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TASMANIAN harness racing trainer-driver James Rattray is confident his stable star Beautide can end his season on a high by winning the $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday afternoon. Beautide joined an elite group when he snared the Miracle Mile-Inter Dominion double this season and after a week off after his Inter win he returned to the track to score a solid win at Menangle as his final lead-up to the Len Smith Mile. Rattray is pleased with his stable star's condition going into Sunday's assignment and win lose or draw the gelding will be dispatched to the spelling paddock for a six-week break. Listen to what James Rattray had to say about Beautide's chances on Sunday and what is in store for the brilliant five-year-old. By Peter Staples

Victoria's leading Metropolitan trainer David Aiken will take a strong team to Coolamon's all trotters day on Anzac Day as part of Harness Racing NSW's Carnival Of Cups. Aiken will have a two pronged attack in the $25,000 La Coocaracha, a feature mares event with Spidergirl and Vics Cheval both engaged. "I will have two runners at Melton on Friday night but I will be heading to Coolamon for the day, I try and support the club with its all trotters meeting and my mother's family comes from Barmedman so I normally catch up with a large number of relatives," Aiken said. "I have 45 cousins on my mother's side of the family and a lot of them are from that part of New South Wales, towns like Harden and Temora, so there is normally a big cheer squad for the stable if I do have runners in and I think it will be a pretty similar story again this year." Spidergirl last raced when winning the Breed For Speed Gold Final at Melton on Great Southern Star night last month but has been to the trials at Shepparton. "I am really happy with Spidergirl, I took her to the trials and she went two minutes for the 2100 metres and did it very comfortably. She worked really well on Tuesday and when I pulled up I said to my son Josh I think she is working better now than she was when she won the Breed For Speed Final." "Spidergirl has the class edge on Vics Cheval but I am very happy with her as well, she has come a long way in a short period of time and a lot of that is because she has really grown into herself this season." Aiken also trains talented trotting mare Cold Sister but believes in time Spidergirl and Vics Cheval will surpass her efforts. "Cold Sister is a tremendous trotter, she has won 14 races and more than $180,000 in prize money but I think these two mares will end up doing more than what she has been able to do in her career, I have pretty big opinions of both of them." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing | Harness Racing New South Wales |                

Pacing superstar Im Themightyquinn has thrown off the effects of injuries and illness and is poised to make a triumphant return to racing by proving too fast for his eight rivals in the $21,000 Memorial Day Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night, despite the significant disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line in the 2130m feature event. The nine-year-old champion, who pulled up sore after finishing second to Im Victorious in the 1730m Members Sprint at Gloucester Park last October, looks a picture after a thorough preparation from leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and punters are excited at the prospect of supporting him at his first start in a race for 196 days. A month ago he sped over the final 400m of a track workout at Hall's Serpentine training establishment in 27.1sec. and he has improved considerably since then. Im Themightyquinn, winner of 51 races from 102 starts for earnings of $4,377,016, goes into Friday night's race with a splendid first-up record, having won at his first outing after a spell in each of his three previous preparations. Star reinsman Gary Hall certain not to set Im Themightyquinn alight in the early stages and to allow the champion to drift back to the rear before making use of his sizzling speed at a later stage in the race. Hokonui Ben, winner of the WA Pacing Cup in January, has fared well in the random draw and is sure to appreciate the distinct advantage of starting from the prized No. 1 barrier. Trainer Aldo Cortopassi will be anxious to set the pace and he certainly will be mindful of the prospect of an early challenge for the lead from Polak, who is capable of mustering great pace from the No. 5 barrier. Hokonui Ben appeals as the main danger to Im Themightyquinn. He set the pace and held on to win narrowly from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m two starts ago. And then he finished an excellent fourth behind Finbar Abbey in the 2902m Easter Cup on Thursday of last week when he started off 40m and sustained a spirited finishing burst. However, it is difficult to visualise Hokonui Ben or any other runner seriously challenging Im Themightyquinn. Victory for Im Thenmightyquinn would give the Hall father-and-son combination its first success in the Memorial Day Stakes, an event which has been held annually since Ken Ford drove Halt to victory in 1959. Hall sen. now has high hopes that Im Themightyquinn will end his several near misses in the Memorial Day Stakes. Hall has trained the runner-up in five memorial Day Stakes --- Zakara (1991), Bengeeman (2003), Patches (2006), Dartmoor (2009) and Whos Mistake (2013). Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who will be represented by Red Salute, has won the event twice. He scored with Captain Lee (Chris Lewis) in 1995 and Tsunami Lombo (Morgan Woodley in 2011). Chris Voak will drive the consistent Red Salute, who should gain an ideal passage after starting from barrier two on the back line. PERSISTENT THREAT POISED FOR FIVE IN A ROW Persistent Threat was the most impressive of the three heat winners on Tuesday of last week and he possesses the versatility and natural speed to make the greatest appeal in the $100,000 WA Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Advance Attack gelding, trained in Bunbury by John Graham, fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line, which is a serious disadvantage over the sprint journey of 1730m. However, Persistent Threat has shown wonderful versatility in winning at his only four starts, in which he has been driven with plenty of confidence by Tom Buchanan. He reappeared after a two-month absence in a qualifying heat of the Sales Classic last week when he started from the No. 5 barrier and was sixth in the one-wide line at the bell before Buchanan sent him forward, three wide, 650m from home. He ran home fast and won, hard held, by a length from Lot twenty One, rating 1.58.6. Persistent Threat's first three starts were in January and February when he was not fully extended in winning twice at Pinjarra and once at Bunbury. His gross time in his heat last week was 2min. 7.5sec., which compares more than favourably with the times recorded by the other heat winners, Blacklist (2min. 8.3sec.) and Ezygatboy (2min. 9.5sec.). Ezygatboy and Blacklist are much more favourably drawn in the final than Persistent Threat, something which is sure to hearten the connections of both geldings. Ezygatboy will start from barrier two on the front line and Blacklist will start on the inside of the back line. Ezygatboy, to be driven by his trainer Garry Butler, made a stylish debut in winning his heat, in which he was restrained from barrier six and was sixth at the bell before he produced a sparkling late sprint to win by a length and a half from, Nitro lad at a 2.0.5 rate. Blacklist, trained and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, also made a smart debut when he raced three wide for the first 500m before bursting to the front 1100m from home and scoring easily by one and a half lengths from Bettor Twisted, rating 1.59.4. He is related to former champion The Falcon Strike and will have many admirers. Captain Oats, a Rich And Spoilt colt trained by Courtney Burch, drew the prized No. 1 barrier and he will be popular with punters. Reinsman Gary Hall jun. will be out to repeat his effort in this event in 2010 when he set the pace with hot favourite Blissfull Boy from barrier one and won the classic from Touch of Tango and Bettors Ace. The No. 1 barrier also proved a decisive factor in this race 12 months ago when Chris Lewis drove Mister Jadore to an all-the-way victory over Swagga (driven by Hall) and Lukey (driven by Suvaljko). ISABELLA JANE HAS FAMILY TRADITION TO UPHOLD Talented filly Isabella Jane has a family tradition to uphold when she contests the $100,000 Clipsal WA Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Byford trainer David Thompson is hoping that she will follow in the footsteps of his stable star David Hercules, whom he prepared for his victory over Tiger Reed Lombo and Grinjaro in a version of the WA Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in May 2009. The other version of the 2009 classic was won by Ballas Arockstar. Isabella Jane is by American stallion Sportswriter and is a half-sister to David Hercules, who has amassed $805,444 in prizemoney from 29 wins and 31 placings from 87 starts. Like A Dame, the dam of David Hercules and Isabella Jane, has also produced smart pacers in Gran Tarino and Hugh Victor. Like A Dame's dam Hold Tight produced Fake Embrace, winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in March 2004. Isabella Jane, to be driven by Colin Brown, has raced only once --- for a strong victory in a heat of the Sales Classic on Tuesday of last week when, she started from barrier four and raced three wide for the first 550m before moving to the breeze and eventually getting to a narrow lead with 250m to travel. And then she impressed by dashing right away from her rivals and winning by three lengths from Choccywoccy, who finished strongly, out five wide, after enjoying a soft run three back on the pegs. Isabella Jane will not have things all her own way in the final on Friday night after drawing out wide at No. 6 on the front line. She is likely to receive plenty of opposition, particularly from three back-line runners, Straittothehilton, Choccywoccy and La Mia Juliette. Straittothehilton will have admirers from the inside of the back line. Her effort when third behind Isabella Jane and Choccywoccy in the qualifying heat was full of merit. She started from the outside of the front line and broke into a gallop soon after the start, dropping back to last. She was still last at the bell before rattling home, six wide on the track. La Mia Juliette, trained and driven by Peter Tilbrook was a 46/1 outsider when she made a successful debut in a heat of the classic on Tuesday of last week. She was sixth in the one-wide line at the bell before finishing strongly to beat the pacemaker Lovers Prayer. Chris Lewis, who has driven the winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies six times, will handle the polemarker Maddyann Maree for Harvey trainer Peter Kimberley. Maddyann Maree possesses good gate speed and has shown promise with a second, a third and three fourths from her five starts. She goes into the race with the distinct advantage of the No. 1 barrier. Lewis has won the classic with Miss Booth (1991), Parthenon (1994), Backin A Jiffy (2000), Hindu Sitara (2003), Amongst Royalty (2006) and Fidelius Charm (2008). ALTA CHRISTIANO HAS EVERYTING IN HIS FAVOUR A return to mobile racing, a reduction in distance and the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line are the three ingredients which should ensure that star four-year-old Alta Christiano returns to the winning list when he contests the $25,000 Del Basso Smallgoods The Johnson final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The chunky New Zealand-bred stallion, trained by Gary Hall sen., should make amends for his defeat as the 7/4 on favourite in the 2902m Easter Cup on Thursday of last week by proving too smart for his rivals in this week's event over 2130m. He suffered his first defeat in Australia last week when he began slowly from a standing start and settled down almost 60m behind the early pacemaker Hez Got the Nod. He dashed forward in the first circuit to get to the front after 950m and was not caught until the final 70m when a close third behind Finbar Abbey and Polak. Alta Christiano possesses excellent gate speed and relishes the task of leading in his races. Clint Hall should get him straight to the front and then lead his 11 rivals a merry dance. Shirlz Sensation, one of seven four-year-olds in the race, is in top form and has given powerful performances to win at his past three outings, all over 2130m and all after he had covered extra ground. But his prospects diminished considerably when he drew the outside barrier on the front line. A perfect draw on the inside of the back line has enhanced the place prospects of the Colin Brown-trained Erskine Range, who looks set to trail Alta Christiano throughout the race. However, it is unlikely that he has the ability to outsprint Alta Christiano in the final stages. Vapour, trained by Gary Hall sen., has been running home powerfully for teenager driver Lauren Jones in several recent starts and the four-year-old, who will start from the back line, should again be prominent in the concluding stages. by Ken Casellas

Tabcorp Park Menangle will host two Group 1 events this Sunday afternoon. Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion winner Beautide is set to compete in the Len Smith Mile and looks hard to beat while lightly raced two year old filly Rosie Oreilly looks to be the biggest danger to kiwi youngster Supersonic Miss in the Australian Pacing Gold Final. Rosie Oreilly is trained by Danny Thackeray and has pulled up extremely well after her fourteen metre victory in the semi final. "She has pulled up really well and hasn't missed a feed since her semi final so I couldn't be happier with her," Thackeray said. "I have decided to stay here in New South Wales rather than travelling home, she has settled in really well here at Jack Primmer's property, it is a great set-up and there is plenty of green grass to keep her happy." Thackeray is based at Euroa in Victoria and enjoyed his first trip to Menangle although admitted the supposed 'hoodoo' for travelling horses did concern him before Saturday night's performance. "Rosie Oreilly got a soft lead but it was the first time I have taken runners to Menangle and it was nice to get a winner, my other filly Artistic Angel finished sixth in her semi and wanted to hang a bit in the run and she will compete in the consolation." "I was aware that some horses from Victoria have come to Menangle for the first time and have struggled and that was in the back of my mind but the big track didn't seem to create any issues for my pair." Rosie Oreilly has always showed ability but Thackeray confirmed there has been solid improvement in the lead up to her debut run at Melton earlier this month. "She always showed enough without being a star but as we got closer to the races she just kept on getting better and better, I still think she will be a better three year old, she's very long legged and has a bit of growing still to do." "Rosie Oreilly is paid up for everything so I will take her home after the APG and think about the Vicbred and the Breeders Crown but at the moment I am just concentrating on Sunday." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing | Harness Racing New South Wales |

LONGFORD-based harness racing trainer Barrie Rattray would love to be at Menangle on Sunday night to watch his star five-year-old Beautide tackle the $100,000 Len Smith Mile but instead he will be toiling away at Devonport where he has a truck load of runners at the feature meeting. Rattray will hitch up four of the 10 runners in the $30,000 Raider Stakes for four-year-olds in Devendra, Divas Delight, Pachacuti and Rykov leis and they are rated amongst the top five chances to win the race. Pachacuti could not have been more impressive in wining his Raider Stakes heat in Launceston last Sunday week and he also was impressive in winning in Hobart at his previous outing that was his first run back in the state after a filed interstate campaign. Devendra has done nothing wrong this campaign and had it not been for a flat tyre endured during a race in Hobart two starts back his form has been outstanding. Rykov Leis has quietly gone about his business in recent months winning twice and placing second three times from his past five starts but his task won't be easy on Sunday night as he starts from the outside of the second row. Listen to shat trainer Barrie Rattray had to say about his Raider Stakes runners and his two-year-olds in earlier races. By Peter Staples  

West Wyalong will host its Carnival Of Cups meeting this Sunday afternoon and with several feature races set down for decision a great day of harness racing is ensured. The club will run the $12,000 West Wyalong Pacers Cup with a $9,000 three year old race while the C0 pacers will compete in an $8,000 final after qualifying in heats last weekend. Lombo Madam Lashe was impressive winning her heat on Saturday and trainer Blake Jones expects her to be hard to beat in the final. "She went really good, she probably just needed those two runs back from a spell to get her fully fit after having a long time off, but I was very happy with her performance and she won easily," Jones said. "After she competed in the Vicbred final last season she ended up developing a stress fracture in her hip so she needed some time to get over that but she has been working up nicely, she's still not the soundest of mares but she should be able to punch through the grades." Kennedy Creek will have his first run back in the West Wyalong Cup and although he hasn't raced since June last year, Jones is hoping for a strong performance. "The owner worked up Kennedy Creek and sent him to me about six weeks ago and I have been looking for a race for him for about the last three or four weeks but Sunday's race looks a pretty good starting point for him." "He has had three trials to prepare him for this campaign and he has been working really well so I think he will run a good race first up." Jones is working a team of nine horses currently which according to him is the perfect number. "It's pretty full-on with the nine in work so I'm happy with the size of the stable at the moment, I don't think I would want anymore." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Harness Racing New South Wales |                

Harness Breeders Victoria (HBV) President, Dr Tony Britt, welcomes Desiree Pettit to the newly created part-time role of Executive Officer. The role will be responsible for developing a range of new initiatives and consolidating the current platform of the Association’s activities in representing Victoria’s Standardbred breeding industry as a kindred  body with Harness Racing Victoria. This autonomous role will work with the Executive and Committee in complimenting their work for breeders, studmasters and breeder owners & members. This role will further develop the Association’s service delivery, particularly in digitisation and communication. Pettit’s prior corporate and management roles within racing, not-for-profit and marketing industries ensure a broad range of skills will be brought to the role. In addition, she has extensive and varied experience, involvement and knowledge of both equine racing codes over a considerable period. Pettit holds degrees in Business (Marketing) and Arts (Sport & Event Management) from Victoria University, along with post graduate qualifications, and industry specific training. HRV Media

Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) would like to thank the outgoing NSW Minister for Racing, the Hon. George Souris, for his valuable contribution to the harness racing industry over the past three years. The Coalition Government was elected to office in 2011 and subsequently fulfilled its $5 million pre-election promise for country racing (incorporating all three codes). HRNSW received $650,000 from this fund which was used as a platform for a much needed plant and equipment rollout across all tracks and training facilities that ultimately cost $2 million. Mr Souris played a pivotal role in the Race Fields Legislation outcome and was a strong supporter of the HRNSW/NSW Harness Racing Club (NSWHRC) Inter Dominion Tender (2013-15). "Mr Souris has spent 23 years on the front bench and was a Minister of three Cabinets under the Greiner, Fahey and O'Farrell Governments which is a wonderful achievement", HRNSW Chairman Rex Horne said. "We appreciate his support and wish him well in the future as he continues his good work as the State Member for the Upper Hunter." Premier Mike Baird's Cabinet reshuffle was announced today and includes the Hon. Troy Grant as the new Minster for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, and Minister for the Arts. Mr Grant is the State Member for Dubbo. Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |              

Popular Gippsland harness racing trainer and driver Daryl Woolcock lost a lengthy battle with illness on Easter Monday. As well as being a thorough gentleman Daryl trained and drove pacers and trotters for decades, ending up at Koo Wee Rup. He had multiple wins with Tiffany Valley and Tamara Valley in the 1980's and in more recent times winners included Heeza Hudson (Warragul Horse of the Year) and Hudson Pacemaker. Perhaps his best horse was the talented trotter Pepperell Dancer, who won the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup at Warragul on the Easter weekend in 2008, plus also won the Bruce Skeggs and Yarra Valley Trotting Cup races, as well as winning metro races at Moonee Valley and Melton. Hudson Pacemaker and Pepperell Dancer were both later sold interstate, where Daryl's training ability helped the horses go on to numerous city successes. In the early 1990's Melbourne race caller David Raphael, who later went on to a distinguished career broadcasting in Hong Kong, dabbled briefly in trots driving and got his start in the sulky, and in race broadcasting, with the assistance of Daryl. Meanwhile local filly Queen Of Pop will be back in Sydney this Saturday night for the rich Australian Pacing Gold two-year-old fillies Final, after running second in a qualifying race at Menangle Park last Saturday night. Kyle Galley

Queensland horseman Steven Doherty is ready for the next chapter in his career. Today (Monday), Doherty will leave Australian shores bound for Europe where he will be based with trainer Henk Grift in Germany for the next twelve months. The 28yo will join the Dutch born trainer who prepares a huge team of trotters near Dusseldorf. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for the gifted farrier and he’s eager to make the most of his time abroad. “I’ve got to thank Darren McCall and his partner Karina for providing me with this opportunity. Karina is a good friend of world respected administrator Klaus Koch and things snowballed from there, I got my visa sorted at the German Consulate in Sydney and now we’re off and I can’t wait.” Doherty explained. Grift regularly competes at venues in France, Germany, Scandinavia and his native Holland with great success. Doherty will carry out plenty of farrier work for the Grift stable but is also hopeful of doing some race driving during his time in northern Europe. “I’m not actually sure what my role will be within the stable but I know there will be plenty of horses to be shod and that’s fine because I’m certain to learn many new techniques, it will be vastly different to what I know but I’m really looking forward to creating new styles and learning a lot more in this area. “If I can carry out some race driving during my time up there that will be an added bonus, I enjoy the trotters and it will be great to work with some very talented animals. “The timing is just right; I’m young and single with no major commitments and I’ve heard so many great stories from those who have travelled previously. I’m going with an open mind and I’m really looking forward to it although the language barrier may take some sorting but that’s all part of the adventure.” Doherty is the son of Peter, a respected horseman along with his grandfather Jim Madden while his Uncle Craig McKinnis, is a highly decorated Victorian based farrier. In 2006, Doherty represented Queensland in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship staged in both Victoria and Tasmania. Doherty drove his first winner at age 16 when successful aboard the Ann Perrin trained Karamea Rosalie at Rocklea. Former Redwood Classic winner Bonbillie Fella is rated as the best trotter that Doherty has set behind, winning three of his four drives behind the Fake Left entire. By Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)  

A large crowd gathered at Port Pirie to witness the 2014 Port Pirie Cup, and punters came late for the winner, Our Flyin Jazz, who began quickly from the standing start to find the lead, while second favourite Lark Rise missed the start.   From that point Davis Harding was able to control the Cup, to send the Sands A Flyin seven year old to the line a winner by 12 meters from Kapunda Cup winner Exposed, who sat behind the winner but was no match in the straight.  Soul Tana finished a further 12.8 meters away in third spot.   Our Flyin Jazz, who has has only recently joined the Les Harding stables, has now won 16 races and has taken his earnings past the $100,000 mark.   The mile rate of 2.00.1 was a new track record for the 2530 meter event. Our Flyin Jazz covered the distant in 3.08.8 running his last half mile in 58.9.   For driver David Harding the Cup was the middle leg of a treble. Harding also won on Armbro Speedstar and the last race aboard Mattichiello.   Danielle Hill drove a double on The Denman and classy 2 year old filly Whats Emma Got, who will now be set for the BOTRA Nursery Pace. The Max Peake MONTE went to odds on favourite Chuck Wagon with Megan Gee in the saddle. By Gary Newton    

HOBART based harness trainer Paul Hill has had some handy two-year-olds arrive at his stables over the years with the latest to shine being Jerrys Jet that scored an emphatic win in the Golden Slipper over 1680 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight. The colt showed good early speed to eventually find the lead but when an erratic Gifted Courage proved impossible to hold for experienced reinsman Rohan Hillier that horse sped clear and at one stage held a 20-metre lead. Jerrys Jet's driver Ricky Duggan was content to take the trail while Discarded Ace moved around the field to face the breeze. Duggan eased his charge off the fence in the back straight the last time and crept into the race and at the top of the home straight Dugan called on is charge to extend and he quickly forged to the lead. Fioki launched his run 3-wide and loomed as a possible danger turning for home but he was no match for the winner. Jerrys Jet went on to score comfortably from Fioki with No Spring Secret coming from last to run third ahead of Discarded Ace. The winner and third-placed Fioki are by up and coming sire Jeremes Jet. Listen to what trainer Paul Hill and driver Ricky Duggan had to say about Jerrys Jet's Golden Slipper win. By Peter Staples  

THE list of potential top liners in the Barrie Rattray stable at Longford seems endless with Estevao the latest to start living up to the potential he showed early on. Estevao, a three-year-old by Art Major from former star Queen Carey, has just started to produce on the racetrack with his win in Launceston tonight (Sunday) his second in the space of three starts. With stable driver Todd Rattray aboard, Estevao began well from gate two and had enough early speed to cross the pole marker Cardinal Art to lead. Rattray said Estevao worked as god as any horse at Karalta Pacing Sables and it has only been in recent months that the gelding had been able to take his work on the training track into his races. "The horse has definitely started to improve at the races because he has always shown us something," Todd Rattray said. "He can work as good as any horse we work him with so he has always had the ability." "I have no doubts he will go on and win more races," he said. By Mitchell Robertson

Happy Easter from Harnesslink

The first harness racing mobile start Warragul Cup was a great success on Easter Sunday. Ballarat horseman Michael Stanley took out The Linc Group Warragul Pacing Cup with Hilltop Hustler, a four-year-old who had no luck in the Mildura Pacing Cup at its previous run, but is an up-and-coming pacer of the future, and will be aimed at further feature races going forward. Hilltop Hustler has recorded 10 wins and 8 placings from only 35 starts, and was well supported by punters. The Cup for Trafalgar horseman Glenn Hunter was over soon after it started, as Astronaut galloped and virtually took no part. It capped an up and down day for Glenn - he placed third in the Trotters Cup with Dawn Tears but earlier lost the opening race in the stewards room after debutante Lazy Sunday drifted in in the home straight when first past the post. Runner up in the Cup was Loveable Larrikin, with Savesomtimetodream finishing third. The 2:00 mile rate barrier was broken for the 2620 metre distance, indicating the quality of the Warragul track. The co-feature on Sunday, the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup, was won by Eisenhower for Kilmore husband and wife team Peter Lane and Anita Burke. In another exciting contest, Eisenhower held off his rivals to score narrowly from Im Whitney, with local Dawn Tears having no luck in finishing a close up third. Four generations of the Evison family were on hand to present the silver Cup to the winning connections. Longwarry pacer Intergalactic took out the final race of the day for trainer Lee Evison and driver Josh Duggan. A large group of happy owners were on hand to accept the trophy after Melita Bromac won the Warragul Club and Downtowner Guineas. Melita Bromac will head for the rich Victorian Oaks series after her Warragul win. A good crowd enjoyed an exciting day of racing on Sunday, with TAB betting up considerably on last year. Footballer's 'Crackers' Keenan and Peter Daicos and legendary trotting horseman Ted Demmler were among the special guests on the day. The quality of the field in the Pacing Cup supported the Warragul Harness Racing Club's decision to switch the event from a handicap to a mobile barrier start. Last year's Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling was among the entries, a winner of over $800,000 in stakes, and horses of that calibre gracing the local track gave the club extra publicity. Kyle Galley

Motu Crusader confirmed his harness racing status as one of the mot consistent pacers to race in Tasmania in many years when he powered home to win he 2014 Examiner Newspaper Easter Cup over 2698 metres in Launceston last night. The Zeke Slater-trained seven-year-old not only had to overcome a back mark of 40 metres but he also travelled three-wide for the last two laps. Motu Crusader has won the past two Group 3 Tasmania Cups along with other feature races in Tasmania since finding his way into Slater's Seven Mile Beach stables. The gelding is owned by Merv and Meg Butterworth who have invested heavily in standardbreds to become two of the biggest owners in the nation. Motu Crusader ($5) settled at the rear of the field while Dylan Ford took the Keith Toulmin-trained Falco Peregrinus ($10) to the lead and that gelding set a solid pace while the well-backed favourite Call The Marshall ($3.20) enjoyed the coveted one-out-one-back position. When driver Grant Campbell opted to set Motu Crusader on a forward move 1400 metres out he flushed out Cal The Marshall that led the three-wide brigade. Falco Peregrinus kicked clear turning for home but a wall of horses made a charge for the line with only four metres separating the first eight across the line. Motu Crusader hit the line less than a neck clear of Falco Peregrinus with last year's Easter Cup winner Biggernbettermax ($22.70) a close-up third. Listen to what trainer Zeke Slater had to say about Motu Crusader's brilliant Easter Cup win. Peter Staples

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