GREYHOUND PREVIEW: Barry previews the Coral Essex Vase final at Romford on Friday night – very much the highlight of the weekend’s action. Plus the remarkable success story that is Signet Goofy.

Remarkable Goofy Does It Again

Signet Goofy once again proved that age is but a number when he landed another big race success at Towcester when beating a classy field to take the 2024 Blue Riband. With a pedigree second to none he was always destine for great things, but few may have thought he would prove the thoroughly consistent and likeable greyhound that he is. Let’s look at some of his many career highlights.

His sire Magical Bale was trained in Ireland by Patrick Guilfoyle. Bale was runner up in the Irish Derby in 2018 and made the final of the English Derby in 2019. His son Romeo Magico went on to win the English Derby final in 2022. He continues to prove popular with breeders and is among the best stud dogs currently operating in Ireland today. His dam Forest Natalee was also a superstar on the track and has proved to be one of the best brood bitches in recent years. On the track her highlight came at Shelbourne Park when she won the Sporting Press Irish Oaks when under the care of Martin Lanney in 2017. Kevin Hutton trained her in the UK, but it was Martin who overcame a less than ideal preparation to see her beat a good field in style. Before that she was runner up in the Irish Sprint Cup at Dundalk.

Signet Goofy was born on the 18th of January 2020 and his first official trial came around Swindon on May 30th, 2021, over the sharp 229-meter trip. His racing debut came at his beloved Towcester in an A5 in July. Having been comprehensively beaten in his qualifying trials Goofy made no mistake on debut making all to beat his older half sister Westwell Natalee by two and a half lengths in 30:07. He was badly baulked in an A4 contest next time out and that was the last time he was to race in graded company, the open race scene was on the horizon.

His open race debut came around Nottingham on trainers “Judgement Night”. He seemed to be pitched in at the deep end and his SP of 18s reflected this. He trailed in at the rear of the field in a good quality contest. His next seven starts came over two bends at Towcester and Perry Barr. He won two of his opening three sprints around Towcester before making it to the final of the Scurry Cup at Perry Barr. It was back to Towcester in November of 21 for a tilt at the English Puppy Derby where he was eliminated in the second round. The Blue Riband was next up and having won a trial stake for the event in impressive fashion as well as taking a good quality open at Hove he had no luck in the Blue Riband opening round.

His next win was to come over two bends at Towcester when he won an open in a slick 15:75. His race record now stood at six wins from twenty outings. Impressive, but certainly not mind blowing. After a short break he returned in March to win the British Bred Sprint Trophy at Nottingham before going down by the narrowest of margins in the Coral Sprint Trophy at Hove behind Crossfield Dusty.

Next up he won a minor final at Perry Barr beating Ballymac Slapup by a half-length. It was back to Towcester and back to four bends for a tilt at the big one, the English Greyhound Derby-this was where he really made people sit up and take notice. He was exceptional in getting to the semifinals where a mistimed start led to his exit. Swindon was next on the horizon where he was a beaten finalist in the Produce Stakes behind his brother Signet Denver. Amazingly five of the Magical Bale-Forest Natalee litter made the final of the event with Goofy finishing third. Goofy then went to Sheffield where he landed the group one Steel City Cup in October of 2022. Move victories followed at Towcester and Sheffield before a trip over to Shelbourne Park to contest the Winter Racing Festival Open 525 won by future Irish Derby winner The Other Kobe. Goofy was soon back to winning ways on home soil making it to the final of Golden Sprint at Romford behind Droopys Good.

After he made it to the semifinal of a hotly contested ARC at Perry Barr it was back for another tilt at the English Derby. He won the opening two rounds before meeting trouble behind Burj Khalifa in round three. However, he picked himself up to win the Derby Plate. After a short break he returned to Yarmouth where he once again impresses against top class opposition. More victories were to come at Towcester Perry Barr and Sheffield where he made it to the final of the British Bred Derby but had to settle for third place behind Queen Joni. As he approached his fourth Birthday a tilt at the Blue Riband awaited. Thoroughly professional in all three rounds he went through the event unbeaten, getting the better of last years Derby runner up and current track record holder Romeo Command fair and square in the decider. It was the forty second victory of his outstanding career. All credit must go to his trainer John Mullins. Theres’s life in the old dog yet!

Essex Vase at Romford

The final of the Essex Vase is the highlight of an all-open race card at Romford this Friday night. Aayamza Sydney is the obvious starting point. Paw perfect in the semis when stopping the clock in 34.70 a repeat would surely suffice. The draw should pose no problems for the pacey son of super sire Droopys Sydney. Romeo Hotshot could be the key to the race. He can go up a lot better than he did last time and Aayamza Sydney can miss the kick on occasions. If he were to get to far behind some of these it would prove costly around a tight track like Romford. Havana Top Note has won her last four starts and is clearly running at the top of her game. She will be looking to make all. On the clock Romeo Hotshot has a few lengths to find on a couple of these but he’s very capable on his day and makes plenty of appeal at 7/2 to cause a mild surprise.

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