After weeks of trials and races the Champions Stakes over 575 metres starts tonight at 7.03pm. Several regular faces are back for a tilt at the category one competition along with a few new faces aiming to take the spoils. It is some of the new faces making their Romford debuts tonight in the Champions Stakes that I have endeavoured to find out more about. Along with a maiden debutante I have found out more for your enjoyment.
Over the last few weeks regular readers of this competition will know more about some of the greyhounds in the Champions Stakes covered by yours truly. Droopys Alex, Ower Boy Bullet and Clash are some that have been covered and will be looking to win the competition. Tonight my focus is on a few of those who are making their Romford debuts tonight.
Romford trainer Phil Simmonds has been very active on the open scene this year with winners all over the country. For the Champions Stakes he only has one runner and that is Newlawn Scout. In the opening heat at 7.03pm the July ’15 whelp is flying the flag for the kennels. The son of Black Shaw and Newlawn Maeve has had two runs over 575 metres recently but failed to win them. On those occasions he only managed 5th and 4th. He does however have winning form at Romford with an A1 win over 400 metres. More importantly he has winning form over six bends at Crayford over 540 metres. He has won an open race at the Kent track so does have six bend winning form. He will need to improve on his previous form at Romford but the signs are that he can.
Trainer Phil Simmonds said: “I’ve had runners in the Champions Stakes for at least the last twelve years and wanted that to continue this year. He is the only one from my team in the competition this year. I’m more hopeful than confident. It is definitely a hopeful entry.
“He is a nice dog though and we’re hoping he improves. We can’t get him in a routine at the moment as he has had a few niggles. He loves a routine and once he gets into a rhythm we could start to see more of him. He gets Crayford six bends but hasn’t done very well over six bends at Romford so far. We’re hoping that changes.”
Our Night for Monmore trainer Kim Billingham makes his Romford debut tonight at 7.17pm in heat two. The September ’15 whelp although making his Romford race debut does have winning form over six bends at Monmore over 630 metres. That win came in an open race so getting the distance tonight will not be a problem for him. The son of Premier Fantasy and Air Force Roxsy has had a look around Romford with a recent trial over 400 metres. In that trial he clocked a calculated time of 24.60. He will be expected to improve for that look and arguably needs to as he been drawn in a very tough heat alongside the likes of Bombers Bullet, Droopys Alex and Ower Boy Bullet.
Kim said: We gave him a look around and we were happy enough with his trial. It is a very tough heat and we hope he qualifies. Our aim for Friday is just to get him through.
“He has a good head on him which puts him in good stead. The longer run up to the bend at Romford should suit him better. He doesn’t really like the short run at Monmore to the first bend.
“The 575 metres distance won’t be a problem. He has won over 630 metres and wasn’t on his feet at the end of the race. He will get 575 metres no problem.
“In his trial at Romford he didn’t run the track too bad. He lost a bit of ground at the second and fourth bends as to be expected and should come on for it. We have every confidence he will give us a good run. If he gets himself into a decent position he could qualify.”
Hove trainer Norah McEllistrim is tackling Romford tonight with Rosegarland Jedi. The November ’15 whelp has had a recent spin over C&D in a trial and will need to improve on it. The calculated time of 36.07 does not instil a great deal of confidence at this level. In heat four at 7.49pm the son of Scolari Me Daddy and Langan Timber however does have encouraging form elsewhere. At home track Hove he does appear to want further and on paper 575 metres should be ideal for him. He will be expected to improve and needs to do so tonight in vast measures.
Norah said: “I was so disappointed in his trial. On that trial he could be expected to find forty spots or more but needs to find more ideally. He would have to lead on Friday to have any chance of qualifying. If he doesn’t lead he will not qualify. I was very disappointed but maybe he will surprise me. That would be nice.
“He gets 515 metres at Hove easy enough and may just get the distance at Romford. If he does qualify I will be ecstatic. We are more hopeful than confident. I always say; live in hope, die in despair.”
Away from the Champions Stakes, Fast Slipper is making his race debut on these shores for trainer Phil Simmonds. Entered in a maidens race over 400 metres at 6.44pm, the August ’16 whelp will be looking to win first time up. The daughter of Laughill Blake and Laytown Girl has had three trials over C&D and importantly from a form point of view has improved with every trial. In her three trials over 400 metres she has clocked calcuilated times of 24.75, 24.52 and 24.41 seconds. That improvement should continue and if it does she should not be contesting maiden races for very long.
Phil said: “She has probably been thrown in the deep end. After her trials she was always going to go straight in A1 graded races so thought we may as well try her in minor opens.
“There is a lot to come from her. She is improving with every trial and is a nice dog. The draw in four is good for her. We have seeded her middle and will be keeping an eye on that.
“She will win an open race. I’m confident of that but whether it will be Friday, I couldn’t say but she will win one.”
Fast Slipper is 7/2 with Bet365 and should be considered. She is improving all the time and should win a race of this standard any time soon. Tonight could be that time.
As is becoming a weekly treat, I asked Phil who he thought from all his nine runners who has the best chance. To that he replied: “Courts Ad Steve. He is the best drawn in his race and has a very good chance. Drumcrow Sherpa in the same race has chances but Steve is better drawn.”
Courts Ad Steve runs in the final of the Romford Friday night 500 standard at 8.53pm over 400 metres and is currently best priced 5/1 with Coral and Ladbrokes.
Regular readers of this column may have had two winners and a forecast last week courtesy of Hove trainer June Harvey. Ower Boy Bullet and Clash duly obliged at SP returns of 4/7. Kennel mates Droopys Alex and Alowdale Hannah were pitted against each other and finished first and second. Droopys Alex won that battle at an SP return of 7/2, while the forecast paid £7.39 to the pound. It pays to read this column.