Your favourite read is back, where it belongs on a Friday. Last week the focus was on the inaugural running of the Entain Track Championship featuring Crayford, Hove, Monmore and Romford. After a hard fought battle home track Hove came out on top – writes Rob Abrey.
As ever Romford have put on ten open races for our enjoyment amongst their twelve-race card. As ever there are greyhounds making their Romford debuts and true to form, I’ve endeavoured to find out more about four of them.
Towcester trainer John Mulllins is a regular on the open scene and at Romford. He knows what he it takes to win around the Essex venue and tonight races two of his charges around there for the first time.
First up is Icaals First in a maidens race over 400 metres at 6.43pm. The September ’19 whelp has only had two races so far in his career. Both of those were at Perry Barr in A3 graded affairs where he finished fourth and third. Those races were under the stewardship of Pat Rosney. Now with John Mullins the son of Candlelight King and Knockbann Uno makes his Romford debut. While with John he has only had three trials, all at Towcester over 270 metres. Tonight he runs at Romford for the first time and will be looking to shed his maiden tag at the first time of asking.
John on him said: “He has raced at Perry Barr. We did enter him for the maiden derby at Towcester but he didn’t get in.
“It’s his first race with me and it’s a learning curve for all of us. He doesn’t quite have the early needed at Romford but you have to start somewhere.
“His Towcester times are okay and our aim was the maiden derby but it wasn’t to be. He has trap five and if I could change it, I would move him more on the inside but I can’t so I’ll take what I get.”
Skybet are top price 10/3 for him to win first time up at Romford and for trainer John Mullins.
Next up is Russian Blake. The June ’18 whelp is having his very first race on these shores after four trials at home track Towcester. The son of Laughil Blake and Rushmoorbeatrice had his trials all over 270 metres and now goes at Romford over 400 metres in a maidens race at 6.58pm. He has however had plenty of races in Ireland. In Ireland the June ’18 whelp has had eighteen races winning at Clonmel, Youghall and Shelbourne Park all over 480 metres. His win at Shelbourne Park was in an open race. He clearly has experience and it won’t be long before he sheds his maiden tag.
John on him said: “He is a bit of an aeroplane. I think with all honesty if he comes away he wins. If he doesn’t win then next week. At Towcester he improved after his first look around there. He could be a dog that improves second time at a track.
“He has good potential. He looks really good. His trial times at Towcester were very good, very encouraging. He is wide runner and has trap six. We are happy with that.
“At the moment we are taking it one week at a time with him.”
Paddy Power are top price 13/8 for him to win his first race on these shores.
Lylas Boy for local handler Nathan Hunt and owner Rob Howe makes his four bend debut on these shores after four sprint races at Towcester and Monmore. Of those four the February ’19 whelp won one at Towcester over 270 metres. Tonight the son of Ballymac Eske and Lemon Isabella races over 400 metres for the first time in heat one of the Romford Friday night 500 standard at 7.36pm. He has had a recent spin over C&D clocking a promising calculated time of 24.30. Over in Ireland he has four bend experience with eleven races over 480 metres at Thurles and Cork. At Cork he won twice in A3 and A1 graded affairs.
Nathan on him said: “Trip won’t be a problem. In Ireland he got about 460 metres but struggled to get the full 480 metres. He should get it but needs to start trapping. He hasn’t trapped since Towcester.
“He won his first heat of the Northamptonshire sprint at Towcester against good dogs. In that race he ran very well. He can definitely run.
“He trialled well at Hove over 285 metres and did 24.30 recently at Romford. That was a good look around and should improve for it.
“He has trap three. He did look like a railer but looked middleish in his last trial at Romford. With the way he trialled there, trap three should be fine for him. His race has a good make up and although starting over four bends in a tough race is more than capable.
“Rob Howe is a good owner with us and is also head of a syndicate. With his own dogs they are all called Lylas after his daughter. It would be nice to get a winner on Racing Post TV for him.”
On his other runners who he thinks could go well, Nathan said: “Gypsy Boy in the first graded race has chances. He ran quite well at Central Park last Sunday. If he gets it right at the boxes he could go well. He is only an August ’19 dog and has plenty of improvement in him.”
Corals are top price 10/3 for him to win at Romford at the first time of asking. Gypsy boy in the opening race at 6.09pm is 5/2 with Corals and Ladbrokes.
One time Romford regular Tony Collett is back in Essex after a hiatus. The Central Park handler returns with Jurassic Brett in heat three of the Romford Friday night standard 500 over 400 metres at 8.17pm. The June ’18 whelp looks tailor-made for Romford with bundles of early pace. At Central Park the son of Laughill Blake and Words has won three times over 265 metres in open class races. To do that he clearly has early. Last week over 480 metres he led but was picked up in the run in by the very good Tenpin. 400 metres could be ideal for the pacey sort.
Tony on him said: “He is a fast dog. The distance will definitely suit him, but we will see if the track will. It’s his ideal distance but could do with a longer run to the bend. He will definitely have to lead.
“If we don’t try him there you won’t find out. It will be strange going back to Romford without Peter [O’Dowd} being there. If he runs Romford he will do a run. If everything goes well he will be back as they have some comps coming up. If he comes away, we will be very hopeful.
“Two weeks ago, he ran Tenpin to two lengths after leading. The 480 metres stretched him and the -60 going wasn’t ideal for him. Tenpin is a great dog and we have to be sensible about it, he was beaten by a good dog.”
Corals are top price 5/4 for the pacey sort to take the spoils tonight.