Caption: Jack Smith, Jungle Deuce, and entourage, after success in the G1 Gold Bullion (520m) at Albion Park. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)
Albion Park Wrap With Alex Nolan
TRAINER Jack Smith says Jungle Deuce will never understand the joy he has brought to his family, owners and greyhound racing fans across the nation.
‘The Deuce’ took his status from cult hero to Group 1 star when he claimed last month’s G1 Gold Bullion (520m) at Albion Park to complete a run of seven-straight victories in Brisbane.
Many wondered whether Jungle Deuce would return to the Sunshine State after his clean sweep of the G2 Golden Sands (600m) and maiden Group 1 success in the Paws Of Thunder (520m) at Wentworth Park, amid a busy racing schedule.
But fans were once more treated to a Smith and Jungle Deuce masterclass as the son of Barcia Bale and Serena High Fly won his heat before putting paid to his rivals (29.71) to claim the $300,000 final.
The win took his career record to 25 wins from 41 starts and sent his career earnings soaring past $650,000.
“I don’t know what to say anymore,” Smith said post-race. “He’s given us a great ride.
“He doesn’t know how much pleasure he’s bringing this family and his followers.”
Smith said Jungle Deuce’s exploits was a family effort, crediting much of his star chasers success to his wife Maree and daughter Rebecca.
He also said owners Clay Mawson and Brian Jaggers, who were trackside, had become great ambassadors for the sport.
Golden Ticket winner Kooringa Lucy ran an ultra-brave second for Mitch and Cheryl Northfield, with a big gap back to Louis Rumble in third for Steve Kavanagh.
One of the main local fancies, Orchestrate, was forced to do a mountain of work from Box 7 but finished a highly respectable fifth.
In a bizarre twist, the hunt for gold continued after the greyhounds had left the track when a valuable piece of gold worth upwards of $26000 went missing from the Group 1 trophy.
A search party was formed, but it was a member of the BGRC track staff that fortunately stumbled across the valuable piece of gold and returned it to its rightful home.
Brisgreys put on a show
FULL CREDIT must be paid to the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club and its staff for their efforts throughout the Golden Greys carnival.
The offering for spectators on Gold Bullion night was superb, highlighted by a Midnight Oil tribute band and laser show prior to the running of the Group 1.
Congratulations must go to CEO Luke Gatehouse right down to the track and kennel staff, who worked tirelessly to ensure the meeting even went ahead following a South East Queensland summer deluge on the day.
It was another tremendous advertisement for the growth of the sport in Queensland and further highlighted the industry’s need for a first-class facility for the future.
Don Brown MP was in attendance and said he couldn’t think of an industry that had reformed and revitalised like greyhound racing in Queensland had in recent years.
The statement came just days before public submissions regarding the proposed site for the new Greater Brisbane Greyhound Club closed.
Brisgreys chairman Les Bein encouraged everyone in attendance to make a submission and thanked the government for its continued support of greyhound racing, which continues to generate both social and economic benefits for Queensland.
We the people completes long range plan
WE THE PEOPLE’S staying qualities came to the fore when the Western Australian raider won the G3 Gold Cup at Albion Park over 710m for caretaker trainer Selena Zammit.
It was the culmination of a plan beginning in mid-December when We The People won the Listed Christmas Gift at Cannington (715m) for her WA trainer Sean Kavanagh.
“It was a phone call out of the blue,” Zammit kennel representative Michael Zammit said.
“We had the two dogs over, this one and Wynburn Burner, but we didn’t have much luck with him.”
We The People announced her arrival in Queensland with a blistering win in her heat of the Golden Sands (600m) before nothing went right in the final.
“She should’ve finished closer,” Zammit said.
She bounced back to win over 710m in a Free For All before again striking trouble in the Clem Jones Cup, then qualified for the Gold Cup Final with a second to Hank The Hustler in her heat.
We The People again got away slow in the final but managed to secure a clear run and picked her way through the field to be trailing main fancy Knicks Bale by one-length in the back straight.
Knicks Bale gave a nice kick on the run home but We The People reeled her in stride-by-stride to win by 0.25 lengths, with local hope Mick’s Recall – who would later claim a heat of the Fanta Bale Superstayers at The Meadows – in third.
Zammit said he held some reservations about We The People handling the wet conditions at Albion Park on final night, but was not surprised she rounded up her rivals with some luck in running.
“She is exciting to watch. A lot of those stayers that get off the pace and run home are … and she would be competitive in most races when she’s right,” he said.
“She did take the short-cuts and did have some luck … but she still had to pass seven (others) in the run.”
Earlier, Hope’s Golden continued to build on her impressive race record when she claimed the Queensland Short Course (331m) for trainer Travis Elson.
Hope’s Golden appeared to revel in the wet Albion Park conditions to win in 19.04 ahead of Sandra Hunt’s Jess Sure Can and the Craig Schmidt-trained Borneo Bandit.
At the time of writing, Hope’s Golden boasted nine wins from just 16 starts and had accrued more than $26,000 in prizemoney.
She is from the second litter to race out of Lauryn’s Best (by Barcia Bale) and is following in the footsteps of her half-siblings by Magic Sprite, who combined won 115 races for close to $300,000 in prizemoney.
Wessel relishes Country Cup opportunity
UP AND COMING race caller Jarrod Wessel is no stranger to calling races in the city but was still grateful for the opportunity to call the Country Cup Final at Albion Park.
Wessel said it was pleasing to play a role highlighting greyhounds and participants from regional Queensland on the national stage.
He applauded the training efforts of Ken Boody who prepared the diminutive Love You Peaches to win the final on a rain-affected track.
“She was down in the trenches and had to put the mouthguard in and chase the big dogs in front of her. She looked the class greyhound coming in and was certainly a fitting winner,” Wessel said.
A native of Bundaberg, he also took great pride in seeing Fraser Coast trainers David Plummer and Ronald Brook walk away with cheques for second and third with Little Ripper and Easy Eddie.
“I know a lot of the Bundy guys race for smaller amounts week in and out and don’t often receive the chance to race for the big money on offer,” he said.
“It gave me a bit of a thrill to see Little Ripper and Easy Eddie run well and I was excited for David and Ron.”
Priest takes next step in promising career
MEMORIES of Gold Bullion night 2022 will forever be etched into the mind of trainer Josh Priest.
Samona, who was responsible for Josh’s first win as a trainer, was also responsible for his maiden Thursday night success when she won the Box 1 Photography Fifth Grade (520m).
The win made it four wins in eight starts for Samona since being officially transferred into Josh’s name from his father, Terry.
Powerful start to the year for lawrence
POWER MOVES has been an Albion Park sensation in early 2022.
The son of Fabregas has racked up four Thursday wins for trainer Serena Lawrence and as of February 21, sat atop the Brisgreys progressive points tally.
Arguably, the most impressive win came in a small but select FFA featuring $1.15 favourite Kooringa Lucy at Albion Park on February 17.
Power Moves had shown plenty of race smarts in recent outings and on that occasion, managed to find the fence from Box 7, find the front through the pen and draw clear to hold out Kooringa Lucy in the run home.
The form out of his recent wins has held up, with the likes of Kiss And Spin, Sleuth and Angry Blizzard all going on to record subsequent wins.
Keen defies odds on return
GROUP 1 finalist Keen returned from a Tasmanian campaign that exceeded all expectations and recorded back-to-back Albion Park wins on February 10 and 17.
Not only did he exceed expectations down south, but also those of punters in his dual Albion Park successes, when getting the nod at odds of $13 and $14 respectively.
Identified as a potential talent early, Keen was sent to the Tasmanian kennels of Debbie Cannan in the middle of 2021 to be given more time to mature.
He would record five wins in Tasmania, including a heat of the Hobart Thousand to book his place in the final. At the time of writing, his latest success had come in a heat of the Bundaberg Young Guns (31.07sec) on February 21, when sent out as a warm favourite.