The New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association has just confirmed that they will be running one of the richest greyhound races to be held this year held in Australasia.
The Platinum Paws will be run at Addington in October and will feature leading dogs from New Zealand and Australia and carry a winner’s purse of $NZ153,000, making it one of the richest greyhound purses offered in both Australia and New Zealand.
The winning prizemoney on offer surpasses some of Australia’s most prestigious Group 1 races including the Australian Cup ($125,00 to the winner), the Paws Of Thunder ($100,000 to the winner) and the Topgun ($125,00 to the winer). Only the Melbourne Cup ($175,000 to the winner) and the Golden Easter Egg ($150,000 to the winner) offer winning prizemoney greater than the New Zeland Platinum Paws concept.
Details of the dazzling purse are only starting to emerge, but already trainers and owners are planning to buy dogs especially for the race, in what could become the biggest boost for the code in years.
The 520-metre race, on October 17, is being organised to commemorate the centenary of the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association, but it will not just be a one-off event, says chief executive Jeremy Kennerley.
“Greyhound Racing New Zealand will retain ownership of the Platinum Paws as it will be conducted by other clubs like Auckland in future years,” Kennerley said.
“The Platinum Paws will see everything that Greyhound Racing New Zealand aspires to and, in conjunction with the New Zealand Racing Board, we are offering a stake to reflect the occasion.”
The format of the Platinum Paws will see heats for New Zealand-trained chasers contested in early October. A total of 24 greyhounds from these heats, plus reserves, will then be joined by eight invited Australian-trained dogs (two slotted into each semi) to contest four semifinals on October 10.
The semi-finals will very likely attract many of Australia’s best chaser’s who would’ve otherwise been engaged in the Paws Of Thunder series from September 20th through to October 4th at Wentworth Park. Other group races in Australia likely lose greyhounds to the Platinum Paws series will be the Group 2 Coca Cola Derby at Angle Park, the Group 2 Geelong Cup and the Group1 Vic Peters Memorial Classic.
The first two home in each semi will qualify for the final. The runner-up will receive $56,250 and third-placed dog $33,750, with all other runners earning $5000.
The race night will also mark the 60th anniversary of the Christchurch Greyhound Club, which will offer another high-stakes race during the meeting. Races worth a total of $400,000 will be carded on the night.
Kennerley said the Platinum Paws concept underlined the massive growth achieved by the greyhound code since totalisator betting was first allowed here 30 years ago.
Leading trainer Dave Fahey said yesterday two of his biggest owners were already set on buying more, better quality dogs, from Australia to contest the Platinum Paws.
He would set his kennel star Winsome Ashley for the new race and said he could have up to a dozen dogs in the heats. Winsome Ashley, who runs tomorrow in the heats of the Futurity at Wanganui, would more than double her already substantial bank balance of $113,000 should she win. “I’ve heard there’s a lot of interest already in Australia,” Fahey said. “There are a lot of smart dogs over there but we’ll have the home-track advantage. And you need a strong dog to win at Addington.”