Tasmania is renowned for its support of young up and comingharness racing drivers and testament to this is the introduction of a new incentive series. The new six-race series began in Devonport on Wednesday night (April 18) with the first of two heats of the 2012 BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers Series.
After the first round Ben Rossendell has accrued 18 points to hold a one-point advantage over Craig Hayes and Damien Spring with Dylan Ford only one point further adrift.
Tasracing's Harness Coder Manager Kevin Neilson is delighted with the series.
"The BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers Series was developed this season to provide another avenue for claiming novice drivers to develop their driving skills," Neilson said.
"The ten participants are the five leading claiming novice drivers from 2010/11 and the remainder are those with the most life time wins," he said.
Rossendell scored a win in the opening heat aboard the Bill Dornauf-trained Chloe Vargarita ($2.90) that led and from there Rossendell controlled the race, finishing off with a fast 28.4 last quarter on the tight Devonport circuit.
Rossendell collected 12 points for the win. His drive in the second heat was scratched resulting in another six points for a total of 18 points.
Chloe Vargarita did her early racing around southern New South Wales and north eastern Victoria where she won three from 12 starts. She arrived in Tasmania about five weeks ago and has registered another two wins from five starts.
The second heat was taken out by the David Mace-trained Our Last Knight ($7.80) that was rated superbly by mature-age novice Craig Hayes who urged his charge forward with plenty of gusto from the pole position.
Our Last Knight went on to win comfortably from Benji Vee (Dylan Ford) and Laterron (Damien Spring).
Hayes secured five points from the first heat courtesy of Villify finishing sixth.
The next two heats will be run in Hobart this Sunday night with the final two heats scheduled for the Devonport meeting the following Friday night in Launceston (April 27).
Points after first round of heats:
18 Ben Rossendell
17 Craig Hayes, Damien Spring
16 Dylan Ford
15 Braydon Withers
12 Braden Howlett
7 Nicholas Brockman, Vincent Burke, Justin Howlett
3 Bradley Wise