By Rob Abrey
The football season may be almost upon us and to fill that gap between now and tomorrow, there is open race action at Romford tonight. With eleven opens from 6.44pm along with the annual Doug Tyler Summer Cup there is plenty to enjoy. As ever there are greyhounds making their Romford race debuts and those stepping up in trip for the first time. True to form for this column yours truly has found out more about some of them.
In the past we have had the Beatles ‘Fab Four’ and the marvel comics ‘Fantastic Four’. Tonight we see trainer’s Darren Whitton version. Four of his charges are making their Romford debuts at the Essex venue with one also being stepped up to six bends at the same time. As all four are making their race debuts, tonight’s focus is on all of them.
First up for the ‘Whitton four’ is Azzurri Torpedo. Entered in a sprint race at 6.44pm over 225 metres the December ’15 whelp will be looking to sink his rivals at the first time of asking. The son of Ballymac Vic and Sporting Dame has had twelve races on these shores with the majority being over sprint trips. From those twelve the early paced sort has won three. Two of those wins were at Nottingham over 305 metres and the other was at Harlow over 415 metres. All three wins were in open races. He is not a complete novice at Romford as he has had a recent look around with a trial over 400 metres clocking a calculated. Tonight he is back over two bends, where he has had his most wins.
Darren said: “I trialled him over 400 metres with a view to race him over that distance. I thought 400 metres would suit him but he was passed after the third bend too easily. He ran the first two bends nicely and ran the track well. Because of that I decided to put him in a sprint race instead where he looks more comfortable.
“He has a lot of early pace and I would expect him to win if he breaks and leads. In the race he looks like the most natural sprinter. He has a big chance.”
Coral and Ladbrokes make Azzurri Torpedo a 9/2 shot and that should be considered. He has had a look around Romford, has proven sprint form and is well drawn.
Next up for the ‘Whitton four’ is Moaning Skye. The May ’16 whelp makes his Romford debut in heat one of the Romford Friday night 500 maidens at 7.03pm over 400 metres. The son of Taylors Sky and Bonus has yet to record a victory on these shores from seven attempts but will be looking to get on the score sheet tonight. He ran on Wednesday in an A4 graded race at Harlow but could only manage second after finding trouble. He runs again only two days later and the quick turnaround could make the difference along with a good draw trap in the red jacket.
Darren said: “He is a hard dog to train and can be frustrating. He is a fast dog but doesn’t have the biggest heart. He doesn’t like other dogs around him. He has been a bit disappointing up until now and needs to come forward.
“We are trying different things with him and hope a new track along with a quick run benefits him. He is fit as a fiddle and the quick runs will not bother him. I wouldn’t do it if I think it would.
“I wouldn’t advise anyone to get too involved on him on Friday though.”
The third of the ‘Whitton four’ to tackle Romford tonight is Moaning Stanley. The April ’16 whelp is in the same competition as kennel mate Moaning Skye but not the same heat. The son of Boherna House and Mack Me Daddy contests in heat two at 7.17pm and will be looking to shed his maiden tag at Romford at the first time of asking. All of his seven wins have come at Harlow in graded affairs over 238 and 415 metres. 400 metres at Romford tonight could be ideal for the early paced sort. He goes into tonight’s heat with some experience at Romford with a recent trial over 225 metres. In that trial he clocked a good calculated time of 13.75. Drawn in trap six tonight, if using his early pace he may not be a maiden for very long.
Darren said: “I like this dog. He is no superstar but has tons of early. 400 metres looks his top whack. He is most happy at the front. He is an out and out front runner. If he breaks level I can’t see him not leading.”
“He ran really well in his trial. He ran the bends beautifully. I expect a good show from him on Friday.”
Stanley is well drawn, has early pace and should improve from his look around Romford. The 10/3 being offered by Paddy Power feels too big and should be considered.
Moaning Star is last up for the ‘Whitton four’ in the lucky last at 9.26pm in a maiden stayers race over 575 metres. The May ’16 whelp attempts six bends for the first time and will be looking to send connections home with a win. The son of Taylors Sky and Bonus has won open races at Nottingham over 500 metres so the signs are good he can get the 575 metres trip tonight. He has had a look around Romford with a recent trial over 400 metres. In that trial he clocked a very good calculated time of 24.18. If he gets the trip he could be a regular visitor to Romford in the upcoming weeks.
Whitton on the last of his four runners said: “He is up in trip. I’m on the fence whether he gets it or not. He does get 500 metres at Nottingham really well. He trialled really well at Romford. If he does get it he could be very good there. If he bangs out in front I don’t think they will catch him.
“He lacks that one yard of early against the top four bend dogs. In longer races he should get more race room early on.”
There are question marks over his staying ability but it is not the toughest race and he has shown he likes Romford with a good trial time. The 15/8 being offered by Skybet should be taken.
Regular readers of this column may well have had a nice winner last week courtesy of Collswood Hawk. Trained by Nicky Skiggs the Yarmouth raider was stepped up in trip for the first time and duly obliged by a neck in a calculated time of 36.16 at an SP return of 11/4. Those who took early prices may well of been on at 7/2. For those that are interested he runs again tonight in the final of the Romford Friday night 500 maiden final at 8.38pm.