The flight across the Tasman has not phased Queensland’s hopes at taking out New Zealand’s richest greyhound race, says top trainer Dave Irwin.
Mr Irwin, who trains Queensland’s only representative in the Platinum Paws final this Friday, named Size Can Matter, said the dog has settled in well despite the three-hour flight.
“He is in beautiful form and is looking absolutley first class after settling in this week,” said Mr Irwin.
“You wouldn’t even know that he had left home soil the way he raced last week.”
Size Can Matter won its semi-final last Friday at the Christchurch track in a blistering time of 30.14 with a winning margin of five lengths.
The Platinum Paws is New Zealand’s richest prize purse in the greyhound racing calender totalling $250,000, with $130,000 going to first place.
The 520m race will be held on Friday night at the Christchurch Greyhound Racing Club’s Addington race track.
Mr Irwin, who trains Size Can Matter with his father Victor, took over the training duties from successful Brisbane trainer Reg Kay in August.
To date, Size Can Matter has won a total of $44,250 in Queensland alone for owner Julie Edmondson.
Mr Irwin said box three would be favourable for the classy dog.
“With the way this track runs, it will be crucial to get to the front for the first turn,” he said.
“Its really an exciting opportunity to be over here, and now I am just looking forward to watching a fantastic race on Friday night.”
“And he really does chase the New Zealand lure far better than the Australian one.”
Queensland Greyhounds are currently trialling the New Zealand lure system at Albion Park trials.
The New Zealand system eliminates the need for a catching pen by allowing the dogs to pull up on the lure.
Mr Irwin said that the Queensland greyhound racing industry was emerging as a major player on the Australian stage.
“In my opinion Victoria is still the industry leaders,” he said, “but Queensland is fast approaching due to the calibre of dogs and a few key innovative thinking administrators.”
Size Can Matter heads in to the Platinum Paws as favourite, alongside New Zealand’s star Magic Spike, who won the fastest semi final of the race in 30.10.
The only other Australian hopeful in the race is South Australia’s Jaykayell from box eight.