WODONGA trainer Sylvia Thompson has broken the stranglehold of visiting trainers when long shot Uncle Tiger charged down the outside to win the Jack Maher Classic (1200m) at Wodonga yesterday.
It was her first major win at her home track since returning to the Border five years ago.
It was also Thompson’s first starter in the two-year-old feature.
The two-year-old was unwanted paying $61 on fixed odds having not been closer than 7½ lengths to the winner in either of his two career starts.
But on a track rated between heavy and slow Uncle Tiger hit the front soon after turning for home and had almost five lengths to spare on short priced favourite Hawking ($2.50) and the heavily backed David Hayes trained Flamin’ Mogul ($4).
Thompson, who hadn’t had a runner in the race previously, said they had set the horse for the Classic some time ago.
“But we didn’t expect that,” she said.
“He has always shown plenty of natural ability but he is very green — when he sooled him around the outside coming to the corner I thought he is either travelling really well or he’s being green and he just wanted to straighten him up.
“He was under some pressure but he just ran away with it.”
Thompson was only the second local trainer to win the classic in the past 11 years.
But she said Uncle Tiger would head to the spelling paddock.
“That was always the plan and we know he goes good, so with some time to mature he should come back an even better horse,” she said.
“He’s bred to get a bit of distance so he should get further, but he’s done all right today and probably earned a bit of a rest now.”
Jockey Jarrod Fry said Uncle Tiger was only just learning to race.
Fry rode the gelding in his first start when beaten nine lengths at Bendigo.
“At his first start he was very quiet but today he was fired up and we needed the clerk of the course to get him around to the barrier,” he said.
“He picked them up very quickly coming to the corner but even when he hit the front he wanted to duck in.”