

Mark on him said: “He didn’t run the track great but did a good time. We would expect there to be plenty of improvement in him. He ran all over the shop in the trial. He moved in and then out but still did a good time for a first look. He needs to run the track better but don’t see why he can’t.

“He ran at Hove quite well and ran on strong. If you get 515 metres at Hove strong, you can get 575 metres at Romford.

“It is a real tough heat but he is one for the notebook for the rest of the year even if it doesn’t work out on Friday.”

Several firms are offering 50/1 for him to win it outright while Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred are top price 5/1 for him to win at Romford at the first time of asking.


Those who follow the open scene will know all about Troy Firebird. Trained by local handler David Mullins the fast starting wide runner reached final of the East Anglian derby at Yarmouth last September finishing third. He reached the semi-finals of the derby at Nottingham over 500 metres.

At Hove last month over 515 metres he reached the semi finals of the Olympic after winning his first round heat in empathic style. The son of Tullymurry Act and Dunkil Heros knows Romford well and has won six times over 400 metres, four times in open races and twice in A1 graded company. He is clearly very consistent and a proven competition dog. Tonight he runs over six bends for the very first time in heat four at 7.36pm.

David on him said: “We had the Vase in mind for a long time but have had a few problems with him along the way. At Nottingham he came off sore and came off sore at Hove as well. That halted our plans. We had a route planned but due to that and the weather recently that route changed.

“We were looking forward to it but he is not going into it race fit. He is fit and fresh but there is a big difference between fit and race fit at this level.

“He is going into the race fresh but he has to lead, he will only get the trip off the front. Even after a long sequence of events he would only get the distance off the front.

“Trap six is his draw and that is a positive in what is a red hot race.”

Betfred are 25/1 for him to claim the outright spoils while most firms are offering 7/2 to win over six bends at the first attempt.


Towcester trainer Kevin Boon knows what it takes to win at Romford and the Essex Vase having won it before with Star Cash Simon and Murrys Act. This year his charge Darbys Ranger will be trying to make it three times a charm for the kennels.

The September ’18 whelp is making his six bend and Romford race debut in heat five at 7.56pm. The son of Superior Product and Hidden Bud reached the final of the recent Olympic at Hove winning his semi-final along the way. In that showpiece final he finished fifth after finding trouble at the first bend. Since running over longer trips he has thrived.

He took to Hove and now tackles Romford. He got the trip at Hove so on paper has chances of staying the trip tonight. He had a recent spin in a trial over C&D where he clocked a decent calculated time of 35.57 for a first look. In that trial he finished only two lengths behind Newinn Jacko who won the Olympic last month.

Kevin on him said: “I took him to Romford just before the New Year and he went quite well. He did 35.57 for a first look and if he improves which we hope he will, brilliant.

“I think he will stay the trip. The last thirty metres will tell us the truth but I think he will. I entered him as he ran Hove’s 515 trip well and thought he could go well in the Vase.

“Trap three is no problem for him. Hopefully he leads or is there and thereabouts and hangs on to qualify as it is his first race there. It is a very tough heat.

“I love the Essex Vase and have won it twice before. Looking at the card and it is the best Essex Vase I have seen in a long time.”

Bet365 and Ladbrokes are top price 50/1 for the Olympic finalist to make it three Essex Vase wins for trainer Kevin Boon while Ladbrokes and Skybet are offering 16/1 for him to take heat five.



Approaching his fourth birthday, Seaglass Tiger trained by Patrick Janssens runs over 575 metres for the very first time tonight, the furthest he has run to date in heat six at 8.17pm. Over four bends the May ’17 whelp has been there done it and lifted the trophy.

He has won the Gold cup at Monmore and was finalist the following year. He was a finalist in the Ladbrokes puppy derby also at Monmore early on in his career. He was a finalist in the East Anglian derby at Yarmouth. Only last month he reached the final of the Olympic at Hove finishing fourth after finding trouble at the first bend. He has had two races over 540 metres at Crayford where he finished second and fifth. The son of Drumcrow Obama and Abrakebabra has proven four bend form at Romford and in a recent trial over 400 metres he clocked a very impressive calculated time of 23.98 beating the one and only Desperado Dan by ¾ of a length. If able to get the trip he could be a player.

Patrick on him said: “The only reason I entered him was he ran some amazing races from behind to qualify at Hove. I think he gets the trip off the front. Off the front I think he can get 35.00 seconds. If he doesn’t lead I think he will struggle, that is my personal opinion. He is a battler and can barge his way to the front.

“Early on in his career he wouldn’t have got 515 metres, now he gets it comfortably. He hasn’t quite got the early he had. He is towards the end of his career and decided with the owners to give him a go”.

Several firms are offering 33/1 for him to add a six bend category one competition win to his four bend one. Corals are top price 11/2 for him to win over 575 metres first time up.


Away from the Essex Vase but still keeping over 575 metres, Glory Kilara is making his race debut on these shores for trainer Kevin Boon in a maiden stayers race at 9.12pm. Although making his race debut over here the February ’18 whelp has had seventeen races over in Ireland.

He has won over 480 metres at Shelbourne Park and over 503 metres reached the third round of the Irish Derby last year. In a recent spin over C&D the son of Droopys Jet and Kilara Cher clocked a calculated time of 35.85. In that trial he beat Fwesh Prince by a neck who he is up against in this race.

Kevin on him said: “He got to the third round of the Irish derby. He showed he has something to get that far. He won his trial at Romford and clocked 35.85. In that trial he missed his break so with a better start should improve on that time.

“He is almost three years old and has only had seventeen races and has never been injured. Trap two is good for him and he is a good railer.

“He stays 550 yards at Shelbourne quite easily and could be a value bet on Friday. I quite fancy him to do well.”

Corals are top price 11/2 for him to win first time up on these shores.