GREYHOUND PREVIEW: Our greyhound pundit couldn’t be in better form with 7 winners from his last 8 selections! Don’t miss his comprehensive preview of all the big races in the UK on Thursday, Friday and the weekend from Romford, Sheffield, Oxford and Perry Barr.


Romford Headlines the UK Action

Romford on Friday evening will host the semi-finals of both the Coral Standard Trophy and the Premier Greyhound Racing Champion Stakes over six bends. Both events will have three semi-finals with the top two progressing to next weeks finals.


Standard Trophy at Romford

The Standard Trophy is first up kicking off at 19:18 (GMT). Remarkably for the fourth week on the spin Droopys Good and Rail McCoy will meet. Droopys Good had won the first two meetings but Rail McCoy caused a mild surprise when getting the better of his old foe last weekend, they are expected to dominate proceedings once again. Rail McCoy produced a personal best last week and has obvious claims with a repeat, however Droopys Good appears to have a decent draw in box two and can go up better than last time.

The second semi-final (19:36) looks to have a more open feel to it, Phoenix Puma won well last week although Ayle Blake displayed massive pace to the third turn and looked a likely winner, I’m not sure if his mind was entirely on the task at hand but I’m willing to give him one more chance and take the second semi-final at the expense of Phoenix Puma.

The last of the semis is due off at 19:56 and it may pay to focus on the outside runners. Distant Oscar ran a blinder last week when splitting Droopys Good and Rail McCoy and will improve if able to dictate early. Blackgirl Shek has won three of her last four around here and can fly to the corner, she is not without a chance. Antigua Socks has been a beaten favourite on his last two starts and needs to come away racing, while last week’s shock winner Bubbly Freebie will need to do everything right. Preference is for Distant Oscar to prevail over Antigua Socks.


The Premier Greyhound Champion Stakes at Romford

Next off on the Romford card will be the first semi-final of The Premier Greyhound Racing Champion Stakes (20:17). Although at the semi-final stage the betting is wide open with Warzone Tom just heading the market at around about 9/2. Tom goes in the first heat where he will face last weeks conqueror Romeo On Tilt, Warzone did not secure the cleanest of runs last week when turned over at 4/9 and can go to the corner much better this week. He is fancied to turn the tables on Romeo On Tilt this time and make it to yet another big final. Ex Irish tracker Droopys Soldier has a big time advantage on his rivals from last week but he is not certain to come away as quick this time. Master Ten Ten was another to meet plenty of traffic last week and ended up running out a good winner under the circumstances. He can go to the turn much better, and I fancy him to take the second semi-final. Come Asyouare in box five is sure to give you a run for your money as is running consistently well of late, he can follow Master Ten Ten home.

The concluding semi can go the way of the well-drawn Antigua Bigun in box six. He was well fancied here last week when behind Droopys Soldier, he is another that can come away better than last time and on his best form will have too much pace and power for his rivals. Bubbly Cristal celebrates her fourth birthday this month and is running as well as ever lately, she stays this trip strongly, won well last week and is perfectly drawn in red. She can track Antigua Bigun home in second.

Steel City Cup Final at Sheffield

The Steel City Cup Final is the headline act at Sheffield on Saturday evening and Brookside Richie will go to traps odds on to claim victory. Sent off at 1/6 for his semi-final last week the son of wonder sire Droopys Sydney made no mistake when making all in a slick 28:37 for the 500m trip. Already a winner of the select stakes, Brookside Richie can take this if he can overcome a tricky draw in five. His main danger will no doubt be Signet Goofy drawn next door in six, Goofy was a good winner of the other semi-final albeit some two lengths slower than Richie. The draw may yet play a part in proceedings with five inside seeds and one middle seed lining up. I expect Brookside Richie to take it if he can come away in reasonable fashion.


RPGTV Cowley Puppy Collar at Oxford

The resurrection of Oxford Greyhound Stadium continues, and on Friday they will press on with their biggest event since reopening when the quarter finals of the RPGTV Cowley Puppy Collar take centre stage. There were some complaints about the boxes last week and hopefully all issues can be ironed out before racing this Friday, boxes seeming to open slowly have been a big issue in the UK in recent years and it’s certainly something that needs to be addressed.

The first heat gets underway at 19:28 (GMT). Oi Oi Joey should take this first heat, well housed in red he showed terrific early pace last week and will once again look to make all. Fromposttopillar will be a warm order to take heat two, fastest in the first round the son of Droopys Sydney should take this baring any mishaps with the very well-bred Jasmine Lily fancied to give him most to worry about. Just four lengths separate the entire field in heat three on last week’s running. King Ezra is a strong fancy for me in this heat, he has some smart previous form around Romford and looks to have a perfect launch pad to operate from in this, I expect him to make all in heat three. The last of the quarter finals can again go to the red jacket. Lively Lauren showed last week how much she craves the rails and has her draw in the final heat. She ran well behind Oi Oi Joey last week and can improve further if able to dictate. I think she could be one of the better bets on the card.

All the action from Oxford and Romford on Friday will be available live on RPGTV.


Oaks Round Two at Perry Barr

Perry Barr hosts an excellent quality card on Thursday evening consisting of the second round of The Premier Greyhound Racing Oaks and the first round of The Arena Racing Company (ARC) Scurry Cup over two bends. Coppice Josie looks a solid selection to take the first of the Oaks heats due off at 18:41, a good winner last week she has a nice draw and should make all. Moments Of Magic has a good draw in a tricky looking heat two, she maybe worth a small investment. Bettys Book is another well drawn on the fence in heat five and may get the better of likely favourite Distant Emma.


Scurry Gold Cup

Gougane Jet has been installed as 2/1 favourite for the Scurry Gold Cup, the rapid son of Droopys Jet is unbeaten over sprint trips and has won his last six. He goes in heat six and is impossible to oppose. Ballymac Slapup is no slouch and may give him most to think about. The opening heat can go the way of the well build Newtown Sydney, tipping the scales at well over 82lbs he will be hard to contain with a decent exit.

Weekend’s Best Bets:
We got to 7/7 last week but 8/8 was a step too far!!
Oxford Friday 20:05 King Ezra: Two units win
Oxford Friday 20:25 Lively Lauren: Two units win


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PAT HEALY blog: Awesome Constitution Hill
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THE ULTRA: World Cup Group Stage Preview
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SETTING THE SCENE: The World Cup
THE ULTRA: World Cup Knockout Stage Preview
PURPLE PUNDIT: Five Reasons Not To Back Brazil
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