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JONATHAN HOBBS: IT’S Friday so it’s . . . yes, that’s right Romford and another crackerjack card!

We’ve reached the semi-finals of the Coral Essex Vase and the race for the outright prize looks as wide open as any major 575m competition at the London Road venue, with a host of familiar names at the top of the market.

At this stage, Newinn Liz catches the eye to win the Essex Vase.

Ernie Gaskin’s bitch has strong leadability claims in her semi-final tonight and gives the local handler a huge hand given his 2019 winner Droopys Aoife also boasts decent claims in her semi having run well behind Aayamza Lexie last week.

However, with the likes of St Leger champion Smallmead, three-time Category One victor Desperado Dan, track-record holder Sparta Master, Coronation Cup hero Antigua Rum, plus two other big-race winners in Seaglass Tiger and Sheldan all still in the mix, there’s plenty to play for.

As ever a strong supporting card presents decent opportunities for some fun!

Eyes down . . .

Romford Friday

6.43 Droopys Flight looks interesting as he bids to break his duck. Nathan Hunt’s local is yet to win in six, but tonight’s make-up looks good sandwiched between slower starters – he’s got a chance to get first run on most. Droopys Precise is interesting on debut.

Play: Droopys Flight

6.58: Heats of a Standard 400m competition now. Ballynabee Lucky ran well behind Goldies Hoddle last week without getting the start this sprinter-type works best from. Samantha West’s dog looks to have a decent pitch inside to edge Over The Bonnet.

Play: Ballynabee Lucky

7.18: Another inside runner could be tough to hold with the aforementioned Goldies Hoddle. He’s won 30 from 76 overall, a decent percentage of which have been won at Romford. When he breaks he generally wins. All About Taylor is the alternative.

Play: Goldies Hoddle

7.36: Heat three of the Standard comp – and a match between Jet Stream Mags and Signature Callum. Both have impressive C&D records, but might Carol Grasso’s Jet Stream Mags get first run from the midfield. A railer next doors clears the way?

Play: Jet Stream Mags

7.56: The first Essex semi-final could see Oaks finalist Newinn Liz dominate outside. Ernie Gaskin’s bitch looked a touch unlucky in the heats last week, just being dragged back when looking to lead round. This looks a cracking make-up for stripes.

Play: Newinn Liz

8.17: Plenty of chances here, but  Aayamza Lexie looks tough to beat if getting away to a bullet break again. Likewise Doolin Princess paces up, but Sparta Master (Sharon Thompson) ran better last week than the formline suggests. He can power round if breaking well.

Play: Sparta Master

8.38: The third Essex Vase semi could see a battle early between Droopys Aoife, Perrys Choice and Ivy High Skyhigh – so the percentage call is the red-jacketed runner for Team Gaskin – she’s an Essex Vase winner already! Desperado Dan is never easily beaten.

Play: Droopys Aoife

9.28: The Romford finale could see Kevin Hutton’s Magical Firebird improve for her run here last week. She’s a lightly-raced maiden who came through strongly last week and  gets the edge over impressive-looking debutant Lone Limit and Yarmouth talent Swift Addition.

Play: Magical Firebird

Good luck all.

@Hobbsy 67

Check out the Romford odds here ->