JONATHAN HOBBS: FRIDAY night means Romford for greyhound fans – and another top open-race card featuring the semi-finals of the Coral Golden Sprint.

Numerically it’s a lighter Friday for opens given Monmore and Towcester also stage a host of similar events over the weekend, but nevertheless there’s enough to get stuck into at the London Road venue.

Heats of two competitions – the Steve Simmons Sprint and Stuart Roberts Quicksilver – support the trio of Golden Sprint semis and these, together with supporting opens, make it a must-watch live on SportyStuff TV/RPGTV tonight.


7.18: Heat one of the Steve Simmons Sprint sees a host of runners dropping down in distance. Preference is for Nathan Hunt’s Lylas Boy who ran a good race at Monmore over two bends latest and has a plum draw, giving him the edge over Speak Out Aida.

Play: Lylas Boy

7.36: Another smash-and-grab affair where John Mullins holds a strong hand. Preference of his pair is Knocknaseed Gem who has mixed it with the best and is powerful over this trip, although must come away and pace up handily. Adamant Trooper is improving again.

Play: Knocknaseed Gem

7.56: Back to 400m for a one-off now and the Mullins team could be on the mark again. Icaals Rocco has a good record here and, while a missed break was costly latest, a 23.99sec victory in January still stands out. Millridge Conor looks the biggest danger.

Play: Icaals Rocco

8.17: A crackerjack first semi-final of the Coral Golden Sprint and the draw points to Paul Burr’s Zari Rosie being the one to beat. She wasn’t that quickly away in the heats last week but still made the bend in front and could do the same again, especially with a better exit. That said, any mistakes and a bullet break from Russian Blake or Scala Omeara could make hay. The middle pace of Drahan Jet is also respected – he’s dipped under 24 seconds in the past.

Play: Zari Rosie

8.38: Havana Class came up against Crossfield Dusty in the heats and, while having to play third best then, has an opportunity to secure his place in another major final here. The Liz McNair-trained runner has pace and power over this trip and, while Droopys Flight posted the fastest heat time last week, he will keep a middle course early allowing the blue-box room to manoeuvre. Newinn Tim Tok rarely runs a bad race and he might pooch on any trouble inside.

Play: Havana Class

8.54: What a race. There has been few better line-ups in recent years – and it could be even better come the final. However, Crossfield Dusty is tough to oppose in this third and final Golden Sprint semi. He impressed last week with a runaway victory and Patrick Janssens’ exceptional sprinter aims for a repeat. The margins are tight, of course. All these rivals have either top-class and fast Romford lines or fine competition records. Maybe Antigua Socks on the draw rates the biggest danger.

Play: Crossfield Dusty

9.12: The first 575m heat and the Mark Wallis-trained Balterio looks to have come forward again and gets the vote over well-drawn Fight The Power. The orange-jacketed runner won a recent maiden comp but his second to Warzone Tom caught the eye last week.

Play: Balterio

9.28: Heat two of the Quicksilver looks a match between Gymstar Elusive and Doghouse Dazzler. Preference is for the former despite a leanish time of late, with John Mullins’ dog having run well here in the Essex Vase heats. He could lead up here and kick on.

Play: Gymstar Elusive

9.42: The Romford finale now and Ritzy Lady could hit these rivals for six. The Jim Reynolds-trained runner absolutely flew round in a 225m trial last week with a blistering 13.38sec and that formline makes her tough to oppose ahead of Knockboy Kay.

Play: Ritzy Lady

Good luck all.