RPGTV Champion Hurdle – 480mH Central Park – £8,000
LENSON WILSON and Droopys Trawler will aim to give their respective trainers Ricky Holloway and Seamus Cahill a fifth victory in an event the pair have dominated in recent years when they line up in Sunday’s £8,000 final of the RPGTV Champion Hurdle at Central Park.
Narrowly fastest in the weekend’s semi-finals was Lenson Wilson as the near five-year-old rolled back the years to hit the front close home against the rails to edge out longtime leader Billericay Blue (Jim Reynolds) and Swift Loki (James Turner) in 29.82sec (-10) for the 480m hurdles trip.
This semi-final saw the elimination of Holloway’s reigning champion and prolific-scoring Turnhouse Jet – later reported lame – but Holloway still has the 2018 Champion Hurdle winner in his corner who will be looking to win back the title he won back two years ago – and add to Holloway’s fine record in the event.
Lenson Wilson also made the final last year and looks now to add to the kennel’s victories with himself in 2018, Soviet Military (2013), Razldazl Raidio (2016) and Turnhouse Jet (2019). However, the Cahill camp also eye a fifth Champion Hurdle win after Droopys Trawler’s brilliant off-the-pace win in Sunday’s semi-finals.
Last at the first bend, last year’s runner-up behind Turnhouse Jet powered through to lead round the outside of Mane Mane (Ernie Gaskin) and Toughest Test (Jim Reynolds) approaching the last bend to win by a length in 29.94sec (-10) – giving him a chance to add to Cahill’s own Champion Hurdle roll of honour.
The Hove handler first won the Champion Hurdle at Wimbledon with Top Jock (2002) before following up at Plough Lane with wins for Farloe Browny (2003) and Druids Mickey Jo (2005) before Ballymac Manix (2017) struck at Towcester on Derby Final night at the Northamptonshire venue.
Looking forward to Sunday’s final, Central Park’s racing manager Dan Homewood said: “It looks a cracking final with plenty of ifs and buts and some superb stories. Obviously Ricky (Holloway) and Seamus (Cahill) have a great record in the Champion Hurdle and both have good chances of winning again.
“But from a hurdling point of view it’s good to see a few other trainers involved, and I’m sure Ricky and Seamus will agree that’s good for this part of the sport. Well done to Jim Reynolds for being doubly handed in the final and to James Turner and Ernie Gaskin for getting runners through.
“I think Ernie’s done a terrific job with Mane Mane. He’s made both the Springbok final last year and then was injured in the Grand National final – he was off for something like seven months. To then come back and reach another major hurdles final is a great achievement and he ran well in the semis.”
“It should be another good night here – albeit we’re as disappointed as everyone not to have crowds back. Roger (Cearns, promoter) is pushing for that to happen and hopefully we’ll have some news soon. But we had a great Kent Silver Slaver backed by Colossus Bets and our thanks go to RPGTV for their backing of the Champion Hurdle.”
Draw for Sunday’s final:- www.centralparkstadium.co.uk/assets/uploaded/files/documents/aug-2nd-finals.pdf