Day At The Track

Backmarker needs right run in Tasmania Cup

10:47 AM 15 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Todd Rattray, harness racing
BIG TASK: Trainer-driver Todd Rattray with Tasmania Cup backmarker Harjeet at his Longford property. The star pacer has to overcome a 30m handicap in Saturday night's group 2 race.

It's Tasmanian harness racing's biggest day and no-one faces a bigger task than Todd Rattray and his star pacer Harjeet.

But the Longford trainer-driver says his backmarker can win the Group 11, $75,000 Tasmania Cup in Hobart on Saturday night "if he gets the right run."
Harjeet will start off 30m, alongside former winner Star Chamber, and will be giving a start to some quality rivals headed by Victorian-trained Sicario and Tasmanian arch-rival Scooterwillrev.

"Obviously he's got to get through the field but if he gets the right run I can't see him being out of it," Rattray said.

The trainer was well satisfied with Harjeet's second behind Scooterwillrev in his heat because early interference cost him valuable ground.

He wasn't knocked around when it became obvious he couldn't catch the leader and Rattray said the horse "had a fair bit left at the finish."

He had a fair bit left at the finish (of his heat)

Trainer Todd Rattray

The standing-start holds no fears for Harjeet who has won four of his six starts from behind the tapes and never missed a place.

"He always begins safely, sometimes quicker than others, and he's getting better with every run so I reckon he'll be right," Rattray said.

The trainer rates Sicario as his biggest danger.

"I think he's just a real good horse but there are plenty of others that also have a chance," he said.

The race will determine future plans for Harjeet.

"If he wins, he becomes an M4 horse so that would probably make the Easter Cup too hard," Rattray said.

"He'd probably have to go to NSW or somewhere like that."

Harjeet was quoted at $10 for the final before the heats but is now $6.50 in Sportsbet's latest market.

Victorian-trained horses hold favouritism for the three main support races.

Max Delight, owned in Tasmania, is an unbackable $1.04 for the $30,000 Tasmanian Derby and Enchanted Stride has firmed from $2.40 to $2.25 for the $30,000 Tasmanian Oaks.

Western Debt ($3.50 to $3.80) holds favouritism for the $20,000 George Johnson but local Resurgent Dream ($7 to $4.80) has been heavily backed to beat her.

Although the Hobart meeting takes centre stage, there is also plenty of interest at Mowbray on Sunday night with the return of Rohan Hillier-trained stars Ryley Major and Dufrense.

Ryley Major won his last nine starts in Tasmania before a long layoff.

By Greg Mansfield'

Reprinted with permission of The Examiner

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