Londonderry trainer Justin King couldn’t believe his luck when selecting box one in this Saturday night’s Group One Paws of Thunder final, with his talented charge Incapacitated qualifying second fastest in a blistering 29.46.
Aiming for his maiden Group One title, King has plenty of reasons to be confident of collecting the winner’s trophy along with $75,000 in prizemoney, with this son of Sh Avatar and Subway To Venus’ outstanding record from the inside alley, having won four of six attempts.
“Being first to pick my box at least I knew the one was still there,” said King.
“I was hoping for one, two or three and when I saw the one, I was thinking you beauty.
I’m a bit nervous about the final but I’m just hoping he can jump ok like he did last week, and we’ll see what happens.”
King’s story is out of the ordinary compared to most trainers, with none of his family involved in racing. It was his neighbour who lived across the road from his childhood home and trained dogs that first gave him a taste of the greyhound game.
“I brought a six-month-old pup and asked him if he wanted to train it.
My love for the sport just grew from there and I lived on a house block with half a dozen dogs but as my owner numbers began to grow I had to move onto a larger property to keep up with the demand.”
King breeds, rears, breaks-in and pre-trains all his greyhounds and reiterated the importance to any aspiring conditioner of continuing the learning process throughout their involvement in the sport.
“It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you can always learn something.
I’ve been involved in the sport for 25 years and I still learn things all the time.”
While most can only aspire of training greyhounds as a career, King made that dream a reality a few years ago when quitting his job to concentrate on training full-time.
“A few years ago, I quit my job to train full time, and I love it.
I currently have 20 in work, so I’m always busy but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
If you want to make a career out of it you can with hard work and making sure you’re always looking to become better at what you do.”
While this Saturday may deliver King and Incapacitated’s owner Tess Simmons their first Group One victory, the pair have their sights on the Million Dollar Chase. The infamous Million Dollar Chase series has done wonders for our sport in attracting new participants and giving existing trainers new heights to reach with incredible prizemoney on offer.
“It would be amazing to win this Saturday night but the ultimate dream for me would be to win the Million Dollar Chase and hopefully one day that might happen, you just never know.”
Tess bought Incapacitated as a three-month-old pup and it’s basically a lottery at that stage and look where he is now, so anything can happen.”