By Rob Abrey
After being postponed late last year, then again last week, the Essex Vase is finally here with the opening round featuring on today’s SIS card. The six bend ‘Cat 1’ is uniquely being run in tandem by its four bend equivalent for the first time Coral Golden Sprint. With both competitions worth £10,000 to the winner, the two events have attracted top greyhounds and will make great viewing.
Regular readers will be up to date with several runners in the Golden Sprint who have been covered lately including ante post favourite Kilmore Lemon. Tonight’s focus however is mainly on the Essex Vase with four greyhounds covered from the six heats. As ever, those being covered are either making their Romford debuts or stepping up in trip. In some cases both.
Seaglass Sandman for Towcester trainer Patrick Janssens is making his six bend debut tonight in the opening heat of the Essex Vase at 4.29pm. The March ’16 whelp is coming along nicely with four wins from eight starts on these shores including open race wins at Hove and Romford over 515 and 400 metres. With course knowledge the son of Skywalker Puma and Dame Iris will be looking to add 575 metres to his 400 metres win.
Although making his six bend debut tonight the signs look good he can handle the trip as he beat solid open racer Barricane Carina in a recent trial at Henlow over 550 metres. He has early as he has clocked calculated times of 29.73 at Hove over 515 metres and at Crayford on Tuesday in a trial over 380 metres 23.70 seconds. Unfortunately for him and connections his first six bend race will not be an easy affair with the likes of Murrys Act, Slick Sphinx and Droopys Giorgio all in the same heat.
Trainer Patrick Janssens on Seaglass Sandman said: “He has done 29.73 at Hove. I really rate this dog and I think he will stay. He is a little short of work as he has had a cough.
“It is a very hard heat but if he leads the one dog up he has a chance. I could be very wrong but it looks like traps six and five go out in front and it’s possibly between traps one and two to qualify. That can all change though once the traps open.
“He has won at Romford before over 400 metres and came from off the pace. I feel over 575 metres he can clock 35.50 seconds any day of the week. I reckon in a couple of weeks he can get to 35 dead. Not on his next run [Monday] but in a couple of weeks after a few runs. He has a heart of a lion and doesn’t give up.”
Seaglass Sandman is 25/1 to take the Essex Vase outright with Ladbrokes and that should be considered for each way purposes. He has a tough heat but if qualifying his price will shorten and trainer Patrick Jansens expects improvement.
Nottingham trainer Peter Harnden is taking on the weather and traffic for a tilt at the Essex Vase with three runners. The Nottingham based trainer has already been dealt a blow when Tuesday’s Romford trial session was cancelled due to the extreme weather. That however has not deterred him from entering his charges for a go at the category one competition. As ever yours truly has found out more about all three.
Salacres David is first up for team Harnden in the second heat of the Essex Vase at 4.48pm. The March ’14 whelp is no youngster but is in cracking form at home track Nottingham winning three graded races from his last five over 480 and 500 metres. Although the son of Kiowa Sweet and Salacres Gem did not trial on Tuesday he does has experience of Romford and has winning form over C&D. That win was back in September 2016 but he has had races since with his last attempt in Essex back in August last year.
Trainer Peter Harnden on Salacres David said: “The trial session on Tuesday got called off. The safety of the greyhounds is paramount so is not an issue. It just means they go to Romford without a recent look at the track.
“We bred David ourselves. He is getting on a bit but is a nice dog. He is four years of age and is running out of his skin. He deserves the chance.
“He is a quirky greyhound and is playful when he gets in front. He could be an each way choice at a big price. He is the type of runner that will work hard to get to the front. Ideally we don’t want him hitting the front too early. If he drops behind a couple he will have a very good chance to qualify.
“He will have no problem with the trip, he gets that. Traps two, three or four are the best for him but trap five is okay for him. He is pretty much okay out of most traps.”
Salacres David is 100/1 with most firms and is as short as 33/1 with Bet365 to claim the Essex Vase. We now know for sure he is a quirky character so an each way bet may not be a bad idea for a greyhound who works hard to get to the front.
Salacres Penny is next up for team Harnden in heat three at 5.08pm. The September ’15 whelp feels like the wild card option of the day. The daughter of Zero Ten and Incredible Lulu has had six races on these shores all over the 305 metres sprint trip at Nottingham winning once in an open race. The fact she has won a sprint open race shows she has bundles of early pace and is a complete unknown quantity over six bends. If leading tonight we will soon find out all about her staying credentials.
Trainer Peter Harnden on Salacres Penny said: “She has only got sprint form and bought her off of Eugene Price. Of our three she would be third choice. We thought we would give her a spin around. Friday is a learning curve. We think she could stay and has shown early pace.
“We wanted to trial her but couldn’t and that will be a big negative. She does need a look around Romford.
“She has early pace and if she pings out and gets on the bunny she could take her chance, you never know.”
Salacres Penny is 25/1 with Paddy Power just to win today and those who like a risk will not need to put much on at that price. If she leads as expected she could capitalise on any crowding or trouble behind her.
Salacres Vincent is last up for Peter Harnden in the final heat of the Essex Vase at 6.02pm. Like kennel mate Salacres David, Vincent has experience at Romford when running at Romford over 400 metres in April last year. On that occasion the September ’15 whelp came last. The son of Zero Ten and Incredible Lulu is in fine form presently winning three out of his last five races including an open race win over 500 metres at home track Nottingham. If able to handle six bends he could make a mockery of his outsider status.
Peter Harnden on Salacres Vincent said: “We reared him ourselves from three months. He has real, real early pace. He ran at Romford once before but was very green then and got lost.
“People keep saying to us to take him to Romford over 400 metres. We think over the 575 metres trip is the distance for him at Romford. Over 500 metres at Nottingham he keeps pulling to the pick-up.
“He is a quirky character and doesn’t like doing it the hard way. If he doesn’t lead he won’t win. He will be able to handle the step up in class. That won’t be a problem. He does have to lead though.
“He is in good form and if he pings out and gets on the bunny he will be hard to peg back.”
On all of his three runners today Peter Harnden said: “Salacres Vincent is our best chance and main hope. David (Salacres) could be an each way chance.
Salacres Vincent is 16/1 to win his heat with Bet365 and 66/1 ante Post with several firms including Paddy Power and Betfred.
With only one other open race on the card away from the Golden Sprint and Essex Vase it seems rude not to cover a greyhound from it. In the opening race of the card at 2.12pm for maidens over 400 metres Rio Bambino makes his race debut on these shores for trainer Daniel Riordan. The March ’16 whelp has only had three trials all of which have been at Romford. One was over the sprint trip of 225 metres with the next two being over 400 metres. The son of Rio Quattro and Tyrur Izzy improved from his first 400 metres trial clocking a calculated time of 24.42 then 24.28. Interestingly his split time was slower when clocking the faster time. The son of the 2015 greyhound derby winner will be expected to improve and should not be a maiden greyhound for very long.
Trainer Daniel Riordan on him said: “We don’t really know him yet. We’re hoping he is a Romford dog but will move him to different tracks if he is not. We will start him off there.
“He had one race in Ireland at Clonmel which he won and I happened to be there. If he takes after Rio Quattro he will be alright!
“Monday is a nice test but he may need a bit longer. His trials were okay and showed improvement. He showed nice pace to the corner but may have tightened up on the run in.”
Regular readers of this column may have had two winners last week courtesy of Oh Yesyesyes and Kilmore Lemon. Oh Yesyesyes made his six bend debut and won at the first time of asking at an SP price of 6/4. Kilmore Lemon for trainer Patrick Janssens followed up that with a win himself at an SP return of 11/10. Those in the know may have backed him at 11/8 with Coral as advised. Both greyhounds are running again today in the Essex Vase and Golden Sprint and in their current form may be worth considering for ante post purposes.