The people’s champion, Feral Franky, has been retired, with trainer Jack Smith confirming on Tuesday morning he ran his final race in last Friday’s Group 1 Paws Of Thunder Final.
Smith said connections had made the decision following the Paws’ Final where he finished second behind King Cratos.
“No there are no injuries, he’s totally sound, he’s done a great job, and I guess it came down to, when is a good time?” Smith said from his Forbes home. “We don’t want to get greedy.”
Feral Franky – or The Feral – as he became known to his adoring fans, thrilled race watchers around the country with his come from behind racing style, and incredible track sense, with not only Smith, but many onlookers, considering him to have the best track sense of any greyhound ever to race.
“Every time he raced, I would say: “How did he do that? How did he do that,”” Smith said. “He never stopped amazing even me with some of the things he did on the racetrack. He just had an incredible will to win, and his track sense was beyond any dog I have ever had or seen.”
Feral Franky retires with a tremendous record of 24 wins and 16 placings from just 44 starts, and prizemoney of $482,426.
Among his major wins were the Group 1 Vic Peters at Wentworth Park, the Group 3 Flying Amy Classic in Brisbane, the Group 3 New Sensation at Wentworth Park, the Richmond Riches, and a memorable win over his litter brother Good Odds Harada in the four-dog Group 3 Christmas Gift last month.
Apart from the wins, he was also runner-up in the Group 1 Topgun in Melbourne, the Group 1 National Derby, and last Friday’s Group 1 Paws Of Thunder.
He also had a memorable victory over Hooked On Scotch in a Sandown Park Free For All running an incredible 29.08s.
He unfortunately missed the final of the TAB Million Dollar Chase last October when he spectacularly fell on the first turn of his semi-final, but then thrilled the large crowd on Grand Final night winning the Regional Reward, the final event on a bumper card of racing.
“It’s too hard to pick on highlight of his career,” Smith said. “You know I really enjoyed my time in Brisbane when we were there for the Flying Amy. It wasn’t a group 1 but it had group 1 prizemoney.
“It was a bit controversial (when the three leaders collided on the home turn presenting a rails’ run to Feral Franky), but I think he was still going to win that race had that not happened.
“I guess the group 1 win in the Vic Peters was another racing highlight, but to be honest, there were so many. He gave us an incredible ride.”
Smith said while it had been spoken about, there wasn’t a definitive plan to retire The Feral after the Paws Of Thunder Final.
“Look it’s obviously been spoken about and been in the pipeline for a bit,” Smith said. “It’s not only Feral it’s Franks (Hurst) dog (Good Odds Harada, which is also by Collision out of Solar Pak). The dam line is just incredible, she has just been an unbelievable producer.
“If the demand that we hear about comes true, and he gets lots of pups on the ground, that too would be good for all of us.”
Smith said that while the ride has been phenomenal, it had to end at some time, but he is not tinged by sadness.
“Sad? No, not at all. It’s been a great time, and I’m grateful for being a part of it. And he’s still going to be here. He’ll stand here.
”I’m just glad that he’s been able to bring a bit of happiness to so many in the industry and help get the profile of the sport out there into the public. I’ll miss watching him race, but hopefully I can find another one similar soon.”