A heat/final series conducted at Wentworth Park in Sydney, the race has been as a Group 1 event since 2001 when re-named the Paws of Thunder. Prior to 2001 the race was known as the NSW St Leger and was first held in 1957 when taken out by Idle Sign.
Eight heats were held on Saturday January 13, with each winner progressing to the final. The race is held over the 520m distance and the top 64 greyhounds nominated under the graders ranking filled the eight heats.
Total prizemoney on offer in the 2018 final is $105,000 with the winner to receive $75,000. The 2017 winner was the Andrea Dailly trained Shima Bar, while other previous winners include Zoom Top, Size Seven, Winifred Bale, Pure Octane and Lochinvar Marlow.
|Date:||Saturday 20th January 2018|
|Race Time:||20:51 AEST|
|2017 winner||Shima Bar|
|2018 Paws of Thunder Odds|
Taking on the last heat of the night, the David Geall trained chaser jumped straight to the front from box 3 to run the fastest first 2 sections of all the heats and was just 0.07 outside the best of the heat winners Slick. A proven G1, the bitch has won 31 races in her career with her elite win coming in the Topgun back in October. Victory in the Paws Of Thunder heat was her third successive wins following wins in the heat and then final of the Warrnambool Summer Cup. Box 5 will make it a little tricky, however the daughter of Premier Fantasy has started twice in the yellow rug at Wentworth Park and been successful on both occasions. Those wins in heats of the Peter Mossman Classic and the Golden Easter Egg and her 520m record at Wenty is strong at 11:7-3-0.
Brisbane trained heat winner Slick lived up to his name when recording the fastest win of the 8 heats. Jumping from box 6, he had plenty of space to muster speed in the early stages and by the turn out of the front straight had worked across the rail to lead. Once in front the son of Dyna Lachlan was never in danger and exploded away for an impressive victory. The winner of 7 of his past 11 starts, included in that stretch was a narrow 2nd to Fast Times in the G1 Brisbane Cup at Albion Park after starting from box 6 when out-paced early which made his path harder but he still finished strongly. Starting from box 2 for the final the John McCarthy trained chaser has 7 wins and 2 placings from 10 attempts when wearing the check rug.
Trainer Mark Gatt has qualified two for the Paws Of Thunder final with It’s a Party to line up beside kennel-mate Ritza Lenny in the first Group 1 final of 2018. Starting his career in Tasmania where he recorded 12 victories in his first 18 starts, the son of Jagger Swagger was sent across Bass Strait to the kennels of Wayne Vassallo and had his first start in a Melbourne Cup prelude. Now under the care of Gatt, the chaser has started 8 times on the mainland recording 4 wins including his heat win from box 8. Away cleanly he was wide and out of trouble and chased hard all the way to nail Black Hole Sun on the line for the win. He starts again from box 8 where he should be able to repeat the trip and stay out of trouble. The question will be if he has the speed to run them down.