The Cearnsport Springbok - History
NOW firmly established as the home of hurdling, the 2020 Cearnsport Springbok kicks off the big-race season here at Central Park for the sport’s leading timber-toppers.
Restricted to those who have not won a hurdles race before September 1, 2019, the Springbok paves the way for the Grand National and Champion Hurdle later in the year - giving the Kent venue the ‘triple crown’ of major hurdles competitions.
Dating back to White City, London, in 1937, the Springbok has been the launchpad for a host of future hurdling superstars and the roll of honour includes several who went on to grab Grand National glory later in their careers.
In recent years these have included Seamus Cahill’s Ballymac Manix (2016) and Mark Wallis’s Cornamaddy Jumbo (2014) while Bert Meadows’ Arfur Daley (1993) and Philip Rees’s Lemon Chip (1989) were two others to achieve the notable double.
Cornamaddy Jumbo Is the only greyhound who have won the triple crown of major hurdles events - he won the Springbok, Champion Hurdle and Grand National in 2015 - and that will be target for the owners and trainers of this year’s Springbok finalists.
Ricky Holloway (Droopys Cruiser, Nomansland Flyer) and Barry O’Sullivan (Forest Capri) have been here before. O’Sullivan won the 2015 Springbok with Reculver Ozzie when the event was staged at Wimbledon, while Holloway also has a great record in the event.
He has wins as a trainer with Westmead Meteor (2013), Lenson Wilson (2018) and Burgess Brandy last year, so success in 2020 could see him match Seamus Cahill’s four wins in the event, although the winningmost Springbok trainer is the late Philip Rees.
Father of Hove handler Richard, Rees numbered no less than six Springbok successes from Super Hunter (1978) through to Colorado Joker (1996). A real greyhound dynasty, Rees’s father Phil snr also won the Springbok twice.
Roger Cearns, whose family built Wimbledon Stadium, says the Springbok has as rich a history as any competition in greyhound racing - and a trophy to match.
“It’s magnificent and part of the sport’s great tradition - and we’re delighted to be staging the Springbok here. We first staged it in 2017 and it’s the perfect way for novice hurdlers to progress in this code of greyhound racing, which I have always been a real supporter of.
“We love hurdles racing here and thankfully so do our trainers. This year we don't just have Ricky (Holloway) and Barry (O’Sullivan) - they're regulars! - but it’s great to see one of our younger trainers in Luke Morrison have a runner, too.
“Well done also to Belinda Green - her track Crayford is also a great supporter of jumps racing, while welcome to Lee Field. He’s a trainer based out of Monmore Green in Wolverhampton, so has certainly been racking up the miles getting here.”
Central Park management wish connections of all this year’s finalists the best of luck and hope to see them represented back here later in the year for the Cearnsport Grand National and RPGTV Champion Hurdle.
THE 2020 CEARNSPORT SPRINGBOK FINAL
Trap 1 Bockos Rory
Owner: Greens Greyhounds
Trainer: Belinda Green, Crayford
An open-race winner on the flat at Central Park and Monmore (28.14), Bockos Rory raced in last year’s Derby at Nottingham for Patrick Janssens and reached the second round before going out behind eventual third Skywalker Logan. Bought by Belinda Green with the Springbok in mind, he lines up as one of the more experienced novices in
Sunday’s final having competed in H1 races at home track Crayford. Ran behind Forest Capri and Burgess Doc in trial stakes here before winning his heat to open his account over the jumps. Connections will be boosted by a plum trap one draw.
Trap 2 Droopys Cruiser
Owners: Multifruit Syndicate
Trainer: Ricky Holloway, Central Park
The ante-post favourite lines up as the first of two Ricky Holloway-trained finalists in Sunday’s £5,000 feature. Hoping to make it third time lucky in this year’s event after defeats in heat and semi-final, Droopys Cruiser boasts the best flat form of his rivals as a Monmore Puppy Derby finalist last year for Mark Wallis as well as open-race success at Henlow. All that flat speed was on show when he equalled the track record over 380mH at Crayford before Springbok qualification kicked in. Back-to-back trial stakes victories here announced him a real contender.
Trap 3 Nomansland Flyer (m)
Owner: Simon Trubshaw
Trainer: Ricky Holloway, Central Park
The former Monmore dog started his career in puppy races and A3 there, moving up to A1 on the flat then into open class - albeit with just one victory on the card. He therefore doubled his tally in Sunday’s semi-finals with a fluent win over kennelmate Droopys Cruiser. A solid and improving ‘second string’ for Ricky Holloway, the local handler is looking to add to a fantastic Springbok record given wins for Westmead Meteor(2013), Lenson Wilson (2018) and Burgess Brandy (2019) as a trainer and with Rossa Ranger (2001) and Kaysers Hill (2006) as an owner.
Trap 4 Forest Capri (w)
Owners: Reg Bird and Mark Charman
Trainer: Barry O’Sullivan, Central Park
An experienced sort having made the RPGTV Champion Hurdle Final for previous trainer Jason Heath, Forest Capri lines up in his second major decider here. A winner on the flat in Ireland at Newbridge, he ran A1/A2 at Hove before starting out over the jumps with Heath before switching to Barry O’Sullivan’s. Back-to-back trial stakes wins were followed by a heat victory and second to Burgess Doc in the semis. Comes from a kennel which has schooled a number of Springbok and Grand National winners - O’Sullivan himself trained Reculver Ozzie to win the Bok at Wimbledon in 2015 .
Trap 5 Madabout James (w)
Owners: Andrew Winter and Jamie Horrigan
Trainer: Luke Morrison, Central Park
This former Kevin Hutton-trained racer won an open on the flat here for the Derby-winning handler before joining Luke Morrison, who used to work for Hutton. Since switching to the young trainer’s kennel, Madabout James has won A1 and open class here. A trial stakes victory over the jumps in early January signalled connections’ Springbok intentions and he qualified for sunday’s final by staying on well in heats and semi. A well-bred sort, he is actually a half-brother of leading sire Confident Rankin and lines up as the oldest finalist in £5,000-to-the-winner decider.
Trap 6 Burgess Doc (w)
Owners: Andrea Dale, Kevin Marston, Alex Candlish, Jim and Lyn Butland
Trainer: Lee Field, Monmore
Ran for Irish trainer Pat Buckley in last year’s English Derby at Nottingham before a deal was brokered by Monmore trainer Craig Marston to buy the dog for owners with Lee Field - given Craig knew his fellow Monmore trainer was preparing a Springbok challenge! The least experienced runner in the line-up, Burgess Doc has nevertheless racked up the wins already including a fastest-of-the-night semi-final win on Sunday and now boasts three wins from just four starts over hurdles. A well-bred sort, his dam Badminton Maid is a sister of 2015 Oaks champion Ballydoyle Honey.
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