Originally known as the NSW St Leger, the Ladbrokes Paws Of Thunder is one of the most prestigious events on the NSW racing calendar.
Run for the first time in 1957 and won by Idle Sign, the race had a name change in 2001 and at the same time attained Group 1 status.
Like so many of the features on the calendar it has been won by some of the greats of the sport. Black Top won the race in 1962, Zoom Top in 1968, Glider’s Son in 1980, Winifred Bale in 1982, Cindeen Shelby in 2009 and Lochinvar Marlow in 2010.
In 2020 leading NSW trainer Jason Magri captured his first Group 1 when King Cratos led throughout to beat crowd favourite Feral Franky.
The 2021 Paws of Thunder went to one of the most consistent greyhounds to recently race in NSW, the Jodie Lord-trained Winlock On Top, claiming the event following the disqualification of the original race winner Wow for a positive swab.
The 2022 Paws Of Thunder final drew a fantastic field with Victorian Do It - the fastest qualifier - and local star Wow the two dominating markets.
While his trainer Jack Smith wasn't confident, many gave Jungle Deuce a big hope, and when he lobbed on the fence in third behind Wow early on, he was perfectly placed to have a real crack at the race.
Swinging for home Wow had the race at his mercy, but as he left the fence, Jungle Deuce railed through and hit the front just before the line to snatch his maiden Group 1 win.
2022 Group 1 Ladbrokes Paws Of Thunder winner Jungle Deuce with connections
2022 Group 1 Ladbrokes Paws Of Thunder placegetters (L - R) Wow (second), Jungle Deuce (first) and Chase Me Honey (third)
In 2023, all eyes were on the queen of the NSW greyhound racing scene as She's A Pearl embarked on another Group 1 campaign.
The Andy and Jodie Lord-prepared chaser didn't disappointed either, first winning her heat in a time of 29.62, before claiming the final by two lengths in a quick 29.50. The time a new race record for the Paws Of Thunder decider.
Whereas She's A Pearl had notched most of her previous 18 Wentworth Park wins by exploding from the boxes and establishing an instant break on her rivals, she was beaten for the early lead on Saturday by the Kerry Drynan-trained Reflections.
But after chasing Reflections into the first turn and going through the catching pen, She's A Pearl showed true championship qualities by surging to the front on the back straight before comfortably holding off Gatlin's late challenge. Youngster Reflections ran third.
2023 Ladbrokes Paws Of Thunder winner She's A Pearl with Lord kennel rep and handler Paul Mills
2023 Ladbrokes Paws Of Thunder placegetters Gatlin (left), She's A Pearl (middle) and Reflections (right)