The Queensland greyhound racing history books will need a chapter dedicated to Ipswich-based trainer Reg Kay if this year's anything to go by.
Amongst a barrage of Group and Feature race wins for 2008, Mr Kay trains or owns three out of the four finalist greyhounds in the running for the prestigious Queensland Greyhound of the Year award.
As a trainer, Mr Kay is the first to have this many greyhounds contending the award with Knocka Norris and Made To Size as well as co-training Size Can Matter with fellow greyhound enthusiast, Jack Irwin.
The other contender for the coveted award is Queen Lauryn, who is trained by Tony Brett and owned by Queensland thoroughbred and greyhound racing caller Steve Hawkins.
Mr Kay said 2008 was a ‘dream come true' to have such a successful year.
“Being named in the final for the 2008 Greyhound of the Year is a great honour in itself but to have three dogs up for the prize is completely overwhelming,” Mr Kay said.
Mr Kay said while he would be ecstatic if any of his dogs win, he indicated Made To Size was his favourite.
“I have a real soft spot for Made To Size after his highs and lows over the past 12 months,” he said.
“He has undergone surgery four times this year, but has always come back in exceptional form.”
Highlights of Made to Size's 2008 campaign include the Group One Garrard's Winter Cup, breaking the 520m track record twice at Albion Park, the second of which was in his heat win for the Group One Sky Channel Brisbane Cup in December.
Size Can Matter has taken his top form across the Tasman to win the $250,000 Group One Platinum Paws in New Zealand, the Group One Perth Cup, and the Group Two Queensland Derby.
Knocka Norris showed great form before being forced to stud by injury in October, having won some of Australia's best races including the iconic Group One National Sprint Championship.
Mr Kay said his passion for greyhounds has only strengthened over his 40 years in the industry.
“I first got involved in the sport when running my own milk-run out in Redcliffe, and all the boys at the depot were into greyhounds,” he said.
“I then wanted to watch my own dog race so five years later I bought my first greyhound.
“I was so excited over my first win with a descent dog over 600m at Lawnton, I developed a great passion for it.”
A major turning point in Mr Kay's career was after a bet with Queensland trainer Renald Attard as to whose pregnant bitch would have the larger litter. The stake was a Set For Life scratch-it.
Mr Attard ending up winning the bet by two pups, and after three months, Mr Kay paid out on the bet and purchased the scratch-it. Mr Attard won the major prize.
In true Australian fashion, Mr Attard split the prize with Mr Kay, which puts $50,000 in each trainer's pocket over 10 years.
“It definitely makes a difference when you can concentrate on training rather than worrying about money,” said Mr Kay.
Mr Kay will learn if one of his top performing greyhounds is crowned Queensland Greyhound of the Year at the gala awards night at the Sofitel in Brisbane on February 28, 2009.
For further information on the Queensland Greyhound of the Year, or to book tickets to the gala event, please visit www.brisgreys.com.