RIPPED Unit jumped to the front and was never headed as the black son of Elite State held on for his first win at Tamworth on Saturday.
The Russell Harland trained dog, a 4-1 chance, jumped from the three box to lead well into the first turn and create a four-length lead turning for home.
Pat Howarth’s Lightning Love, the even money favourite, tried valiantly but was beaten a length in the Welcome Hawk Cleaning Christmas Party 4th/5th Grade (457m) with Mark Munn’s Arthur’s Gift (5-2) another length away third.
It was the first race of a 10-event program at Tamworth.
Russell Harland was delighted to be back in the winner’s circle with a dog that had supposedly had 94 starts.
“Nah that’s wrong,”Harland said.
“He’s had nowhere near that many – not sure what he’s had though.”
Ripped Unit was having just his second start for Harland.
“I’ve only had him three weeks,” he said.
“They went too quick for him at his first start.
“He always begins well though.
“I think he’s going to be all right.
“It’s just good to have a winner again.
“I haven’t had any good dogs for a while.”
Harland was back in the winner’s circle later in the evening when Guadalupe won the last race of the meeting, the Merry & Safe Xmas to All 5th Grade (402m) in 23.66secs.
It completed the first of four twilight (4pm start) meetings Tamworth will stage over the next few weeks.
“We have some good meetings coming up,” Tamworth president Robert Munn said.
“Our December 29, January 1 and January 5 meetings are all 4pm starts too.
“The January 5 meeting is a family fun day – we’ve got the jumping castle and giveaways for the kids.
“We’ve also got some good races.
“The Tamworth Scrap Metals 5th Grade (402m) is worth $1000 and then we have a couple of races worth $500, the Dukes Ice Maiden (340m) and the Jeff Teege Best 8 (457m) while the Kooty Meats No More Than Six Wins is worth $600.”
On Saturday the Kooty Meats Xmas Sprint (340m) was won by the Robert Bray-trained Golden Spark.
Bingara’s David Rose also travelled down to win The Northern Daily Leader Xmas Gift Free For All (402m) in 23.45secs while Super Hutchy followed up his Armidale win with victory in Saturday’s Daniel Missen Appreciation 5th Grade (402m).