By Rob Abrey
The season has just changed from winter to spring but what has not changed is open racing at Romford on a Friday night. As ever the Essex venue serves up another feast of great open races from 6.27pm tonight. Like last week there are two minor competitions starting for maidens and maiden stayers over 400 and 575 metres. In those competitions several greyhounds are making their Romford debuts or attempting six bends for the first time. It is some of those greyhounds plus a Racing Post favourite that I have endeavoured to find out more about.
Crayford trainer Belinda Green has two greyhounds running tonight in each of the maiden competitions. The Sussex based trainer is braving the Good Friday traffic to run her charges around the Essex venue and will be hoping they at least qualify for next weeks finals.
First up for team Green is Rathcoole Ronnie in heat two of the Romford Friday night 500 maidens over 400 metres at 7.03pm. The May ’16 whelp has run around Romford before but on that occasion was badly drawn, found trouble and only managed fifth place. That bad draw has not repeated itself with the son of Scolari Me Daddy and Mohane Patient running from trap two tonight. In a trial before that race he clocked a decent calculated time of 24.47 and if getting a clear run tonight will be expected to improve on that.
Arun Green, Assistant trainer and father to Belinda, on Rathcoole Ronnie said: “He has had one trial and race at Romford before. He had a bad draw from trap five. He came out but couldn’t clear the first bend and found trouble.
“He is still very young and is improving with every run. I think he will be able to win at this level. Trap two is much better for him and hope he holds his own tomorrow [Friday] and gets some confidence.”
Team Greens second runner, Rogue Convict is running at Romford for the first time tonight in the opening heat of the Romford Friday night 500 maiden stayers over 575 metres at 7.34pm. The June ’16 British bred whelp leaves Crayford for the first time after fifteen races and is attempting six bends for only the second time. That previous six bend attempt was in his sole open race over 540 metres. On that occasion he came third after finding a bit of trouble at the first and sixth bends. The son of Ballymac Eske and Stamford Molly is currently contesting in A2 graded races at Crayford and if able to stay 575 metres could spring a surprise tonight.
Arun Green said: “My daughter home bred him and he is from the second litter out of the bitch. We’re confident he will stay. I would say he can stay up to 600 metres at this stage. Every race he has run in, he is well clear at the pick up.
“He’s up to A2 at Crayford but has to do it the hard way. At the pick up he ‘s over eight lengths clear.
“We are happy with the draw in six. He definitely wants the outside. He is only a small dog but looks one of those that can run most places well.”
Local runner Scara Fandango for trainer Paul Young has been going through the grades nicely over four bends and tonight attempts six bends for the first time in heat two at 7.51pm. The March ’16 whelp has had eleven races over 400 metres winning two in graded races. The daughter of Ballymac Eske and Droopys Omen is currently on the graded books in A2 level but appears to be finding it tough going. The early nature of races over 400 metres at Romford seems to catch her out with her constantly finding trouble at the first bend. She certainly has ability and showed that when getting unusually clear and clocking a calculated time of 24.12 in a race back in February. Six bends could be just what she needs and has more chance of getting loose and showing what she can do.
Trainer Paul Young on Scara Fandango said: “She gives the impression she stays. We thought we would give her a go at open level as she would have gone into top graded 575 races anyway.
“She is home bred and is coming along nicely. She is going the right way and just want this bad weather out of the way so we can start planning properly.
“I don’t think the heat is the strongest to some I have seen and she is ideally drawn. She is a middle runner and has trap three. I like the draw and feel they can trap better from the middle.”
Those who follow the open scene and watch Racing Post TV will have definitely seen Mays Fiddlefadle at some point. Trained by Henlow’s Pam Dolby the April ’14 whelp was ever present on Racing Post TV last year running in open races at Crayford, Harlow, Henlow and Peterborough. The almost four year old would also have been seen at Romford and Towcester on RPTV back in 2016 as well. Where the daughter of Godsend and Mays Maska looks most at home is Harlow over 592 metres. From her last eight races over that trip she has won four. A 50% strike rate is not to be sniffed at. She has only had one race recently since late January where she came fifth at Henlow over 550 metres. That run however would have done her the world of good. She does however, not have such a good record at Romford when last there in 2016 and her supporters will be hoping with age the penny has dropped. She does have winning form over C&D and connections will be hoping for more of the same tonight in the lucky last at 9.44pm.
Trainer Pam Dolby on Mays Fiddlefadle said: “She never seemed to do any good at Romford but we are hoping she has changed and matured since being there back in 2016. She took to Harlow and seems to like Henlow but not as much as Harlow. She seems to want a bit further these days. We did enter her for a marathon race but that didn’t fill so she is in a stayers race instead.
“She needs to get out and lie handy. She starts to do her running at the third bend these days. Trap six tomorrow [Friday] is a good trap for her and she likes to cut in at the bend. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan.”