Championship Play-Off Final: Michael Owen’s View
Brigadier Bullet was beaten at odds-on in December’s Category 1 Essex Vase final but he got back on track with a comprehensive victory in the semi-final of the Coronation Cup, also at Romford over 575 metres, last Friday. Consequently the lightly-raced July 2016 whelp is now BetVictor’s 4/5 favourite to land this £5,000 to the winner Category 2 contest.
Courtesy of a 13.59sec sectional time the Mark Wallis trained Brigadier Bullet clocked a fastest semi-final time of 34.95sec. Desperado Dan, trained by Wallis’ former head-lad Patrick Janssens recorded 35.28sec in winning his semi (a four-runner affair) and Chubbys Caviar, another Wallis inmate, clocked 35.35sec in a come-from-behind semi-final victory.
On times Brigadier Bullet has this race won but this is Romford and a missed break here can, and usually does, prove fatal. A draw in trap 6, as the only wide-runner in the race, is certainly a massive plus but will Brigadier Bullet enjoy another all-the-way victory? At odds-on I’d prefer to be a layer than a backer.
Off the pace victory?
The simple fact of the matter is Pink Osteria, who starts from trap 3, is the most likely leader. If this were a two-bend sprint I’d happily have the house on this locally-trained dog at 1/2 but I cannot consider her, even at BetVictor’s 14/1, for this final. Brigadier Bullet will most likely have to come from off the pace to score and there are plenty of strong finishers in the field that could find this race run more to their liking.
Pink Osteria’s advantage is likely to have disappeared by the fifth bend and whoever takes the lead at this point will surely go on to claim the winner’s prize. I’ve narrowed that down to three: The discarded Brigadier Bullet, Desperado Dan and Chubbys Caviar.
Two against one jolly
Chubbys Caviar has shown immeasurable improvement in recent months, making the Oaks final at the end of December and then going three-from-three since being upped to six-bends. She may appear to have some time to find on the clock but she accounted for Desperado Dan in the opening round of the competition and at this juncture her 35.25sec winning time was the fastest time posted amongst the six remaining greyhounds in this competition.
Blessed with a fair degree of early-pace Chubbys Caviar is sure to turn handy and may be the one to avoid any trouble-in-running and reel-in Pink Osteria. But the best finisher in the field looks to be Desperado Dan, a likeable sort with great track-craft and an eight-from-15 record in open races. He is also a winner of four from his last five starts, all at Romford, and all over 575m.
With a slow starter in trap 1 (14/1 kipper Romero Mandate) and the trail-blazing Pink Osteria in trap 3, this greyhound should have no problem finding a trouble free passage and may be in the leaders neighbourhood heading to the fifth bend.
So these are my two against the odds-on favourite. At 3/1 and 9/2 respectively you can back the pair and get a combined price in the region of 13/10 which I believe is a better proposition than the 4/5 (55.5% probable) about the big race favourite.
Desperado Dan 3/1
Chubbys Caviar 9/2