By Rob Abrey
The Champion Stakes at Romford starts next week and in preparation several greyhounds are making their Romford debuts tonight. Some popular names on the four bend open circuit are making their six bend debuts and as ever I’ve endeavoured to find out more about them and some others.
Hove trainer June Harvey knows what it takes to win at Romford and showed that last year when Clares Kyletaun won first time up at Romford last year. Tonight, she heads to Romford with four of her charges with a clear view to enter them next week for the first round of the Champion Stakes. All four are running at Romford over 575 metres for the first time tonight.
June said: “I think all four will get the distance. After Friday we will look at who is suited to the track and who isn’t before entering them next week. It all depends how they run, handle the track. If any fade badly we will put our thinking caps on and look elsewhere. I think they will get the trip though. They are all fit enough.”
First up for June Harvey is Ower Boy Bullet and those who follow the open scene, especially at Hove will know all about him. The January ’16 whelp has hit the ground running winning three from four starts on these shores, all in open races. The son of Paradise Madison and Vics Romance was very unlucky not to make it four from four when struck into while leading in the semi-finals of the recent Sussex cup at home track Hove.
Those races were at Hove over the four bend trip of 515 metres. Tonight he runs at Romford for the first time in a stayers race at Romford at 7.17pm over 575 metres. He has had a recent sprint trial at Romford over 225 metres clocking a very good calculated time of 13.62. Last week the winning time in a sprint open race was 13.63 which shows how good that trial was. If using that early pace tonight he could well win on his six bend debut tonight and be a live contender for the Champion Stakes next week.
June said: “He was unlucky in the semi-finals of the Sussex cup. The three dog hit Clash and he hit Bullet. It’s how greyhound racing goes sometimes. I’m hoping he can stay. He is fit enough going into the unknown and gets 515 metres at Hove well. It’s not the furthest trip so hopefully he will.
“He did a nice trial, all mine did more or less the same times. I gave them sprint trials to give them a look around and get used the 575 metres traps.
“I would have loved him in trap six for his first race at Romford but trap five is fine. If he gets out and goes he should hopefully get the race. I don’t think he will get caught.”
Ower Boy Bullet looks a greyhound heading in the right direction and if able to stay he could be something special over six bends. Corals are offering 4/5 for him to take the spoils tonight and although odds on should be taken.
Another popular greyhound on the open scene that is making his six bend debut tonight in a maiden stayers race at 7.33pm is Clash. The October ’14 whelp is well respected over four bends and has reached the finals of the Coral Olympic at Hove and this year was favoutite for the Golden crest final at Poole over 450 metres where he finished fourth. He was unlucky in the same semi-final as was kennel mate Ower Boy Bullet in the recent Sussex cup when finding trouble at the first bend. The son of Tullymurry Acta and Dynamic Trend has bundles of early pace and showed that when clocking a similar sprint trial time of 13.69 to kennel mate Ower Boy Bullet. If able to stay he should not be a maiden over six bends for very long and like his kennel mate could be a player for the Champion Stakes.
June said: “I think he will get the trip. He is an early paced dog and has got his trap, thank goodness. I like him in trap four and has luckily been drawn there for his first race at Romford. He finishes quite well at Hove and will wait and see how he does on Friday. He did a good trial on Tuesday and handled the track well.”
Skybet make clash a 8/15 shot. Admittedly that is short but Clash is such a classy dog with great four bend form to his name. If he can stay he will justify that price with ease.
June Harvey’s other two runners tonight, Droopys Alex and Allowdale Hannah are both in the same stayers race at 9.08pm over 575 metres. The two entrants are completely different with Alex making his six bend debut and Hannah with proven six bend form.
Droopys Alex has had a bit of a stop start career with injuries and tonight makes only his fifth race start this year. The September ’15 whelp clearly has ability and if able to put a run of races together could start showing some of that. He has won over 515 metres at Hove and reached the semi-finals of the Coral Olympic late last year but was knocked over in that race. Since then he has only managed four races but did make the second round of the greyhound Derby at Towcester before being eliminated.
June said: “Alex has had a lot of bad luck and a lot of time off. He’s a very fast dog but has not had much racing at all. We entered him for the Derby but he did not have much luck and went out in the second round. He seemed very unsure at Romford during his trial and hope he will be okay for his second look. I’m hopeful he will come along and hope to enter him for the Champion Stakes next week. I’m hopeful he will get the distance.”
Allowdale Hannah in the same race has proven six bend form at Hove with a win in early July over 695 metres in an open race. The May’15 whelp also has had a little taste of success at Romford when winning over C&D last August. The daughter of Tullymurry Act and Noelles Primco had two races at Romford winning one. Over four bends at Hove recently she won an A2 graded race which shows her versatility going into tonight’s race.
June on the last of her four runners said: “I entered him in a 750 metres race but that did not fill. She will get 575 metres easy but is not long enough ideally. She is a staying bitch all day long.
“She does have all round pace though. She can get out and lead and can run on. She was off the track with an injury. She is a lovely little thing and very genuine and we have taken our time with her. She has won two races since coming back.
“She used to be a four bend bitch and we didn’t know she would stay. She is older and stronger and has become an out and out stayer. After Friday we will talk to the owners Mick and Debbie and see about entering her for the Champion Stakes.”
Droopys Alex and Allowdale Hannah are currently 6/5 and 7/2 with Skybet. For those who are unsure to side with, a forecast might be the way forward.
Away from June Harvey’s runners sees Drumcrow Darcy trained by Kevin Hutton make his Romford six bend debut tonight at 9.26pm in a maiden stayers race. The April ’15 whelp has good form over four bends winning at Henlow, Poole, Swindon and Nottingham.
The son of Aero Majestic and Drumcrow Ellie clearly has no issues handling other tracks and although attempting six bends for the first time tonight he does have Romford experience. He has had three races over 400 metres back in March failing to win any of them. On those occasions the four bend trip looked a bit short against early paced sorts. He is in fine fettle currently winning his last race at Towcester over 500 metres in B1 graded company. If able to stay, the longer trip should suit him down to the ground and it should not be long before he sheds his maiden stayers tag.
Kevin said: “He is a decent little dog and should be okay over 575 metres. He seems to have changed his style as he has got older. Early on he just about got four bends but is getting stronger and stronger.
“He has race experience at Romford with runs over 400 metres. He didn’t really have 400 metres pace and was not quite right for him. After three attempts we decided to go somewhere else with him.
“Trap four tonight is perfect for him. He keeps a nice straight line to the bend. The one concern with him however is that he is not a great kenneller and being in the last race is not ideal for him. All being well though, we will look to enter him into the Champion Stakes next week, that is our thinking at this stage.”
Drumcrow Darcy is currently 5/2 with Bet365 and that should be considered. He has early pace, has Romford experience and should stay.
Kevin Hutton also has three other runners tonight and what is becoming a regular feature in your favourite column was asked who he felt had the best chance from all his runners tonight. To that he replied: “Headford Kev has a very good chance tonight and would be our best chance of the four. We entered three greyhounds in the competition and were lucky enough to get one in each heat.”
Headford Kev runs in heat one of the Romford Friday night standard at 7.49pm over 400 metres and is currently top price 13/8 with Skybet.