Is Jungle Deuce A Lock In Rookie Rebel?

Is Jungle Deuce a lock for the group 1 Rookie Rebel? We take a look at his rival runners in the $75,000-to-the-winner middle distance showpiece.

Mick Floyd

11 February 2022

Is Jungle Deuce a lock for the Group 1 Rookie Rebel?

The Jack Smith trained son of Barcia Bale is the form greyhound in the country, having already won three group races in 2022 – the last two at group 1 level.

He enters the 600m feature on the back of a seven-race winning streak. He’s won three times more prize money than any other greyhound this year, already has an almost 100 point lead in the Greyhound Clubs Australia rankings, and is the highest rated greyhound based on Greyhound Racing Victoria’s ratings.

And as if that’s not enough – he’s undefeated in three starts over 600m (including a recent group 2 win in Brisbane) and has two wins and a second from box one.

Amazingly, as much as $7 was on offer in pre-nomination betting, and even after drawing the red was $2.40.

He’s now $1.95.

So can Jungle Deuce be beaten?

Here’s a look at the key challengers and how they why they can cause an upset.

McCooly’s Lad – Box 2

A group 1 win would cap one of the great come backs in greyhound racing. McCooly’s Lad burst onto the scene 15 months ago with some dazzling times before a career threatening injury saw him spend nine months on the sidelines. He’s raced sparingly since, his recent Brisbane campaign his only two starts in 2022 where he ran second to We The People in the heat and Jungle Deuce in the final over 600m. Trainer Anthony Azzopardi reports that he couldn’t have him any better coming into the race, and coupled with a better draw (he had box 8 in the final in Brisbane) and being back on his ‘home deck’ can see him turn around the 2.5 length deficit.

Jarick Bale – Box 3

The latest from Team Delbridge production line of quality middle distance dogs, Jarick Bale’s last 14 starts have been between 595m and 650m finishing no worst than fourth (twice). Included in that run are wins in the group 1 Sale Cup (650m) and the Listed Maidement Memorial (595m) and second in the group 3 Sir John Dillon (595m). While he has won just 2 of 11 starts over 600m at the Meadows, his last start all of the way win in 34.16 – thanks to his brilliant 8.99 first split – coupled with a favourable draw shows he is capable of leading and winning in this company.

Collinda Patty – Box 8

After annihilating the Sandown 595m track record at her 12th start last August, Collinda Patty won with Speed Star over 600m at The Meadows and the middle-distance world seemed to be at her feet. However she has just one start since picking up an injury last September – a 29.48 win over 515m at Sandown last week. Race fitness is a question especially in this company, but trainer Jason Thompson has never hid his opinion of her and there is no question she can run a time that can match – and beat – a field of this quality.

Aston Ulysses – Box 6

It’s almost been forgotten just how good Aston Ulysses can be. He’s win from 450m to 660m and placed over 720m and made five group finals, three of which have been in 2022. He ran third behind Jungle Deuce and McCooly’s Lad at Albion Park at group 2 level in January, then third behind Jarick Bale and Invictus Rising at Listed level at Sandown Park. He comes into the Rookie Rebel after running third to Soda Titan in the President’s Cup at Horsham, where he took ground off the winner which smashed the track record in the win. If he can overcome the awkward draw, he does have an excellent record this track and distance, and notably, does have the fastest winning time of any runner in the race.

Mepunga Warrior (box 4), Knicks Bale (box 5) and Extra Malt (box 7) round out the field.

The Group 1 Rookie Rebel will be run at 8.08pm on Saturday night.