Coral TV Trophy – Romford 925m – £10,000
RIVERSIDE HONEY kicked off a fantastic 48 hours for Irish-based trainer Graham Holland when setting a new track record in the heats of the Coral TV Trophy at Romford on Friday.
The marathon showpiece shared the stage with the Coral Champion Stakes Final on a night Romford celebrated the Grand Opening of its new grandstand – and new figures for the 925m trip at the London Road venue was one of the major highlights on the track.
Soon in front in the opening heat, Riverside Honey was never headed and drew steadily away to win by seven lengths from Bumblebee Bullet (Mark Wallis) in 58.57sec, five spots inside Aero Rebel’s previous mark set in 2012.
“That’s brilliant and fingers crossed now for next week,” said Nicky Holland, wife of the trainer, who returned to Ireland overnight with the winner and was on duty at Shelbourne on Saturday as the Hollands won two of the four Irish Derby quarter-finals.
Nicky Holland added: “She’s been running on well over 750yd races in Ireland, but wants even further and we don’t have too many marathons across the water. I thought she was brilliant tonight and I’m delighted myself. She’s the first track record holder I’ve owned!”
Burgess Honey, winner of the Kent Cesarewitch (874m), struck in heat two for Tony Gifkins as she overcame an unpromising early position to hit the front off the last bend to catch the Chris Akers-trained Causeway Sergie by two lengths in 59.24sec.
“She’s been running well for us for a while now,” said Lee Gifkins, son and assistant of the trainer. “She’s been beaten here by thieves of Savana Winner and Aayamza Breeze which is no disgrace – they’re great bitches – but ours is still quite young.
“She made sure she was in front at the line – and at the pick-up, too, but must have 15 lengths behind at one stage!” he added. “We’ve got trap five in the final and she won the Crayford race from the orange jacket, so hopefully that proves an omen. It’s a great race.”
The third heat went to Aayamza Breeze, the Regency champion, who edged out old rival and defending champion Savana Winner (Diane Henry) to help make it a great night for Mark Wallis’s team, who later won the Champion Stakes Final with Aayamza Express.
Kevin Ulla, kennelhand at Imperial Kennels, said: “We know she stays well and she’s run well tonight. She just keeps on producing, owes us all absolutely nothing, and deserves to be in a TV Trophy Final. We can look forward to that now.”
Andrew Rosindell MP, involved in the official opening of the new grandstand, said: “The track is a huge part of the local community here – and has been for some 90 years now. There is great tradition here.
“The investment by the owners is fantastic and, as the local MP and someone who has spent most of my life coming here, it’s been my great pleasure to be involved in the Grand Opening. I implore everyone to come and enjoy a night at the dogs here at Romford.”
Draw for Friday’s £10,000 Coral TV Trophy Final: 1 Aayamza Breeze, 2 Causeway Sergie, 3 Bumblebee Bullet, 4 Savana Winner (m), 5 Burgess Honey (m), 6 Riverside Honey (w).