Paws Of Thunder

Deuce Vindicates Decision Not To Sell

By Jeff Collerson
When Jungle Deuce's owners Clay Mawson and Brian Jaggers refused a $150,000 offer for their dog early in his career they did so in the belief he was capable of delivering them a group one win.

And on Saturday night the Jack Smith-trained Jungle Deuce did just that, overhauling the mighty Wow in one of the most thrilling Paws Of Thunder finals on record, nailing the Danielle Matic-prepared favourite near the finish to win in 29.52.

Wow had won the 2021 Paws Of Thunder in race record time of 29.49 but was subsequently disqualified, so Jungle Deuce's figures on Saturday night, .04sec faster than the standard set by Iona Seven in 2014, will stand as the new record.

After Saturday's race part-owner Clay Mawson said: "We were offered $150,000 for the Deuce after he had only six or seven starts.

"To his credit Jack Smith put no pressure on us, he conceded it was a lot of money and said there would be no hard feelings if Jungle Deuce left his kennels.

"But Brian and I were never going to sell because the offer came when the dog had not turned two years old and we were confident he could one day win a race like this.

"Why would you wait all your life to get a greyhound like Jungle Deuce and then sell him?

"You can't put a price on what we are experiencing here at Wentworth Park, celebrating with our families and friends, this feeling is priceless.''

Last week Jack Smith made the trek from Forbes to WP to give Jungle Deuce a short hit-out and a "drag around" behind the lure to sharpen the dog up.

"Going to all that trouble is what makes people like Jack Smith special trainers,'' Mawson said.

Smith's uncle John Finn won Saturday's The Collerson with Zipping Kyrgios, who was bundled out of the Paws Of Thunder final when surprisingly run down by Where's Rocky.

Finn's wife Minnie reckoned Zipping Kyrgios "loafed" in his Thunder heat so she also came to WP last week and got their greyhound back "on his toes" with a post-to-post slip and a "drag."

Camo Hallinan, whose family owns Zipping Kyrgios, said: "That's what makes John and Minnie such good hands with a dog.''

Slingshot Hooks gave 42-year-old Darren Sultana his first group one victory when he ran down Slingshot Jonesy, his Emily Azzopardi-trained litter brother, in Saturday's Ladbrokes National Derby.

Slingshot Hooks and Slingshot Jonesy are both owned by retired rigger Jay Ferguson, who flew from Victoria to be trackside on Saturday night.

"This is my biggest win as an owner and breeder,'' Ferguson said after the race.

"Previously I had won a group three with a dog called Slingshot Hammer but this is my first group one and to get the quinella on top of that is a bonus.''

Ferguson, who breeds and rears his greyhounds at Clunes, 36km north of Ballarat, has also taken up pigeon racing as an added form of relaxation.

Saturday was a night of quinellas with Victorian trainer Peter Presutto landing first and second placings with Idolize and Chic in the group one Ladbrokes National Futurity.

Before the race Presutto declared Idolize had superior early speed but Chic possessed strength at the finish and sure enough, Idolize posted a sensational first split of 5.30 and led all the way, with Chic finishing strongly to be second, four lengths away.

Melbourne master trainer Jeff Britton also took home the first and second prizemoney cheques when Mepunga Ruby led all the way to win the group 2 GBOTA Summer Plate, covering the 720m in 41.64.

Mepunga Ruby was chased all the way by her kennelmate Hank The Hustler, but had just over four lengths to spare at the winning post as she trimmed .23sec of the race record set by True Detective, another Jeff Britton-trained stayer, in 2020.

Sunburnt Highway capped a great night's racing when he became the most prolific winner in WP history as he led all the way to score his 35th win at headquarters at his 101st appearance on the Glebe track.

Sunburnt Highway has now gone one better than Christine and Alan Proctor's group one winner Bessy Boo, who won 34 races at WP.