In what was a dramatic late finish to rival any we have witnessed on the racetrack in recent times, Forbes-trained greyhound Jungle Deuce has been voted The People’s Pup and will represent the people of NSW in the Greyhound Racing NSW slot for next months $1.145m TAB Phoenix.
A concerted push through local media in the Central West in the final 36 hours of voting saw the Jack Smith-trained sprinter overhaul early polling leader Bandit Ned to clinch the slot as voting closed on Saturday.
The GRNSW TAB Phoenix slot was thrown open to the public to vote last Monday when a list of 10 candidates was supplied to the Daily Telegraph.
Bandit Ned – like four other Group race winners – had secured his place on the list courtesy of his Group 1 Vic Peters Classic win in October, while Jungle Deuce was one of the five remaining dogs selected by an expert panel to complete the list.
The selection process was then turned over to the public to select ‘their’ dog, and it appeared like the promising Bandit Ned was going to run away with voting.
“Almost 50 per cent of the votes submitted in the final 36 hours of competition were for Jungle Deuce,” Daily Telegraph Editor Ben English said. “For the majority of the competition Bandit Ned appeared to have the numbers to book his Phoenix spot before the late move for Jungle Deuce took place. “In the end less than one per cent of the votes separated Jungle Deuce and Bandit Ned at the top of the list.”
GRNSW Chief Executive Tony Mestrov, who was unaware of how the voting was progressing during the week, was informed on Sunday that a late voting surge had seen Jungle Deuce secure his organisation’s slot for a shot at the $750,000 first prize.
“I would firstly like to congratulate Jack Smith and the connections of Jungle Deuce for being voted The People’s Pup and winning the right to represent GRNSW and the people of NSW in the TAB Phoenix,” Mestrov said.
“I understand it was hotly contested ballot, and regardless of the outcome we would have been well represented in Melbourne. But the public have spoken and selected Jungle Deuce who I know will not only proudly represent the people of NSW in the GRNSW slot, but has a realistic chance of bringing the $750,000 first prize back across the border.
“I would like to thank the Daily Telegraph for their support, and also the connections of the other nine greyhounds for their involvement in the competition. The promotion has achieved what we aimed for, with greyhound racing attracting significant interest and traction through the Telegraph and social media, not only within the industry but to a new wider audience, with more than 5,000 entries into the competition during the week.
“Now it’s time for us all to get on board with Jungle Deuce and cheer for The People’s Pup to bring the inaugural TAB Phoenix trophy to NSW.”