Day At The Track
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Hez The One turned on an awesome harness racing display to capture the Burnie Cup on Sunday night at the Wivenhoe Showgrounds. When trainer-driver Mark Yole reached for the 'go' button he must have felt like the ballistic missile defence operator in Hawaii over the weekend because instead of hitting the green button he's flicked the red and lit up Hez The One's afterburners. Hez The One accelerated with such electrifying speed that the six-year-old came from near last turning into the back at the 400-metre mark to explode to the lead in just the distance of the back straight. I can't remember a harness race that changed complexion as quickly as the Cup, one minute there were four to five winning hopes, two seconds later there was only one. Mark Yole snapped up the Jeremes Jet - Summer Fairytale six-year-old gelding out of a claiming event at Globe Derby in December and was having its third run in the state after unplaced runs at St Marys and Scottsdale. Hez The One well and truly lived up to its name early in its career dominating its South Australian two-year-old season winning eight of its first nine starts including its heat and semi-final of the Southern Cross Series before a sensational 7.7-metre victory in the $60,000 Final. Hez The One boasts a record of 20 wins and 19 placings from 62 career starts and on it's Cup run performance there may well be many more wins to come. The Allister Woods trained track specialist Laughyourheadoff came out of the pack late to challenge in the home straight but the winner was still powering to the post. Woods fired in a protest against the winner for alleged interference in the straight claiming the Hez The One had drifted up the track but stewards dismissed the objection and the placings stood with Kvitova Leis third. Short-priced favourite Full Speed Ahead lost all chance when galloping in the early stages of the 2789-metre event. The Craig Hayes Trained and driven Jeanette Barry broke through for a well-deserved victory in the Somerset Hotel Thorate Incentive. The Sportswriter - Gallavance three-year-old filly ran third to Ideal Bliss in the Evicus Final last season and finally cracked its maiden status with an all the way victory. Shane Yates

When the ‘King of the Creek’ Destreos arrived from Queensland in  mid-2017 with owner Sally Stingel and trainer Ken Rattray the question on everyone’s lips was, could the then 13-year-old wonder horse win four more races to become only the third pacer in Australasian harness racing history to reach the magical triple figures. Friday evening’s narrow victory over Remember Joe in the Longford Equine Clinic Free-For-All in Launceston took Destreos’ career winning tally to 99, the burning question has now moved on to where and when will the historic win will be attempted. “We are looking at the Free-For-All in Launceston in a fortnight followed by the Toreace Flying Mile as his next couple of assignments”, said a beaming Ken Rattray. “He’s not quite at the top of his game after missing a fortnight’s work recently so it was great to see him respond the way he did when challenged strongly by Remember Joe.” Rattray is well aware the eyes of the harness world will be firmly focussed on every move in the lead-up to the tilt at the milestone. “There is always pressure when you train a horse as popular as Destreos and with the following he has nation-wide but I wouldn’t swap it for the world, it’s a privilege for Sally and I to be associated with such a horse, he’s part of the family, that’s how we treat him, he just loves to race so while he shows us that then that’s what he will continue to do.” Kent Rattray and John Walters have formed a formidable combination in recent seasons, highlighted by their successes with Riverboat Jasper in the Easter Cup and Timely Sovereign in the Raider Stakes. The duo appears to have unearthed another potential top-liner after Sunny Sanz took the honours in the $15,000 Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes, the first two-year-old race held throughout Australia for the 2017/18 season. The Sportswriter – Soho Summer gelding, bred and raced by Nathan and Sandra Bennett of Ringarooma, was easy in the market drifting from $1.55 to $2.35 on the Tasracing Official Price fluctuations while the money flooded in for the Paul Hill prepared Cool Water Paddy, cutting its opening price from $2.25 to $1.70. Sunny Sanz stepped straight to the front for John Walters in a field of four runners over the 1680-metre trip and strode away from the Ricky Duggan-driven Cool Water Paddy to score effortlessly by 34 metres, rating 2:02.8 for the mile clocking  59.7-seconds for the last half. However all the action was behind the leading pair, Jardee and Karalta Moondance locked wheels shortly after the start with both Gareth and Barrie Rattray tipped out of the cart. Barrie was able to hold onto the reins of Jardee and drag himself back into the sulky and complete the course. Jardee was passing the 800-metre pole when the winner crossed the line but with official margins going on the time taken by an individual runner to complete the race distance the official margin from winner to third was displayed at 1,103.8 metres. The all-clear was given on the first two placegetters only but later stewards deliberated and ruled that Jardee had legitimately covered the distance of the race and reinstated it to running officially third and ruling connections were eligible for the $2100 third place prizemoney. Shane Yates

The harness racing field for this evening's Longford Equine Clinic Free-For-All may lack quantity but it more than makes for it with quality. There appear to be four major players in the fast-class race on the nine-event card, Destreos, Queens Advocate, Remember Joe and Fernco Bobby Gee. The Matty Dwyer-trained Queens Advocate (pictured) returned to the winner's list for the first time this season courtesy of a paralysing burst of speed to capture the C6 to C7 in Hobart last week over 2579-metres. The eight-year-old Mcardle - Genes West mare was taken back off the arm by Gareth Rattray and allowed to settle back before making its move out three-wide on the track with cover at the bell. When Rattray released the ribbons on the home turn the race was over in the twinkling of the eye, the mare sprinting home in 56.98 seconds, the quickest last-half of the night, to win by 8.6-metres and putting pay to a frustrating run of three seconds in a row for connections. Gareth Rattray switches back to steer Destreos this evening, the Ken Rattray-prepared 14-year-old gunning for win 99. Destreos, the veteran of 444 career starts, was a winner three runs back proving too good for Mister Lennox and Roger Ramjet with Mr Lennox franking the form by scoring a sensational victory for Juanita McKenzie and Ricky Duggan in the Triple M Hobart Pacing Cup on Sunday night. The Sally Stingel-owned equine cult-hero was then forced to give away a 30-metre Handicap at its next two outings, finishing second to Dapper Dana in Launceston and fourth behind The Majority at Carrick but is back to the more suitable mobile conditions in tonight's Free-For-All. Remember Joe turned in a courageous effort to finish sixth in the Hobart Pacing Cup last week after doing all the work leading the three-wide train last week in the Cup, to finish less than 10-metres from its stablemate Mister Lennox. Fernco Bobby G is another in contention for trainer-driver Mark Yole after being placed behind Destreos this season and finishing fourth to Im Barney Rubble in the Doug Martin Danbury Park Cup and again just missing a place in Launceston behind Dapper Dana. In the opening race on the twilight card we get our first glance at the two-year-olds for the 2017/18 season in the $15,000 Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes. The Kent Rattray-prepared Sunny Sanz is a Carrick trial winner three weeks ago finishing 40 metres ahead of two of its rivals on debut, Jardee and Karalta Moondance and will enjoy the services of regular stable driver John. Last week's Hobart winning duo Juanita McKenzie and Ricky Duggan combine with the Cool Water Paddy, which qualified for its debut run with a trial in New Zealand at Rangiora, where it ran last in a four-horse field. See this evening's Launceston Pacing Club meeting via the live stream service at tasracing.com.au commencing at 16.52. Shane Yates

Full Speed Ahead capped off a memorable first week of harness racing in 2018 by adding Friday night’s Bridport Hotel North Eastern Pacing Cup at Scottsdale to its success in the St. Marys Cup on New Years Day. This time around there was no Solid As Rock for Full Speed Ahead (pictured) to share the spoils with. The eight-year-old began safely from the stand start and trainer-driver Todd Rattray wasted no time in manoeuvring the former Queenslander and race favourite ($2.10) into the one-out, one back position. John Walters retained the pole advantage with last year’s Raider Stakes winner Timely Sovereign for local Lietinna trainer Kent Rattray and set a strong pace out in front. The Steven Davis prepared Black Centurian, runner-up in the Cup for the past two years, quickly made ground from its 30-metre handicap to tack on to the tail of the field in the early stages. Walters kept the fast tempo up with Timely Sovereign into the final circuit as Full Speed Ahead drew level with the front-runner inside the 400 metres. Black Centurian was looming as a major threat as Barrie Rattray made his run out four-wide down the side of the track but Full Speed Ahead had other ideas on the turn drawing clear of Timely Sovereign and then holding off the fast-finishing Black Centurian to win by a head with the early leader 4.8 metres away third. Full Speed Ahead changed hands during the week with new owners Ian and Brett Collins and Peter Jones ecstatic with the Cup victory. Todd Rattray spoke with Tasracing’s Duncan Dornauf trackside after the Cup and said he will speak to the new owners on Tuesday before deciding Full Speed Ahead’s immediate future. The group has many options to discuss with the Burnie Cup on Sunday, January 14 and an array of other Cup temptations including the Devonport, New Norfolk and Carrick Cup. Todd finished the night with a training and driving double with Invest winning race one and shared the driving honours for the meeting with Rohan Hadley who drove Diddley Bo ($11) and Jeans Mattjesty ($10.50). Shane Yates

It was an action packed weekend across Tasmania with three harness racing meetings held across the state. We farewelled 2017 with a bumper 10-race program at Carrick Park. The large crowd saw the rising stars of the track in action with Jack Laugher driving three winners on the program, while the states representive at last months Australasian Young Drivers Series, Matthew Howlett guided Rockin An Running to victory in the Meander Valley Cup. The Stars of the equine variety were also on show with the Paul Hill trained and driven pacer Feelin Dusty kicking off his three-year-old season with an effortless win. 2018 kicked off on the states two turf tracks with meetings staged at St Marys and King Island. At St Marys, the Cup saw its first dead heat in the races 132-year history when the judge couldn't split Full Speed Ahead and Solid As A Rock. Watch a great wrap of the event here. Izaha was a comfortable winner in the 6ty Tasmanian Country Guineas while the local trainers had to wait till the final event on the program to taste success when Fingal's Brady Woods guided Lorraine Grant (pictured) to victory for his grandfather Robert Woods. King Island staged there Cup day for 2018 as well on Monday with local trainer Graeme Keeley training the quinella in the Island's premier race. All three meetings appeared to be well attended and a massive pat on the back must go to all of the hard working committees and volunteers that ensured all three meetings were a success and a credit to the industry. The Stars Jack Laugher - finished 2017 on a high note by out driving his concession claim in Tasmania with a driving treble at Carrick Park on Sunday. Last season's leading junior driver will head across to Victoria this week to take up a position with Andy and Kate Gath. Todd Rattray - Drove three and a half winners at St Marys on Monday including the 6ty Tasmanian Country Guineas with Izaha and dead heated in the Cupwith Full Speed Ahead, both are also trained by Rattray. Rattray also drove another two winners on the program. Kevin Denny - hobby trainer who continued his good run with a training double at St Marys on Monday. Ben Yole - extended his state trainers premiership lead with a training treble across the weekend. Graeme Keeley - trained the quinella in the King Island Pacing Cup on Monday with Regmondo and Captain Mordecai. Watch the 2018 King Island Pacing Cup here. Multiple winners Carrick Park - Sunday Jack Laugher; driving treble with The Majority, Gotta Go Henry and Stylish Trend. Paul Hill; driving double with Feelin Dusty and Dodgermemate. St Marys - Monday Todd Rattray; training and driving double with Izaha and Full Speed Ahead. He also made it a driving quartet with wins aboard Preferred Lies and Dellas Command. Kevin Denny; training double with Preferred Lies and Dellas Command. Ben Yole; training double with Laid Back Kenny and Pushkin. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action at Carrick Park on Sunday. Drayton 57.16, Jeans Mattjesty 58.01, Remember Joe 58.09, War Chest 58.16 and Regal Idea 58.26. View all Tasmanian sectional data here. Tasracing Official Price Carrick Park Hit: Gotta Go Henry $2.70 into $2.40 Defied The Drift: Stylish Trend $1.80 out to $2.60 Missed: Cemento Rapido (2nd) $81 into $26 Black Booker Miss Ruthless After beginning safely from her second row draw at St Marys on Monday driver Natalee Emery positined the mare three back along the fence quickly after the start of the 1810 metre race. Emery was able to ease of the peg line at the 600-metre mark and was unable to find clear racing room over the final stages to fully test the seven-year-old mare. With her safe manners and a number of standing start races coming up over recent weeks. Watch the replay here. Trial File Scottsdale on Saturday Four trials were staged at Scottsdale in preparation for Friday's race meeting. The quickest mile rate of the morning was 2:12.2 which was recorded by Heavennroll who scored by a nose over Hamna Shida in a C0 and better class trial. Former Victorian pacer Yodellin Cowgirl recorded the second quickest mile rate of the session in 2:12.7. The Art Official mare has recently joined the stables of Marc Butler. Punters may have noted a new name in the trial results with 15-year-old Georgia Hayward having her first trial drive at the trial session. Hayward helps local trainer Kent Rattray with his team of pacers when time allows around her education. Other winners on Saturday morning were; Buster William (2:14.5) and Molly Malones (2:18.9). Full results are available here. Week Ahead The country cup circuit rolls on into Scottsdale on Friday with a competitive eight-race program beginning at 16:29. The Cup is set down as race six where Todd Rattray will be looking for back-to-back wins in the race after winning last year with Fortino. On Friday Rattray will partner Full Speed Ahead in the $12,000 feature. Trainers Kent Rattray and Rohan Hadley will be out trying to ensure the cup stays in the local region. Kent puts the polish on Timely Sovereign who is the winner of seven races and was placed in a recent Scottsdale trial while Hadley will partner Paint The Wind who he also trains. The American Ideal gelding comes off a last start win in Devonport on Boxing night. The Hobart Pacing Cup headlines the Tasmanian Pacing Club race meeting on Sunday night with the feature race being set down to commence at 19:53. The race has attracted a very strong field including last-start winner Dapper Dana who will be looking to give his trainer Rohan Hillier back-to-back wins in the race as a driver. Hillier won the race last year on I'm Barney Rubble who is also engaged in the race and is now trained by a Rohan Hadley. I'm Barney Rubble is one of two past winners contesting the race, the other is 2016 winner and last-start Carrick Park winner Remember Joe. The Majority is another last-start winner in the race and will start from barrier four in the $25,000 feature. The inform Todd Rattray stable has a two-prong attack on the race with Taurisi coming up with pole position in the 3060-metre event and the Tasmania Cup runner-up Roger Ramjet who will carry the number 13 saddlecloth after drawing barrier four on the 10-metre line. The first of eight races in Hobart gets underway at 18:18. Both meetings will feature a hosted live stream coverage commencing with a track side preview half hour prior to the first race at both meetings. Shane Yates

Tasmania's reigning Junior Driver Of The Year Jack Laugher showed his class at Carrick on Sunday to round out 2017 with a harness racing winning treble. Jack's winners on the bumper ten-event card were The Majority, Gotta Go Henry and Stylish Trend, with all three leading all the way. The Majority, trained by Matthew Dwyer, was the first of Jack's winning drives for the day holding off the fast-finishing Bayridge Bill to  (pictured) claim the Destreos Pace, the pair a dozen metres clear of  The Dip which finished third. The victory brought up the fifteenth career win for the Art Major - Oh Please eight-year-old gelding, scoring by a half neck and returning a mile-rate of 2:03.3. Jack was back in the winner's circle with the Troy Hillier-trained Gotta Go Henry in the Bracknell Hotel Pace. The seven-year-old Gotta Go Cullect - Jill Forsa gelding was making its Tasmanian debut and took its career winning tally to thirteen with a courageous win after being backed from $2.70 into $2.50 on the Tasracing Official Prices. "It was a strong effort by Gotta Go Henry, I think Troy is going to have some with him in the coming months, he started to bludge on me in the stretch but when he heard them coming he sparked up again and went to the line well," said the talented eighteen-year-old reinsman. Laugher completed his successful day at the office with the  Ben Yole pacer Stylish Trend capturing its third win of the season, despite drifting in the market from $1.80 out to $2.60, with a runaway 15-metre victory in the Vandenberg Transport Stakes. Laugher packs his bags for the experience of a lifetime this week as he ventures to Victoria to work in the stables of Gr1 winning trainer Andy Gath. Gath, based at Long Forest near Melton, sits entrenched among the top echelon of trainers in the country, claiming the honour of  Australian Trainer Of The Year, Victorian Trainer Of The Year and Victorian Metropolitan Trainer Of The Year – in three consecutive years from 2001-2003. "It's a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in one of the leading stables in Australia, and to see first hand Andy's horsemanship is something that I'm looking forward to immensely," said an excited Laugher. "I'm prepared to do the hard yards around the stables and pick up as much knowledge as I can, if I pick up the odd drive that will be a bonus." Watch Rockin An Runnin finish strongly for Chris and Matthew Howlett to take the Maxfield Drilling Meander Valley Cup. Shane Yates

One of the Classic nights of Harness Racing in Tasmania will be staged tonight in Hobart. It's Triple M Hobart $50,000 Tasmania Cup night, with the time-honoured $20,000 George Johnson Mares Feature also on the exciting eight-event card of racing. Major Secret is back for a tilt at completion of the City Of Launceston Cup - Tasmania Cup feature double for leading Victorian trainer Emma Stewart. Major Secret inflicted a demoralising defeat on its opposition in Launceston when driven by Chris Alford, the seven-year-old Art Major - Secret Life gelding waltzing in by 21.6-metres in an awesome display. Alford won't be making the trip to Hobart for tonight's feature, instead, the job has fallen to Belguim born 29-year-old Sidney Van Den Brande. Van de Brande has been working for Stewart and partner Clayton Tonkin after a short stint with David Aitken earlier this year and will be keen to repay the pair for the opportunity to experience the workings of one of the nation's leading training facilities. Former Tasmanian Derby winner Mr Lennox (pictured) is nearing top form, chasing home Destreos earlier in the month while the 2016 Easter Cup winner Riverboat Jasper returns to the state in a bid to capture another feature victory. The George Johnson Mares Feature has always attracted a class field and this year is no exception. Milly Perez, will be having her first start for the Mark Stanley yard and will run a short-priced favourite. The seven-year-old mare has competed against the top mares in the land, having recorded a 1:52.7 mile-rate, with the last of her 18 wins coming in the Mildura Cup in May. The Deborah Williams prepared Olwen Jaccka has won four of her last six races and along with the Matthew Dwyer prepared Queen's Advocate and Ima Ginger Rodgers from the stables of Steven Davis appear the leading Tasmanian hopes of upsetting the odds-on favourite. See tonight's harness racing action from Hobart, commencing at 18:40 via the live stream service at tasracing.com.au. Shane Yates

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