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Kent Silver Salver - Central Park 265m - £3,000



THE reigning GBGB Sprinter of the Year Roxholme Hat (pictured) rubber-stamped his position as the top of the two-bend tree when completing an unbeaten run through the Kent Silver Salver at Central Park on Friday


Trained by Hayley Keightley for herself and part-owners Martin Green and Duncan Lambie, last year’s Scurry Cup champion showed his class when pacing up on the wide outside to quickly seize the initiative from fast-breaking Troy Bella and win by six lengths.


Roxholme Hat clocked the event’s fastest time of 16.36sec (-30), a phenomenal effort in the conditions, with his calculated time amongst the best runs ever at the Kent venue given the track record is held by Murlens Crash with a 2014 return of 16.00sec.


Mark Keightley, husband of the trainer, was delighted with the performance which underlined everything he believes about the two-year-old - even though he has mixed emotions given he missed the entry date for the Bresmed Northern Sprint at Sheffield, starting on Tuesday.


“I got wrapped up in the travelling to Central Park and missed the cut-off point at Sheffield. My mistake but we’ll keep him to one-offs with the target of the Festival Flyer at the Sunderland Festival. It’d be good to go one better there this year!


“As for the Silver Salver, it extra pleasing because it was a very late call to enter. ‘Tommy’ doesn't travel great at all and, with each round being on a Friday, it was only a coin-flip which made us go for it - thankfully we called heads!


“After feeling his way round initially in the opening heats, he improved significantly in the semis - but his final run was something else. It was sprinting of the highest calibre - in fact I believe it was faultless.


“I think he confirmed when breaking on terms he’s best in the division - and by some way. It’s my view his run last night is probably the best so far in an already established career. He pulled clear of the rest in great style - especially when you think how well Troy Bella broke.


“To win after that takes special ability. It’s not easily achieved, but Tommy has got just that.”


Kieran Lifley, Central Park general manager, praised the winner and was delighted with the night despite the weather.


He said: “The rain didn’t hold back the crowds - or Roxholme Hat! He was clearly a deserving winner and lived up to his billing as Sprinter of the Year. He came into the final unbeaten with an impressive run in the semis and was always clear favourite to take the Silver Salver.


“With the very capable Troy Bella on his inside, he wasn’t going to have the start his own way, but Roxholme Hat was always going to win once hitting the front - and in style. It topped off a well-supported night with a sold-out restaurant and a good overall-sized crowd.”


Central Park results: