CENTRAL PARK has announced details of the 2018 Springbok, with confirmation that the Category One novice hurdlers’ championship will go ahead despite the current uncertainty over Sky Sports continued greyhound coverage.
The Kent track stepped in to hold the competition for the first time this year when Wimbledon’s closure was imminent, and further cemented its reputation as the home of hurdling with the Grand National already in situ.
Promoter Roger Cearns, a longstanding fan of jumps racing, is once again sponsoring it under the Cearnsport banner, with heats scheduled for Friday evening, February 16.
Semis of the 480m hurdles competition are on February 23 and the final scheduled for Friday, March 2, although that is provisional should Sky Sports coverage continue and a change of date be required.
The conditions stage that qualifying times – automatic entry is for the fastest 36 over the course and distance – can be posted from November 1, while the competition is open to greyhounds who have not won a hurdles race in any country prior up to and including November 30.
Barry Stanton, Central Park’s consultant, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to publish the conditions of next year’s Springbok so that all connections of tomorrow’s hurdling stars can prepare early for what we hope will be a revival year for hurdles racing.
“The competition is for the fastest 36 greyhounds that have trialled at Central Park and, in the event that numbers do not meet expectations, we will consider ways to accommodate all of the hurdling hopefuls, with the permission of the GBGB of course.
“As an example, if we had 30 qualifiers we could run six heats of five greyhounds or, as last year, four heats of six greyhounds with reserves should we have less than 30.
“But I’m confident given the advance notice of this competition and with the help of the media we’ll make this a bumper year for greyhounds trying this exciting code of racing for the first time.”
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