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Kent County Hurdle - Central Park 480mH - £2,500

 

COCONUT RAVER avenged a big-race defeat by favourite Sporting Ranger when winning the Kent County Hurdle Final at Central Park’s Kent Derby gala on Sunday.

Beaten into second by Sporting Ranger in the Kent National Hurdle at Crayford in August, a mistake from the Jason Heath-trained Hove raider down the far side when seemingly in charge of the Category Two event was pounced on by the eventual winner.

Trained by Gemma Davidson, who recently switched from Crayford to Central Park, Coconut Raver was again slowly away but was making ground inside when the whole complexion of the £2,500 race changed when Sporting Ranger hit the fourth hurdle.

Stumbling badly, Caislean Fifi found himself in front, but Coconut Raver was moving strongly inside and led off the final bend to edge Go On Taylor (Claude Gardiner) by half a length in 29.77sec (-20).

Davidson, who part-owns the Aug 2015 son of Forest Master and Droopys Twirl with Bill Churchman and Andy Walton, said: “Things opened up for him, and the race suited him. He takes time to wind it up but stays well and took his chance well. This dog doesn’t know when he’s beaten.

“It’s a great way to kick off our time at Central Park. I’ve been associated with Crayford for over 20 years, and we’ve only been at Central Park two weeks. We’ve been welcomed here and something like this is a great boost for all the kennel.”

Summing up the night, and the three major finals which made up the Ladbrokes Kent Derby Final gala, Central Park consultant Barry Stanton said: “It was a great night with a large enthusiastic crowd to watch what was a quality card.

“It was a terrific run by King Turbo to land the Ladbrokes Kent Derby and our congratulations go to Liz and Rab McNair, who recently contracted to Central Park, for their two major triumphs with King Nelson winning the Young Guns.

“But I was also impressed by Coconut Raver to land the inaugural Kent County Hurdle. He’s trained by Gemma Davidson who has also recently joined our training ranks, and Gemma and her team have settled in well.

“However, we are Central Park once again really appreciate the support from all of the outside open-race trainers, who have been extremely complimentary about the track and how safe and fair it is. 

“Thanks go to Ladbrokes for their sponsorship. They will sponsor the Kent Derby for the next two years and we’re very happy with the attendance, quality of racing and hospitality afforded their guests and are looking forward to next year already.”