Littermates Taking out Consecutive Weeks at Gawler Written by: Bob May
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At Gawler greyhounds, two littermates have won their first race each on consecutive Sunday nights.

Last week, the first of those winners was Isla Gracie, which won at her first race, which was a 400m event. Jumping well and landing in second position behind the early leader, Black Boots, Isla Gracie took the lead when Black Boots left the rail, racing away to a 2½ length win. Black Boots was second for Ben Rawlings of Lewiston, and the winner’s littermate, Uncle Ray, which had gained its first start as a reserve runner, finished third.

On Sunday night, Uncle Ray was again in a 400m Maiden, but this time was able to quickly take the lead over Betty’s Friend, going on to win without being challenged. The winning margin was 3½ lengths, with Betty’s Friend finishing second, and Job Keeper in third spot, with those two both trained by Paul Fagan of Calomba.

Isla Gracie and Uncle Ray are owned by the father and son team of Roger and Matt Harris from Port Pirie, and are trained by Mick Giniotis at Two Wells. Roger also bred the litter, which came about after he had trained the mother, Weedle Monelli, which had been sent from WA, for two starts, before being retired due to injury. Roger kept two of the pups, which became Isla Gracie and Uncle Ray. Behind every name there is a story, and in this case Isla Gracie is named after the daughters of two of Roger’s nieces in Perth, and Uncle Ray after his good friend and trainer Ray Burgess, who passed away last year.

Roger has been involved in the industry for nearly 50 years, starting when he trained his first dog while living at Laura. During his greyhound career, Roger has also been a long time contributor to the sport, through his committee work at the Port Pirie Club. Mick and Roger have known each other for about 20 years, and they developed a training relationship by sending dogs to each other when they thought they could be better placed to advantage. With Roger experiencing some health issues, and the long travelling time required to both trial and race, he decided to pass the training on to Mick. Roger is rearing a second litter from Weedle Monelli, this time by top sire Fernando Bale, so he is hoping for some success there too.

Despite the difficulties posed by distance, Roger still loves the dogs and enjoys the sport, and the current arrangement works very well for him.

Racing continues in the regular timeslots of Wednesday afternoon and Sunday night, with the public welcome back on track. Sunday nights are very popular, so for a great night out, please book with the Club on 8522 2935.


Picture: L to R; Jayde Hurley, Kirsty-Anne Tatoli, Matt Harris, Rebecca Harris with Uncle Ray (9) and Isla Gracie (8)

Kurt Donsberg Photography