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After a frustrating run of finishing just behind the placings in several feature races, seven-year-old gelding Illegal Immigrant finally broke through for a feature race win when he took out Sunday nights Group 3 Hardings Hotmix Devonport Pacing Cup. From the ten-metre back mark, trainer-driver Troy Hillier got the pacer away safely to settle one-out and six-back in the $30,000 event. The race changed complexion at the 1200 metre mark when the race leader Ideal World got his offside hind leg caught up in a hopple shortener cord which saw him gallop back through the field before being retired from the race. At the same point of the race Hillier commenced his move three-wide on the back of 2017 winner Pachacuti, Hillier then had to make another move four-wide at the 550-metre mark. “When I got on to Pachacuti’s back I thought he would take me into the race but he didn't take me that far in the end,” explained Troy Hillier after the race. The move four-wide at that stage of the race was probably a fraction earlier than Hillier would have liked as Illegal Immigrant only has one dimension. “He is just a sprint sprinter and that’s all he can do,” said the trainer-driver. Illegal Immigrant had a fight on his hands late when $41 outsider Goggo Gee Gee put up a brave fight over the concluding stages to just miss by a neck with Full Speed Ahead who raced outside the leader before taking up the lead mid-race finishing a further 3.9-metres away third in a mile rate of 2m 5.2s for the 3020 metre trip. The wining trainer-driver said that he wasn’t disappointed with the effort of the pacer the start prior when fourth on 19 January in Devonport. “He had missed a fair bit of work in the lead up to that race … I gave him a good hopple last weekend and he had a good gallop during the week,” he said. Hillier indicated after the race that he will miss Friday’s Hobart Pacing Cup with the gelding who he part-owns along with his wife Michelle. “I’ll freshen him up now, I will let Rohan (Hillier) win with Ryley Major next week,” he laughed. The main target for the gelding will be the features during the Tasmanian Harness Racing Autumn Carnival including the $75,000 Tasmania Cup in Hobart in March and then onto the Easter Cup in Launceston in April. Illegal Immigrant arrived in the Hillier stable after winning three of his first 13 starts in the south island of New Zealand in November of 2017. “He was a cheap one from New Zealand but he has certainly paid his way and a lot more,” said the Beaconsfield baker about the pacer who has won 15 races and just under $125,000 in prize-money since joining his stable.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Taylor Ford will take a one-point lead into Sunday week’s second round of heats of the 6ty° Youngbloods Challenge in Hobart after a first and seventh placing in the opening round of heats at the Devonport Showgrounds last night. Ford was able to win heat two on the Ben Yole trained Machitelli who pushed forward from barrier five to find the lead about 450 metres after the start. Machitelli, a daughter of Mach Three was inclined to over race throughout the 2297 metre event with driver Taylor Ford admitting that her arms were “a bit sore” when speaking with on her way home to Brighton from the meeting last night. “She came out of the gate strong and when she found the lead she dropped the bit, so I put my hands back into a more commutable grip which wasn’t a good idea,” explained Ford. After running a lead time of 51.0s Ford was able to steady Machitelli enough to record quarters of 31.1s, 31.3s, 31.3s and 31.0s over the final mile. “We did run along a little bit, the rest of the field stayed back a few metres off her which meant they had to do a bit of extra work to catch her,” said the winning driver. “She started to tire the last 50 (metres) but they had her chance to beat her,” added Ford. Although Ford was first past the post she had another battle on her hands when the driver of Shes Gifted, Ben Woodfords fired in a protest against the winner who shifted out noticeable over the final 300 metres of the race. Stewards dismissed the protest and Ford said she was fined $100 for allowing the horse to shift out under pressure. It was the case of déjà vu for Ford and Yole who teamed up to win a Youngblood's Challenge heat in Devonport last season. “I drove Ready To Fire to win a heat in Devonport for Ben (Yole) last year,” said Ford. “It’s great that Ben (Yole) and many other trainers have supported the series to ensure we can all get a drive in each heat,” added the series leader. The Yole stable provided the first heat winner of the series when Andrew Freeman partnered Mach Charm to a 1.5-metre win. Mach Charm, a six-year-old mare also by Mach Three was able to sit back off a frantic temp over the first circuit and was too good late in a slow 32.3s final quarter. Points after the first two heats are; Taylor Ford 20, Andrew Freeman 19, Ben Woodsford and Hannah Van Dongen 18, Matthew Howlett 13, Justin Howlett and Charlie Castles 9, Lachlan Dakin, Georgia Hayward and Samantha Freeman all on 8. It was a big night for the Yole stable with Pink Ponder, another that sat back off a solid lead time being able to score while Ol Titch pulled off a big move from $101 into $16 when winning the last race. The move was made in one hit on the Tasracing Official Price, could indicate that a corporate bookmaker may have gone up the wrong price. The main race on the card was the NWTLHA Cup where Izaha was able to overcome a 30-metre handicap to score in the 2645 metre event. Izaha, a half-brother open class pacer to Harjeet, enjoyed a lovely cart up out three-wide over the final 1100 metres and was too good for Blackbird Power and Illegal Immigrant. Although being defeated a half-head in the feature race with Blackbird Power trainer-driver Gavin Kelly was in the winner's circle earlier in the night with Murry who put up a tough performance to score in race three, it was the second win this season for the gelded son of Jeremes Jet. It was a bitter-sweet night for concession driver Hannah Van Dongen. She drove the first race winner Shady Story, who she also owns to an all the way win on debut for her father Craig in the first heat of the Allan Williams Memorial, before copping a three-race date suspension in the next race.   Duncan Dornauf

Four-year-old mare Karalta Moondance continued her liking to the Devonport track with an all the way win in the Collins Homes Mobile in Devonport last night. Veteran reinsman John Walters took the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven straight to the lead in the 1930 metre event to record her sixth career victory and her third win on the track. Karalta Moondance ($4.70) was able to hold off a late charge by Paint The Wind by 2.9 metres with The Lemondrop Kid 1.1 metres away third, the mile rate was 2m 3.3s. “John (Walters) was pretty confident he was going to lead, so I was happy to trust his judgement,” said trainer Kent Rattray after the win. It was the first win in almost four months for Karalta Moondance but Rattray has been happy with her recent performances. “She hasn’t been racing bad she has just been striking a few better than her … she seems to be a nice horse to race at Devonport as she can control the speed a bit,” explained Rattray. The mare will now have a week off before returning to the tack. “She will have a week off and bring her back and find a race for her,” said the winning trainer. Karalta Moondance is also standing start qualified which gives Rattray several options over the Christmas – New Year period. “She has had a couple of stands now so we might look at one of the mares standing start races over the summer,” Rattray explained. Karalta Moondance is raced by Kent’s parents Wayne and Gaye with Karalta Moondance pocketing them just under $70,000 in prize-money plus many Tasbred bonuses, Breeders Coupons and Tasbred Owners Breeders Incentive bonus in her 38-start career. The long term target for the mare will be the Group 2 Granny Smith Final in Devonport on 14 June, apart of the $300,000 Tasbred Sires’ Stakes series. Punters got off to a rough start to the meeting when the Gavin Kelly trained and driven pacer Jeans Mattjesty stormed home to score in the Ladbrokes Claimer at odds of $54.70. Shes Gifted ($11.30) raced wide during the final circuit to register her second win since arriving in Tasmania with Paul Ashwood driving the Andrew Thornton prepared runner to a half-head victory. Major Seascape ($5.90) led all the way to win the John McKenna Race Night Vet Pace by a narrow margin. The win of the four-year-old gelding was the first leg of a training double for Ben Yole who prepared Artiflash ($2.30 fav) to score later in the night. Both horses were driven by Yole’s two stable concession drivers with Troy McDonald aboard Major Seascape, while Samantha Gangell partnered Artiflash to his 1.4-metre win. Artiflash will be trying to beat the handicapper when he lines up for the pole draw in Hobart on Sunday night in the second race where once again he looks the one to beat. The Deborah Williams trained Jaccka Len ($3.60) overcome barrier 10 over 1930-metres to score in the last race of the night, courtesy of a confident drive by Hannah Van Dongen over the final lap. Duncan Dornauf

The four-year-old Tasmanian Sires’ Stakes series rolled on into Devonport last Sunday with Izaha and Ideal Bliss being too strong for their rivals in their respective finals. Both horses broke $100,000 in prize money with their wins. Hobart staged the $20,000 Sweepstakes finals on Friday where the favourites were successful in each final. This week harness racing heads to Launceston on Friday evening and Hobart on Sunday night, the last two meetings under the current handicapping system before the new National Rating system commences across Australia on Monday. The Stars Ideal Bliss - the Paul Hill-trained mare Ideal Bliss made amends for her disappointing performance as a beaten favourite in the Granny Smith prelude on June 14 when the daughter of American Ideal captured the four-year-old mare's leg of the Tasmanian Sires’ Stakes series the Group 2 Collins Homes Granny Smith final on Sunday night at the Devonport Showgrounds. Izaha - made it back-to-back Tasmanian Sires’ Stakes victories the son of Roll With Joe took out the $50,000 Maxfield Drilling Raider Stakes, the first ever Group 2 race held on the Devonport Showgrounds. Trainer-driver Todd Rattray took the $1.10 favourite straight to the early lead from barrier three in the 2665-metre event and from that point Izaha was never in doubt to win in a mile rate of 2m 1.3s. Blame It On Me - continued on her winning way in Hobart on Friday night when the daughter of Big Jim added the $20,000 Elderslie Horse Care Sweepstakes (Fillies division) to her resume. Driver Natalee Emery took the Doug Nettlefold-trained pacer to the lead over the mile trip, and the $1.75 favourite proved too good. Kohanah - the Sweet Lou colt followed in the steps of his mother Benediction when he claimed the colts and geldings division of the Sweepstakes Final. The Todd Rattray-trained and driven pacer led all the way in the $20,000 event to record his fourth win at his fifth race start. Honourable mentions; Call Me Hector - just outside the Hobart track record with another brilliant win, Olivia Weidenbach - drove her first double in Devonport and Ben Yole - training treble on Sunday evening including the first seven placings past the post in race five. Multiple Winners Hobart  – Friday evening No trainer or driver recorded multiple wins Devonport  – Sunday evening  Ricky Duggan - driving treble; Similan Beach, Ideal Bliss and Wattabout Spanger. Olivia Weidenbach - driving double; Monarkmac and Im Full Tilt. Ben Yole - training treble: Monarkmac, Jeans Mattjesty and Im Full Tilt. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Hobart  – Friday evening Chasing Cheetahs 57.60s, Here The Call 57.65s, Abs Boy 57.66s, Origin Billy 57.71s and Miracle Marcus 58.08s. Devonport  – Sunday evening  Similan Beach 58.10s, Monarkmac 58.41s, Izaha 58.70s, Heza Rummage 58.72s and Peaceful Thomas 58.91s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Hobart  – Friday evening  Hits: Macray Muchacho $5.00 into $3.80 and Chasing Cheetahs $2.40 into $1.70. Defied The Drift: Blame It On Me $1.60 out to $1.75 and Touchwood Levista $3.30 out to $4.20. Missed: Diamond Grace $11 into $8.00, Freds Under Fire $21 into $16 and Shadow Affair $21 into $10. Devonport  – Sunday evening  Hits: Similan Beach $1.65 into $1.20, Im Full Tilt $21 into $12 and Rowley $13 into $9.50. Defied The Drift: Jeans Mattjesty $12 out to $15, Karalta Moondance $5.50 out to $6.50 and Wattabout Spanger $8.50 out to $19. Missed: El Jays Mystery $4.80 into $4.00, Spot Eight $.90 into $1.55, Jigamaroo $9.00 into $4.80 and Good Feelings $17 into $10. Trial File Carrick Park - Saturday morning Four trials were staged on a very cold morning where the Mon Poppy Polly recorded the quickest winning mile rate of 2m 3.7s. The five-year-old Sportswriter mare joined the Ben Yole stable after her performance at the trials the week prior and on Saturday she proved too good for All Style Sammy by two metres with Long Ago a further two-metre away third. Kosimo, a two-year-old gelded son of Major Bronski, won his second consecutive trial in a mile rate of 2m 8.6s, it was an action-packed trial where a lot of horses were checked on the home corner which saw the Mark Jones-trained and driven pacer cruise home to a 40-metre win. Other winners included: Machitelli (2m 5.1s) and Stuey D (2m 5.8s) Hobart - Monday evening The Bradley Walters-trained Animi Sub Ignis recorded the quickest time of the three trials in 2m 1.8s. The eight-year-old has had one start in a year and a half, that being in Hobart on 7 June. Driven by Ben Woodsford in the trial, Animi Sub Ignis defeated Vouvray Beach by three metres with Witch Master a further five metres away third. The final two quarters were recorded in 20.0s and 29.9s. The other two trials were won by Fin Mac Kee (2m 3.5s) and Rocket Blaster (2m 11.4s). Week Ahead Harness Racing heads to Launceston on Friday evening for a 7-race card. There is a thoroughbred theme to race five on the card, the Find Us On Facebook Pace. Successful thoroughbred trainer Steve Lockhart is the latest participant to hold a dual code license and is represented in the race by Rocket Blaster, a Hobart trial winner on Monday evening in slow time. The Caribbean Blaster gelding was previously trained by Melissa Maine where he was placed on one occasion from nine starts. Lockhart has trained five winners in his last 15 starters as a thoroughbred trainer including the Tasmanian Oaks this year with Shady Hustle. The other thoroughbred connection in the race is with the ownership of the Zane Medhurst-trained Ifbutzandmaybes, who is part-owned by leading jockeys Siggy Car and Troy Baker who sit second and third on the state's riders premiership respectively. Since the new ownership group have given the gelded son of Lombo Pocket Watch seven starts which have resulted in five placings. The fifth race in Launceston is scheduled to start at 19:22 with the first race set down for 17:12. Race one will be televised on Sky Racing 1 with the remainder of the card on Sky Racing 2. Hobart is the venue for the main meeting of the week on Sunday evening with seven races set down for decision. The fast class race is race six, the Hobart Signwriters Pace, where all eyes will be on the clock after fast times have been recorded at the southern venue the past two meetings. Call Me Hector was just 0.3 of a second outside of the track record on the track last Friday when he led over the 2090-metre trip. Trainer-driver Matthew Cooper allowed the gelded son of Art Major to bowl along in front with the last three quarters all being run under 30 seconds. On Sunday Call Me Hector has another front line draw in barrier three against similar opposition. The race is set down for 20:54. All races in Hobart will be shown on Sky Racing 1 and both the Launceston and Hobart card can be seen on Tasracing’s Live Stream. Interstate this week at metropolitan venues; Melton Saturday night Race 4 Horse 2 Nostra Beach - Tasbred. Menangle Sunday afternoon Race 7 (Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO C&G) Horse 9 Max Delight - Tasmanian owned, Race 9 (Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge 4YO E&G) Horse 12 Ignatius - Tasbred and Tasmanian owned, And Horse 8 War Dan - part one by Tasmanian interest.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

The Devonport Harness Racing Club hosts its richest meeting of the season on Sunday night with prizemoney totalling almost $150,000. For the second year in a row, trainer-driver Todd Rattray will have a short-priced favourite for the $50,000 Raider Stakes. However the $50,000 Granny Smith will be more open after last week's prelude produced an upset winner in Brystabella. The 2018 Raider Stakes saw the Rattray-trained Harjeet justify his $1.10 price when he led throughout to score by 26m. His stablemate Izaha was almost as dominant winning his heat last Friday night by 16m as 1.30 favourite. The Kate MacLeod-trained Shadow Ross was brave running down Tisu Spirit to win the other heat but his time was slower and, despite having won three of his past four starts, he won't be challenging Izaha for favouritism in the final. Brystabella won the Granny Smith prelude as a $29 outsider after a very aggressive drive by her trainer Ray Pullen and, on face value, she would seem to have the other prelude runners covered if the brings the same form to the final. Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Advocate  

It was a night of upsets at Devonport on Friday with a boilover in the Granny Smith Prelude and a heat of the Raider Stakes. Izaha, was one of only two favourites to salute the judge on the eight-event card, the Todd Rattray-trained former Globe Derby winner strolled to a 16.8 metre victory in heat two of the Raider Series coming home in an effortless last-half of 57.3 seconds. The first heat saw Streitkid, Tisu Spirit, Dufrense and Yatsenyuk Leis the well supported top four fancies but it was to be the Kate MacLeod prepared Shadow Ross (pictured) that would emerge victorious sprinting from last at the bell. “He’s been in great form winning two of his last three starts going into last night and even when he ran sixth in Hobart he was trapped out three wide when fast splits were being recorded so he may have been flying under the radar going into the heat at double figure odds,” said Kate. “He’s a very big horse and is as green as grass with a lot to learn, when other drivers have driven him they have described him as dumb but he was switched on last night and when I asked him to go at the bell he worked into it strongly out three-wide and just powered his way to second on the home turn and then gunned down Tisu Spirit in the straight.” Ray Pullen’s aggressive tactics paid off when he set Brystabella alight from fifth at the mile to run to the front at the 1200-metres, before defying her rivals over the final lap and a half at bolters odds in race one, the Collins Homes Granny Smith Prelude. Olivia Weidenbach landed the first win of her career in the sulky when she guided Another Swinger to an all-the-way victory while Samantha Gangell chimed in with a winning double courtesy of Yellow Taxi and Heza Rummage. . Ben Yole continued his record-breaking season training four winners on the eight-event card with Northdown trainer Geoff Smith landing the quinella in race three with Victoria Pass and Midair Meltdown.   Shane Yates

Bagdad harness racing trainer Paul Williams has been fined $3000 over a positive swab returned by his horse Chasing Cheetahs at Devonport three months ago. A urine sample taken from Chasing Cheetahs, who finished fourth in the C2/C3 Pace on March 8, contained arsenic levels above the allowable threshold. Williams pleaded guilty to presenting the horse to race when not free of all prohibited substances. Stewards suspended half the fine on condition the trainer does not offend again in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, an unnamed harness racing participant has been fined $1500 over an incident at the Mowbray race meeting on May 3. The participant pleaded guilty to "acting in a manner detrimental to the industry" by deliberately causing damage to another participant's vehicle. Half the fine was suspended on condition there is no further offending in the next 12 months. Stewards refused to name the person involved as they said the incident was related to a on-going court case. Harness racing returns to Devonport on Friday night with two heats of the Raider Stakes and a prelude to the Granny Smith Stakes. Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Advocate

Over the years the mare Gallavance has developed into the matriarch of the Stowport stable of Craig Hayes. The latest of her progeny to hit the track Brookwillrock (pictured – No 1 inside) won on debut at Devonport on Friday in the CUB Devonport Belmont. “I was happy with the effort any win is a good win, she still has a lot to learn about the caper, that’s why she had six trials before last night’s debut run, she is just running along in her races at the moment she’s not racing, she’s always shown us she has the ability but she still needs to learn to race and she appears to be a slow learner,” said Craig. “We are going to give her a little break and see how she comes through the run and if all goes well and she continues to work well at home we will consider giving her a hit out in the Sweepstakes and Evicus in Hobart.” Craig has a soft spot for his broodmare Gallavance and with good cause. “She has been awesome for us over the years, she helped establish the stable and has continued to produce for us year on year,” said Hayes. “Mister Tehaych was the best-performed of her progeny he won over $100,000 in prizemoney for us while Mister Sumna had the most ability but we never got to see the best of him due to a stifle injury he incurred as a two-year-old but he still won 11 races and $72,000, she has also thrown Tania Maree and Semose Twenty and both won over $40,000.” Ryley Major showed his undoubted ability to come from last over the 1930-metre in the Degree C Quality and storm to victory over Alta Surreal and Blackbird Power, notching up his 14th career win and his fourth from six starts since returning from injury.   Shane Yates  

Trainer Ben Yole picked up his second bag of four winners for the weekend with another successful night at Devonport on Sunday. Fresh from winning four races on Friday night in Hobart Yole wasted no time in adding to his tally taking out the Sky Racing Allen Williams Memorial Final with three-year-old filly Nor Westa, driven by Mark Yole. "I thought it's a terrific win, she won her heat impressively at Devonport late in February at double-figure odds and she backed that up tonight with a powerful sprint coming from the tail of the field to win running away by nine metres," said Ben "Mark (Yole) found the back of the odds-on favourite Dusty Martini in the last circuit and he brought her into the race before peeling off his back putting them away with a great turn of foot out wide." The Yole stable continued its domination with Samantha Gangell guiding Miss Condoleezza to the line in the Tasracing Leigh Plunkett Mares feature. "Miss Condoleezza (pictured) won last time out at Devonport a fortnight ago at big odds and backed up again at double figures ($12.00), her job was made easier when the short-priced favourite Western Glory ($1.60) unfortunately broke gear going into the first turn," said the Sidmouth trainer. "Samantha rated her well in front and she responded strongly when tackled by Volkova Leis down the back straight to race clear to win by 7 metres down the home stretch." Gangell completed a driving double when the consistent eight-year-old I'm Full Tilt took the honours in the Collins Homes Pace. "Sam is showing the benefit of regular drives she has become a vital member of our team, she watches and she listens and is not afraid of hard work, on the track she is backing her judgement and it's paying dividends for the stable," said Yole. "I'm Full Tilt came from third last at the thousand to hit the front on the home turn and career away from his rivals for a convincing 12-metre win, his second win for the month after scoring in Hobart. Hez The One followed up his victory in Hobart on Friday night to nail his second win for the weekend in his trademark style, unleashing a paralysing sprint. "Rohan (Hadley) held him up for one crack at them and he was able to come from last inside the 400-metre mark to gun them down in the straight," said Ben. "Hez The One picked up three races last season, that's his third already this year and the way he's going there may be another one or two in him." The victory capped off a great night for Bridport trainer-driver Rohan Hadley, saluting the judge on three occasions in the sulky with the Shelley Barnes prepared Yatsenyuk Leis, first-up from a seven-month spell in the Lucas Hotel Latrobe Cup, his four-year-old Alaphilippe and Hez The One in The Claimer. Ideal Bliss bounced back from her luckless run in the George Johnson to nail her third win for the season from four starts winning the marathon for Paul Hill and Ricky Duggan while Colby Sanz broke through for his first win in the two-year-old for Kent Rattray and John Walters. Shane Yates

Ten-time leading Tasmanian reinsman Gareth Rattray has had a slower start to the season than he is accustomed to. Gareth currently sits eighth on the 2018/19 Premiership table on seven wins, 10 off the lead set by Mark Yole, but that could all change at tonight’s Devonport Harness Racing Club meeting. Gareth has a drive in all six races on the card including leading hopes Tisu Bombbelle, North Star Lad,  Elect to Go and Safari Oakey. The Tim Maine trained Tisu Bombbelle will start from gate two on front line with the scratching of the emergency in race one, the Maxfield Drilling Pace over the sprint trip of 1930 metres. “She’s got a good draw tonight but it’s still going to be hard to cross Swap Me, I’d say James (Austin) will be keen to hold the top and if he does he’ s going to be hard to get over the top of,” said Gareth. “Tisu Bombbelle ran a solid third to Rattlenhum at her last run on the track when Try McDonald drove her in the Youngbloods Series and I will be planning on taking a forward position.” North Star Lad, trained at Northdown by Geoff Smith, has returned from a four length spell in top condition winning the first two races of his five-year-old season. “Geoff”s brought him back bigger and stronger, his two wins have been impressive both by convincing margins, he won at Devonport over Our Wonder Woman by seven metres which then went on and won in Launceston in good style, ” said the master reinsman. “North Star Lad showed the win wasn’t a flash in the pan by running down Laconic Jamane in Launceston last week, I’ll be looking to get a cart into the race at some stage and he will be hard to hold out.” Juanita McKenzie fresh from preparing Remember Joe for victory in Hobart on Friday night has Elect To Go in the third race the Collins Homes Pace. “Elect To Go is a six-year-old mare, she’s had 58 runs in her career and this will be her first start from the stand and her first look at the Devonport track so there are a few unknowns, on the plus side she ran a nice second to Kvitova Leis in the Mother Of Pearl last week in Launceston when she went around at huge odds ($76) after sitting outside the leader and battled on courageously.” said Gareth. “Kare MacLeod’s Safari Oakey (pictured) in race five is my other top chance, she’s come with the pole over the 1930 metres so this could be her best chance to break the ice, she was midfield first up so she will have derived improvement from the outing.” Tonight’s compact DHRC meeting, commencing at 17.57pm, may be viewed via the live stream service at Shane Yates

CONOR CROOK managed to hold onto a slender lead in the Youngbloods Challenge series for novice drivers after snaring a minor placing from the two heats run at Elwick yesterday. Crook accrued 22 points from the first round of heats (x2) in Devonport last Sunday to take a three-point lead into yesterday’s two rounds. Crook partnered Witch Master to fourth place in heat three and his third aboard Frankie Falzoni for nine points was enough to keep him on top of the points table with 38. Crook leads by a point from Troy McDonald with Lachlan Dakin six points astern. Dakin stayed in the hunt for the title by partnering Twenty Two Karat to an all-the-way win in the first heat at Elwick yesterday. The Bianca Heenan-trained mare stepped straight to the front from gate two and Dakin rates the four-year-old superbly. Twenty Two Karat led comfortably to the home  turn where Dakin allowed her more rein and she slipped well clear and went on to score by almost eight metres from Streetside Classic (Georgia Hayward) with Rocknroll Dancer (Wade Rattray) a similar margin away third. McDonald powered his way into second place overall courtesy of a clever drive aboard race favourite Couta Rocks in the fourth heat. Couta Rocks began well from gate four but was unable to cross so McDonald eased out of the action and eventually allowed his charge to creep into the race. Once balanced in the home straight Couta Rocks forged clear and went on to defeat Goggo Gee Gee (Samantha Gangell) and Frankie Falzoni (Crook). McDonald earned six points for finishing fifth aboard Krafty Boy in heat three. The final two rounds of the series will be held in Launceston next Friday. The winner is determined on a point-score basis with 16 points allocated for first, 12 for second, nine for third, seven for fourth and six for fifth, reducing by one through to last place. Watch the race replay of Twenty Two Karat leading throughout to win the third Youngbloods Challenge heat with Lachlan Dakin aboard. Point standings after four rounds. 38 –  Conor Crook.. 37 – Troy McDonald. 31 – Lachlan Dakin. 28 – Samantha Gangell. 26 – Hannah Vandongen. 23 – Georgia Hayward, Taylor Ford. 17 – Matthew Howlett. 11 – Wade Rattray, Brady Woods.   Peter Staples

Ben Yole continued his powerful defence of his Leading Trainers Title by preparing four of the eight winners on the programme at Devonport on Sunday. Ben’s winning run commenced in race two with Pushkin, despite being friendless in the betting. “It was three-way photo at the finish and I was probably the only person not worried about which way the result went because we trained all three but Pushkin (pictured – middle) has been a grand campaigner for us, he won four races last season and has already picked up two wins this season at odds of $18 and $51,” said Ben. “Troy (McDonald) has been driving well so it was no surprise to see him lead all the way with Giant Steps in the fifth race and collect his double and I’m sure punters were much happier as it was well supported ($3.10) to run favourite.” Monarkmac has gone close to winning on two occasions this season going down narrowly to Haleys Comet in Launceston and El Jays Monet in Hobart. “He’s a ten-year-old now and he found himself in the right race with the right draw and he was able to do the rest, Rohan (Hadley) rated him well and he had enough in hand to stave off stablemate No Apachemee which made a late charge after getting off the pegs turning for home,” said Ben. “The stable finished off with Im Barney Rubble, he’s just a machine, he won six races last year at ten years of age and has already nailed three from six this season, he won by over five metres and had them covered a long way out.” The Todd Rattray trained and driven six-yer-old Taurisi ($1.60) showed his class to come off the 30-metre handicap and score a runaway 5.1-metre win in the Discretionary over Karalta Dazzler and Poker Storm. Paul Ashwood trained the quinella in the Maxfield Drilling Pace for Mick Maxwell but not in the order most punters would have preferred with Krafty Boy ($4.80), driven by Rohan Hillier,  storming home over the top of popular pick Miracle Marcus ($2.00). Punters won the battle on the night with six favourites saluting including the Bianca Heenan prepared Mon Poppy Polly ($2.70) driven by Taylor Ford and the Melissa Maine-trained Better Go Go ($2.30) steered home by Gareth Rattray. Shane Yates

Mostly Spirit will be in search of a winning hat-trick as it makes its Tasmanian debut at Devonport tonight. The Union Guy-Sky High Curves four-year-old gelding has won its last two starts and is now in the stables of Northdown trainer Geoff Smith (pictured). “Mostly Spirit arrived from Victoria last Friday and I’m very happy with the way he has settled in,” said Geoff. “His owner John Davidson and I go back a long way and he rang me after the gelding won at Mildura and asked me to have a look at the race and if I liked what I saw I could race him here, he arrived four days later.” Mostly Spirit has won three of its 27 starts and has drawn the second line tonight in race two the  CUB Pace. “We gave him a few days off after he arrived and he has worked nicely since, I’ve gone for Rohan (Hillier) to drive him tonight as he looks and feels as if he needs to be tapped along to keep his mind on the jump,” said Geoff. “He went 1:59.9 for the mile when he won at Port Pirie in June so he’s got the ability and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action.” Trainer John Castles has the favourite Flying Wingard against the newcomer to the state along with the popular pick Keep Playing in the opening race on the eight-event Devonport card and Chirac in the Claimer. The Phil Mascall owned and trained four-year-old mare Origin Tara and five-year-old mare My Ruby Rose, prepared by Rohan Hadley, are the leading hopes in race six the John McKenna Race Night Pace over 1930-metres. Both mares have a win and two placings to their credit this season with My Ruby Rose winning at Devonport in last month while Origin Tara greeted the judge in Launceston in May. Tonight’s Devonport Harness Racing card commences at 17.12 and may be viewed via the live stream service at UBET is offering a $899 Jackpot on the Double on races 4,5 and a $500 jackpot on the Quadrella on races 2,3,4,5.   Shane Yates

Samantha Freeman and Allister Woods took the honours on the opening night of the BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers Series at Devonport on Friday night. Samantha Freeman was first to clock up maximum points, guiding the John Castles-trained Flying Wingard to victory, much to the delight of punters who had backed the Badlands Hanover-Truffieres four-year-old in into $3.10 favouritism. Samantha gave Flying Wingard a charmed run over the 2297-metres, slipping into the one-one early before easing out three wide coming for the bell. “We we’re very happy with the way Samantha drove Flying Wingard as he can be a little tricky to handle, she positioned him well and backed her judgement with just over a lap to run and the result vindicated her decision.” said trainer John Castles. “That was Flying Wingard’s first run for the stable, we’ve had him since the beginning of May and he’s been balloted out twice but he won his trial here at Devonport on Monday night in good style and carried that form through to tonight.” The Shelley Barnes-trained Little Bit Of Big, driven by Conor Crook, finished second 7.2- metres away with Matthew Cooper steering the Steven Davis-prepared outsider Out To Strike into third place. Ima Ginger Rogers (pictured) broke through for the first time this season by leading all the way for Allister Woods in Heat two of the Series. The Sportswriter-Apple Sorbet six-year-old-mare won five of 15 starts last season but has struggled to recapture her best form running just six placings from 17 outings in the 2017/18 season. Ima Ginger Rogers showed an abundance of gate speed into the first turn to hold the lead and from that point on Allister dictated terms to a nicety to land the money by 7.7-metres from El Jay’s Monet, driven by Samantha Gangell for Ken Rattray with Lee Simmonds and the Adam Emery-trained Ektoras third. The Series moves to Hobart on Sunday night with the running of heats three and four and Allister will have the opportunity to continue his bright start when he partners the Thomas Jackson-trained Finn Mac Kee in race three while Samantha will guide last-start winner Pushkin in the opening race on the nine-event card. Shane Yates

Sally Stingel and Ken Rattray realised their dream tonight at Devonport when their grand old campaigner Destreos brought up the magical three-figures with a sensational harness racing victory in the Degree C Quality. Mark Yole will go down in history as the driver who piloted the 14-year-old equine marvel to his century with an inspired drive over 1930-metres. Yole dashed Destreos up into the death-seat in the early stages outside the second favourite Modern Ruler with the popular pick Stagger Lee camped on the leaders back in third position. With the pressure on the race went up a notch at the bell, but despite the tough run Destreos was in for the fight and drew level with Modern Ruler as they raced to the 400-metre pole. Gareth Rattray sat quietly on last week’s Free-For-All winner Stagger Lee until the gap opened for the heavily backed favourite entering the back straight and he looked set to throw down the gauntlet to the leading pair. Destreos got the better of Modern Ruler at the 200-metre mark and Yole went for home, Stagger Lee had no answer to the veteran warhorse and Destreos turned for home with the 100th win firmly in his sights. Ken Rattray with Destreos after the win Destreos surged to the line to score a memorable victory full of courage and fight, the champion qualities that we have witnessed over and over again throughout his majestic 450 start career. This race took his stake earnings over the $800,000 mark. The super pacer recorded a mile rate of 1:57.7 with a 58.7 last half. Shane Yates

North West Coast harness racing fans will have the opportunity to see the best pacer racing in the state up close and personal tonight at the Devonport Raceway. The brilliant Todd Rattray-trained Harjett, winner of this year’s Easter Cup, will be shooting for its seventh straight win in his Heat of the Maxfield Drilling Raider Stakes, the Tasmanian four-year-old Championship. The Rocknroll Hanover-Our Zellweger dual Group 3 winner has won ten of its fourteen starts for owners the Rattray Family Trust and Wayne McLaughlin and will start a raging hot favourite for tonight's Heat and Final. The Tony Peterson-trained Usain Jolt is yet to recapture its two and three-year-old form but at his best would represent a danger if the popular pick was to find trouble and will have the services of leading reinsman Ricky Duggan. Sea Double Ugrant, trained by Peter Dornauf is in line for a winning hat-trick after two slashing victories in Launceston with Mark Yole in the cart but find itself taking on the silk department tonight. The Granny Smith Prelude for the four-year-old mares will be a keenly contested affair with Resurgent Dream, El Jays Mystery and Volkova Leis three of the leading chances. Gareth Rattray will partner the Shelley Barnes prepared mare Volkova Leis and is confident of a forward showing. "It's an even field, she has won two of her last four starts, we have drawn the second line along with the top chances El Jays Mystery and Resurgent Dream, Sophias Angel is going well too with two wins in a row, so I will be looking to push up early and try to get a handy position," said the champion reinsman. Gareth also takes the reins on Stagger Lee, winner of last week's 6TYo Free-For-All in Launceston.  in race two the Degree C Quality. "He bolted in last week and drawn anywhere else but inside the second line over 1930-metres I would have thought he was close to a certainty but now we are going to need a little luck in the final circuit." Gareth also faces a stiff task with the backmarker Chief Destroyer in the Sheffield Cup coming off the 30-metre Handicap. "The Chief will be well suited by the 2645-metre journey, the further the better for him, he gives 100% everytime he steps out and that's a big advantage when your driving horses like that," said Gareth. "Major Callum is similar in race five, we are out the back on the 20-metre mark, but he's won seven from the stand for Brooke Hammond, he begins well so I will look to get away smartly and make an early move." The first of an exciting nine-event card at Devonport gets underway at 16.29 and can be viewed via the live stream service at By Shane Yates

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