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Cearnsport Springbok - Central Park 480h - £5,000

SOBER CALL took his record to six from six over the hurdles as he cruised into a Central Park Springbok final on Tuesday that will also feature four runners from the kennels of hurdling supremo Barry O’Sullivan.

It was quite a performance from the Ricky Holloway-trained Sober Call, who trapped like a scalded cat and made his rivals look pedestrian as he came home a shade over six lengths in advance of Nans Hunter.

The winning time was 29.00sec (0.10sec slow), which is three hundredths of a second shy of his 28.97sec track record, which was achieved on going rated as normal. To further put the run into context, the fabulously fast Razldazl Raidio earlier in the evening won over the same course and distance by three and a half lengths in a slower 29.39sec (0.10sec slow).

There was a view before Sober Call raced that his confidence might have been compromised by clattering the last hurdle in his heat last week. That, however, was clearly a case of clutching at straws as the recorded his fastest ever sectional (03.10sec) and was economical at the flights as he hacked up.

Nans Hunter and Mystical Charlie, the second and third, are both from O’Sullivan’s Kent kennels and earned their places in the £5,000-to-the-winner final is part of a live broadcast from the track by Sky Sports.

Whilst O’Sullivan was reduced to playing just a supporting role in the first semi-final, he was the star attraction in the second as his Dranoel maintained an unbeaten record in the competition with another strong-running display.

There is a lot to like about this September ’14 son of Wise Thought. He jumps well under pressure, has good track craft and possesses an ability to up the ante when the situation demands it.

He led at the second bend here and pulled clear to be the very talented Yassoo Martin by four and a half lengths in 29.58sec (0.10sec). What Dranoel clearly doesn’t have is the sheer pace of Sober Call, whose end time was more than seven lengths the quicker.

Scala Mink, a former top grade performer at Monmore who joined O’Sullivan to go hurdling, became the Crayford trainer’s fourth finalist by finishing third after leading in the early stages.



THE CENTRAL PARK SPRINGBOK FINAL (£5,000) – Tuesday, March 7


SOBER CALL is impossible to argue against in the final of the novice hurdlers’ competition, which has been elevated to Category One status this year when it is staged for the first time at Central Park following a switch from Wimbledon.

Ricky Holloway, with the assistance of the extremely smart scouting skills of Dolores Ruth, appears to have unearthed another timber-topping superstar in the shape of this June ’14 son of Kinloch Brae.

He bids for his seven-straight win over the obstacles in this Sky Sports-televised decider and if he gets a level start and produces a clean round of jumping there is nothing in this line-up that is going to stop him.

So, the most likely scenario is that Sober Call will break quickly, show his customary burst of early pace and lead throughout.

Of the others Dranoel and Yassoo Martin appear the most likely to threaten the probable long odd-on favourite. The former was ultra-impressive in the heats and semi-finals. In the latter of those two he comfortably accounted for Yassoo Martin.

As far as the George Andreas-trained Yassoo Martin is concerned, he needs a sizzling start and to take the race to this field. That, given the pace on the inside possessed not only by Sober Call and by the likes of Mystical Charlie, appears unlikely.

To summarise, Sober Call can make all. Dranoel appears to have the legs of Yassoo Martin for second.

The Trap Draw for the final is

1 Mystical Charlie

2 Nans Hunter

3 Sober Call

4 Scala Mink

5 Dranoel (m)

6 Yassoo Martin (w)