By Rob Abrey
The First major competition of the year at Romford is upon us. The category two, Coral Coronation cup over 575 metres starts tonight at 7.18pm. Worth £6,500 to the eventual winner, it will be a lovely start to the New Year for winning connections. Without the, hope to be re-scheduled Essex Vase not taking place last month there is not an obvious guide to what will win. The last major competition over C&D was the Champions Stakes back in August last year won by Murrys Act. He is back tonight to make it two big competition wins from two at the Essex venue. Along with regular stalwarts Roswell Romanov, Droopys Dresden and Vinegarhill Ruby there are several newcomers making their Romford or six bend debuts tonight. As ever yours truly has found out more about the interesting entries with one from each of the six heats including an update on ante post favourite Murrys Act from trainer Kevin Boon.
The opening heat at 7.18pm sees John Mullins’ Romeo Mandate make his Romford and six debut debut. The June ’15 whelp has yet to run over six bends but the signs are good he will handle it. The son of Ace Hi Rumble and Fabulous Puzzle is running well presently, winning two of his last four races at open race level. Those two wins came at Hove over 515 and 475 metres. The fact that he won over 475 metres shows he can live with the early pace sorts which bodes well going into tonight’s competition. He has also won twice at Towcester over 500 metres so the step up to six bends looks a natural progression.
Trainer John Mullins on Romeo Mandate said: “I ideally wanted to trial the two that haven’t run at Romford before but wasn’t able to do so, so both will be using Friday as a learning curve.
“I think he will get the trip. He looks stronger than the other one [Romeo Desperado]. He looks the type that will take to Romford first time up. Trap two on Friday is good for him.
“We will see what he can do and hope he qualifies.”
Trainer John Mullins just gives Mandate the nod over Desperado. Mandate is 66/1 ante post with Paddy Power and should be considered for each way purposes.
Followers of the open scene away from Romford will definitely know all about King Kid. Trained by Elizabeth McNair the December ’14 whelp has contested in several major finals but is yet to take gold. After 42 races he makes his six bend debut and that could be the key to unlocking the elusive big win he has been so near to winning in the past. If able to stay the 575 metres trip and taking to Romford first time up, the son of Droopys Scolari and Shaws Dilemma could be a major player in the competition. He’s goes into heat two tonight at 7.34pm in fine form after coming third in the recent Coral Olympic final.
Assistant trainer Ed McNair on King Kid said: “He’s never been around Romford before but he’s a dog I’ve been thinking of stepping up for a long time. He will get the 575 metres standing in the shed.
“He looks stronger than King Eden but I don’t know if he can do better when Eden was last here on his debut run. He done 35.33 on what I thought looked a slow track.
“If he leads he wouldn’t be picked up. I’ll take a chance on it. The one thing he has to do and that is to come out of the traps. He has a lot of early and I think he stays.
“His mother is Shaws Dilemma and she could get 575 metres easy. I do think there is staying ability there.
“He is losing a bit of early as he gets older but is getting stronger and needs to be stepped up. The litter all appear to be the same, getting stronger as they get older.
“He wants to be on the outside and traps five or six is good for him. Taking to new tracks doesn’t bother him, he can handle shorter tracks. If he hit the front and was beaten I’ll be disappointed and I don’t like to be disappointed.”
King Kid is an ante post price of 10/1 with Skybet and that should be considered. If he takes to Romford he is a natural threat to Murrys Act and should not be overlooked.
Rearguard Gizmo in heat three at 7.51pm is making his Romford debut in what can only be described as a toughie. Trained by Peterborough’s John Ball the August ’15 may be new to the Essex circuit but has dabbled over six bends before. That was at home track Peterborough where he had three races over 620 metres in S2 graded company. His best result from those was a second placed finish. That was back in late September and early October and since then the son of Avatar and Swift Naomi is going from strength to strength. He won back to back graded races over 435 metres in A2 and A1 company and then won back to back open races at Henlow over 460 and 550 metres. To win over 435 metres and 460 metres he has shown he has early and if able to stay and take to Romford he may raise a few eyebrows tonight.
Trainer John Ball on Reargurad Gizmo said: “It is his first time at Romford, but not mine. I used to go in 2016 with Rearguard Bond. I like the track but not the Friday traffic.
“He should be able to handle Romford as Peterborough dogs tend to run well at Romford. I’m not sure he will last 575 metres. It is a bit of a shorter track and he might be able to get a rest around the bends. We hope he will do himself justice.
“If you go with the outright betting he is top price 150/1. It is a tough heat especially with the dogs in traps one and six. This dog though will run as well as he can tonight. If he runs to the best of his ability he does have a chance. I’m hoping he traps as he does have a little early.
“He is a very wide runner so will not find trouble and with a little bit of trouble behind he has a chance.”
Trainer Elizabeth McNair has definitely shown intention for the Coronation cup with her second and last entry by entering both her stars. The second to grace Romford tonight is King Eden, running in heat five at 8.22pm. Like King Kid he doesn’t need too much of an introduction to open race followers. The December ’14 whelp has just turned three and is still going strong. He beat Greyhound derby finalist and Champions Stakes winner Murrys Act recently at Hove over 515 metres in a one off open race. In that race the son of Droopys Scolari and Shaws Dilemma clocked an impressive calculated time of 29.63. Unlike his litter brother, Eden has run over Romford and 575 metres before. That was back in September last year and without a trial he won first time up clocking a very good calculated time of 35.33. He clearly took to the track and will be a player and threat in the competition.
Assistant trainer Rab McNair said: “I’m very happy with his draw in trap six, that is where he wants to be. He clocked 35.33 first time up at Romford last time so handles Romford well.
“Like King Kid, they are the type of dogs that are completely different on the bunny. He is old enough and wise enough to get around any dog tracks. Both dogs have always run against the best dogs and have plenty of experience.
“I’m looking forward to Romford on Friday.”
When asked the cheeky question on who he thinks will fare better from King Kid and King Eden, Rab McNair said: “If my arm has to be twisted I would probably say King Eden. He has experience of the track and we know he runs it well. I’ll be very happy with either of them and would love to see both in the final.”
If siding with Rab McNair and think King Eden has slightly better prospects than King Kid, Skybet are a top price 12/1 for him. He is running well and has proven form over C&D. He could go far in the competition.
In heat five at 8.22pm, John Mullins is once again giving one of his charges a baptism of fire. Romeo Desperado like Romeo Mandate is making his Romford and six bend debut at the same time. On paper the son of head bound and Fabulous Pin looks like he will stay. He has been running at Hove over 515 metres recently and reached the Olympic final finishing fourth. The January ’15 whelp has been holding his own and looks like six bends may well be ideal for him.
Trainer John Mullins on Romeo Desperado said: “I don’t know for sure if he stays, I’m not 100% sure. “He has made the finals of the British Bred Breeders stakes and the Olympic so has quality.
“Trap two on Friday is good for him. Tonight is a trial and the hope is that he qualifies.”
Asked the same cheeky question put to Rab McNair about who will fare better, Mullins said: “Perhaps Mandate as he looks the stronger of the two but both have chances.”
Murrys Act is back at Romford to follow up his Champion Stakes win with a tilt at the Coronation cup in heat six at 8.38pm. Trained by Kevin Boon, this open race marvel needs very little introduction. Although this column predominately covers newcomers at Romford I had to cover the ante post favourite for the event. It would be rude not to.
Kevin Boon on his kennel star said: “Everything is all good with him. It is a hard heat but looking to qualify in the first three. A win would be nice but qualifying is the main thing.
“I was happy with his run last week. I laid him off for three and a half weeks and that run should bring him on for it. I’m also happy with his draw in trap six.”
It is tough heat but proved the doubters wrong last week when winning in a calculated time of 35.14. He was against two of his main threats and beat them both. He is 6/1 with Betfred to win outright and that should be taken. He ran well last week and trainer Kevin Boon thinks he will come on for it. If he does he will be hard to beat.
Regular readers of this column who follow some of the greyhound covered would have been on a 2/1 winner courtesy of Millroad Susie last week. Before her first race on these shores over 400 metres, trainer David Mullins in this column said: “We are hoping she will develop into a bit of a stayer. That is our main aim”. Last week she was stepped up to six bends over 575 metres and won by six lengths.
She already looks developed and tonight runs in a maiden marathon race over 750 metres in the lucky last at 10.02pm.