Day At The Track

No cracking tough Uncle Wingnut

07:29 AM 23 Mar 2015 NZDT
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Uncle Wingnut dashing to a clear lead
Uncle Wingnut dashing to a clear lead

“He’s a bloody ripper,” declared a beaming harness racing driver Michael Bellman after driving Uncle Wingnut to victory in Sunday’s Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup.

The Joe Costa-trained seven-year-old gelding broke the track record for the 2809-metre trip, his 7.3-metre win accompanied by a mile rate of 2:00.4 – bettering the previous mark by 0.7secs.

Despite sitting in the sulky behind the best horse in the race Bellman still produced some magic, easing three-wide early to commence a move and flushing out South Australian Mister Styx, which allowed Bellman to jag into the coveted one-out-one-back trail.

Michael Smith driving Mister Styx must have immediately regretted his move as fellow border-hopper Glenferrie Rustler declared the death seat not up for grabs, posting Mister Styx three-wide and in a bind for the remainder of the race.

Entering the back straight the final time Bellman made his move, angling the $2 favourite three-wide when Mister Styx tailed out after a torrid run, Uncle Wingnut dashing to a clear lead at the top circle.

Gollahman and Our Waldenbury had both enjoyed economical runs from their respective drivers, Zac Phillips and Damian Wilson, and both ran into the placings but there was no catching Uncle Wingnut.

The son of Christian Cullen powered home, his last half clocked at 56.3secs.

“When I lobbed the one-one I was quietly happy with things,” Bellman said.

“He’s versatile. There’s no set way to drive him. Joe (Costa) and the team have done a great job with him.”

Costa said Uncle Wingnut was “a great trier” who was “easy to train” and “laidback”.

Meanwhile, the Alabar Bloodstock Northern Region Championship Final was taken out by Vince Vallelonga-trained Bonny Under Fire.

The consistent mare found the lead from gate two, crossing stablemate Kissed Flush who eventually went off stride and had to be pulled up after breaking gear.

Several runners put the pressure on Bonny Under Fire mid-race, but she was able to overcome it and respond tenaciously for a 3.3-metre win in a track-record run of 1:57.9 for the 2040m start.

Madis Made finished second in the Championship Final for Bellman, with Dark Side third.

It was a big day for Bellman, who finished with two winners – the cup aboard Uncle Wingnut and Race 2 with in-form Murranji Track.

The Ararat reinsman also finished second with Scout Hall Road in Race 3, Life Of Ted in Race 4 and Rayner Storm in Race 6, and placed third on outsider One Knight Stand in the last race.

A huge crowd was on hand at Ouyen, club president Graeme Mengler thrilled with how the day played out.

“I’ve had people telling me how good the kids’ entertainment was and the crowd was excellent,” Mengler said.

“It was a really positive day for the club.”

Local Amanda Foster won $1000 from the TAB thanks to Harness Racing Victoria’s TAB Trots Selfies competition, while loads of other patrons walked away with prizes from the plethora of on-course giveaways that were offered.

>> VIDEO: Watch Uncle Wingnut take out the Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup

by Cody Winnell

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