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The Romford Puppy Cup - Romford 400M - £10,000

THE Romford Puppy Cup has over the years provided a fertile source of emerging talent and the 2016 renewal looks likely to be no exception.

Top of the pack, thus far anyway, is Kooga Klammer who, in addition to gaining hero status with punters as the only winning favourite at the first round last Friday, has the ability to go all the way in this £10,000-to-the-winner Category One contest over 400 metres.

There is little doubt, however, the David Pruhs-trained runner will have to be at his best for Friday’s third semi-final. It is a very strong heat, not least because Dark Recruit, a kennelmate of Kooga Klammer, is drawn in trap one.

The October ’14 son of Romeo Recruit didn’t get the best of runs in the heats behind Toolmaker Rambo but with better fortune here he will threaten his powerful kennelmate.

Only two qualify from the three semi-finals which, in the case of this particular race, means we are going to lose a big name because Charity Dragon, the pre-competition favourite, is also in the line-up.

I recall Pat Rosney, his trainer, speaking about this Oct ’14 son of Dragon Shield before the final of the Trafalgar Cup at Monmore at the end of August. He said Charity Dragon has the ability to be one of the best of his generation but has doesn’t always settle in the starting traps and is prone to make a gaff as a consequence.

As if trying to prove his trainer wrong, Charity Dragon broke quickly and made all in the that final and had a good field, including the ultra-talented Droopys Trapeze, a minimum of seven lengths in his wake.

That’s what Charity Dragon is capable of and, as the only wide seed in this line-up, he can be expected to make a bold bid in the stripped jacket.

Droopys Jasmine is also in the third semi-final. The Hove bitch showed what she is capable of when losing her open-race maiden tag at the first attempt at the opening stage and could shape into something useful for trainer Tony Taylor.

The first round training honours went to the locally-based Martyn Wiley, whose Gable Tango and To Tone Eileen landed the first and second heats respectively. The former is another contesting this red-hot third semi-final, which gets more competitive the more I look at it.

Paul Young has had a smashing year and he is doubly represented in the first semi-final by Glenkeel and, perhaps more significantly, Toolmaker Rambo. The latter was a first round winner when defeating the talented Dark Recruit by a length in a thrilling contest.

Toolmaker Rambo recorded the best sectional time at the opening round stage of those engaged in the first semi-final and, given the importance of an early lead over this 400-metre trip at Romford, he must come into the reckoning. So too should Unlikely Turbo who overcame crowding on the run-up to score by four lengths from Charity Dragon during the first round.

This is another that promises to be a cracker but punters are expected to come down in favour of Toolmaker Rambo, whose early pace might just be decisive.

Jason Heath, the Hove trainer, is always a man to fear when he ventures onto the open race circuit and his Droopys Schnozz is likely to have his supporters in the second semi-final.

The October ’14 Aero Majestic whelp moved extremely well in a couple of races over course and distance prior to last week’s first round and is better judged on those efforts than his two-and-a-half-lengths third to Toolmakers Rambo.

To Tone Eileen was the second leg of the Martyn Wiley double last week. Wiley is clearly a fan of the stud dog Ballymac Eske. Both To Tone Eileen and Gable Tango are progeny of the dog formerly trained by Barrie Draper for Peter Band, and Wiley says he has enough to fill a football team and more back home.

To Tone Eileen displayed a smashing turn of pace when winning last week and must come into the reckoning again.

The Semi-Finals Trap Draw


First Semi-Final

1 Glenkeel

2 Toolmaker Rambo

3 Airport Glider (m)

4 Unlikely Turbo (m)

5 March On Monty (w)

6 Balboa Vadar (w)


Second Semi-Final

1 Makeit Boomtime

2 Blackstone Omar

3 Droopys Schnozz (m)

4 Ballagio Blue (m)

5 To Tone Eileen (w)

6 Chance Mac (w)


Third Semi-Final

1 Dark Recruit

2 Young Columbus

3 Kooga Klammer (m)

4 Gable Tango (m)

5 Droopys jasmine (m)

6 Charity Dragon (w).


How They Got To The Semi-Final


First Round


Heat 1

Gable Tango wasn’t the quickest away but showed enough early speed to make the bend in front. Make It Boomtime turned in second place but didn’t make any impression on the winner who scored by three lengths in 24.13sec (0.20sec fast). Make It Boomtime comfortably held on to second place, four lengths ahead of Chancer Mac. The latter was best away but didn’t get the smoothest of runs around the first and second bends.


Heat 2

Having watched Gable Tango land the first heat, local trainer Martyn Wiley had the added excitement of seeing his To Tone Eileen crack out and make all. One or two hefty bumps sustained by the others enabled To Tone Eileen to surge ahead along the farside for a near six-length success in 23,97sec (0,20sec fast). Blackstone Omar had been painfully slowly away but railed cleverly around the first and second bends and found himself in second place along the far side. Glenkeel was third.


Heat 3

Punters were treated to a textbook display of front running from Kooga Klammer in what was to prove a fastest of the round 23.82sec (0.20sec fast). There was so much to like about the way the David Pruhs-trained dog went about his business and he defeated Airport Glider by a shade over three lengths. The runner-up was always best of the rest and finished two lengths in advance of Young Columbus, who outran Droopys Afton close home to snatch the third qualifying position.


Heat 4

Unlikely Turbo pulled off a 10-1 shock win, although there is very little doubt it was a fully deserved success over Charity Dragon, who had started at odds-on to secure the qualifier. The winner broke quickly and left nothing to chance as he powered to a four-lengths success over Charity Dragon in 24.04sec (0.20sec fast). First bend crowding apart, Charity Dragon had no excuses and perhaps just suffered a bad day at the office. March On Monty took a couple of knocks on the journey to third place.


Heat 5


Droopys Jasmine produced a clinical display to make all. The Hove bitch, competing in her very first open contest, produced a snappy start and just shaded Balboa Vadar into the turn. From that point Droopys Jasmine was always in command and defeated Bellagio Blue by two and a half lengths in 24.07sec (0.20sec fast). The latter made a moderate break and, under the circumstances, ran a cracker to take second, two and a half lengths in front of Balboa Vadar. Coolruss Patch, the favourite, lost all chance when stumbling at the boxes.

Heat 6

Toolmakers Rambo was impressive. The Paul Young-trained dog had to show all his pace and courage to make the bend marginally ahead of Dark Recruit. Toolmakers Rambo extended his lead to around three lengths at half way but in the end had to pull out all the stops to hold on by a length from Dark Recruit in 23.95sec (0.20sec fast). The latter lost nothing in defeat and is clearly a runner going places. Droopys Schnozz, the favourite, turned the first bend in third place and stayed there – finishing a length and a half behind the second.