Blueblood Jungle Panther is ‘perfect in pink’ for Wednesday night’s $9625 Enduro Series final (545m) at Ballarat, according to his one-greyhound trainer Jeff Geall.
A superbly bred Barcia Bale x Up Hill Jill half-brother to 2021 Melbourne Cup hero Koblenz, Jungle Panther heads into the $7000 to-the-winner Enduro decider on the back of two impressive prelude victories.
The conditions of the series required contenders to compete in two prelude events and Jungle Panther, the winner of 16 of his 42 starts, is two from two over Ballarat’s 545m course after consecutive Best Of Night performances.
After finishing unplaced as favourite in a G1 Maturity Classic heat, he defeated Group 1 Sandown Cup finalist Golden Quest in 30.67sec on August 3 and was then similarly impressive one week later, this time clocking 30.61sec.
“We saw this race on the calendar about six weeks ago and wanted to step him up, because his run-home times are a lot better than his early sectionals, so the 545m was the right distance,” said Geall, brother of dual Melbourne Cup winner David.
“We’ll get him up to 600m at The Meadows and Sandown, but before that the plan is the Adelaide Cup next month.
“David (Geall) and I have spoken about it, and he definitely has the ability to win a Group 1, but it might not be until we step him up. Later in the year, a race like the Sale Cup will be on the radar.”
Jungle Panther exited Box 8 in the first of his two emphatic prelude wins and has an imposing five from six record off ‘the pink’, with his only defeat being a minor placing behind Group winner Devine Empress.
WATCH: JUNGLE PANTHER (B8) was a runaway winner of a Enduro prelude on August 3, clocking a Best Of Night 30.67sec, and he is again perfectly drawn in ‘the pink’ for Wednesday night’s final.
“We’ve drawn the box we wanted, so you’re talking to a very happy trainer,” Geall said.
“He likes a bit of room; he likes being off the track and might get a nice cart across.
“He seems to have handled the bend start really well in his two (prelude) wins, probably because you don’t have the same early speed in the race that you would have at The Meadows.
“He’s been able to lead on both occasions and put a bit of a gap in them.
“He missed the start when he ran second at Warrnambool last Thursday. We slowed it down and he came out and stumbled. He got a good run through but was never going to run down a dog like Mobile Legend over that distance (450m) when it was running 24.90sec.”
While Jungle Panther is the only greyhound Jeff currently trains, he and wife Marie are excited about a couple of regally related pups; one by Kinloch Brae out of Up Hill Jill and the other by G1 winner Lightning Frank out of Nayla Swift, the mother of country cups king Ferdinand Boy.
Wednesday’s Enduro finals night also features the $5000 to-the-winner Tier 3 Enduro Cup final (545m) and the Tier 3 Enduro Challenger final (545m), which carries a $3,500 winner’s purse.
JUNGLE PANTHER pictured clocking a flying 29.74sec at The Meadows on June 29.