Day At The Track

Leading harness trainer set for a return

05:17 PM 04 Jun 2020 NZST
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The countdown to a harness racing return in Tasmania is certainly on after 135 individual horses contested trials over the past week alone.

Leading trainer Ben Yole is one of those ready to get back to the track for the first meeting in Hobart on 14 June.

There has been no harness meeting in Tasmania since 29 March when racing in the state ceased due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Harness racing has continued on mainland Australia.

“Without racing it affects a lot of people, it certainly is a long list that’s for sure,” said leading trainer Ben Yole.

“It has been tough to plan things (with the horses), we had them all ready to go, and then we got put back another five-weeks, so then you have to back off them and then try and get them ready to be at their peak again,” added the leading trainer.

Trials for harness racing recommenced on 20 May, all of which have been filmed with replays available on the Tasracing website.

Yole has trialled 49 individual horses in recent weeks and will have most of his team ready to race for the first meeting.

“The majority of my team will be ready to go, I will trial 21 horses in Launceston on Saturday and another 13 on Monday in Devonport, so by then most of my racehorses would have had at least one trial under their belt,” explained Yole.

“With only one meeting the first week, it will be hard for a lot of horses to get a run and the way that the programming has been done it looks to me that a lot of the lowly rated horses won’t get a run for a while.

“I’m not a fan of this block nomination system that’s for sure,” said the Sidmouth-based trainer.

Yole has been happy with several horses from his stable in recent weeks, but he was quick to point out two that he thinks will be able to find the winners stall when racing returns.

His first name to throw out was Jeans Mattjesty who was defeated a half-head by Lip Reader in a slick 1m 57.6s mile rate for 2200 metres, in a trial that was conducted in strong wind conditions.

“I was very rapt with his trial on Saturday in Launceston, I thought he went enormous, he pulled up well, and I see there is a claimer on the second week back in Launceston, so he will head there, and on his trial run he would be tough to beat in that grade,” said Yole.

Another runner he was happy with was Coveffe Hustler who finished second to Distinctive Del in Hobart on 25 May.

“She was good in her trial in Hobart last Monday week, she will obviously need the right draw in a suitable race,” said Yole about the Auckland Reactor mare.

Yole has currently trained 103 winners this season in Tasmania which will be a unique one.

The season has been extended nationwide to conclude on 31 December.

As a consequence, the 2021 season will run to the end of August before returning to the regular commencement of 1 September for the 2021-2022 season.


Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

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