By Marc McGowan
TOP CRANBOURNE greyhound trainer Jason Thompson has taken out the Group 1 Paws of Thunder final, after Suave Fella steamed home to snatch the 520-metre Sydney race on Monday night.
It was Suave Fella’s tenth victory from 28 starts, including a further 10 placings.
The $100,000 prize was easily its biggest win, considering the fact it had earned just $27,050 in its young career before the race.
The newly crowned champion is owned by Steve Connor and it is the first dog in his kennel to be trained by Thompson.
“It’s a pretty good feeling,” Thompson said.
“I had two in the final (Andy Palmer, who finished sixth), so I hoped to run a place, but I didn’t expect to win it.”
Both of his greyhounds had bad starts, with Suave Fella sitting sixth, and Andy Palmer languishing in last place, from boxes one and four respectively.
However, it did not take long for Suave Fella to get going, as he grabbed the inside running and stormed through the field to win easily by one-and-a-quarter lengths from Wongawillisue (second) and Brother Knows (third).
“He did a lot wrong and still won it, so it makes the win even better,” Thompson said.
The Paws of Thunder is a three-week series and Suave Fella finished second in his opening heat of the series, before winning his semi-final to progress to the final.
Thompson has enjoyed a lot of success in his training career and rates Whisky Assassin and Awesome Assassin as the best greyhounds he has trained.
“Suave Fella is still relatively young; he hasn’t had the chance to stamp himself yet. He’s not a world-beater; he’s just an honest dog,” he said.
“He’s nowhere near that class (Whisky Assassin and Awesome Assassin).”
Despite his battling reputation, he looks set to be selected for the elite Top Gun race, which features the top eight greyhounds in the country.
“I expect him to get in. They’d have to pick me up off the floor if he wasn’t,” Thompson said.
As with the Paws of Thunder, he does not expect Suave Fella to be one of the favourites, but has high hopes for him if he is selected for the race.
“He’s such a good chaser; he can’t run track-record times, but he just keeps coming,” he said.
Thompson has won the Top Gun twice in his career with Whisky Assassin and No Intent.
He has won all of the big races in Australia, including the Top Gun and the Melbourne Cup, but Thompson gets just as much out of successes in the smaller races.
“I get as big a thrill out of winning a maiden at Sale as I do winning a Group 1. Every win is important,” he said.
By Marc McGowan