TASMANIAN harness racing horses have been making quite an impact interstate of late with Beautide leading the way with a strong push to gain a berth in the Group 1 Miracle Mile later this month.
But another to make his mark in Melbourne is Hugo Play, formerly prepared by talented trainer Kate McLeod.
Hugo Play has performed well at his first four starts in Victoria. He was placed second in an M0 at his first start at Tabcorp Park Melton in the care of McLeod before winning an M0 at his subsequent start.
But the five-year-old gelding was transferred to the Lance Justice stable and at his second start for that trainer last Friday night he scored an impressive win after facing the breeze for most of the race.
Hugo Play forged clear turning for home and held out all challengers over the concluding stages.
The Bill and Tamra Fawdry-owned gelding clocked a personal best mile rate over the 2240-metre trip of 1.56.5.
Another former Tasmanian Bettor Draw was a luckless fifth in the Nick Robin Classic (FFA) over 1609 metres at Menangle on Saturday night.
Bettor Draw was sold to Queensland interests earlier this year and won three of his first seven starts for the new owners.
He travelled to Menangle last Saturday night for the Robin Classic and while he would not have beaten the winner For A Reason, that clocked a mile rate of 1.49.4, he probably would have run second had a gap not closed on driver James Rattray about 100 metres from the finish line.
Beautide and Bettor Draw will line up in the Newcastle Mile at Newcastle on Saturday night with Beautide drawing gate seven and Bettor Draw nine.
If either emerges triumphant a berth in the Miracle Mile is guaranteed.
By Peter Staples