The biggest stake in the history of NZ greyhound racing in Australasia is heading to Queensland. Race favourite Size Can Matter comfortably won the $250,000 Platinum Paws final at Addington Raceway Friday night, and the $NZ135,000 first-place cheque.
Size Can Matter grabbed the initiative from the start and had the lead by the first turn. He opened a gap on the field down the back straight and defied the field to run him down in the final straight.
The hint of a challenge emerged down the back straight from the David Schofield-trained Huntly-based Yambla Jack.
He looked like he might be a contender swinging for home but once pressured, Size Can Matter lifted to resist the challenge.
The Malcolm Grant-trained Smash Palace dived through a gap on the rail to head the rest of the field. Grant is based in Lowcliffe in Mid-Canterbury
Dave Irwin, the trainer of Size Can Matter said his dog started perfectly.
“It got him to the lead into the first turn. He saw the checks (the No.2 dog) coming up and my bloke found a bit more when pressured.”
The dog’s official trainer is Irwin’s father, Jack, 82, who trained his first greyhound winner at age 12, in 1938.
“If it wasn’t for him, there’s no way we would have been here as the greyhound has suffered bad constipation problems. Dad used one of his old remedies to sort that out.”
Irwin had conditioned the greyhound to perfection. He brought the dog to Christchurch considerably earlier than the other Australians in the race to give him trialling and racing opportunities prior to the series.
The Irwin family had to meet the entire cost of the trip due to coming early while the other Australian dogs were funded by their various state greyhound bodies.
The greyhound will be left in Christchurch under the care of Daryl Barnes to prepare for the $120,000 New Zealand Cup on November 13.
Irwin will travel back to finalise the dog’s cup preparation.
Following that there is a possibility he will head to Auckland for the $60,000 New Zealand Shootout.
Schofield said racing down the back he was confident of Yambla Jack being able to pick up Size Can Matter.
“It took a very good dog to beat us, but we’re very proud of him.”
Grant was also delighted at getting a Canterbury dog into the major placings.
“I saw Smash Palace getting a lovely suck through on the rail down the back and from that point I couldn’t believe the amount of ground he made up to secure third.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling.”