A £500,000 investment to enhance the quality of the racing surface at Central Park Stadium in Sittingbourne has been praised by the venue’s greyhound trainers following completion.
Funded by Arena Racing Company, the major project saw Central Park’s previous racing surface and base make way for a new top with an updated drainage system also installed.
Work was carried out following research and discussions with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) – greyhound racing’s governing body - and the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI).
The group specialises in the development and ongoing maintenance of safe participation surfaces with clients including Wimbledon Championships, FIFA World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.
Central Park’s track profile coupled with its new drainage infrastructure and running surface ensures the sand-base will now be usable in all weathers within the GBGB’s Rules of Racing standards.
Harvel-based trainer Tony Collett was among those to compliment the new surface, adding that enhancements will help attract high-profile trainers to run their dogs in Kent’s major competitions.
“As a trainer with 50 years’ experience of caring for greyhounds, we’re very pleased with the move,” said Tony. “It underlines Arena Racing Company’s commitment to providing the safest racing surface possible which is one of the sport’s key priorities.
“All greyhounds representing our kennel have responded very well to the alterations and it’s been well-received by my staff and our owners alike.
“A good running surface is key to attracting the big names of the sport. And the quality of this year’s Kent Derby proves this – it’s the best competition hosted in Kent for many years.”
The project was completed ahead of Central Park’s 2023 renewal of the Category One Premier Greyhound Racing Kent Derby, worth £20,000 to the winner.
First held in 2000, the 36-greyhound competition is hosted over three successive weekends – with the final scheduled for Sunday, October 29, in the afternoon.
Dave Baldwin, Head of Racing (Greyhounds) at Arena Racing Company, said “We’re delighted with the results of the investment into the new running surface. The involvement of STRI and the GBGB with the project was key in achieving this and we are very grateful for their input.
“Track safety is paramount, and feedback received from trainers has been positive. We’re looking forward to an exciting conclusion to the calendar year with the final of the Premier Greyhound Racing Kent Derby taking centre stage.”
Category One racing returns to Central Park Stadium on Sunday, October 29, with the Grand Final of the Premier Greyhound Racing Kent Derby. Tickets can be purchased via www.centralpark-greyhounds.co.uk with racing scheduled to start at 2.04pm.