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

IT just goes to show. There is no such thing in greyhound racing as a certainty. I foolishly fell into the trap of thinking Sober Call only had to turn up to win the Central Park Springbok on Tuesday but that proved far from the case.

I suppose given that this is a competition for novice hurdlers it is prudent to expect the unexpected. What was expected was an emphatic win for odds-on favourite Sober Call. What we got was a fairy tale winner who only a couple of months ago, had been laying on his back in retirement with his feet up.

Yasso Martin, a dog who was unable to fulfil what promised to be a fabulous career on the flat, finally landed the first running of this competition as a Category One with a blend of early speed and safe jumping

Sober Call, on the back of a faultless run through the competition that had included a track-record run at the first round stage, was the 1-3 favourite but when the Ricky Holloway dog trapped moderately and was held up on the way to the bend by crowding, it was all to play for.

Yassoo Martin(8-1) went ahead from trap six on the run to the turn. He was followed round by Dranoel in trap five, whilst the remainder pushed, shoved and hampered each other on the run to the bend.

That order was maintained into the back straight. The strong-running Dranoel attempted to pass Yassoo Martin on a couple of occasion but was outfoxed by the leader who was alive to his rival’s intentions through.

Off the last turn, the Barry O’Sullivan-trained Dranoel delivered one more challenge. Having tried to pass the leader on the inside, the Crayford dog tried a change of tack.

He ranged upsides Yassoo Martin on the outside as they straightened for home. But the leader’s natural desire to run wide on the straights meant the pair clashed.

It became a wee bit rough as they dashed for home with Dranoel edging inside and Yassoo Martin moving outwards. Ultimately, however, Yassoo Martin pulled ahead and won by half a length from Dranoel in 29.88sec (0.20sec slow).

The luckless Sober Call stayed on well for third after his early setback. For Holloway, it was a case of Déjà vu. A year ago Razldazl Radio, an impressive winner on the undercard on Tuesday, incidentally, was odds-on to land the then William Hill-sponsored Springbok.

He too was held up in the early stages but has gone on to enjoy a fulfilled career over hurdles as I am sure will be the case with Sober Call, who is just too good not to land a decent prize in the future.

WHAT CONNECTIONS SAID

George Andreas (Trainer of Yassoo Martin): “It’s a good feeling to have finally won the Springbok. Been close a few times but this was the right dog for this year’s competition. He had the early pace. That was so important. He was genuinely retired but one of the owners in particular was keen for him to race again, so I eventually agreed to give him a try. As for future, there are no firm plans. I will play it by ear.”

Martin Davis (Part-Owner Yassoo Martin): “I did nag George to bring him back and now we are all pleased he did. He has been an amazing dog. We bought him for £6,000 at the Wimbledon Sales. He has been a bit unlucky but at least he now has won a big one.”

Terry Crowther (Part-Owner Yassoo Martin): “It’s fantastic and I would like to thank George (Andreas) and all the people back at the kennels for making it possible. We bought him as a Derby dog and he has ended up winning a Springbok. We are not looking at this as a consolation but for what it is, a win in a great race.”

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

The Racing Post Juvenile was the feature of the under card.

The popular invitation created many years ago to test the merits of the previous year’s high-achieving puppies against each other pretty much still performs that role today.

It’s impossible to disguise the fact that the withdrawal earlier in the day of favourite and GBGB Newcomer of the Year for 2016 Bubbly Bluebird detracted from the race but we nevertheless had a top-quality line-up, that included Droopys Wilbury, the Harold Cross Juvenile winner, who was the 4-7 favourite for County Tipperary trainer Pat Buckley.

In the race, Droopys Wilbury trapped slowly but showed good pace to turn in second position behind Holdem Rio. The duo held first and second along the far side, until the duo crowded at the third bend which allowed Murrys Act, Kevin Boon’s 12-1 outsider to take closer order.

Showing easily the best pace in the latter stages Murrys Act powered through to take command and score by half a length going away in 28.99sec (0.20sec slow).

It capped a tremendous night for Boon who had a 142-1 double with Shaneboy Freddie (10-1) and Murrys Act (12-1).

WHAT CONNECTIONS SAID

Kevin Boon (Owner and Trainer of Murrys Act): “I knew he could win this race and I’ve been telling anyone that would listen for ages. He has tremendous pace both ends. Any dog that can do 24.10sec over 400 metres at Romford and 35.20sec over 575 metres there, has to be quick and strong and he showed that tonight. He is also very clever and he has tremendous track craft. No dog has won the Juvenile and the Derby but that has got to end and it may be this year. I think he’ll handle Towcester (the Derby venue) well and I am looking forward to him running there.”