The Golden Sprint, the first category one competition of the year at Romford starts tonight at 7.03pm writes Rob Abrey.
Over 400 metres, the four bend competition usually attracts top greyhounds and this year is no different. This year looks very competitive and to help I have endeavoured to find out more about four greyhounds from four of the six heats. Several greyhounds featuring tonight in the competition have been covered in recent weeks and long with four others should give you all the assistance you need.
Newcastle trainer Steven Anderson has been known to attend Romford on a Friday night in the past and tonight he is back with two of his charges.
He is braving the Friday traffic from his Tyne and Wear base to have a tilt at the Golden Sprint.
First up for the Newcastle handler is Bramble Milburn in opening heat at 7.03pm and anyone who follows the open scene, especially up North will know the name. The March ’16 whelp has won seven races from twenty two starts and has been racing against top opposition. The son of Farloe Blitz and Swift Vicki reached the finals of the Laurels, finishing fourth and has beaten last year’s greyhound derby finalist Droopys Verve on at least two occasions. He is very consistent at his home track Newcastle and that consistency has continued down south with two very good trials over C&D. In those two trials he clocked calculated times of 24.09 and 24.08 with sectionals of 3.75 and 3.78.
Trainer Steven Anderson on Bramble Milburn said: “It’s a long way to go but we took the decision to go to Romford as the track and distance suits him. He has had two nice trials at Romford and is a very consistent trapper.
“He has had some injuries but is a very good dog. He has got good early and has done very well at Newcastle but has been very unlucky. He reached the semi-finals of the All England Cup and the final of the Laurels but has not had any luck when he needed it. If anyone deserves a bit of luck, it’s him.
“After the laurels final, we decided to give him a rest then take him to Romford for the Golden sprint. He wouldn’t get the trip at Shawfield for the Scottish derby and thought about the Juvenile at Sheffield but decided to keep to the original plan of Romford.
“He done a very good sprint trial time at Newcastle recently and is very consistent out of the lids, which is what you need at a track like Romford. With the class in the competition you cannot give some a head start.He is a middle runner and I’m happy with the trap four draw.”
Several firms are 20/1 for the Newcastle raider to claim the spoils outright and Bet365 are top price 2/1 for him to win his heat.
Bramble Reggie will be trying to make two from two for ‘team Anderson’ in heat five at 8.06pm. The August ’16 whelp like his kennel mate has been on the open scene and has won four from thirteen attempts. Like Bramble, the son of Zero Ten and Bramble Isobel also reached the Laurels final at Newcastle and came second, beating him along the way. He has also had two trials at Romford over C&D clocking calculated times of 24.08 and 24.35. His sectional times are not so nippy though with times of 3.82 and 3.86. He is in a very difficult heat along with the likes of Kilmore Lemon and Romford puppy cup winner Grays Cup Winner but if holding his own in the early exchanges may do well.
Anderson on Milburn Reggie said: “We took him to Romford for trials while we were going anyway. He does not have blistering early but ran really well to the rails, which he doesn’t do at Newcastle. He is brave as anything to the bend and can hold his own.
“He was very unlucky in the Laurels final and was unlucky to get picked up. I keep using the word unlucky, but all greyhounds need a bit of luck now and again!
“We didn’t have a good journey for the second trial and that seemed to affect his trial. Hopefully we will have a better journey on Friday.”
On both greyhounds Anderson said: “We made a decision to give both a rest after the Laurels final in December. The whole point of the journey was to take Milburn. We have taken Reggie to give him a blow out while we were going anyway.
“It is nice to have two dogs from the North East to go travelling with. They are two nice dogs and will certainly give good accounts of themselves.”
Bramble Reggie is top price 11/2 with Ladbrokes and Coral to win his heat and several firms are offering 25/1 for him to win outright.
Monmore trainer Lee Field is also braving the Friday traffic from his Nottinghamshire base to try to claim the Golden Sprint with two of this charges.
First up is Fernhill Rex in heat four at 19.49pm. The October ’15 doesn’t need a big introduction to followers of the open scene as he has been ever present on it. The son of Iso Octane and Swift Salt has won the Northern Flat final at Belle Vue over 470 metres and came second in the Golden Crest at Poole last year over 450 metres. Those with sharp memories will remember his one and only race at Romford back in December 2017 over C&D where he came fourth after finding trouble. He is a much more experienced greyhound now and would be expected to give a better account of himself this time around.
Trainer Lee Field on Fernhill Rex said: “He ran at Romford on his debut over here and got drawn trap five. We knew after that he is a bang railer. He doesn’t ideally want to be drawn any further than two. I’m happy with his draw in one on Friday.
“He is coming back from a busy Christmas period and hopefully will come on as the rounds go on. He was jumping out of one competition to the other so decided to give him a rest and just gave him a couple of sprints at Monmore.
“In top company 480 metres stretches him. 450 and 435 is the ideal distances that he wants. He does have early pace from the traps and is a tight railer. If he traps out and leads there wouldn’t be many that would back run him.”
Fernhill Rex is generally available at 33/1 for claim the outright honours while Ladbrokes are top price 4/1 for him to make it second time lucky at Romford.
Brindle, the second of Lee Field charges tonight goes in the final heat at 8.21pm. The September ’16 whelp is a model of consistency as out of thirty three races has only finished outside the top three places eight times. Interestingly the son of Skywalker Puma and Carthage Girl has only finished last once. That is ideal competition form as he could keep qualifying. He has had two races recently at Romford over C&D finishing second in both to good opposition.
Trainer Field on Brindle said: “He is what he is. He could get beat a short head in an A6 or in a Derby final. He is not a villain, just a bit of a kidder. He is very consistent as he is rarely out of the top three places.
“He has blistering early pace that may serve him well at Romford. We didn’t give him a trial at Romford as they are not ideal unless he is in with someone.
“Trap four on Friday is fine but being drawn in any trap wouldn’t bother him. He is about 50/1 to win the Golden Sprint and that is cracking value for each way bets. He could keep qualifying. He is good value for each way purposes.”
Brindle is indeed available at 50/1 with several companies to claim the trophy and is 10/1 with several layers to win his heat.
Regular readers of this column may of had a nice double last week courtesy of Fridays Geldof and Thymelea Audrey. Trained by Jonathan Blencowe and Scott Manthorpe the duo obliged in their perspective races at SP returns of 5/1 and 8/1. Not bad for a nights work!