By Rob Abrey
It’s Friday 13th and that could mean being unlucky for some. For those that are not superstitious there is as usual a great open card on at Romford tonight. On the card there is a maiden competition that has attracted several newcomers and in other races a couple of returnees from last year. As it is Friday 13th I have endeavoured to find out more about seven greyhounds to help level out any bad luck and help turn the day into a potentially winning one.
Central Park trainer Danny Brabon is at Romford tonight with four of his charges. He is ignoring Friday 13th and will be hoping his greyhounds do the kennels and connections proud tonight. His ‘fab four’ includes two returnees and two making their Romford debuts.
Queen Dawn is first up for the kennel in the opening race at 6.27pm over 400 metres. Entered in a winner of one standard the November ’15 whelp will be looking to get team Brabon off to a flyer. The daughter of Leamaneigh Turbo and Wee Tiget Tots is well thought of by previous trainer Rab McNair and was covered in this very column back in September before her first and only run at Romford over C&D. On that occasion she came fifth after finding trouble at the first bend. Her previous three trials were all very good showing there is talent there. She has won at Nottingham over 500 metres so if using her early pace to get in front she will be hard to beat even after three months out.
Danny said: “She needs a run and 400 metres at Romford is an ideal trip and a good place to start.
“She has been off injured but that is all sorted now. She is on her comeback and is nearly where she wants to be. She has done some decent trials at Central Park but needs race fitness. She is not where she should be right now but will improve with every race.
“She is a good Romford bitch and looks suited to the track. She has good early and cuts in at the first bend. I’m happy with the draw; trap five is good for her.”
King Bob is making his Romford and six bend debut for the Brabon kennels at the same time tonight in heat three of the Romford Friday night 500 maiden stayers at 8.22pm over 575 metres. The November ‘15 whelp has had all of his 41 races at home track Central Park over 480 metres winning eleven times in A5 to A1 graded races. The son of Quietly and Droopys Saffy looks like the longer trip is what he needs and if taking to Romford could be a player.
Danny said: “He is a good genuine graded dog but is badly drawn. We would have liked trap four or trap five ideally. If he leads he is a good dog. He has never been beaten at Central Park when on the bunny.
“I think he will stay 575 metres. This is a test before we think about trying him over 642 metres. He should handle Romford alright as he is a good bend runner.”
Good Start is another Romford returnee tonight. The November ’14 whelp is back to Essex after last being seen there in May 2017. The son of Tullymurry Act and Dustbin had two races over C&D, won one and came third in the other after finding trouble at the first and third bends. When winning he clocked a good calculated time of 24.34 and in current form could be expected to improve on that almost a year later. He has been predominantly kept to sprint races since then at Central Park and is in fine fettle. From his last ten races all over 265 metres he has only finished outside the top two twice, winning five of them. Those wins came in open races and D1 graded races. If showing that trademark early pace at Romford tonight he could cause the others big problems in the early exchanges.
Danny said: “He won a heat at Romford in a minor comp last year at Romford and got beat in the final. He is a good dog and is running really well at the moment. He reached the final of the Kent Silver Salver and came fifth. He missed the break and then ran into trouble. Getting beat by Roxholme Hat is no disgrace.
“We have decided to step him back up to 400 metres as he tends to cramp in the winter and now the weather is better. That’s why we kept him in sprint races. He will stay 400 metres fine and if he leads he should win. He will be fine from trap two as he has won from traps three and four in the past.”
Coral make Good Start a 9/2 shot in the 8.38pm race and that should be considered. He has sprinters pace and track experience. If leading he will be hard to beat.
Dads Big Spot is making his Romford and four bend debut tonight in the 500 maidens over 400 metres. The April ’15 whelp is in heat one at 7.03pm. The son of Piercestown Sand and Big Johns Girl has had eight races at Central Park all over the sprint trip of 265 metres winning four in D2 and D1 graded races. A 50% strike rate is extremely good and if taking that form to Romford tonight, could spring a surprise in the opening heat.
Danny said: “As we were going to Romford, we thought we would try him over four bends. He is a genuine dog but if he doesn’t lead he doesn’t want to win. If he comes away we will expect him to qualify but will know our fate after about five strides.
“He will get 400 metres but don’t think he will get a distance like 480 metres. 400 metres will suit him. Although seeded middle he will be okay from trap six if he comes away as he has good early.”
Like last week when asking Arun Green who he thought would go best from his charges, Daniel Brabon said: “Queen Dawn. She’s a nice bitch, needs a few runs to get herself where she needs to be but is very good.”
Crayford’s Jim Daly is making a rare trip to Romford tonight, not with one greyhound but three. Based in Wisbech he is not averse to travelling and tonight tackles the Friday night traffic to run his trio of greyhounds.
First up for team Daly is Slaney Topgear in the second heat of the Romford Friday night 500 maidens over 400 metres at 7.18pm. From fifty four races on these shores the August ’14 whelp has only ventured away from Crayford twice and that was at Henlow where he came second and last over the 460 metres trip. Those open races at Henlow were a long time ago and the son of Godsend and Oisins Fantasy will be looking to shed his maiden tag around the Essex venue tonight. He is currently in good form and the slight increase to 400 metres from 380 metres could be just what he needs.
Jim Daly said: “He’s a bit of a funny dog. He is a very quick dog when he gets loose on the bunny. He is definitely a better dog when in front. He prefers to be out and gone. He is a little bit in between distances at Crayford. 380 metres is a bit short and he doesn’t stay 540 metres. 400 metres could be ideal for him.
“He is running well at the moment and will be able to hold his own in maiden class. He has not had a look around Romford but ran well at Henlow first time without a trial.”
Straight after in heat three at 7.34pm, kennel mate Running Shanks is also attempting to qualify for team Daly. The July ’14 whelp, although almost four years old is lightly raced on these shores with only nine races to his name. The son of Piercestown Sand and Jo Jo Daisy has had injury problems and tonight is his first race since late November last year. He has had two recent trials at Crayford and Nottingham and appears to be coming along nicely.
Jim said: “He’s been off quite a while, about three or four months. He tore a muscle in his shoulder and had kennel sickness as well. We have given him plenty of time off to come back. He has really surprised me in his two trials back. He did a decent time at Nottingham last time out. We were going to go to Nottingham but there wasn’t a suitable race there this week so thought we would give him a run at Romford as he doesn’t ideally suit Crayford.
“He has done well to come back as well as he has. He tends to run a track first time well. Trap two on Friday is not too bad for him as he tends to keep his line to the first bend.”
Blackstone Levi makes his first appearance at Romford since last September but this time is with Daly. Back in September the son of Tullymurry Act and Blackstone Lee was in the capable hands of Heather Dimmock before moving to Derek Knights kennels. From three races over 400 metres the May ’15 whelp won once and came second twice clocking very good calculated times of 24.23, 24.27 and 24.15.
Those times show consistency and one of those times tonight may be enough to take the spoils in the standard race over 400 metres at 9.26pm. While with Derek Knight since last December he had been kept to the sprint scene where he has done quite well. At Hove he has won three sprint races over 285 metres, two of which were in D1 graded races while the other win was in open company. That early pace may well serve him well tonight.
Jim said: “He came to us from Derek Knight. He has done 16.20 around Hove and 15.19 at Towcester over the sprint trips. When he gets it right from the traps he has ability. When he gets out he is a very fast dog. He can be erratic from the start though. He tends to put his paw on the bars and can miss his break. Hopefully we can stop from getting too excited at the start.
“He hasn’t been at Romford for a while but has done well in the past.”
When asked the cheeky question about which of his three he thinks could go best tonight, Jim Daly said: “Blackstone Levi. He has been around the track before and is due a good break. He has plenty of pace when he does get it right from the start.”
Blackstone Levi is Jim Daly’s pick of his three and is available at 11/2 with Coral.
Regulars readers of this column may have been on a nice 7/1 early price winner last week courtesy of Pure Placere. Suggested by assistant trainer Arun Green as the best chance of his four runners last week the sprint star duly obliged. On course he opened up as a 6/1 shot before being shrewdly gambled into 11/4. Those who got on early were in the know.