Coral Essex Vase – Romford 575m – £10,000
DROOPYS AOIFE helped trainer Ernie Gaskin match his father’s achievement of two Essex Vase victories as the two-year-old made all for a brilliant victory in the Coral-sponsored GBGB Category One event on Friday.
Gaskin snr stuck with Silver Walk (1987) and Up And Off (1993), while Ernie himself landed the spoils with Brickfield Dream in 2008. He always believed the July 2017 daughter of Droopys Sydney and Droopys Hilda would take some beating if leading up – and so it proved.
Racing to a 13.45sec split which helped her get to fast-starting Shotgun Bullet (Derek Knight) as the bend approached, Droopys Aoife was soon in full flow but was quickly under pressure from King Dylan, as the Liz McNair-trained runner moved menacingly into contention off the second bend.
However, Droopys Aoife was not stopping and, improving out of seasonal rest, kept on well to keep joint-favourite King Dylan at bay and claim the £10,000 prize by a length in 35.08sec. King Lennon, Dylan’s brother and the other joint-favourite, kept on well to finish third.
Winning trainer Gaskin said afterwards: “That was fantastic and I’m so proud of her. I knew she was coming to herself after season and knew she’d take some catching if able to lead. I’m delighted to win for the lads who make up the Gaskin Greyhound Partners, which include Peter Stevens, who owned the great Sard.
“She was a really popular bitch and won the Champion Stakes at Romford, so there’s a nice link there. We’ll likely bring back Droopys Aoife for the Coronation Cup and hopefully she’ll have Roman Empire for company. He’s back after injury and the Coronation Cup might be perfect for him.
“I’ve got as nice a kennel of dogs now as I’ve ever had,” added Gaskin. “We won the Trafalgar Cup last week with Droopys Addition and Lambeth Way has been doing well in sprints. Newinn Cracker was unlucky here in the semis of the Essex Vase and there are a good few others who we’re delighted with just now.”
Mark Arkell, Romford’s racing manager, congratulated connections of Droopys Aoife and explained the unfortunate situation regarding the withdrawal (non-arrival) of track record holder Sparta Master, whose trainer Sharon Thompson was held up in horrendous M25 traffic after a crane overturned and closed both carriageways.
Arkell said: “Unfortunately, Sharon Thompson arrived at 8.37pm and her cut-off time was 8.23pm. We gave her every chance and called her around six times from 6pm. We gave her over two hours to arrive for the 45-minute cut-off under GBGB Rule 112.
“It was an an extremely unfortunate situation and, first of all, it’s right to have utmost sympathy for Sharon. It was such a shame for her not to make her first Cat One final due to circumstances out of her control. Hopefully she can come back early next year and aim Sparta Master for the Coronation Cup.
“The final was a special one and congratulations to Droopys Aoife and our former trainer Ernie Gaskin. She ran a blinder and was really game to hold off a strong challenge from King Dylan. That was certainly the highlight of the night on the track, although well done also to Patrick Janssens after his Skilful Sandie won the Mitch Millward Marathon.
“Skilful Sandie was just three spots off the track record for 750m. It was a tremendous effort from an exciting bitch. I’m pleased for the owners as they are very good supporters of Romford and, of course, it was special to remember Mitch Millward and also Dick ‘Adageo’ Barfoot who both had races named in memory of them.”