By Rob Abrey

Christmas has just finished, there may just be enough turkey left for a few more sandwiches but to bring back some normality to our routine the regular Romford open card is on as normal. Tonight is the last open card at Romford for the year and the last Friday night meeting from the Essex venue on Racing Post TV.

All is not lost though as the Friday night opens will continue in the New Year and your favourite column is going nowhere. The most informative column out there will continue to bring the views of those who know their dogs best. Back to tonight and as ever there are interesting entries on show tonight and true to form yours truly has found out more about some of them.

It’s the festive period and on TV is the normal helping of Marvel superhero films. Who needs to watch the Fantastic Four the film when Perry Barr trainer John Lambe is running his very own ‘Fantastic Four’ at Romford tonight. The West Midlands based trainer is braving the weather to run his four charges for the first time in Essex over various distances.

First up for the ‘Fantastic Four’ is So Near in the opening race at 6.36pm over 575 metres. For greyhounds yet to win over six bends, John Lambe and connections will hope she doesn’t live up to her name. Only available to view in Coral or Ladbrokes shops it may be worth burning off some Christmas turkey to get to either of them. The November ’14 whelp has had all her races at home track Perry Barr over 480 metres bar one which was over 660 metres back in June where she came fifth. She is running well on home soil but the finish line seems to appear too early for the daughter of Razldzal George and Spicy Lass. Six bends could be where her future lies.

Trainer John Lambe on So Near, the first of his four runners said: “She’s a bitch I tried over 660 metres at Perry Barr back in June but she didn’t quite get it. In that race she led for a long while but was picked up. I think she will get 575 metres now. She should be okay at Romford without a trial as she can handle tight bends. I’m happy with trap one as she is a tight railer.”

She should stay, has been running well and has an ideal draw. The 6/1 being offered by Paddy Power should be considered as an outsider option.


Next up for trainer John Lambe is Autumn Fluent at 8.03pm in a standard affair over 400 metres. On Racing Post TV the June ’15 whelp will be looking to reverse the result the last time he was in front of the RP cameras. That was at Newcastle in early December in the semi finals of the Laurels over 480 metres. The son of Moes Tavern and Shanless Carol on that occasion led to three quarters but run out of gas and came fifth. Tonight though the early paced dog is not over 480 metres but 400 metres and that drop in trip should suit him down to the ground. He is currently in fine fettle with a recent win at Perry Barr over 480 metres in top graded company and the shorter distance tonight can only be a plus for him.

Trainer John Lambe on Autumn Fluent said: “He’s a nice dog. He has won a few 480’s but folds around 400 metres. He is a big bruiser of a dog and at the first bend will hold his own.

“He won last week at Perry Barr, the time was not the greatest but was a long way clear going into the last bend where he started to tread water. He was in the semi-finals of the Laurels at Newcastle recently but again folded at the last bend.

“400 metres could be perfect for him as he doesn’t quite get 480 metres. He is however not the best of travellers but the distance should make up for the journey.

“Trap two tonight is ideal for him. He won his last race at Perry Barr from trap two.”

Ladbrokes make Autumn Fluent an 9/4 shot and that should be taken. He has not had a trial around Romford but if breaking from the traps he will be hard to peg back over 400 metres and should take the spoils.



Dippy Norman is the third of the John Lambes ‘Fantastic Four’ to make his race debut in Essex at 9.26pm in a stayers race over 575 metres. The March ’16 whelp has recently been stepped up to six bends with two open races at Monmore over 660 metres winning one. Longer trips is clearly what the son of Kinloch Brae and Swift Maidora needs and getting 575 metres tonight does not look to problematic for him.

Trainer John Lambe on Dippy Norman said: “Basically I want to step him up but I’ve had a bit of kennel sickness and he got it quite bad. I recently gave him a graded race at Perry Barr to start bringing him back after his sickness. I entered him for 575 metres to give him a look around.  He is more of an eight bend dog and next week hope to enter him for a maiden marathon over 750 metres.

“Trap two is good for him as he is a railer and he is the sort of dog that will take to different tracks.”

It appears Dippy Norman will be more suited to longer trips but if the race gets scrappy he could take advantage. Ladbrokes offer 8/1 and that should be considered. Another option is to back him with Skybet who offer three places for each way bets.


In the lucky last at 10.23pm in a maiden marathon race over 750 metres, Autumn Stanley will be looking to win over eight bends at the first time of asking. The last of the ‘Fantastic Four’ to run for trainer John Lambe may be worth the wait. The June ’15 whelp has recently been stepped up to six bends and looks very much at home over longer trips. The son of Moes Tavern and Shanless Carol is from the same litter as kennel mate Autumn Fluent but appears to have taken all the staying ability. He has only run over six bends twice and that was at Monmore recently over 660 metres winning one of them by four and a half lengths. If taking to Romford the trip doesn’t look like it will cause too many problems for him.

Trainer John Lambe on Autumn Stanley said: “I think he will stay 750 metres all day long. He lacks early pace against 480 dogs. He can pick up A2 dogs at Perry Barr but can’t cope with A1 dogs. In his last A1 race she was miles clear at the drop.

“When she won at Monmore over 660 metres she was again well clear to the drop. She will get the 750 metres on Friday.

“Trap two for is okay for her. Traps one or two are good.”

Paddy Power are offering 6/1 for Stanley to take the spoils and that should be considered. She has proved herself at open level and looks certain to stay.