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Jungle Deuce heads Smith’s four-dog juggernaut

By Isaac Murphy

Forbes trainer Jack Smith became known as the man behind Feral Franky, and while the two will be forever synonymous, Smith is making sure he’s not a one hit wonder.

Group 3 New Sensation winner Jungle Deuce and a trio of talented kennelmates are Brisbane-bound this Thursday night to get a look at the track ahead of the Group 3 Flying Amy heats in a fortnight’s time.

“We’ve been really lucky of late, it’s nice when you’ve got one young dog winning in the city but to have four (Jungle Deuce, Dip It In, Irinka Riley, Irinka Molly) has made for a nice few months and they’re only just getting started,” Smith said.

Smith has twice brought up a hat trick of wins at Wentworth Park over the last few months, and the trainer is looking forward to a trip north for an age restricted race.

“For young dogs, they’ve all got up in grade very quickly at Wentworth Park and having been to Brisbane before with Feral Franky, I thought the Flying Amy would be the ideal race to aim them contingent on how they all go this week,” he said.

“Dip It In, Irinka Riley and Irinka Molly will all be racing Thursday night at Albion Park and Jungle Deuce being the Rolls Royce of the four will be trialling before the first.

“He’s built a following pretty quicky with his New Sensation win and the Brisbane Club were really accommodating in making sure he got a free trial around the place.”

 

The son of Barcia Bale has strung together some breathtaking performances of late and will present a huge challenge for the Brisbane regulars.

“We knew we had something when he broke in as well as he did, before coming out and winning his first five races,” Smith said.

“He was up in grade and struggling for form for a short while there, we even had a dip at the Launching Pad in Melbourne where box eight brought him undone, but to the dog’s credit he worked through that and has been going better than ever the last month.

“He put a top-notch month together winning the New Sensation in 29.31 and then consecutive Free For Alls in 29.49 and 29.4, before his last start when he finished fourth in the Bob Payne heats, which I thought was a really big run from a tough draw.”

Naturally, Jungle Deuce is being measured against his famous predecessor, However Smith was quick to point out some key differences.

“People are beginning to compare this dog to Feral Franky but they’re very different chasers; Feral could win from anywhere, Jungle Deuce can’t win if he gets too far back but will chase his heart out and when he jumps time wise, he’s probably got the edge,” Smith said.

“Feral will always be a once-in-a-lifetime dog; the journey he took me on and the cult following he built, but to get another one as good as Jungle Deuce so soon is a blessing.

“I’m certainly not worried about those long drives from Forbes when you’ve got dogs of their calibre in the back.”

Smith trained and owned Feral Franky but this time around is enjoying the ride with a couple of savvy owners who’ve hit the gold mine.

“The boys who own Jungle Deuce have brought dogs to me before and when I saw this guy run the way he did at break in, I couldn’t take him quick enough,” Smith said.

“They’ve had a pretty good ride the Mawson Jagger Syndicate, the first greyhound they owned was Feral Franky’s sister Solar Sky and while she never reached his levels, was a gun in her own right.

“Now not long down the track they’ve gone out and found Jungle Deuce, I’ve told them to soak it up because not many owners get that kind of talent when they’re new to the game.”

Jungle Deuce’s performances have overshadowed that of his kennelmates who are flying in their own right, starting with Dip It In.

“Dip It In’s been another one who’s really taken to Wentworth Park, he’s a five-time winner there and I think the graders have just about got him now,” he said.

“He’s got a tonne of speed throughout the run, unfortunately not much of the turn of foot comes at box rise - he needs a bit of room to move to get motoring.

“Running first up at Albion on Thursday will be interesting given he hasn’t been away Wentworth Park for a couple of months, I just hope he can get around without having the confidence knocked out of him.”

Dip It In

Irinka Riley hasn’t been winning like the others but Smith thinks he’s on the cusp of breaking through.

“Irinka Riley has been exceptional his last month without winning; fifth in the New Sensation Final, three straight Wentworth Park placings and a massive run in the Group 3 Bob Payne most recently to come from last to finish a length-and-a-half off them,” Smith said.

“He might not be there ability wise with the others, but he just tries his heart out every time he steps on the track.

“He does have a bad habit of finding trouble early, but he’s only two-years-old and once he gets his field sense sorted, you’re going to see a better dog.”

Riley’s litter sister Irinka Molly (Barcia Bale/Zagati) is also ticking plenty of boxes, maturity the only thing holding her back.

“Irinka Molly mixes her form a little bit, she struggles to put a few races together, but her best is very good - she’s a 29.74 winner at Wentworth Park,” Smith said.

“She drew the one the night and she ran that personal best, at this stage she’s a much better winning chance from inside draws.

“I bought her and Irinka Riley out of Barcia Bale and Zagati, who was the dam of a good stayer I had Little Digger, I like to stick with a proven line.”

With his sustained success, plenty of people have asked Smith why he doesn’t pick up and move closer to a main city, but he’s a Forbes man through and through and is jumping at the chance to race a little closer to home.

“Before we push forward with the four of them to the Flying Amy there’s a couple of really nice races at Dubbo for them,” he said.

“Jungle Deuce and Irinka Riley will run in the Brother Fox with the final worth $25,000 and Dip It In and Irinka Molly will be in the Bill Miller race worth $10,000 to the winner.”

“They’re all familiar with the track at Dubbo and I’m fairly confident of getting some good results and bringing them back up in a good head space.”

Irinka Riley
Irinka Molly

As for future plans, Smith is shelving them until after the Flying Amy but the New South Welshman may be easily persuaded to stay if selected in the Origin series.

“At this stage it’s wait and see how they fair in the Flying Amy and make a call to push on in Queensland and come home,” he said.

“The Origin Series is a huge attraction; I think it’s a fantastic concept and we’re lucky enough to be reigning champions with Feral Franky in the match race and think Jungle Deuce could run some mighty quick time given the chance.

“If everything goes to plan, we could even push on to the Brisbane Cup, but we’re a long way out at the moment.”

Smith is kicking goals off the track as well, with plenty of interest in Feral Franky standing at stud.

“The Feral is enjoying his time at stud, he’s got over 60 pups on the ground mainly in Victoria but Brian Baker up in Queensland has a litter coming through,” he said.

“The bigger breeders are just starting to show interest, which is really promising, I’m looking forward to a few of these pups getting to the track and putting some results on the board.

“Champion dogs aren’t always champion sires, but I’ve got a pretty good feeling his progeny will stack up.”