By Rob Abrey
It’s the semi finals of the two ongoing ‘Cat 1’ competitions at Romford tonight. With several of the more fancied competitors making it through the first round unscathed, tonight should produce some fantastic runs and make for some great viewing.
Tonight’s focus in your favourite column however is not on the semi finals but on greyhounds making their Romford debuts on the all open undercard.
Unattached trainer Paul Crowson is trying his Fernisky Pixie at Romford for the first time. In fact since coming over to these shores he is racing his charge for the first time anywhere. The January ’16 whelp after only two trials at Harlow has been entered straight into an open race for maidens over 400 metres at 7.03pm. The daughter of Kinloch Brae and Tullovin Fire has already shown vast improvements by improving by almost a second at Harlow in trials over 415 metres. If continuing to improve as expected she should not be a maiden for very long.
Paul Crowson on Fernisky Pixie said: “I would sooner see her run at Harlow but wasn’t given a run in two weeks so I thought I would put her somewhere else. She looks a decent little bitch.
“She is not a novice as she has raced in Ireland. We will she where she goes. I’ll be interested as anybody else about how she will get on. She will run her best though and will know more about her after more runs.
“She showed massive improvement on her trials at Harlow and hope she continues to improve. Romford has a different hare to Harlow so that might catch her out.
“She runs straight enough from the traps and five should be fine for her but I’ll sooner see her from trap four.”
Recent Henlow maiden derby finalist Lookalike is making his Romford debut tonight in a standard affair over 400 metres at 9.26pm. Trained by Peterborough’s Richard Devenish who knows what it takes to win at Romford, the August ’15 whelp will be looking to win at the first time of asking at the Essex track. The son of Ballymac Eske and Emers Ivy has won two races from five on these shores. Those two wins came in the heats of the Henlow maiden derby where he eventually finished third in the final. He clearly has bundles of early pace and the 400 metres trip tonight could be ideal for the Peterborough raider.
Trainer Richard Devenish on Lookalike said: “He could be well suited to Romford. The 400 metres trip is perfect for him. He does have a tendency to go a tad wide from the traps that may be a hindrance to some of the others as he tends to course the hare a bit. He does however run the bends very tight then sticks to the rails. That’s why we have seeded him as a railer. Seeding him a middle seed didn’t work out as he is a close railer once at the bend.
“He may make his own room to get in front and if he gets in front he will be hard to beat. He hasn’t been to Romford before but they use the same style of traps at Henlow and Monmore so is used to them which will help.
“We will see though. It is always hard at Romford, especially first time.”
Coral make Lookalike 6/1 and that should be considered. He is clearly at ease at open race level and has a lot of early pace which bodes well when at Romford. If taking to Romford and getting in front he will not be 6/1 in running.
Those who follow the open race scene away from Romford will definitely know about Merry Miss.
Trained by unattached trainer Kevin Place she is no stranger to the open scene as she has run at six different tracks winning at three of them including the Stadium Bookmakers Oaks Trophy at Nottingham over 500 metres. Although she has had a dabble over 714 metres at Crayford where she came second, tonight is her first six bend race. In a maiden stayers race over 575 metres at 9.44pm she may not be a maiden stayer for very long. She has won at Henlow over 550 metres so the trip should not be a problem for the November ’15 whelp. The daughter of Taylors Sky and Rosies Champ clearly has inherited some of Taylors Sky trademark early pace as she has won open races over short the four bend trip of 415 metres at Harlow.
Trainer Kevin Place on Merry Miss said: “She will suit Romford and hopefully goes well. We changed her seeding to rails as she kept getting drawn in trap five. Then she kept getting trap one. She wants traps three or four. We changed her back to middle and trap four is good for her. We hope to clear trap three and if she does she has a chance.
“We tried her at Crayford over 714 metres but didn’t quite get it. Six bends is as far as she wants to be and know she will get it. She is very consistent and when open racing has only been out of the first three once. She has been running against top class greyhounds and holds her own. She picked up Madabout Maggie at Nottingham in the final of the Oaks and she is very good.
“She seems to have a chance anywhere she goes and is giving us a lot of fun. We hope she she hit the lids tonight and leads.”
Bet365 make her a 2/1 shot and that should be considered. She is clearly a talented greyhound and runs well wherever she goes. She should stay and with her early pace will be hard to pick up if leading.
Regular readers of this column may have been on Rio Bambino at 7/2 on Monday. Trained by Danny Riordan he duly obliged in a maiden race when taking the spoils by three quarters of a length in a calculated time of 24.11. Keep reading!