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GRNSW 3 mins read
Newly crowned NSW Greyhound of the Year Palawa King.

The prestigious NSW Greyhound of the Year award is headed to Forbes for the second time in three years, with Jack Smith’s brilliant stayer Palawa King unveiled as the 2023 winner at a gala event in Sydney on Thursday evening.

Palawa King, also owned in Forbes by Errol Hughes, took out the title ahead of fellow finalists Ritza Piper, Zipping Orlando, and 2022 Greyhound of the Year, She’s A Pearl.

In 2021, Smith’s Forbes’ kennels were also the home of the NSW Greyhound of the Year award, when the brilliant Jungle Deuce was awarded the title.

During 2023 Palawa King won three Group 1 finals - all at interstate venues - the Queensland Cup at Albion Park, the Bold Trease at Sandown Park and the National Distance Championship at The Meadows. He raced 37 times, winning 14 races and being placed another 17 times, across distances ranging from 520 to 730 metres.

He was also a 10-time Group race finalist, winning the Group 3 Origin Distance Final, and being placed in the Group 1 Topgun Stayers, the Group 3 New Sensation, the Group 3 Lizrene, and the Group 3 Super Stayers. He was also third in the world’s richest staying event, The Ladbrokes 715, as well as finishing fourth in the Group 1 National Derby.

“On behalf of GRNSW I want to congratulate Errol Hughes, Jack and Maree Smith and of course Palawa King, on joining some of the superstars of our sport as winners of the NSW Greyhound of the Year award,” GRNSW Chief Executive Officer Rob Macaulay said.

“Palawa King is a truly deserving winner of this prestigious award. He enthralled and excited racegoers with his come from behind style of racing each time he stepped onto the track. 

"Only last week his performance at The Meadows in the heats of the Group 1 Fanta Bale Stayers, was one of the most remarkable wins ever seen.

“I believe it is incredibly important to celebrate and recognise each year, the outstanding performances and achievements from both our greyhounds and our people, and I congratulate everyone who won an award for 2023.

“But while it is vital to reflect on successes, we are also looking forward to so many exciting things and so many advancements for the sport in 2024.”

Andy Lord took out the 2023 Metropolitan Trainer of the Year award, a title won the previous three years by his wife Jodie.

In 2023, Andy Lord prepared 111 winners across the state, with 64 of those coming at Wentworth Park, and in the process, banked close to $550,000 for his Metropolitan successes.

Jason Magri won the NSW Trainer of the Year title, eclipsed his previous best records with the collar and lead in 2023, when he prepared 143 winners from 326 starters, and amassed more than $570,000 in prizemoney.

One of the greatest of all time, the 2015 NSW Greyhound of the Year, Fernando Bale, continued his dominance at stud winning a fourth successive Sire of the Year award. In 2023 in NSW his stock claimed an amazing 2,406 victories with his progeny yielding in excess of $9.5 million in prizemoney.

Among Fernando Bale’s feature race winners in 2023 were Nangar Lucy in Group 1 Peter Mosman Opal, Victa Damian in the Group 1 National Derby, Wyndra All Class in the Group 1 National Futurity, Fernando Hunter in the Masters Meteor and Vamoose in The Thunderbolt.

Dam of the Year went to Banjo Tifia with her offspring from the October 2020 litter to champion Fernando Bale earning more than $300,000 from 47 wins and 48 minor placings.

She produced a 100% winning litter from her first crop to race with her brightest stars being Mortified, who finished runner-up in the Group 1 Dapto Megastar, Modern Swinger, who registered 12 wins throughout the year including the NSW National Sprint Championship Final, and Quantifiable, also a 12-time winner and victorious in the Group 3 Goulburn Cup Final.

The 2023 Young Achiever award went to Orange trainer Jay Opetaia who in only his third year had another incredible season, following on from 2022 when he qualified Agland Luai for the final of the Million Dollar Chase.

In 2023 he prepared 16 winners and 26 placegetters from 71 starters, with one of the highlights being his initial Group race success, when Street Of Dreams claimed the Group 3 Chief Havoc Cup at Gunnedah.

Volunteers are crucial to every sporting organisation, and in 2023 Darren Northey won the GRNSW Volunteer of the Year while Susan Northridge won the 2023 Greyhounds As Pets Volunteer of the Year.

The Grafton Greyhound Club President John Corrigan - a veteran of more than four decades involved with the club - was bestowed the honour of being the 2023 winner of the prestigious Allen Wheeler Medal.


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