Day At The Track

Playing Arkabella joins elite group

02:00 PM 28 May 2017 NZST
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Playing Arkabella
Playing Arkabella scored an impressive win in the $40,000 Group 3 Bandbox Stakes in Launceston on Friday night
Peter Staples Photo

Consistent three-year-old pacer Playing Arkabella delivered another outstanding harness racing performance to emerge triumphant in the $40,000 Group 3 Bandbox Stakes over 2200 metres in Launceston on Friday night.

The Paul Hill-trained filly won the two-year-old version of the sires stakes series last season (Evicus Stakes) so to capture the three-year-old edition puts her in elite company.

Playing Arkabella had her colours lowered in the Bandbox Prelude by El Jays Mystery that edged her out in the last stride but with a more favourable barrier draw and a heady drive from Rohan Hillier she justified the punters' faith in the daughter of Shadow Play.

The filly was heavily backed to start the $1.80 favourite courtesy of drawing barrier three on the front line while her archrival El Jays Mystery had to start from the outside of the second row courtesy of being out of the draw in mobile events.

The Todd Rattray-trained Harshali began well from gate five and eventually worked to the lead from rank outsider Safari Oakey ($126) but Hillier was content to send Playing Arkabella around the field to face the breeze from where he could dictate the pace of the race.

Ricky Duggan sent El Jays Mystery three-wide to challenge 600 metres out but she was making hard work of it while Harshali looked to be travelling easily and put three metres on the favourite turning for home.

But when Hillier called on his filly for the big effort she dug deep and went on to defeat the fast-finishing Huiffier by two metres with El Jays Mystery hanging on for third ahead of Harshali and Halo Henry that dead-heated for fourth.

Peter Staples

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