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JONATHAN HOBBS: Let’s go again! It’s a fantastic start to the year with the start of the Coral Coronation Cup at Romford as the go-ahead Essex track dominates the action on RPGTV tonight. As ever in these 575m competitions, there are tasty bets aplenty.

A strong supporting card complements the Coronation Cup action but let’s concentrate on the 575m heats – and great to see the last two winners of the event, Desperado Dan (2019) and Shotgun Bullet (2018), back for more.

Throw in last season’s winners of the Champion Stakes and Essex Vase – Aayamza Express and Droopys Aoife respectively – and this year’s Coronation Cup has real Romford six-bend championship credentials.

Let’s take a look at the heats:


7.17: Kentish Prince is up in trip and looks a likely winner for Kevin Hutton in the opening heat. He’s been running in decent company over four bends – like King Sheeran in the Olympic – and if handling the stamina test is tough to hold. Leemount Venus for the forecast?

Play: Kentish Prince

7.33: Desperado Dan also showed up well in the Olympic recently – running third to King Sheeran – and now returns to a happy hunting ground. Patrick Janssens’ dog is the defending champion, has a great C&D record and looks bang-in-form. Droopys Toast is the danger if leading up.

Play: Desperado Dan

7.49: Aayamza Express versus Droopys Aoife is a cracking clash in the first round of the Coronation Cup given the last two major 575m big-race winners at the track go head to head. It’s a wider draw for Aoife, but a perfect one for Mark Wallis’s red-jacketed runner, who gets the vote after a runway win last week.

Play: Aayamza Express

8.06: Roxholme Jim was unlucky in the Essex Vase, going out in third place in the semis. He looks well pitched in this heat four and should soon be bowling along inside. Shotgun Bullet heads the opposition, but a 34.92sec from Hayley Keightley’s red-boxed racer makes him the bet.

Play: Roxholme Jim

8.21: Sparta Master made the headlines around the Essex Vase for the wrong reasons, so it would be hugely ironic should he now win the Coronation Cup. He faces a tough test against Roxholme Dolly, but the track record holder might always be handy here. Antigua Run finishes well.

Play: Sparta Master

8.38: Roman Empire is another star from the Ernie Gaskin camp and looks well pitched inside here. He stayed on with real purpose last week behind Sheldan and might turn closer to the action here given the switch to the red jacket. Rack Itup Turbo is a potential lid-pinger.

Play: Roman Empire

Good luck everyone.

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