Central Park Stadium

Central Park Stadium formerly Sittingbourne Stadium is a greyhound racing track, and speedway track and former football stadium located in Murston, Sittingbourne, Kent, England.[1] Greyhound racing takes place every Friday evening in addition to their four SIS morning meetings.

Central Park
Full nameCentral Park Stadium
LocationSittingbourne, Kent
OperatorArena Racing Company
Capacity6000 (2000 seats)
SurfaceGrass with greyhound track
Construction
Built1990
Opened1990
Tenants
Greyhound racing

FacilitiesEdit

The stadium was built to a capacity of approximately 6000, with 2000 seats available in the Main Stand, two end terraces and a large covered terrace opposite the Main Stand. There are also four private suites, a trackside restaurant, three bars and a fast food cafeteria.

HistoryEdit

Sittingbourne FC played at the Bull Ground in the town centre until 1990 when they sold the site for £4.5 million and built a new state of the art stadium on the outskirts of the town named Central Park Stadium. However, overspending on the new ground caused the club financial difficulties and they were forced to sell the ground to the local council and lease it back. The ground was eventually leased to a company that ran greyhound racing events, who allowed the football club to sign a seven-year lease (a requirement of the Southern League). The club found it hard to guarantee the availability of the stadium due to the racing, however, and agreed to start playing their games on part of the complex where they used to train. This was built in 2002 and named Bourne Park.

SpeedwayEdit

In May 2013, National League speedway returned to the county of Kent, with the newly formed Kent Kings racing at the stadium.[2] The racing was held until the end of the 2021 season.

Greyhound RacingEdit

CompetitionsEdit

OpeningEdit

 
Sittingbourne Stadium construction c.1994

The track was supposed to have opened during 1994 but following several trial sessions was put on hold due to problems surrounding the football club. These included debts of £1.1 million and a £680,000 repair to a structural design fault with the roof of the stadium.[3]

Sittingbourne opened on Tuesday 3 October 1995, with a crowd 2,125; the new facilities included a track side restaurant, fast food outlets, three licensed bars and three private executive suites. The first ever race over 475 metres was won by Try My House for trainer Wayne Wilson. Wilson would also claim the first major win for the track when he won the 1995 Puppy Derby at Wimbledon Stadium with Corpo Election. The other trainers supplying runners on the opening night were Sonia Spiers, Derek Millen, Alison Ingram, Peter Galloway, Martin White, Ken Tester, Mick Mew & Tony Palmer.[4] The General Manager was John Aitken and the Racing Manager was Paul Nevett.[3][5]

HistoryEdit

Financial troubles surfaced again in 1996 and the track was forced to close and with no promoter available to run the stadium the future of the new venue was put into question.[6] However, during 1996 Roger Cearns re-opened the stadium;[7] Cearns was the grandson of W.J. 'Bill' Cearns the founder of Wimbledon Stadium way back in 1928. Cearns transformed the operation into a successful business and in the process negotiated a deal that brought the Trainers Championship to the track in 1998.[8]

Cearns then introduced the Kent Derby as the tracks principal event and managed to secure a second Trainers Championship in 2000. Cheryl Miller & Maxine Locke joined the training ranks soon after and Jess Packer was brought in as Racing Manager. Cheryl Miller reached the 2002 English Greyhound Derby final with Windgap Java, a first for Sittingbourne; the fawn dog had won the Pall Mall Stakes earlier in the year. Another major event was introduced at the track called the Kent Silver Salver, revived after being shelved following the closure of Canterbury. In 2003 Sittingbourne staged a third Trainers Championship within a six-year period and the track took over the running of the WJ Cearns Memorial) from Wimbledon.[9] In 2006 the track agreed a deal with Betfair to stage 10 Sunday meetings that were screened on Eurosport.[10]

Lenson Joker won the 2008 Greyhound of the Year and John Mullins won the 2011 TV Trophy on his home track with Knockies Hannah,[11] the first time the event had been held at Sittingbourne. In 2012 the track was granted permission to host the original classic race for hurdlers the Grand National which moved from Wimbledon. It was a major coup for the track.[12]

In 2017 following the closure of Wimbledon Stadium the track received two more high-profile competitions called the Springbok and Juvenile.[13] The Springbok was inaugurated in 1937 [14] and is the leading competition for novice hurdlers.[15] The Juvenile was inaugurated in 1957 and is an invitation competition for the best six greyhounds who still have a puppy status.[16]

In 2018 the stadium signed a deal with SIS to race every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning and every Friday evening.[17] Following the closure of Towcester in 2018, trainer Patrick Janssens joined the track[18] and later won the 2020 Trainer of the Year title.[19]

In April 2021, promoter Roger Cearns announced that the stadium had been sold to the Arena Racing Company.[20]

Track recordsEdit

CurrentEdit

Metres Greyhound Time Date Notes
265 Troy Bella[21] 15.99 24 March 2019 Silver Salver Semi-final
450 My Mate Max[22] 26.92 4 October 2016
480 Coolavanny Bert [23] 28.50 20 November 2011
500 King Eden[24] 29.46 3 October 2017
642 Affleck Bolt[25] 39.33 24 March 2019
708 Brimardon Star[26] 43.70 2 August 2009
893 Slick Strauss[27] 56.24 3 October 2017
943 Blonde Blitz[28] 60.18 18 July 2010
265 H Bockos Tiger[29] 16.54 13 September 2019
480 H Sober Call[30] 28.97 22 February 2017

PreviousEdit

Extended content
Metres Greyhound Time Date Notes
265 Fast Ranger 16.20 24 November 1999
265 Westmead Shaw [31] 16.13 20 May 2012
265 Murlens Crash [32] 16.00 16 March 2014
450 Parking Flash 27.46 4 June 2006
450 Jims Havana 27.35 17 June 2007
450 Citizen Skipper 27.26 24 May 2009
450 Jacks Back 27.10 8 July 2010
450 Farley Champ 27.00 25 March 2015
450 Lenson Jed [33] 26.93 26 January 2016
473 Rebel Leader 28.73
473 Droopys Vieri 28.53 26 March 2000 Trainers championship meeting
480 Reagrove Roe 29.09 4 June 2006
480 Lenson Joker 28.92 12 August 2007 Kent Derby heats
480 Lenson Bolt 28.91 16 August 2009 Kent Derby heats
480 Eye On the Flash 28.90 4 March 2010
480 Blonde Fletch 28.80 20 June 2010
480 Jazz Apollo 28.72 24 July 2011
500 Official Rebel 30.70 28 May 2006
500 Emporio Spitfire 30.60 4 June 2006
500 Macintosh Wonder 30.53 16 July 2006
500 Lenson Express 30.31 8 April 2007 WJ & JE Cearns Invitation
500 Lenson Earl 30.26 9 December 2007
500 Lenson Express 30.23 28 September 2008
500 Grayslands Tiger 30.14 24 May 2009
500 Lemon Maldini 29.97 24 July 2011
500 Toolatetosell [34] 29.75 10 August 2014
500 Jet Stream Duke [35] 29.84 16 March 2014
642 Gormanstown Star 40.60
642 Domingo Dancer 40.33 17 April 1998 Trainers Championship meeting
642 Lobo 39.96 7 October 1999
642 Droopys Zach 39.64 9 August 2009
642 Boomtown Polly 39.60 30 March 2014
642 Droopys Posh 39.58 11 May 2014
642 Touch Tackle [36] 39.44 19 October 2014
708 Sumi Girl 44.32 27 November 1998
708 Brimardon Star 44.00 3 May 2009
893 Redec Pride 59.62 22 October 2006
893 Slaneyside Demon 58.42 29 October 2006
893 Slaneyside Demon 57.64 5 November 2006
893 Omega Wink 57.44 29 July 2007
893 Gas Hawk 57.20 2 August 2009
893 Seamies Gambler 57.19 9 August 2009
893 Matching Amy 56.91 20 June 2010
893 Droopys Djokovic 56.82 31 July 2011
893 Buglys Billie 56.82 21 August 2011
893 Aayamzabella [37] 56.49 17 October 2013
916 Jodie With Flex 58.29 14 February 1999
916 Ericas Equity 58.09 17 August 2003
943 Baliff Perry 62.14 15 October 2006
943 Omega Wink 61.96 26 December 2006
943 Gaytime Beauty 60.74 12 August 2007
943 Omega Wink 60.69 15 August 2007
265 H Mystical Mick[38] 16.66 16 March 2014
265 H Barricane Jack [39] 16.61 15 February 2019
473 H Ballmac Keano 29.41 1 July 2001
480 H Borodale Hawk 31.02 26 November 2006
480 H Skippers Crew 30.58 3 December 2006
480 H Nickel Trader 30.53 9 March 2007
480 H Nickel Trader 30.40 18 March 2007
480 H Carnaree Honcho 30.06 7 April 2007
480 H Westmead Vieri 29.90 19 May 2007
480 H Castledale Lad 29.71 19 August 2007
480 H Platinumlancelot 29.45 30 July 2009
480 H Sizzlers Spirit 29.44 15 July 2010
480 H Mash Mad Snowy [40] 29.20 1 June 2014
480 H Razldazl Raidio [41] 29.18 11 September 2016
480 H Ballymac Manix [42] 29.17 18 September 2016
480 H Razldazl Raidio [43] 28.99 25 September 2016

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Track Search". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 25 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Kent Speedway". Kent Kings. Retrieved 23 January 2013.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Remember When - October 1994". Greyhound Star.
  4. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2003). Greyhound Annual 2004, page 174. Raceform. ISBN 1-904317-21-9.
  5. ^ "Sittingbourne lift-off, Tuesday 3 October". Sporting Life. 1995.
  6. ^ "Remember When - July". Greyhound Star.
  7. ^ "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 1997) March edition". Greyhound Star. 2012.
  8. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2002). Greyhound Annual 2003, page 62. Raceform. ISBN 1-904317-07-3.
  9. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008. page 206. Raceform. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4.
  10. ^ "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 2006)". Greyhound Star. 2012.
  11. ^ "Result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Special Feature: Greyhounds getting back on track". Kent News. Archived from the original on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  13. ^ "The family legacy spanning right back to when it all began". Racing Post.
  14. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1.
  15. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008, page 158. Raceform. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4.
  16. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, pages 148-149. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
  17. ^ "SIS announces schedule for SIS British Greyhound Service for 2018". SIS.
  18. ^ "In-form Janssens switches to the Central Park ranks". Central Park Stadium. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Trainer's of the Year standings". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  20. ^ "ARC AGREES TO ACQUIRE CEARNSPORT LTD – PRESS RELEASE". Greyhound Star. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  21. ^ "KENT SILVER SALVER SEMI FINAL 1". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  22. ^ "2016 track record result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  23. ^ "2011 track record result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  24. ^ "2017 track record result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  25. ^ "CENTRAL PARK STAYERS". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  26. ^ "2009 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  27. ^ "2017 track record". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  28. ^ "2010 track record". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  29. ^ "FASTEST OF THE YEAR". Greyhound Star.
  30. ^ "Result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  31. ^ "2012 track record result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  32. ^ "2014 track record result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  33. ^ "2016 track record result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  34. ^ "2014 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  35. ^ "2014 result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  36. ^ "2014 track record result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  37. ^ "Result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  38. ^ "2018 track record result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  39. ^ "FASTEST OF THE YEAR". Greyhound Star.
  40. ^ "Result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  41. ^ "Result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  42. ^ "Result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  43. ^ "Result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°20′54″N 0°45′33″E / 51.34827°N 0.75930°E / 51.34827; 0.75930