Teenange harness racing reinsman Matthew Howlett proved to be one of the Tasmania’s most promising young drivers last season.
His good form continued at the first meeting of the new season at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart last Sunday where he partnered Guerrero to an impressive win in the Elderslie Horse Care and Spelling Stakes over 2090 metres for C2-3 pacers.
The win provided his father Chris with a special Father’s Day gift as the gelding started at the lucrative price of $6.10 and it also served a celebratory win for Matthew who turned 17 on the day.
However, Howlett was called to the stewards’ room to deal with a protest lodged against him.
Guerrero hit the line 1-1/2 metres clear of the favourite Remember Joe ($3.40) with Aninchofhislife (Christian Salter) and Liza With A Z (Ricky Duggan) dead-heating for third a short half-head astern.
The driver of the one of the third-placed horses, Christian Salter, lodged a protest against the winner for alleged interference in the home straight.
After viewing the video footage of the incident stewards deemed the interference was initially caused by the eventual runner-up (Remember Joe) shifting up the track slightly.
As a consequence Guerrero was forced up the track and this resulted in Aninchofhislife being denied a run between the eventual winner and the other third-place dead-heater Liza With A Z.
Howlett said he was nervous going into the protest hearing as it was the first time anyone had protested against him.
by Peter Staples