NSW King Chasing Super Stayers Crown

NEWLY crowned 2023 NSW GOTY Palawa King can underline his status as Australia’s best stayer with a fourth Group 1 victory on Saturday.

NEWLY crowned 2023 NSW Greyhound of the Year Palawa King can underline his status as Australia's best stayer with a fourth Group 1 victory on Saturday night at The Meadows.

On Thursday night in Sydney, Palawa King was anointed NSW's best, kick-starting what could be a massive three days for well-travelled Forbes trainer Jack Smith and owner Errol Hughes.

A three-time winner at G1 level last year – each victory coming interstate, two in Melbourne and one in Brisbane – Palawa King eclipsed fellow GOTY finalists Ritza Piper, She's A Pearl and Zipping Orlando.

The distance powerhouse gave Smith his second GOTY title in three years, with Jungle Deuce claiming the gong in 2021, while he also raced 2004 winner Irinka Barbie, another top shelf stayer.

Palawa King's award was especially satisfying for Smith, who also trained his sire, former cult hero sprinter Feral Franky, a finalist in the 2019 NSW GOTY, won by litter brother Good Odds Harada.

"Palawa King won three Group 1s, so he had a very good year," Smith said.

"He hasn't won one at Wentworth Park yet, but there's not many big races for stayers there, aside from the (G1) Association Cup and (G2) Sydney Cup.

"I thought Feral Franky should've been Greyhound of the Year too. He made nine or ten Group races that year, but now he's he thrown a Greyhound of the Year from his first crop.

"I don't want Feral Franky any busier at stud! I'm the worst stud master in Australia," he added with a laugh, reflecting on Feral Franky's demand at stud.

Palawa King is warm $2.25 favourite to add an exclamation mark to his GOTY recognition in the G1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers (730m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.

Victory would see Feral Franky produce back-to-back winners of the Super Stayers, with Ariarne Bale saluting last year.

Palawa King qualified for the Super Stayers, one of three G1 events headlining the bumper Australian Cup meeting, with a jaw-dropping last-to-first heat victory.

It might only be February, but the performance will take some topping for Run Of The Year honours.

The trademark barnstorming 42.80sec success underlined Palawa King's affinity for The Meadows.

It was his second win from four 730m assignments at the venue, with his two defeats being thirds in G1 invitational events, the Zoom Top and last year's Topgun Stayers, while he's two for two over 600m.

"You just hold your breath with him!" Smith quipped.

Palawa King wins his heat of the Super Stayers in remarkable fashion Picture: Bluestream Pictures

"That's his style of racing. It comes down to when he decides to take off and how far in front of him they are.

"When he trials, his sectionals are as good as any sprinter, but he's just decided that's the way he wants to race.

"Box five is a good box for him. I don't want him drawn real wide, because he does head across to the fence.

"He'll run a race. I don't know whether you should be confident in a Group 1 race, especially with his style of racing.

"Obviously, we'd love to win. But there's $680,000 in the bank, so we're just racing for a bit of fun!"

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