GREYHOUND PREVIEW: A busy weekend ahead! Barry loos at the final of the British Bred Puppy Cup at Oxford and the semi-finals of the Coral Essex Vase from Romford – both on Friday. PLUS: On Saturday the Cesarewitch final and Sunday’s final of the Blue Riband.
Romeo Still Holds the Aces in Towcester New Year Showpiece
Romeo Command once again set the standard in the semifinals of the Blue Riband at Towcester on Sunday afternoon. The wonderfully consistent son of Dorotas Wildcat had to mind his step for a stride or two around the opening bends but once straightening up on the shoulder of Swift Iconic he was always going to prove too strong. Romeo goes in trap two in this Sundays decider and has been installed as a red-hot favorite to land the prize. We also have top class action this Saturday night from Central Park where Garfiney Blaze will be a popular choice to land the Cesarewitch, while Oxford and Romford also have strong cards live on Greyhound Television on Friday. Let’s look at the best of the upcoming weekends action.
Blue Riband Final at Towcester: Its hard to get away from the classy Romeo Command. Last years Derby runner up has returned as good as ever and set new figures for the Derby trip at the end of 2023. He has an excellent record at the track, from his sixteen starts at Towcester he has won thirteen starts and has yet to finish out of the first two. The plan once again will be to track Swift Iconic around the opening bends before proving to strong from the second bend. Newinn Syd was a little disappointing for me last weekend and needs to return to his best if he’s to get the better of Romeo Command. Whyaye Man was an unlucky loser last weekend when he was forced to check behind the wonderfully consistent Signet Goofy when looking like the winner going into the third bend. He has a chance if he can fly the lids. Signet Goofy has an ace draw as the sole wide side but this admirably consistent performer does need to find little on the clock. Of the remainder Chelms Sonny is another who could get involved with a fast start while Wasted Monday needs luck. The break will be crucial but barring accidents Romeo Command should take all the beating.
Cesarewitch Final at Central Park: Garfiney Blaze has been the standout performer in the Cesarewitch at Central Park and the ex-Irish tracker is certainly the one to beat in this Saturdays final. Not always the most consistent trapper when trained in Ireland, Blaze has made no mistakes since his switch to the UK winning both his outings and bettering the track record on each occasion. He has an obvious advantage on the clock, but much depends on if he can turn in front or close to the pace. Bradys Bullet has chased him home in the opening two rounds and must have a say drawn on the inside of Garfiney Blaze. Another with a chance is the perfectly drawn Ela Maestro in red. He can go up much better than last time and is a lively outsider. He showed fine early pace in the opening round when posting a 16:58 sectional, a competition fastest. If he can repeat that sort of early run, he should turn in front and any trouble in behind will help. A chance is taken that Ela Maestro can hit the front early and take advantage of some possible trouble in behind.
BGBF British Bred Puppy Cup ay Oxford: On Friday the final of the BGBF Puppy Cup takes center stage, as you can imagine some potential stars of the future are on show. The betting suggests it may be a match between Romeo Cypher (5/4) and Keefill Maverick (6/4). Both were comprehensive semifinal winners and on all known form the duo should battle out the finish. Romeo Cypher seems to be the more reliable at boxes and has been drawn on the inside of his main market rival. For me that just swings the vote in favor of David Mullins runner. Keefill Goose and Beach Bell will be running on well but need luck.
Essex Vase at Romford: Three semifinals of the Essex Vase will be run at Romford on Friday evening live on GTV. The top two from each heat will progress into the final a week on Friday. The first semi is due off at 20:44. Aayamza Sydney is my selection here a strong sort over this trip he should secure a nice run early. There is a lack of early pace around him, and he should turn in a prominent position before going on to score. Singalong Stacy caused a bit of a surprise last week on her first six bend start and rates the main danger. Havana Top Note will have her supporters in the second semifinal but will need luck in running. She will need the gaps to appear at crucial stages. The same can be said about Ballymac Johnjo, Johnjo should steer a wide course throughout and if he can stay out of trouble, he can come through late to score. Queen Georgia is the likely pace setter but will need a sizeable advantage over the big finishers at halfway. The last of the semifinals looks to be the strongest. Romeo Hotshot and Minnie Bullet are likely to head the market, but you couldn’t discount Bonville Jet or Droopys Stairway. Roxys Bullet in one may well set the pace but does seem to have stamina issues. It’s a bit of a minefield for punters and Minnie Bullet looks like the safest bet.