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Palawa King better than ever ahead of another ‘Super’ clash

19 June 2024

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Star stayer Palawa King.

By Pat McLeod

Opponents of distance superstar Palawa King who are waiting for signs of the monarch’s racing decline are in for many months of disappointment, according to trainer Jack Smith.

In fact, the Forbes-based conditioner believes his three-and-a-half-year-old chaser is now stronger than he has ever been.

Palawa King is a solid favourite to continue his sensational form at Albion Park on Thursday night when he contests the four-dog Group 2 Super Stayers Invitational over 710 metres.

“I think he is a little stronger now than what he was 12 months ago,” Smith said.

“In this race last year he got run down (by Warren Nicholls’ Days Of Thunder).

“I don't know if that would happen this year. I do know that he is jumping out of his skin and will run a race.”

Thursday night’s field includes the Queensland queen of the track, Valpolicella (trained by Tony Zammit), who is yet to find her best form after returning from a southern campaign.

Valpolicella
Palawa King
Lena Jinx
Irish Millie Next Racing

The Palawa King and Valpolicella match-ups are among the headline acts of the current 2024 Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival. 

The NSW visitor has the early points, winning last Thursday night’s $100,000-to-the-winner Origin Greyhound Series Distance Final.

With that win and Valpolicella’s third in the race, both track stars passed the $1 million in prize money.

Smith said the ‘incredible’ prize money meant Palawa King’s reign as the nation’s top distance chaser could now be extended.

“We have to think a little bit differently these days because the prize money is so good,” he said.

“When you consider that two distance dogs just passed the $1 million mark last Thursday night, you know that the days are gone when you just send them around every week.

“I have a Group 1 dog and he is capable of winning those big races. So, we will do this carnival and then ease back off again.

“Then wait for the next big race. You want these great dogs to keep going and I want to be back up here next year and there is no reason why he can't."

Races

7
7

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:34 PM

TAB Origin Greyhound Series Distance F

Palawa King still has plenty of racing ahead. 

“If you keep their body together and their mind still wants to do it, well, we can keep going for a long while yet," the trainer said. 

“The owner of this dog (Errol Hughes) is really good. He just lets me do what I want to do. Until Errol turns up at my place to take the dog, he keeps racing and I will be doing my best to keep him going.

“(Laughs) We will target $2 million and then we will really get going.”

Smith undertakes the 12-hour drive from Forbes to Albion Park on Wednesday.

He says Palawa King ‘has pulled up really well’ after last Thursday’s Origin win.

He also loves the travel and the Albion Park track.

As Smith says, ‘His record tells me that’.

Of the five times Smith has trekked to Brisbane with Palawa King for a 710 metre race, he has won on four occasions and come third once for a prize money collect of just under $400,000.

Valpolicella from the Tony Zammit kennel.

“The good dogs will adapt to almost any track,” Smith said.

“If I am going that far with the dog, I am not worried about what box the dog is coming out of or what type of track it is.

“I am thinking that this dog is a genuine chance, and although the dog may not win, he is going to give me his best. It is too far to go to not have that belief.”  

Rounding out the four starters on Thursday night are Tony Brett’s Lena Jinx and Stephen Whyte’s Irish Millie.

The annual Winter Carnival ‘Super’ Night also includes the Lightning over 331 metres, Thunder over 395 metres, Tempest over 600 metres and Chairman’s Cup over 710 metres.

Each of these mini features has overall prize money of $18,500 with $12,025 to the winner.

Races

8
8

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:55 PM

GARRARD'S Super Stayers Invitational F