Nobody really likes going to the doctor, and it just adds to the pain having to put your hand in your pocket to pay.
But Forbes greyhound trainer Jack Smith admits his bill from a recent visit to his GP could be "the best $48 I've ever spent." Smith trains talented sprinter Jungle Deuce, who was one of 10 greyhounds in contention for the Greyhound Racing NSW slot in this month's $1.1 million TAB Phoenix in Melbourne, and last week the general public voted for which dog should represent them in that slot.
While his wife Maree was doing most of the flesh pressing around town, and his daughter Melissa was working hard on social media to garner votes, Jack was just looking after the dogs and letting it all play out.
"We went to the pub for lunch and Maree saw these fellas in hi-vis shirts and suddenly she was going around the table, getting their phones and showing them how to vote for our dog," Jack explained.
"I'm just dropping my head embarrassed, thinking 'what are you doing woman?'
"She also got all the women in the nursing home where she used to work to vote for him.
"Melissa is into this computer stuff, and she said: 'Dad you're going to have to throw a few bob into this'. I told her she can have the money for whatever she needed, but leave me out of it, I have enough on my plate.
"Then I went to my doctor and he had no idea about the competition, and I said go to this website and vote for Jungle Deuce, and he did. Considering how close the vote was, that might be the best $48 I have ever spent."
Having trailed in the voting throughout the week, a late surge sparked by a concerted push from locals in Forbes saw Jungle Deuce poll more than 50 percent of the vote over the final 36 hours, which in turn saw the dog surge to the lead and win the competition by the narrowest of margins. Jungle Deuce will now represent GRNSW and the State as The People's Pup and race for a first prize of $750,000 on December 18.
Smith came to prominence outside the industry a few years back when he trained a dog who had a cult following and went by the moniker of 'The Feral', Feral Franky. In many ways he was The People's Dog ahead of his time.
"Not many people have the chance to race for $750,000. I certainly never have. The only race bigger is the Million Dollar Chase, and I haven't had a runner in that (final)," Smith said.
Feral Franky made the semi-finals back in 2019, but fell on the first turn, losing all chance.
"Everyone is just so excited about it and there's a real buzz around town, and it was great that the locals all got behind him and voted to get him in. Now we'll just hope to draw a good box, and hope he can represent not only Forbes but all of NSW. I'm sure he will. He never runs a bad race."
As for repaying those locals, Smith has told the publican of the Forbes Inn, that on Phoenix night, happy hour is on him, and apparently there are some thirsty patrons who are likely to prop up the bar.
This article was produced as part of an ACM partnership with Greyhound Racing NSW.
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