WARRNAMBOOL greyhound trainer Trevor McLaren knows he doesn't have a kennel full of top dogs never has, never will.
He trains as a hobby, a way of participating in a sport which has become a passion.
Most are discards from other trainers dogs that have run their best race and are coming to the end of their careers.
But occasionally one arrives at his kennels with untapped potential.
Such is the case of American Dollar, which delivered McLaren a career-high when it won the final of a Flying Star 1-2 Wins Series over 390 metres at Wannon Park on Friday.
The two-year-old started from box three and raced home in 22.16 seconds, paying faithful punters $14.70 for the win.
The Steve Elsum-trained favourite Mepunga Locky was second, 0.75 lengths behind. Second-favourite White Viking, trained by Paul Galea, was third.
McLaren described the $5000-to-win triumph as the biggest of his 17-year training career. He said the front runner had to jump well to be any chance of victory.
" I didn't think we'd win the final. I thought Mepunga Locky would be too strong," he said.
"And with White Viking fairly quick out of the boxes I didn't think he'd match the early speed.
"I thought I'd have a rough chance if he got a look.
"He jumped cleanly and managed to get to the front and held off a fast-finishing Mepunga Locky."
American Dollar, by Cash Express out of American Model, took his record to 4-1-2 from 19 starts. He has earned $9315 in prizemoney.
The triumph justified McLaren's persistence in a dog which had shown potential but had struggled in races.
Nullawarre trainer Ash McDowall used to train American Dollar but offered him to McLaren, whose kennels were empty.
"He thought I could win at Mount Gambier with it," McLaren said.
He couldn't, but rode his luck in a heat and final in Warrnambool the past two weeks. The win is reward for a man who is a tireless worker at Wannon Park at trials and on race days.
"He'd probably be the better one I've had," McLaren said.
"I only train giveaways as a hobby, I don't buy them.
"When people have finished racing with them and have pups coming along, I pick up the odd one here and there and just take over."
American Dollar will head to Ballarat for his next start in a 1-6 Wins Series over 390 metres.