By Rob Abrey
The greyhound Derby may well be fully underway but that doesn’t stop the once a week open action at Romford. With twelve open races from 6.47pm including a maiden and maiden stayers competition there are several greyhounds making their Romford and six bend debuts. As ever on a Friday, yours truly has found out more about some of them.
Yarmouth raider Fleetwood Royal is making his open race and Romford debut tonight in the second heat of the Romford 500 maidens over 400 metres at 7.18pm. Trained by Nicky Skiggs who is becoming an honorary ‘Essex Boy’ with his regular Friday night trips to Romford the October ’15 whelp will be looking to shed his maiden tag at the Essex venue. Not only is the son of Tyrur Big Mike and Drive On Royal making his Romford debut he is also making his debut under the stewardship of Nicky Skiggs. Previously handled by Mark Wallis and Irene Barnard he is now in the capable care of Skiggs. While with Irene Barnard he has been running at Yarmouth in top grade over 462 metres winning two from nine attempts. He has early pace and needs to use it tonight.
Trainer Nicky Skiggs on Fleetwood Royal said: “He has been in our kennels a few weeks and has settled in really well. The owners think he is open class and have been dropping hints to go to Romford.
“He has early pace but is a big leggy dog and time will tell if he takes to Romford. First three qualify on Friday and hopefully he can do that as it is first run around the track.
“He has been running in top grade at Yarmouth but Friday is his first run with me. If he leads he will be very hard to beat.”
Local handler Paul Young as is what is expected has seven runners on tonight’s card. Of those seven, two of them are making their six bend debuts. It is those two that I have endeavoured to find out more about.
First up for the six bend debut duo is Bubbly Roger. In a stayers standard affair at 7.34pm over 575 metres he has unbelievable yet to win a race. In ten attempts over four bends the June ’16 whelp is yet to get off the mark even though he reached the final of the Monmore Puppy Cup.
The son of Droopys Sydney and Droopys Safina has been running against top, top dogs. In that Monmore Puppy Cup final, just to name two were Droopys Verve and Rising Brandy. Those who follow the open scene will know just how good those two are. He appears to lack that little bit of early against natural four bend dogs so the step up to six bends could be just what he needs and where his future could lie. He has had several trials and two races at Romford so has track experience which could bode well going into tonight’s race.
Trainer Paul Young on Bubbly Roger said: “He’s still a maiden somehow. He reached the final of the Monmore puppy cup but it was a hard, hard race. He’s gives the impression he stays and we think he will. He is a long striding dog and once he is in his stride he takes off. Against six bend dogs he can hopefully be more involved at the start.
“It doesn’t look the strongest race on Friday and if he is ever going to break his duck this is the race to do it in.”
Bubbly Roger is currently 11/8 with Ladbrokes and that should be considered. He is expected to stay and been running against top class greyhounds. Tonight could well be the night he finally wins.
Next up for team Young to try their luck over six bends for the first time is Bubbly Madison in the first heat of the Romford Friday night maiden stayers at 8.06pm. The March ’16 whelp like kennel mate Bubbly Roger has also yet to win a race so far on these shores. The son of Paradise Madison and Lemon Fabia has only had five races though and they were all over four bends at Hove over 475 and 515 metres. He is knocking on the door and being put over six bends might be just what he needs. He has been given a recent trial over 225 metres so has track and traps experience going into tonight’s opening heat.
Trainer Young on Bubbly Madison said: “He has not had a lot of races but has had plenty of problems. All the problems are sorted now.
“We thought we would give him a chance over six bends to give us a better guide. He gives the impression he gets the trip but there is only one way to find out. Of the two stepping up, the Roger dog has the better chance.
“We gave him a 225 sprint to get him used to the traps and hopefully will be up there with the pace early on.”
As Paul Young has seven in total running tonight he was asked the cheeky question who he thinks of his seven has the best chance. To that he replied: “Grampy Bill. He has a great draw and is the only railer in the race. He has track experience and the make-up of the race is great.”
Grampy Bill is currently 11/4 with Skybet.
Quantum Leap for Henlow trainer Pam Dolby is making his Romford race debut in a standard affair over 400 metres at 9.11pm. The October ’15 whelp is having his first race since early March. The son of Superior Product and Mays Bonus has had three trials recently including a spin over C&D. In that trial he showed he is back to his best when clocking an impressive calculated time of 24.05. He has early pace and has won open races at home track Henlow over 460 metres. He has a good draw tonight and could be a threat to the others in his race.
Trainer Pam Dolby on Quantum Leap said: “He seems to be an unlucky dog. He is a wide runner but cuts in at the first bend and can find trouble. Ideally he needs to lead to avoid any first bend bother.
“He did a nice solo trial and we were quite pleased with his time. At the moment he looks to be struggling to get home over 428 metres at Henlow in his trials. We thought we would give him a lesser distance to help bring him on again.
“Hopefully he leads on Friday and gets a clear run. Fingers crossed.”
Regular readers of this column may have had a nice little winner last Friday courtesy of John Mullins and Oh Armani. When covering his debutant Swift Tarquin he was asked which of his other six runners he thought had the best chance. John said Oh Armani and he didn’t disappoint when winning his race by 1 1/4 length at a nice SP of 2/1.
Eagle eyed readers on this website on Monday may have noticed a one off ‘Rob’s Nottingham Round Up’. Those who did may of have had a nice little 2/1 winner courtesy of Affane Buck for Perry Barr trainer Ken Humphreys. Ken said he was hoping he would lead and win. He did just that.