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The heats of northern Tasmania’s premier harness race, the Ladbrokes Easter Cup is just a week away, and many contenders for that series will line up at the Ladbrokes Racing Centre in Launceston tonight in the $12,000 Launceston Mile. The intriguing runner in the race is exciting pacer Cool Water Paddy who takes on the open class pacers for the first time in his career. The Juanita McKenzie-trained pacer has won nine of his 13 starts, with eight of those wins coming at his past eight efforts. Ricky Duggan has driven the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona in every start, and he is looking forward to seeing how the pacer takes the next step in his career. “He is a nice little horse, but he is stepping up to a few of the big guns this week, so it will be interesting to see how he can match up against them,” said driver Ricky Duggan when speaking on Tasracing’s From The Stables Podcast. Only seven horses will contest the race where Duggan believes the pacer will get every chance to get a good guide going forward.  “He has drawn the pole over the mile, so he has drawn good enough to get a good guide on how he is going to measure up with them,” said Duggan. The one slight query punters have is if Cool Water Paddy can hold the lead early with several horses in the race possessing good gate speed and Duggan is hopeful the pacer can hold up from the good draw. “I think he has (the speed early), he has drawn the backline a lot in his career and we have never drawn the front-row much to ask him to run the gate, on the few occasions I have asked him to come out he has come out pretty good,” said Duggan. Duggan has won more races than any other driver in Tasmanian Harness Racing history, and he is on the verge of driving 1700 winners, he currently sits on 1697 victories. Some of Cool Water Paddy’s rivals tonight include the Matthew Cooper-trained and driven Call Me Hector. A winner of 17 races, Call Me Hector holds the mantle of the state’s fastest pacer when he recorded a mile rate of 1m 54.3s in Hobart last September. The Art Major gelding loves to lead and bowl along in front in his races and coming back in distance to the sprint trip will suit the pacer whose most recent win was at the home of Victorian harness racing, Melton, in January. Illegal Immigrant is another strong chance in the race, and the Troy Hillier-trained and driven pacer has a good record over the distance, with three starts for two wins and one placing over the distance. You have to go back to September of 2018 to find the last time the pacer contested a race over the sprint trip when he flew around Melton in 1m 55.2s, he has high speed, and the small field suits his chances along with Call Me Hector in the race it will ensure the race is run at a handy tempo. The other highlight on the Launceston card is the $12,000 Launceston Belmont for the two-year-old fillies. The Ben Yole-trained Written In Silk is the race favourite with Ladbrokes at $1.85. Written In Silk, was a $20,000 purchase at last year’s Carrick Harness Yearling Sale and she has won two trials in preparation for her race track debut tonight. Fields for all races have been restricted to 10-horses to accommodate the Tasmanian Government’s directives regarding managing the spread of COVID-19. Horses that raced in Hobart on Friday were the first balloted followed by those with the lowest field selection points till a field of 10 was reached. Racing starts at 17:23.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

A 10-year-old ex-claimer chestnut gelding in Tasmania has earnt himself a "home for life" after combining with bubbly teenage harness racing driver Georgia Hayward for her first race win at the weekend. Hayward, 17, with just 11 drives behind her, showed all the poise in the world to land the money with 100/1 shot It Is A Glacier (It Is I-Glacier Girl (Chill Factor) in the Launceston fast class race at Mowbray. "We've been racing him mostly in the claimers, but he won't be ever going back into those. I can pretty much guarantee that at the end of his racing he has a home here forever," a thrilled Hayward, based at Scottsdale, 60kms north-east of Launceston, said. "We didn't think he was good enough to go around in discretionary races, so he's probably gone around in the claimers for eight out of the 12 starts he's had for us and with a $5000 price," she said. Hayward said she was hopeful It Is A Glacier's good stand-start speed would allow her to find a good position. And from the outside front row draw, she found the back of old-timer Destreos soon after the start. "I thought we may have been going a bit quick early. I can't remember ever thinking I might be the winner. Even when the horse on my outside Ideal World dropped off and I got into the clear, I was still pretty relaxed," she said. "Then when I hit the front near the finish line there was a lot of tears. I realized I was going to win. I couldn't believe it and couldn't stop crying. I was just so happy because most of my family was there watching. "It was a day that I'll remember for a long time that's for sure. My mum Louise and 'Pop' John haven't missed any of my races, and dad David is there most of the time, depending on his work." Happy smiles: from left trainer Kent Rattray with It Is A Glacier. Winning driver Georgia is with her parents David and Louise, while “pop” John, Georgia’s brother James, and “nan” Julie join the celebrations. (Stacey Lear Photography) The pacer is known around the stables as "Meggs" (because "he's a 'ranga' and they're all known as Ginger Meggs") and Hayward said he was already a family favorite, even before his weekend win. "My brother James is listed as the owner, but Meggs is definitely family owned - most of them have some ownership, and I hope some of them put a few dollars on because he paid $157 on the TAB," she laughed. "We didn't go out or anything to celebrate-I think I just grabbed some KFC on the way home. I would really love to win another race soon because I could then buy my own ute and give dad his car back." Hayward said it was planned to give "Meggs" an easy time before aiming him at the heats of the Easter Cup. "I'm still on cloud nine, so I'll keep enjoying it for a bit yet." Hayward said while her family had been in the sport for a long time, she became interested only a few years ago. "My great grandparents Lawrence Hayward and his wife Lennie where involved along with my pop John Hayward, racing horses like Swishinover and Swishinon," she said. "We moved to Scottsdale from Ringarooma. "It was a lovely town where we used to live, but it's becoming smaller by the day. We shifted because of work and schooling. "I'd been involved with pony club for years and Wayne and Kent Rattray came knocking on the door to see if I wanted to help out at their stables," she said. So that's where it started, and Kent now trains our horse. "We've had Meggs since early last year and got him off Peter Romero who is at Chiltern, near Wangaratta in Victoria." Hayward last year spent five months working with James Rattray at his stables in Exeter, nearly two hours from Sydney. "I learnt a great deal and would love to go back and spend more time there."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Veteran reinsman Peter Dornauf is still counting his blessings after escaping serious injury in a spectacular harness racing incident. In an action-packed Launceston Discretionary Stakes on Sunday night, Dornauf got his horse away like a bullet from a 10 metre handicap, only to be confronted with another runner rearing high in the air and in his pathway. "It's strange when you are in a dangerous situation, just what goes on in your head. I remember thinking that this could be the end for me. I was very, very lucky. I really was," Dornauf said. "I could see what was unfolding. But I couldn't dodge too much and try and avoid it. I was worried my horse was going to cop the brunt of it-then I would have been in big trouble with my wife Karen!" he said, tongue-in-cheek. The drama unfolded after take two of the $12,000 standing start feature event, conducted at the picturesque Mowbray Racing Centre by the Launceston Club. When the tapes were released, Jaccka Len in barrier two, dwelt briefly before rearing up high in a full stretch despite the efforts of reinsman Ricky Duggan. Starting from the inside of the 10m handicap, Dornauf had Sea Double Ugrant out of the blocks like a shot out of a gun. Jaccka Len then twisted toward the inside and come down just when Sea Double Ugrant was darting through the inside. "For a split second I thought the horse was going to come crashing down on mine," Dornauf said. "But he got me instead. I didn't get hit as bad as it appeared on the race reply. It could have been way worse as he could have come down a lot harder," he said. "I got knocked out of the sulky pretty smartly and landed in under the running rail. I initially thought I'd broken my arm, but my biggest worry was my horse. "He gets really cranky when he's stirred up. Thankfully the sulky stayed upright when he took off. The clerk of the course Richard Housego did a great job and was able to grab him before any harm was done." Watch the race replay here (make sure you watch the head-on vision!): Check out on-course photographer @Stacey Lear's brilliant series of shots here: Dornauf said he ended up with a sore wrist and some back pain. The sensational series of photographs captured by Stacey Lear "There's a few other aches. I've been lucky because I've been driving for nearly 50 years and haven't had too many falls. But now Karen and my 12-year-old grandson Dylan reckon I'm too old and want to sack me!" he said. "I actually only took the drive because Mark Yole was unavailable because he had a horse of his own in the race. Our horse won a few starts back and we have the Easter Cup at Launceston in mind for him-but I won't be driving him!" The Dornauf family are well-known through the deeds of former super mare of the late 1980s and early '90s -Jane Ellen (Torado Hanover-Ima Goldie (Golden Alley). She was a winner of 29 races from 42 starts for an impressive $375,000 bankroll. Jane Ellen, bred by Karen, won at her fourth start in a 2yo event at Launceston when trained and driven by Peter. She won again later at Carrick before entering the all-powerful stable of the time, Bob and Vin Knight, who strung together nine consecutive victories with the pacer. Jane Ellen went onto win many group one and other top races in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart. These included the Victorian Oaks Preview and $60k final, Ladyship Cup final of $30k at Moonee Valley, 4yo and 5yo Championship at Harold Park, 1990 Mildura Pacing Cup heat and $30k final, and the George Johnson Stakes of $30k in Hobart.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

There was no bluff about evergreen veteran pacer Poker Storm when he played a winning hand to get the cash at a recent Launceston harness racing meeting. The 12-year-old paid three figure odds across most betting outlets with a stake-high $220 for a single win unit on the NSW TAB. But the victory didn't come as a surprise to his trainer Adrian Duggan, or the passionate owners. "I don't bet, but his owners always have a couple of dollars on him, so that's great for them," Duggan said. While the NSW TAB was the standout, those players who put their chips on the pacer to trump his rivals, collected $187 (SuperTAB), $106 (UniTAB), and $100 in his home state. "It's definitely not every day that you have that happen - but he also didn't deserve to be those odds, either. He's been racing really well," he said. Poker Storm hadn't won since March - but has been enjoying Tasmania's Discretionary Standing Start racing and had weighed in at all but one of his previous five starts, hence the quiet confidence in the Duggan camp. Annette and Chris Rockliff, Jacob Duggan and Nathan Rockliff were all smiles after their old warrior scored a memorable long-shot win  "He's an out-of-the-draw horse in the stands, but if he's off the second row he usually goes away all right," Duggan said. Poker Storm (Trump Casino-Cameo Mist (Lucky Cam) and Duggan have been a racing combination for almost as long as is possible in harness racing. The ownership group is based at Devonport, on the north coast, but, after he was broken in, they elected to send their two-year-old to the southern area of the Apple Isle, to Duggan at Brighton. And while others have come and gone, Poker Storm has been there ever since - for 10 years, nearly 200 starts, 23 wins and $170,000 in stakes. Duggan admits unashamedly, Poker Storm's the favorite. "He's just a lovely horse to have around. Hardly a lame day in his life and he's just one of those horses - he's not very big, but he's a warrior," he said. "He's very straightforward, very athletic and he just loves what he does. He's like most horses I suppose - if you keep him happy, he is very easy to get on with." Poker Storm crosses the line to win at start number 199 Duggan trains a team of 11 or 12 with the help of his stepfather Phillip Young, his wife Amanda and their 14-year-old son Jacob, who's just recently become licenced. "Poker Storm's been around nearly as long as Jacob has!" Duggan laughed. "He doesn't actually remember a time when we didn't have the horse - and he's doing quite a lot of the work with him now, too, so the win was a big thrill for Jacob as well. "Nathan (Rockliff) and Peter (Webb) are just the sort of owners you love to have. They are very loyal to me and have three horses here at the moment. "They love the sport and old Poker Storm has done a great job for them, but the minute I think it's time to pull the pin they'll be okay with that. "At the moment though, we're just enjoying racing him and while they keep programming the discretionary races and he gets handicapped fairly, we'll keep him going round," he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The heats of the McKillop Insurance Brokers Tassie Golden Apple and the last two heats of the 6ty° Youngbloods Challenge make up four of the seven races in Launceston tonight. The Tassie Golden Apple heats have attracted a rare mix of free-for-all pacers, horses that are just in the next group down, claimers and horses that appear to be destined to head to the country cup carnival over the summer. The mix is seen in heat two where Illegal Immigrant will start race favourite from his 30-metre handicap. One pacer in the race who’s performance will help their trainer determine on what path they go down over the summer months is the Mark Reggett trained Dasher Houli in heat two. The gelded son of Stonebridge Regal is first up since contesting a heat of the Tasmania Cup in early March where he finished in the back half of the field, and the trainer is happy with the pacers recent trial performances. “His first trial he had a decent blow, he needed the hit out but I was really happy with his last trial where he went to the line really good,” said Reggett about the 25 November trial in Hobart. “He will take some benefit from the run but he is ready to run a good race first-up,” added the trainer. Reggett was concerned about where the pacer was going to be when harness racing in Australia moved to a new national rating system on 1 July but he is happy with where the pacer is rated at with the conversion. “I wasn’t sure about the rating system but he is at the lower end of the free-for-all class which is good with the number of standing starts coming up,” explained Reggett.  Illegal Immigrant winning in Hobart earlier this year.   The Brighton based trainer rates the 30-metre backmarker Illegal Immigrant as the hardest to beat. “Illegal Immigrant is the hardest to beat so we need to capitalise on the front row draw,” Reggett said. Dasher Houli is yet to win a standing start race in four tries but the trainer was pleased with his manners in a recent trial. “Taylor (Ford) hunted him away in his last standing start trial and he got away real good,” said the trainer who has given Ford the drive tonight. Tonight’s assignment will help the trainer work out where he goes next with the seven-year-old gelding. “If he performs well in the series we will aim at some of the better races this season, if not we will just look for races that will be suitable for him.” Heat one of the Golden Apple is race three on the card where Ryley Major will start a short-priced favourite. Ryley Major is arguable the best pacer racing in the state at present and despite a 30-metre handicap, the race does appear to be a drop-in class for the talented pacer who has won 21 of his 31 starts. His trainer, Rohan Hillier will take the reins once again in tonight’s event. The first six horses past the post qualify for the $30,000 final that will be held in Launceston on Saturday night 21 December. The Launceston card tonight also sees the final two heats of the 6ty° Youngbloods Challenge. The series for the states best young up and coming drivers have seen heats staged in Devonport and Hobart in recent weeks and it is a tightly contested leader board. Andrew Freeman heads the points table on 40 points with Ben Woodsford and Taylor Ford on 39 with Charlie Castles heading the rest on 22. Races two and five are the final two heats of the six-race series.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

21-year-old Brighton trainer-driver Taylor Ford continued a strong family tradition in Launceston on Wednesday night when she recorded her first win as a trainer in the Sunrise Bakery Stakes with the Bettors Delight gelding Bettor Than That. Ford spoke confidently about the chances of the six-year-old gelding on Tasracing’s Live Stream coverage prior to the race and she drove a confident race taking Bettor Than That to the spot outside the leader soon after the start. Bettor Than That was travelling well at the top of the home straight and when Ford asked the pacer for the supreme effort he was able to hold of Pink Ponder by 1.1 metres over the concluding stages in a mile rate of 1m 58.0s. The only hesitation Ford had going into the race was that the pacer was first-up since late May. “I was a bit worried about him being first up for a few months but the way he won there are a few wins left in him,” said Ford. The junior driver described her first training win as “one of the best feelings ever”. “It has always been a dream of mine to go out training, I can’t thank Bianca (Heenan) enough for everything she has done for me,” Ford explained. “I have plenty of other support too from Zane and Sally Medhurst, Mark and Kelly Reggett, Ben Woodsford who helps around the stables along with my partner Maggie (Ashwood),” added Ford Ford was also appreciative of her father Phillip and mother Tammy for their support into her gaining her trainer’s license. Bettor Than That is raced by Taylor and Philip along with Robert Cunningham, who has raced horses with a few trainers over the years including the Ford family. Ford has 10 horses in work, the most number she can have on a B grade trainers license. It was a big night on the track with driver Conor Crook and trainer Rohan Hillier teaming up for a double on the card with Sheza Bettormak and Awayandrideyourself. Hillier also drove Blingittothemax in race one while Crook made it a treble on the card with Moonlite Bay. Marc Butler continued his good run with Full Speed Ahead out staying short-priced favourite Ryley Major in the Free-For-All while Similan Beach notched up a winning hat-trick later in the night. Bettors Delight gelding Impassable pulled off a plunge to score at his first race start in 1270 days after being sidelined through injury. Comments from the winning drivers on Tasracing’s Live Stream Coverage; Race 1: Blingittothemax – Rohan Hillier – “He got a good run through, it all worked out well for him but in saying that it was a quick last half and I think he hit the line really well.” Race 2: Impassable – John Walters – “We worked out of the gate and got good run, he sprinted home good and got to the line good.” Race 3: Sheza Bettormak – Conor Crook – “She had two birthdays today, one was in the run with about a 65 (seconds) first half and the other is she was actually born on this day.” Race 4: Bettor Than That – Taylor Ford – “I was a bit worried about him being first up for a few months but the way he won there are a few wins left in him.” Race 5: Awayandrideyourself – Conor Crook – “He came out pretty good … it was a good job, they flushed us out at the bell which I really didn’t want to do as we did burn early but he got the job done, he is a pretty nice horse I think.” Race 6: Full Speed Ahead – Todd Rattray – “I was half going to hand up and half wasn’t so I thought I might as well hold the front as he was on the bit and it worked out.” Race 7: Moonlite Bay – Conor Crook – “He went really good, he is a big raw fella but he did a good job.” Race 8: Similan Beach – Ricky Duggan – “I think Barry (Cooper) and Jamie (Cockshutt) are toying with the idea of giving him a month or two up in Sydney, it will be just interesting to see what they do with him now.” You can watch all of last night’s pre and post-race interviews on TasracingTV On Demand here.   Duncan Dornauf

Talented pacer Ryley Major will start a short price favourite in tonight’s Find Us On Facebook Stakes in Launceston, but the Gavin Kelly trained and driven Blackbird Power will be out trying to upset the party in the 2698-metre standing start event. Blackbird Power, a gelded son of Mach Three has been out of the winner’s circle since winning a Discretionary Handicap in Hobart on 5 May before he started to race below his best form, but in recent starts, the seven-year-old gelding has been showing improvement on the track. In Hobart last week Blackbird Power enjoyed a soft run three back along the pegs when he finished third to Call Me Hector in a state record run of 1m 54.3s and Kelly is happy with the way his pacer has come through the run. “He worked better this week than he did last week, he looks a lot brighter and is improving through his coat,” said Kelly. “When they run a quick time like that you want to be on the pegs, but the horse wanted to be there and he hadn’t been feeling like that in previous starts,” added the trainer-driver. Kelly admits the pacer is starting to show improvement on the track but believes Blackbird Power is still racing below his best. “Four to six weeks ago he was just going terrible, but he is on the improve but is a long way from his best form,” Kelly explained. Ryley Major will start a short-price favourite from his 20-metre handicap. The Rohan Hillier trained and driven pacer is the winner of six races from only 10 starts last season and is first up from a spell after being narrowly defeated by Harjeet in Hobart on 28 July. Kelly believes the early manners are the key to Blackbird Power’s chances. “I think he can win if he steps but I have my doubts that he will,” he said about Blackbird Power. Another runner in the Find Us On Facebook Stakes from the Gavin Kelly stable is Karalta Dazzler who will be handled by Adrian Collins. “He is improving and he is a big chance to run a place,” said his trainer. “I have been happy with his work and if he steps I think he gets a soft lead, there’s no Matty Cooper this week so that takes the early tempo out of the race, and Rohan knows with Ryley Major that he is a class above them and he can come with one run and win,” Kelly explained. Jeans Mattjesty is the third runner from Kelly’s stable in the race, but there is no high expectations with that pacer. “He has had two woeful runs for me and if he can finish with them I will be happy,” said Kelly about the pacer who will be driven by Taylor Ford. In the Great Northern Super Crisp Stakes, Gavin Kelly trains and drives Capatarlee, a gelded son of Mach Three who is unplaced after four starts, but in his first three efforts, the pacer has done a lot wrong in the score up which has cost him valuable ground. “He is better than his form suggests, it’s a big field and he doesn’t do enough right at this stage to put him into the race, he goes around again on Sunday in Hobart where he has a better draw and the right field to perform well,” Kelly said.   Duncan Dornauf

Beauty Point trainer Rohan Hillier continued his good run with New Zealand bred pacers when he prepared a training double on Wednesday nights Launceston program. Giftofjoy (pictured) who completed Hillier’s double was a win of significance after her racing career looked all but over about 18-months ago. Hillier restrained the $1.45 favourite from her wide draw in the 1680-metre event to settle in second last position, before gaining a one-out one-back cart up over the final lap. Driver Gareth Rattray on $26 chance, Huiffier, tried to pinch a winning break at the top of the home straight before Giftofjoy slipped up another gear and was able to cruise on by late to score by 2.3-metres in a mile rate of 2m 1.0s. The daughter of Art Major won at her previous start in Launceston on 31 March 2019 before she was sidelined through injury. “She kicked her stable wall and broke her pedal bone,” said Hillier on Tasracing’s Live Stream coverage. The trainer also added that there was a high chance Giftofjoy may have not made it to the race track again. “She has done a good job to get back to the track as the vets were concerned she would never race again,” explained Hillier. The winning trainer doesn’t have too many expectations of the mare going forward. “She will hopefully potter through the classes, I’m unsure how far she will go but hopefully there are three or four good wins in her.” One pacer Hillier does have high hopes for is talented four-year-old Awayandrideyouself who once again dominated his rivals. “At home, his point to point speed is as good as any horse I have had, so as long as he can work through his classes and get a bit stronger I’m sure he will make it to free-for-all grade,” said Hillier who also drove the gelding. “He settled well in the breeze and he only had to dash up the straight,” added the Beauty Point-based trainer about the victory which was recorded in a mile rate of 2m 1.1s. Hillier drove a treble on the Launceston card when he teamed up with East Devonport trainer Paul Ashwood to win with Blingittothemax. After showing good gate speed to find the lead the gelding was challenged strongly down the back straight before holding his rivals off over the concluding stages. “I hadn’t pulled the earplugs but Skip (Paul Ashwood) told me he can wait for them a bit, once he straightened and got balanced up he ran up the straight well I thought,” Hillier said. “Horses like him with good gate speed can make their own luck and I’m sure with the new rating system he will win three or four pretty quick,” Hillier added. Ashwood also recorded multiple wins on the Launceston card with Miracle Marcus winning earlier in the night. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere worked forward in the early stages to race outside the leader and was too good for the race favourite My Girl Pearl over the concluding stages. Miracle Marcus gave driver Hannah Van Dongen another reason to celebrate on her 24th birthday. Both Blingittothemax and Miracle Marcus are raced by Maxfield Standardbreds who had another reason to celebrate at the meeting with Max Delight being awarded the Australian Three Year Old of the year for his efforts last season earlier in the afternoon. The fast class race of the night was won by Illegal Immigrant who was driven by his trainer Troy Hillier. Starting off the back handicap of 20-metres Illegal Immigrant was once again too quick for his rivals late. “He travelled really well and that’s his go having a sit on them like that, he has a good turn of foot when he sprints,” Troy Hiller said after the win. “I’m going to give him a few weeks off I think as he feels a little bit proppy (in his action),” the winning trainer-driver added. Duncan Dornauf

John “Bulldog” Nicholson is no stranger in sending horses to Tasmania, and the Victorian trainer produced another smart pacer in the state on Sunday night when Micton Mouse was able to claim the Cliff Robins Memorial Pace for two-year-olds. The gelded son of Stonebridge Regal showed brilliant gate speed to lead and dictate affairs in the $10,000 feature in a slick mile rate of 1m 57.9s, which was just 1.2s outside the two-year-old age record on the Launceston circuit. Nicholson gave driving responsibilities to stable employee and former Tasmanian Jack Laugher who explained that the horse is still learning the racing game. “His first race at Yarra Valley he led very easy and took a bit of cover and he was a bit green being his first time round,” Laugher said after Sunday’s win. “He is going to get better with more racing under his belt,” the driver added. The main mission for the trip was to secure the pacer’s $5,000 TASBred bonus. Micton Mouse was bred by Jack’s parents Michael and Toni Laugher out of their mare Massie Mouse, making the gelded son of Stonebridge Regal a half brother to Metro Mouse the winner of 13 races. “He will go for a spell now and come back as a three-year-old. I’m unsure if the owners will spell him down here or back in Victoria,” the winning driver said about the future plans going forward. Micton Mouse scored by four metres over Beat City with Karalta Courage 3.6 metres away third. Courageous Katee will claim this season’s Mare Of The Year title in Launceston, and the Dick Eaves-trained mare extended her unbeatable lead with another brilliant win, this time in the Beena Buster Pace. The daughter of Courage Under Fire raced three-wide and one-back over the final circuit and was too tough for her rivals late, courtesy of a good drive by Adrian Collins. “It suits her when there is a bit of speed on,” trainer Dick Eaves said post-race. “Tonight’s race suited her nicely and she got a good cart into it,” the Karoola based trainer said. “He is a strong boy Adrian (Collins) and you need to be with her, if somebody drives her that has a bit of trouble holding her they tend to go before acceptances and Adrian seems to sit there that bit longer,” Eaves explained. Courageous Katee was a run away winner by 6.3 metres in a mile rate of 2m 1.2s. Illegal Immigrant proved too quick for Harjeet in the Jubilee Bakery Free For All. Troy Hillier was happy to follow Harjeet every step of the way in the one-out one-back trail before finishing the race off strongly in the home straight to record a half-head victory. “He got tired on the line but he was probably entitled to,” trainer-driver Troy Hillier said after the win. Hillier has no major plans going forward with the gelded son of American Ideal. “There’s a free for all here in a fortnight, that’s all we have looked at so far,” he said. The mile rate for the 2200-metre event was 1m 57.2s. Arguably the run of the night came in the Jullian Roberts Stakes when Similan Beach came flashing down the outside of the track to record his third win of the season. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere was last with 300 metres to travel and the only option driver Ricky Duggan has, was to peel eight-wide in the home straight and the Marc Butler-trained pacer was still able to pick up his rivals and score in a mile rate of 1m 57.7s for 1680-metres.   Duncan Dornauf

There were plenty of highlights across the state last weekend which featured the BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers series in Launceston on Sunday night. The Tasmanian Trotting Club also staged a competitive card on Friday where there were a number of highlights. We only have one meeting in the state this weekend in Hobart, with a nine-race card that features the clash of Harjeet and Ryley Major in the Tasmanian Veterinary Services Free For All. The Stars Matthew Cooper - continued his terrific season in the sulky in Launceston on Sunday night when he claimed the BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers series. A win on Fortino and two third placings in the four-race series was enough for Cooper to win the series by two points. Cooper’s big weekend in the sulky commenced in Hobart on Friday night when Call Her Julie returned to the winner's list, the mare is also trained by Cooper. Im Compliant -returned to the winner's list for the third time this season when he scored in the Sandra Bennett - Sunny Sanz Discretionary on Sunday. The gelded son of Live Or Die led all the way to win the 2698-meter event and was able to hold off a late charge by the race favourite Inner Light. Charlie Castles - partnered the Kate MacLeod trained Jacks Command to win the final heat of the BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers series. It was a well-judged drive in front by Castles on the gelded son of Royal Mattjesty. It was the first win for Jacks Command since November 2018. Ben Woodsford - the New Zealand born reinsman recorded his first Tasmanian win in Hobart on Friday night when he scored on Animi Sub Ignis. Woodsford had driven winners in New South Wales and Queensland before taking up a job opportunity with trainer Gavin Kelly. Bradley Walters - prepared a long shot double in Hobart on Friday with Animi Sub Ignis winning at odds of $21 and Mavis Merle who also started at $21. Multiple Winners Hobart  – Friday evening Gareth Rattray - driving double; Chasing Cheetahs and Tisu Spirit, Bradley Walters - training double; Animi Sub Ignis and Mavis Merle. Launceston  – Sunday evening  Ben Yole - training treble; Quick Changeover, Fortino and Machitelli. Rohan Hillier - driving double; Im Compliant and Artyboy Glenwood. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Hobart  – Friday evening Popnduke 57.82s, Boss Major 57.98s, Paint The Wind 58.10s, Caciocavallo 58.17s and I Am Camelot 58.24s. Launceston  – Sunday evening  Our Quinn 58.40s, Tiwanaku 58.42s, Monarkmac 58.45s, Blacklist 58.56s and Flashy Ruler 58.62s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Hobart  – Friday evening  Hits: Boss Major $2.00 into $1.80, Call Her Julie $2.60 into $2.30, Mavis Merle $26 into $21 and Tisu Spirit $1.80 into $1.70. Defied The Drift: Popnduke $4.20 out to $4.40. Missed: Gaggle Coordinator $12 into $9.00, Roosevelt $4.00 into $3.50 and Somedan $26 into $12 Launceston  – Sunday evening  Hits: Fortino $3.20 into $2.20 and Machitelli $2.25 into $1.90, Defied The Drift: Quick Changeover $5.50 out to $7.50,Karpenkova Leis $3.20 out to $4.60, Rowley $9.00 out to $13 and Artyboy Glenwood $4.00 out to $6.50. Missed: Punchinello $17 into $10, Gaggle Coordinator $21 into $17, Altana Blue $51 into $26, Somedan $31 into $17, Gems $12 into $9.00, Princely Reign $17 into $8.50, Trial File Carrick Park - Saturday morning It was the Kent Rattray show on Saturday morning when the Lietinna based trainer prepared all three winners. His first winner was Ideal Karalta in a national rating 50 to 115 trial over 2150 meters. Driver John Walters worked forward on the gelded son of American Ideal and he proved too good for Destreos, who finished 20 meters away in second position with Thirlstane Queen a further 15 meters away third. The mile rate was the quickest of the morning of 2m 3.9s. The other two winners from the Rattray stable were Ark Fury in a mile rate of 2m 8.2s and It Is A Glacier who recorded a winning mile rate of 2m 8.4s. Week Ahead As mentioned earlier the clash of Harjeet and Ryley Major headline the nine-event card in Hobart on Sunday night. The two open class pacers have drawn wide on the track in the Tasmanian Veterinary Services Free For All which will be run over the 1609 meter trip. Harjeet is first-up since finishing 10th in the Easter Cup on 20 April and hasn’t been seen in public since that effort. Harjeet’s best winning mile rate is 1m 55.5s which he recorded when winning the Toreace Flying Mile on 13 January. Ryley Major goes into the race-winning three of his past four starts, the most recent start was a 2.5-metre victory in Hobart on 14 July. His win in Hobart three starts ago was over the mile trip in a time of 1m 54.5s which equalled the state record. The Tasmanian Veterinary Services Free For All is race six on the card and is scheduled to start at 20:12 with the first race set to start at 17:27. All races will be televised on Sky Racing 1 and TasracingTV’s Live Stream. Interstate this week at metropolitan venues some of our Tasmanian representatives include; Melton - Saturday night Race 8 Horse 3 - Manganello - Tasbred. Menangle - Saturday night Race 2 Horse 7 - Im Jaks Teller - Tasmanian owned. Race 4 Horse 8 - Scooterwillrev - Tasmanian owned.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Oatlands reinsman  Matthew Cooper continued his terrific season when he claimed the 2019 BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers series in Launceston on Sunday night. “I was a bit surprised to win the series but I am very wrapped to win it,” said a very excited Matthew Cooper after the series victory. Cooper won heat three where he teamed up with the state's leading trainer to win on Fortino (pictured). Fortino who started as the race favourite, speared straight to the lead, and the seven-year-old gelded son of Sutter Hanover couldn’t be rundown with stablemates Our Quinn (Samantha Gangell) and Monarkmac (Matthew Howlett) filling the placings. “Ben (Yole) said before the race that he was a good mile horse and that he was very similar to Call Her Julie that I didn’t have to take a whip to so that suited me down to the ground. I only need an easy quarter in the race which I got and he sprinted home well to win,” the winning driver said. Cooper wasn’t overly interested in the industry early on but it didn’t take him long to get hooked. “I never liked horses early on but I owed Justin Campbell a favour and I went and gave him a hand at his stables one day, I  jumped on a horse that day and I fell in love with the industry and from that day on I always wanted to be involved in the sport,” said the series winner. The Oatlands-based trainer-driver worked as a race day controller for Tote Tasmania for six years until its sale in 2012. He now trains his small team of horses and spends time working with his partner Chantelle with their courier business, Rapid Couriers. Cooper was extremely grateful for the trainers and owners that supported the series. “It’s always good for the owners and trainers to support the series by giving us horses to drive, it can be hard for a trainer to put a horse in a race like that without knowing what driver you will get and I’m very appreciative of that as well as BOTRA and the Launceston Pacing Club for their support of the series,” said Cooper. The first heat saw the Todd Rattray-trained Karpenkova Leis and Bremusa fight out the finish with Karpenkova Leis proving too good over the concluding stages to win by 3.3-metres. Driver Hannah Van Dongen was keen to hold the lead early on Karpenkova Leis but she elected to hand up to Pushkin (Matthew Cooper) after a quicker than average lead time, before gaining the one-out one-back position at the 700-metre mark Van Dongen found clear racing room at the 400-metre pole, and from there she was able to run down Bremusa (Kimberley Grant) over the concluding stages. Former New Zealand driver Kimberley Grant continued the good start for the female drivers when she teamed up with trainer Sally Stingel to win with three-year-old gelding Rowley. It was the seventh career win for the gelded son of Badlands Hanover who settled one-out and two-back before working around the field to find the spot outside the leader with 700 metres of the race remaining, Grant asked Rowley for a bit more effort on the final corner and the gelding responded well to score by 2.1 metres. Cooper and Grant went into the final heat as joint leader of the series on 39 points, and they had to settle for third and fourth placing respectively with only a head between the duo as they chased home the Charlie Castles-driven Jacks Command. The Kate MacLeod trained pacer dropped a lot in class in the national rating 60 to 69 event after contesting a heat of the Easter Cup five starts ago, and was able to cling on to a narrow victory over Gems (Troy McDonald). The final points score of the series was: 50 - Matthew Cooper 48 - Kimberley Grant 40 - Troy McDonald 34 - Samantha Gangell 31 - Georgia Hayward 30 - Charlie Castles 29 - Hannah Van Dongen 26 - Wade Rattray 22 - Matthew Howlett 20 - Andrew Freeman 19 - Taylor Ford 13 - Lachlan Dakin Rohan Hillier took driving honours on the card with a driving double winning with Im Compliant and Artyboy Glenwood, with training honours going to Ben Yole with a treble preparing Quick Changeover, Fortino and Machitelli to victory.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Call Me Hector is headed for a potential showdown with Izaha in the 4YO Championship in Launceston on Sunday night after another sensational victory in Hobart on Sunday night. The Matthew Cooper-trained and driven Art Major - Lady Jillett Lombo gelding (pictured) decimated his rivals in the Hobart Signwriters Pace, hitting the line 9.5-metres clear, running a mile rate of 1:58.5. "He just keeps on impressing me with his performances, he's won five out of seven since arriving in the stable in April and his two placings were great efforts when second to Ryley Major and third to Monarkmac when he had no luck and was only beaten a metre," said Matthew. "He showed good gate speed tonight from three to lead comfortably at the first turn and from there he travelled beautifully, there was some pressure on early but he relaxed nicely which is going to be vital in the bigger races going forward." In testing conditions Call Me Hector recorded a lead time of 34.4 seconds and early quarters of 28.5 and 30.1 seconds but Cooper still had a lap full of horse at his disposal. "He was cruising at the half-mile and he rolled away from them going into the backstretch under his own steam before racing home to win by just on 10 metres with plenty in reserve," a delighted Cooper said. "I think his best is still to come so we will give him one more run before a good spell and then bring him back for the bigger races next season." The one more run Matthew has in mind before a spell is the 4YO Championship in Launceston on Sunday. "It's going to be a tough assignment as I'm sure Todd (Rattray) will have Izaha going around, he's proven himself the best four-year-old in the state capping his season off with an effortless win in the Raider Stakes," said Matthew. "I'm confident Call Me Hector will keep him honest and you never know if he gets the breaks he may cause an upset."   Shane Yates

Star pacer Ryley Major obliterated an 11-year-old track record in Hobart on Sunday when he spreadeagled his rivals over 1609 metres. The Rohan Hillier-trained and driven six-year-old (pictured) recorded a scintillating mile rate 0f 1:54.5, carving almost a full second off the record set by Richie Walton in May of 2008. Not only did Ryley Major smash the Hobart track record he matched the state record set in Launceston by Mister Lennox in the Golden Mile in 2017. Ryley Major speared across the face of the field from gate seven to find the front in the run to the first turn and from there it was a mere procession for the Art Major - Shez Ryleymak powerhouse on a lightning-fast surface. "He was very sharp tonight, he showed his normal high gate speed from seven and crossed them easily, Matty (Cooper) kept the pressure on in the middle stages with Call Me Hector which was good but 'Ryley' just rolled away at the top of the stretch for a convincing win," said Rohan. "Breaking such a long-standing record was a highlight, the scary part is he could have gone quicker but he is a real racehorse and when he clears out like last night he doesn't bother to overexert himself." Hillier is now looking to the mainland for Ryley Major's next mission. "We will race him at Melton on Saturday night and then bring him home and then I'd like to look at giving him a run at Menangle I think the track would suit him perfectly and he deserves his opportunity there." Todd Rattray's Sweet Lou - Benediction colt Kohanah was given a leisurely work out in the Two-Year-Olds Colts &  Geldings Division of the Sweepstakesaccounting for his only rival Bitoscotty by 15.8 metres, recording a last-half of 58.7 seconds. Doug Nettlefold's blazing run with his Big Jim - Shake Me Up two-year-old filly Blame It On Me continued when she strode home to her third victory from four starts in the second heat of the Fillies Division of the Sweepstakes. Blame It On Me sneaked under the radar in her two previous wins scoring at odds of $16.10 and $10.00, but punters clambered on the bandwagon this time around backing her into favouritism and with Natalee Emery in the gig she didn't disappoint. "She's a very nice filly, she still has a lot to learn but she has done a wonderful job in her four starts, Doug (Nettlefold) rang me right back at the start and said he thought he had something special and would I like to drive her at the trials and although she was soundly beaten in both she showed me there was something there," said Natalee. "I was quietly confident when she won the Launceston Belmont on debut and then she won impressively in Hobart so going into last night the confidence level was high and again she produced the goods with something in hand, she has speed and she's tough as well so I wouldn't be swapping her for anything else in the final on Friday."   Shane Yates

Launceston trainer Brian Stanley landed the first blow of the Elderslie Horse Care Two-Year-Old Fillies Sweepstakes Series with A Spanish Dance (pictured) taking out the opening heat in Hobart on Friday night. A Spanish Dance’s best performance going into the Sweepstakes was a third behind Brookwillrock in the Devonport Belmont, but she broke her maiden status with an impressive all-the-way win over 1609 metres. “She has always shown me she’s had her share of ability, she’s no superstar but she’s honest and when she found the early lead my confidence level grew,” said Brian. “The favourite Radiant Red ran the gate out wide and looked a chance of leading but Rod (Ashwood) is a naturally aggressive driver and was able to slip up underneath from gate three and find the pegs first, from there he rated her perfectly grabbing a cheap second section (33.2 seconds) which gave her plenty in reserve when the final challenges came.” Brian bred the A Rocknroll Dance – Guernica filly and is looking to press on through the Sweepstakes and onto the Sires Stakes. “There is another heat of the Sweepstakes next week but at this stage she will be staying at home as she has qualified for the final, she’s eligible for the Sires so she deserves her chance and I don’t want to overexert her as the two series are very close together,” said Brian. “It appears a very even season in the fillies division, in the main whoever has been able to find the lead has gone on to win the race, A Spanish Rose capitalised on it in Hobart, hopefully luck can go her way again this season.” The Robert Gillie prepared two-year-old Canbe Doc scored a promising debut victory in the Elderslie Horse Care Colts & Geldings Sweepstakes. The Caribbean Blaster – Little Miss Doc gelding was sent out the popular pick and led comfortably from the mobile but came under enormous pressure over the concluding stages when headed down the home running by Karalta Courage. Gareth Rattray got down to work with Canbe Doc and the youngster dug deep to regain the lead and score by 2 1/2-metres.   Shane Yates

The John Castles-trained filly Resolute Ruler caused a massive upset in the 60ty° Bandbox Prelude on Sunday night in Launceston. The Betterthancheddar-High Flying Ruler three-year-old (pictured-inside) has only been placed twice in 17 career starts but pulled out the race of her life to greet the judge at odds of $144.20. "She has always shown us something on the training track however with the exception of one or two runs she hasn't been able to show it on race night, but she has tonight it was a great win in trying conditions," said John. "It was a tough run for all the fillies in the race and the week of recovery ahead is going to be all important when assessing how the $50,000 Bandbox Final will pan out." Resolute Ruler scored by the barest possible margin of a short half-head over the fast-finishing Todd Rattray-trained and driven Joogle ($46.30) with the Rohan Hadley filly Our Wonder Woman ($39.30) storming home from a mile back with Barrie Rattray's drive Juniper ($54.) making up the first four. "Rohan (Hillier) drove Resolute Ruler a treat, easing out of the early speed battle to grab the one-one trail and when the Ashwood runners made their moves at the 1200-metre mark he just held his ground and then was in a position to ease out three wide on the home corner,"  said Castles. "She worked into it strongly and when the leaders Spoilt Sport and Still Hungover started to show signs of distress Barrie (Rattray) shot clear on Juniper but she was able to wear her down and then was strong enough to just hold Joogle late, so I'm hoping she can repeat her performance in the Final next week." Sunny Sanz made light work of the Roberts Rural Supplies Globe Derby Prelude, sprinting form last at the home turn to have his rivals covered at the 200-metre mark and will go into next week final as a red hot favourite for Kent Rattray and John Walters.   Shane Yates

Call Me Hector showed he's ready to take his career further with a super run in the Bevan Lee's Butchery Golden Mile in Launceston on Sunday night. Oatland's trainer-driver Matthew Cooper took the four-year-old Art Major - Lady Jillett Lombo gelding to the front at dispatch and was never headed. "I was delighted with his run, he showed gate speed to hold out the early challenges and then had plenty in reserve for the sprint up the straight," said Matthew. "His first split was 27.8 seconds and he finished off in 28.9 seconds which gave him a 1.57 rate for the mile so that gives us a good base to work with going forward." Call Me Hector's Golden Mile success took his career record to 10 wins from 27 starts, including two of three in Tasmania. "I'm looking to take him through his grades during the winter months and have him ready for the big races, he has gate speed which is handy and high speed, he can go form cruising to flat-out in a stride or two so that acceleration is a big gun to have in your arsenal," said Cooper. "I was disappointed Ryley Major was scratched as it would have been good to see where we sit among the top-shelf pacers, my next task is to get him to the trials and work on him getting away from the stand which is going to be vital if we get to take on the topliners which I'm confident he will." With Call Me Julie seeing out her racing days in Victoria, under the care of Justin Campbell, before heading to the breeding barn at the end of the season, Matthew's focus will be a recent addition to the stable. "Training and driving Call Me Julie has just been a fantastic experience, she won a string of races for us and finished up being awarded the honour of Tasmanian Mare Of The Year, but Hector has the extra ping and I'm looking forward to seeing him over more ground in the future."   Shane Yates

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