Central Park Stadium

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Central Park
Full name Central Park Stadium
Location England Sittingbourne, Kent
Coordinates Coordinates: 51°20′54″N 0°45′33″E / 51.34824°N 0.75926°E / 51.34824; 0.75926
Owner Cearn Sports
Operator Cearn Sports
Capacity 6000 (2000 seats)
Surface Grass with greyhound track
Construction
Built 1990
Opened 1990
Tenants
Greyhound racing & speedway

Central Park 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 Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evening.

Facilities[edit]

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.

History[edit]

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 which 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.

Greyhound Racing[edit]

Competitions[edit]

Opening[edit]

Sittingbourne opened on Tuesday 3 October 1995 and 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. [2]

History[edit]

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. However during 1996 Roger Cearns re-opened the stadium; Cearns was the grandson of WJ '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. [3]

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. [4]

Lenson Joker won the 2008 Greyhound of the Year and John Mullins won the 2011 TV Trophy on his home track with Knockies Hannah, [5] 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. [6]

In 2017 following the closure of Wimbledon Stadium the track received two more high profile competitions called the Springbok and Juvenile.[7] The Springbok was inaugurated in 1937 [8] and is the leading competition for novice hurdlers.[9] The Juvenile was inaugurated in 1957 and is an invitation competition for the best six greyhounds who still have a puppy status.[10]

Track records[edit]

[11]

Distance Greyhound Time Date
265m Westmead Shaw 16.13 20.05.2012
450m Lenson Jed 26.93 26.01.2016
473m Droopys Vieri 28.53 26.03.2000
480m Coolavanny Bert 28.50 20.11.2011
500m Jet Stream Duke 29.84 16.03.2014
642m Touch Tackle 39.44 19.10.2014
708m Brimardon Star 43.70 02.08.2009
893m Aayamzabella 56.49 17.10.2013
916m Ericas Equity 58.09 17.08.2003
943m Blonde Blitz 60.18 18.07.2010
473mH Ballmac Keano 29.41 01.07.2001
480mH Mash Mad Snowy 29.20 01.06.2014

Speedway[edit]

In May 2013, National League speedway returned to the county of Kent, with the newly formed Kent Kings racing at the stadium.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Track Search". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 25 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2003). Greyhound Annual 2004, page 174. Raceform. ISBN 1-904317-21-9. 
  3. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2002). Greyhound Annual 2003, page 62. Raceform. ISBN 1-904317-07-3. 
  4. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008. page 206. Raceform. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4. 
  5. ^ "Result". Greyhound Board of Great Britain. 
  6. ^ "Special Feature: Greyhounds getting back on track". Kent News. 
  7. ^ "The family legacy spanning right back to when it all began". Racing Post. 
  8. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN 07207-1106-1. 
  9. ^ Hobbs, Jonathan (2007). Greyhound Annual 2008, page 158. Raceform. ISBN 978-1-905153-53-4. 
  10. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, pages 148-149. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5. 
  11. ^ "Track records". Greyhound Data. 
  12. ^ "Kent Speedway". Kent Kings. Retrieved 23 January 2013. [permanent dead link]

External links[edit]