A bumper January is predicted by Kent’s sole greyhound racing venue as the relaunch of Saturday night racing coincides with the start of one of the UK’s most historic competitions.
Central Park Stadium in Sittingbourne will open its doors on Saturday nights through 2024 as part of a fixture reshuffle which will see weekly meetings also held on Monday afternoons, Tuesday evenings and Friday mornings.
The Church Road venue’s first Saturday fixture of the new year on January 6 will include heats from the opening round of the Arena Racing Company Cesarewitch, worth £12,500 to the winner.
First held in 1928 at West Ham Stadium, the competition celebrates its 85th running in the new year and is open to 36 of the fastest greyhounds in training.
Previous winners include the legendary Scurlogue Champ and Mick The Millar - who in April was inducted into Wembley Stadium’s ‘Wembley 100’ Hall of Fame to celebrate 100 years since the national stadium first opened its doors.
The upcoming renewal marks the second time Central Park has hosted the Cesarewitch, and General Manager Hayley Huntley is forecasting a strong start to the new year both on and off the track.
“Bringing historic competitions which have been embedded into the UK’s sporting landscape for almost a century to Central Park is really pleasing,” said Hayley. “The Cesarewitch is a competition engrained in the UK greyhound racing calendar, and one all trainers and owners will be keen to win.
“We’re equally pleased to bring back Saturday evening racing in the new year which will appeal greatly to our regular and casual racegoers in search of a fun, family friendly, night out.
“Through our ongoing partnership with Retired Greyhounds Canterbury, they’ll be opportunities for guests to get up close and personal to some retired greyhounds too and learn more about how they make great pets in retirement.
“Following a hugely successful 2023 topped by the completion of our major investment into the track surface, we’re enthusiastic for the new year and four Category One competitions in 2024.”
Round One of the Arena Racing Company Cesarewitch begins on Saturday, January 6, with the Semi Finals scheduled a week later. The £12,500 Grand Final is then held on Saturday, January 20.
Tickets for all fixtures in January are available via the track’s website – www.centralpark-greyhounds.co.uk. Racing on Saturday evenings begins at 6.38pm.