Day At The Track

Hill rocks up another Sweepstakes win

04:22 PM 28 Sep 2020 NZDT
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Rocknovertime,Harness racing
tasracing.com.au

Two new names were not only added to an illustrious honour roll of the Hobart Sweepstakes, but two names were also written onto the two-year-old age track records.

Rocknovertime produced a mammoth performance to score in the Colts and Geldings Final to give trainer Paul Hill his eighth win across both sex divisions of the Sweepstakes.

Hill, who is dubbed “King of the Kids” given his terrific record in juvenile races in the Apple Isle said to tasracing.com.au before the race that he was concerned about drawing barrier five on the second row over the mile trip and that the pacer would have to go 1:57 to win.

Well, the pacer had to go a fraction quicker and was forced to lead up the three-wide line from the 1100 metres to score in 1m 56.9s to record a 1.7 metre win over the early leader Lancelot with Stormy Sanz who raced outside the leader 13.8 metres away third, with both of those pacers involved in an early speed burn which saw the race ran in quarters of 28.5s, 30.7s, 28.8s and 28.8s.

The time for the mile took 0.9s of the previous age record in Hobart, which was held by Hillview Jake, also trained by Hill, when winning the 2015 Sweepstakes Final.

“If you said to me before the race that the leader would go 1:56 and he (Rocknovertime) has got come from barrier 13 and be three-wide most the of the race, then you wouldn’t think he would win,” Hillier said after the race.

“He tries hard and has got plenty of ability,” added the reinsman who said he would be “bashing the door down” to drive the pacer in the Group 2 Dandy Patch with heats of that series in Hobart on Sunday week over the 2090-metre trip.

It was Rohan Hillier’s first win in the race since 2008 when he trained and drove Shez Ryleymak to victory. He also trained Ticket Flow in 1998.

In the Fillies Final, Melnrowley equalled the Two-year-old fillies track record when she led all the way in 1m 58.4s, equalling the Two-Year-Old Fillies Track Record with Karalta Moondance who recorded the same time in 2018.

From barrier four, reinsman Gareth Rattray took the pacer to the lead in a 28.9s opening quarter and was kept honest during a 30.4s second quarter before running home in 30.5s and 28.5s for a time of 1m 58.4s to record a five-metre victory over Stepping Stones with Magic Pebbles a further 14 metres away third.

It was the first Sweepstakes win for trainer Craig Hayes and he was pleased with the result.

“I’m very happy with her, when they went quick early and then Ray Pullen (driver of Most Perfect Major) came just when Gareth (Rattray) was trying to get a breather down the straight I was a little bit concerned but she is a strong filly and that is her biggest asset,” Hayes said after the win.

The Heston Blue Chip filly will have two more runs for this campaign in the heats and final of the $50,000 Group 2 Evicus, with the heats to be held in Hobart on Sunday week.

Hayes is based at Stowport on the states north-west coast and the trip to Hobart generally takes 3 3/4 hours (one way), one of the longest commutes in Tasmanian harness racing.

“It generally does take a bit out of the young ones but with this filly the travel doesn’t seem to affect her,” said Hayes.

“We are lucky this season with these feature races being held later in the year, they are a little bit older and the weather is better and it all helps, the couple of months from June and July is a big difference,” Hayes said, with many trainers echoing those sentiments.

The win was the fifth for driver Gareth Rattray across the two divisions.

 

Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

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