It’s the semi-final stage of the Essex Vase tonight and regular readers of this column know all about five of the last eighteen – by Rob Abrey.

From the four greyhounds covered last week alone three qualified. Those three were all ‘King’ dogs and yours truly has an update about them from Rab McNair.

Beside the Essex Vase there are twelve other open races on show from 6.27pm. As ever there are several greyhounds making their Romford debuts or stepping up in distance and in some cases both. As normal yours truly has endeavoured to find out more about five of them.


As mentioned above the three ‘King’ dogs covered last week before the start of the Essex Vase all qualified for the semi finals tonight. It was also reported last week in a Greyhound Star exclusive that the same three were also going to the British Bred competition at Sheffield. Incidentally the same three all qualified on Tuesday with King Dylan and Lennon both winning their heats.

Rab on the three ‘King’ dogs, Dylan, Lennon and Cash said: “They are all well and are ready to ‘Rock N Roll’. Everything about them is perfect. They are up for the challenge.

“As I said last week after a run they are still on a high for three days then by the end of the week are on a bit of a low. I thought I would try something new and still think I’ve done the right thing. It’s alright coming up with an idea in my head but it’s different to put it in practice.

“I was really pleased with King Dylan on Tuesday. It’s the best I’ve seen him trap. I’m putting it down to his run on last Friday. Hopefully he come away a bit more.

“I’m really looking forward to the semi-finals on Friday.”


To add to their three Essex Vase semi-finalist’s tonight Elizabeth and Rab McNair are racing King Louis at Romford for the first time. In heat two of the Romford Friday night 500 standard over 400 metres at 7.17pm the January ’18 whelp will be looking to add to his two wins. The son of Leamaneigh Turbo and Queen Asia won those two races at open level at Central Park over 480 and 500 metres. He has been running against some top greyhounds and the drop to 400 metres could be ideal for the pacey sort. He has had a recent spin over C&D in a trial clocking a calculated time of 24.02 along with a 3.80 split. He will be expected to improve on that trial and with track experience could be a player tonight.

Rab on him said: “He is still a puppy and did a good trial when trialling there earlier in the month. I went there to trial a couple of bitches for the British Bred Oaks and thought I would give him a spin there as he needed the trial.

“He badly needs a run and as I was going to Romford with the others thought I would give him a go and see how he gets on. He will put in a performance.

“I like him. Sometimes he can get it a bit wrong though. He did reach the final of the recent puppy competition at Hove. He ran well against Make No Apologies who looks a top, top dog.”

King Louis is 9/4 with Skybet to win at Romford at the first time of asking.


Yarmouth trainer John Mullins knows what it takes to win at Romford and tonight runs his Agile Doratos at Romford for the first time. Not only is the May ’17 whelp making his Romford debut he also races under the stewardship of Mullins for the first time.

Formerly trained by Paul Lithgow and Angela Harrison the daughter of Ballymac Vic and Doratos Irena won five races from twenty four starts. Four of those wins came at Newcastle in A2, A1 and D1 graded races over 480 and 290 metres while the other was in an open race over 480 metres. In heat three of the Romford Friday night standard tonight over 400 metres at 7.33pm the early paced sort should benefit from the drop to a short four bend trip. He has bundles of early and if taking to the Essex venue first time up could open his account ‘dahn sarf’.

John on him said: “I only had him in our kennels for a little while. I’m still learning about him. The idea is to run him over shorter four bend trips. I’ve been told he has electric early.

“I’ve personally trialled him at Yarmouth. His split time of 5.34 on heavy going was very, very good. The trap draw in two is fine.”

There is difference of opinion with Doroatas in the bookmaking world. Corals are offering 6/1 while Skybet are 3/1 for him to win at Romford first time up.


Headford Danny is making his six bend debut tonight for local handler Phil Simmonds. In a maiden stayers race over 575 metres at 8.53pm, the October ’17 whelp has been running over four bends at Hove and Nottingham.

His sole win from twelve attempts came at Hove over 490 metres clocking a very good calculated time of 28.64. The indications are there that the son of Tullymurry Act and Headford Maura can get the 575 metres tonight. In a recent trial at home track Romford over 225 metres he clocked a smart calculated time of 13.77 showing all is well.

Phil said: “He has had a few problems and had to wait for him to get over them. He is absolutely fine now.

“His litter brother has been over 575 metres and has got it so we are hoping he can to. We don’t know if he stays it’s wait and see. Were hoping he gets the six bends to contest S1 and minor opens. His recent sprint trial of 13.77 was very pleasing.

“We have had a bit of kennel sickness and hopefully we are over it now.”

Skybet are offering 7/2 for Danny to win over six bends at the first time of asking.


In the following race at 9.08pm, also a maiden stayers race over 575 metres, Desperado Rocco trained by Central Park’s Patrick Janssens makes his six bend debut.

The February ’18 whelp has had a couple of looks around Romford before over 400 metres back in August. On those occasions the son of Vimmerby and Slaneyside Comet finished fourth and fifth after finding trouble in both races. Tonight he is back over six bends and has won over 480 metres at Monmore recently in an open race. He is the sole wide seed in the race and if able to stay may not be a maiden stayer for very long.

Patrick said: “He is making his six bend debut and will know more on Friday, I think he will stay though. He hasn’t had many clear runs and is a natural wide runner and has chances to lead. If he gets on the bunny he could be very good. I think he is capable of clocking around 35.40. He has plenty of early for six bends. He is not bad over four bends but is not quite competition class.

“He has been running against good dogs. If he comes away like he has been at Monmore for the last two races he has chances. He has good middle gears.

“It was too early for the Essex Vase for him. I’m doing the same for him as I did for Desperado Dan and step him up for the Coronation Cup in mind.”

Corals are 2/1 for him to win at Romford tonight.


Patrick Janssens’ Skilful Sandie attempts her longest distance to date tonight over 750 metres. The recent St Leger finalist at Perry Barr has won over 710 metres so the signs are good the September ’17 whelp gets the trip tonight in heat one of the Mitch Millward Marathon at 9.41pm. In a tough heat consisting of another St Leger finalist Avastorm, the daughter of Kinloch Brae and Global Liberty has to overcome a tough draw out in four.

Although racing at Romford tonight for the first time she has had a look around Romford with a trial back in September over 400 metres. In that trial she clocked a calculated time of 24.52 along with a nippy 3.78 split time. That bit of early may come in handy to avoid any early trouble from a potentially tricky draw in four for the seeded railer.

Patrick said: “I would say she will stay. She reached the semi-final of the St Leger at Perry Barr. She was desperate in the final, she was about to turn second at the first bend but fell.

“She will like Romford. She did a decent trial time in a three dog trial back in September. She is absolutely flying now. She stays straight to the bend and has a bit of early pace. If she gets a run we are expecting a big run from her.

“She is much better than the form suggests. She is a really nice bitch and could take over from Goldies Hotspur next year.”

Several companies are 5/2 for Skilful Sandie to win over 750 metres tonight at the first time of asking.


Regular readers of this column may have had a nice 3/1 SP winner last week curtesy of King Dylan. Trained by Liz McNair he duly obliged in heat one of the Essex Vase with a calculated time of 35.41. Of the four greyhounds covered last week, three qualified for the semi-finals. The two who joined King Dylan in the next round were litter brothers King Lennon and King Cash.

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