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MITCH MILLWARD ESSEX VASE - ROMFORD 575m (£10,000)

What a sensational night this was at Romford for the semi-finals of the 2015 Mitch Millward Essex Vase. 

 

Swift Whirlwind was sent off odds-on for the first semi-final and it looked to be going swimmingly for him leading till the second-bend. It was at that second-bend Loughteen Pedro took command of the race and he turned on the accelerator. Turning for home Deanridge Pennys and Millwards Master had a big battle on for a qualifying spot and it was Deanridge Pennys who grabbed that on the line to get second and beat Millwards Master by 0.75L in 35.21 +20. 

 

The veteran Adageo Bob is still searching for his first major Romford win. He went one step closer to signing off his career in spectacular fashion with a win here. He rolled back the clock and showed the world once again what an incredible greyhound he is. That customary burst of early-pace was back for all to see and even when the superstar Bubbly Gold turned in second he would not be denied. There are not many greyhounds who could hold Bubbly Gold off over this trip but Bob did it in style to book his place in Tuesday's showdown, live on Sky Sports. He crossed the line 1.5L to the good over Bubbly Gold in a sparkling 34.78 +20. 

 

Fivestar Clipper landed a marvellous seven timer when winning his semi-final in fine fashion. He rocketed out of the traps and won by a huge 8.5L in 34.81 +20. Fivestar Clipper was the star of this race but the runner-up Farneys Cookie put in a huge run to qualify. Kevin Boon must have thought it was turning in to a nightmare scenario when his two greyhounds Kakantu and Farneys Cookie did each other no favours. It was to the credit though of Farneys Cookie who somehow managed to recover from a bumpy ride to get up close home for second and make the final.

 

FINAL 01/12/15 (SKY SPORTS) 

 

Can Bob Sign Off With A Huge Win

 

2015 is fast coming to an end but on Tuesday night there is a final to match all finals. This is arguably the greatest race we have seen in the modern era over the 575m trip. Six greyhounds all chasing the £10,000 first prize and greyhound immortality will do battle.

 

Adageo Bob has enjoyed a marvellous career which includes landing the Category One British Breeders' Stakes at Nottingham. He's wowed the crowd at Romford since he landed his first 575m contest all the way back in July 2013. In that same year he finished runner-up in the Essex Vase but he was young and he would surely add the big titles wouldn't he? In this competition last year he failed to make it to the track on time after being stuck in traffic and the heartbreak continued. It is not just this competition that lucks deserted him. In 2014 he had won seven on the bounce but crashed out in the semi-finals of the Champion Stakes. This year he finished runner-up in Coronation Cup behind Soviet Kenny and 3rd in the Champion Stakes behind Patchys Kerry. Now a veteran his best is behind him and connections have said this will be his last race. Romford holds some great Adageo Bob moments like the brilliant run in December 2014 when he beat Fivestar Clipper 6.5L and equalled the track-record in the process. It also holds memories of bad luck and disappointment but on Tuesday night Adageo Bob has the chance to sign off with a win that will be talked about for years. Can the veteran perform one last time and bring the house down?

 

It will be sad win, lose or draw about Adageo Bob retiring but you look at the other runners and they have the wow factor. Greyhound racing never stands still, when one superstar retires there is always another just waiting to take their place. Fivestar Clipper is flying at the minute and if he wins the final it will be an incredible eighth victory on the spin. He has not put a paw wrong so far and he is capable of producing something very special. Bubbly Gold is a category one winner and a multiple big race finalist, he possesses big ability. Deanridge Pennys has a big Irish reputation and looks to be improving in the UK all the time. Farneys Cookie put in a huge run in the semi-finals and is more than capable of winning this. Loughteen Pedro is vastly underrated and is a greyhound with big ability, it would be no surprise to see him score from a great draw. 

 

There was only one man to catch up with before the big final and that was champion trainer Mark Wallis who is searching for his fourth Essex Vase title win.

 

“What a fantastic gesture by Romford and Coral to name this race after Mitch Millward. That is the most important thing and it is a great honour to have a dog in the final of a race named after the great man. 

 

I'm keen to get the point across this is not the Adageo Bob show because there are so many great dogs in the race and what this race stands for is the big picture here. I was doubting myself about running Adageo Bob in the competition and he's definitely aged of late. Win, lose or draw Bob is a legend and the most important thing is he comes off safe and sound. This will be his last ever race and this morning he is tired. The race has took it out of him but we will do everything to get him in the final and firing one last time. I wanted him to make the final and he's done that for me so that is mission completed. It will be a huge ask for him to win this race at his age. He's had so many great chances but for one thing or another he's not managed the big Romford success. For me that is not important he is a category one winner and no greyhound has ever broken 35.00 the amount of times Bob's done at Romford. 

We will enjoy the night and see what happens. He must lead if he is to win because he can't pick up Fivestar Clipper if he leads but likewise I don't think he can catch us if we turn in front. The other dogs are here top-class and in all honesty any of them could win it.

I've trained so many great dogs and Bob is right up there with the best of them. The public love him and greyhound racing needs these stars. We say goodbye to Bob on Tuesday night from a racing point but look forward to a stud career with him. The search goes on for hopefully another Adageo Bob and over the years we have found some brilliant dogs for the 575m at Romford, like Eye onthe Veto and Reel Trickyone.

 

It would be some story if Bob was to win it but like I've said it is a big ask and the most important thing is he comes home safe and we celebrate the memory of the great Mitch Millward”. 

 

DRAW

 

T1 Loughteen Pedro

T2 Bubbly Gold

T3 Deanridge Pennys

T4 Farneys Cookie (m)

T5 Fivestar Clipper (w)

T6 Adageo Bob (w)