RPGTV Champion Hurdle – Central Park 480m – £8,000
RICKY HOLLOWAY dominated the heats of the RPGTV Champion Hurdle at Central Park on Sunday with a treble landed, including victory for defending champion Lenson Wilson.
Lining up in the last of four heats at the Kent venue, Lenson Wilson improved an impressive strike-rate still further when making virtually all to cross the line a length and a half clear of Piemans Bullet in 29.91sec – the fastest time of the night for the 480m hurdlers trip.
Kennelmates Turnhouse Jet (30.03sec) and Shaneboy Bowie (30.00), the latter coming through strongly to catch Grand National champion Caislean Fifi (Seamus Cahill), completed the treble for the local handler, with the Cahill-trained Droopys Trawler (30.24sec) winning the other heat.
“I’m delighted with the entire team, all four of them – we also qualified Razldazl Star, too – and can look forward to Sunday’s semi-finals,” said Holloway. “Central Park continues to do great things for hurdles racing, as does Crayford it should be said, and we must cherish them.
“You need a strong and good hurdler to win at Central Park and all mine are. Turnhouse Jet was some six weeks or so behind my other Springbok runners – which we won with Burgess Brandy – given he came into the kennel late and the Grand National came too soon for him.
“He’s caught up now and is a really strong-running hurdler. We know what Lenson Wilson is all about – he’s real class and has done some great times here – and we’ve kept him fresh for this. He’ll not be over-raced because I’d love another crack at the Grand National with him next year.
“Shaneboy Bowie really is capable of anything, but I quite fancied him in the heats,” added Holloway. “He’s just been coming to himself of late, jumping well, and is really strong-running so I knew if he could turn close enough behind Caislean Fifi it would be race-on and so it proved.”
Holloway took the opportunity to pay tribute to larger-than-life racing pundit John McCririck, who died last week, describing ‘Big Mac’ as a great supporter of greyhound racing and a real ally to the sport’s major causes.
“John and his wife Jenny were really supportive of us during the Save Our Stow campaign, and we’ll never forget that, said Holloway. “Whereas some other celebrities turned the other cheek, John was there giving us great support both personally and via the media.”
Roger Cearns, Central Park promoter, has a share in both Lenson Wilson and Razldazl Star and is delighted with the pair making it through to Sunday’s Champion Hurdle semi-finals – and the fact they go in separate semis. The first three in each qualify for the £8,000 decider.
Cearns said: “Ricky’s doing a great job with them – and for hurdling. It’s difficult for tracks to stage hurdles races because they don’t have the support of their trainers – we do. We’re fond of jumps racing and racegoers enjoy good hurdles racing too.”
Trap draw for Sunday’s semi-finals:-
First semi: 1 Droopys Trawler, 2 Mystical Sparkey, 3 Lenson Wilson (m), 4 Antigua Diamond (w), 5 Jaytee Samurai (w), 6 Caislean Fifi (w).
Second semi: 1 Piemans Bullet, 2 Barricane Jack, 3 Turnhouse Jet (m), 4 Razldazl Star (w), 5 Forest Capri (w), 6 Shaneboy Bowie (w).