Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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At last, Uncle earns his Stripes

Talk about a popular win.

Uncle Stripes received an ovation worthy of a Mount Gambier Cup winner after he was successful at Tara Raceway last Thursday at start number 43 in the Exchange Printers Maiden Stake (305 metres).

Tony Harding (left) and Michael Niele with Uncle Stripes who brought up his first win at start number 43 at Tara Raceway last Thursday.

He’s the dog taken over after pre-training by Hamilton owner-trainer Tony Harding. And prior to last week, the brindle dog’s owner as well as current trainer Michael Niele, of Berringa, had both had 21 cracks at winning a race with Uncle Stripes.

Always on the pace from box four, the son of Moreira and Jimary Siesta eventually defeated It’s Bob by a length in 18.68 seconds. Finally, Harding was able to place an order for that framed winning photograph.

And while the winning time was nothing flash, Niele was upbeat.

“Don’t worry about the time,” he said. “I’m confident there will be further good showings from Uncle Stripes now that he is stepping up to 1-4 wins here on a Thursday.”

There have been longer runs of outs. The Blake Brothers’ Kiss Me Donkey commenced racing at the end of 2010 and finally won her maiden at Tara Raceway over 512 metres in May 2012 at start number 54.

John Little’s Bungaloo Ebony opened her winning account at start number 50 on November 11, 2021 in what were quite remarkable circumstances.

All told, there were 15 late scratchings after Langhorne Creek trainers Yvonne King and Tony Hinrichsen were unable to make the trip to Mount Gambier.

For all that, only one race was lost. As far as the TAB was concerned, race one was abandoned after Bungaloo Ebony was the only runner left in the race.

But, in what was a walkover, the daughter of Pure Titanium and Bungaloo Sunset went around in the 400 metre maiden. This was a profitable solo trial with Little not only collecting first prizemoney but also the $1000 SA-bred bonus.

Speaking later, the Kongorong-based trainer said that was probably the only way she was ever going to win a race. Seven starts later she was retired without another win.

Sometimes, though, even after a multitude of race starts, that first win never comes. Just ask Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell.

Between 2017 and 2019 he was racing a dog called Chelsea Champ, a well-bred son of Fabregas and Who’s Doing What.

From a litter of five, the black dog was the only non-winner in the litter after racing on 61 occasions and accumulating two second placings and five thirds.

But Fennell had encountered bigger challenges, perhaps none more so than back in 2013-2015 with Fawn Dawn, bred and owned at Penshurst by John Burow.

By Bo Frazier out of Hot Venus, Fawn Dawn raced on 80 occasions before retiring with a record of 12 seconds and even thirds.

Mooball defeats Cricket Tragic in the Produce Store Maiden Stake (400 m), the first of only three races run at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

Meanwhile, hot weather saw Sunday’s Category 2 meeting at Tara Raceway abandoned after only three races had been run and won by Mooball (Tracie Price), Rough Boy Russ (Noel Perry) and Huntsman (Robert Chuck).

The abandonment meant that the Tara Tipsters Cup, set down for later in the day, will now be run at a forthcoming meeting.

However, appreciative Sunset Community Kitchen representatives Maddi, Maree and Vickie were on track to receive a donation from the Tara Tipsters.

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