CENTRAL PARK will introduce a series of trial stakes – plus a consolation race – for this year’s RPGTV Grand National.

The Grand National Trophy – first contested in 1927 Photo: © Steve Nash

The hurdlers’ Classic closes to entries on Wednesday, April 21, with heats on Sunday, April 25. A first prize of £7,500 will be won on final night on Sunday, May 9, and all the action will be SportyStuffTV/RPGTV and SIS.

Announcing this boost for owners and trainers of hurdlers, Central Park promoter Roger Cearns said: “We had a fantastic Springbok and a final where the result was in doubt right to the end. Well done to David and Julie Mullins – and Droopys Rex!

“I’m sure Rex and the Mullins team will be back for the RPGTV Grand National and their attempt to win the second leg of the jumps’ triple crown – and they might decide to prepare him for that with a run in a trial stakes here if that suits their plans.

“I thought this year’s Springbok was a good competition in terms of quality of jumping and competitive racing. Given we had no outside sponsor this year it was very much Central Park’s and thanks to all my team in difficult circumstances.

“But we’re always looking at things and take constructive opinion on board and something that might have improved the final night card even more would have been a Springbok consolation – Seamus Cahill said as such, and he’s right.

“We’ll look to introduce one for RPGTV Grand National 2021 Final night on Sunday, May 9, plus we’re also planning to stage Grand National trial stakes each Sunday until the event proper starts.

“It’s added publicity for the big-race sponsors, in this instance RPGTV, so we’ll be in contact with the GBGB to arrange these. It gives trainers every opportunity to get their hurdlers ready for the big event.”

Ricky Holloway, trainer of Sunday’s Springbok runner-up Meenagh Maverick, said: “It’s great news Central Park are to run trial stakes and a consolation for the Grand National.

“There were some very good hurdlers who didn’t have the luck perhaps – and a consolation final as such gives them another chance to win a decent race on the supporting card.

“It’s something of a cliche in greyhound racing, but consolation finals are often run in a faster time than the finals themselves! Either way it’s another opportunity for trainers of hurdles and that’s a great thing for the game. Well done all.”

The RPGTV Grand National 2021


Entries close: Wednesday, April 21

Heats: Sunday, April 25

Semi-finals: Sunday, May 2

Final: Sunday, May 9