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Talented pacer Cool Water Paddy continued his rise through the grades on the Tasmanian Harness Racing scene when he scored an effortless win in last nights $12,000 Launceston Mile at the Ladbrokes Racing Centre in Launceston. It was the Ohoka Arizona geldings first try at free-for-all level, and the pacer handled it well scoring an effortless win in a mile rate of 1m 57.3s on the rain-affected track. Driver Ricky Duggan was able to get the pacer away well to take up the initial lead from the pole draw before handing up to Call Me Hector who pushed on to the lead near the 1100-metre mark. Once Duggan relinquished the lead he got away from the inside at the 900-metre mark to take up the position outside the leader before asking the $1.80 favourite for the full effort with 400 metres remaining where Cool Water Paddy let down with a fast sprint, and he ran away to score by 11.9 metres and was actually eased up on the line by Duggan. “The way he ran away from them was pretty good,” said trainer Juanita McKenzie after the win. “We always thought he could burn the candle at both ends but until you get up in opposition you don’t really know how they will handle it,” she said. The heats of northern Tasmania’s premier race, the Ladbrokes Easter Cup will be held this Sunday with the $75,000 final set down for 11 April and McKenzie indicated that’s where the pacer will likely head. “The connections have the Easter Cup in mind, and I will see how he pulls up, which is never an issue with him, explained McKenzie. The Easter Cup, a standing start race over 2698 metres will be the pacers first try in a standing start race after qualifying from the standing start in a Hobart trial last week, and the trainer acknowledges the difference in trial and race pressure for the pacer stepping away is a slight concern. “Obviously standing starts at the trials is a lot different to standing starts at the races with a lot more horses around him,” she said. The other highlight of the card was the Launceston Belmont for the two-year-old fillies which was won by Written In Silk who was on debut for the Ben Yole stable. Easing in the betting from $1.90 out to $2.45, driver Mark Yole positioned the pacer outside the leader where she proved too good over the concluding stages to score by 9.7 metres over Indianna Sanz and Szabolski Leis. Trainer Ben Yole was delighted with the winning performance which was recorded in a mile rate of 2m 3.3s for 1680 metres on a rain-affected track. “She has shown potential in her trials, and she seems pretty smart so it’s good to see her come to the races and do it,” said Yole. The filly is raced by leading greyhound trainer Anthony Bullock and thoroughbred racing identity Jess Campbell who teamed up to purchase the daughter of Sportswriter at last year’s Carrick Harness Racing Yearling Sale. “The owners are wrapped, they paid a fair quid for her at the sales but with the Tasbred the way it is now and with it being a $12,000 race it is a good payday for them,” explained Yole. Yole purchased several horses at the past two yearling sales as he shifts to the younger horses to take advantage of the high prize money that has been moved to the two and three-year-old races in recent years. “We are trying to branch out into the two-year-old’s, she is the first one to race from the group we purchased last year, so that’s a good start, we had another go at the sales this year,” said the states leading trainer. Yole is a little bit undecided on the future plans going forward for the filly. “We will just see how she pulls up, she wouldn’t have blown out a candle when she came back after the race, she will have a break when she needs one or I may chat to the owners and give her one now and freshen her up,” he said. “She is Tasbred, and if she is good enough, she will go to the Evicus later in the year as well as the Sweepstake series,” added Yole.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

The heats of northern Tasmania’s premier harness race, the Ladbrokes Easter Cup is just a week away, and many contenders for that series will line up at the Ladbrokes Racing Centre in Launceston tonight in the $12,000 Launceston Mile. The intriguing runner in the race is exciting pacer Cool Water Paddy who takes on the open class pacers for the first time in his career. The Juanita McKenzie-trained pacer has won nine of his 13 starts, with eight of those wins coming at his past eight efforts. Ricky Duggan has driven the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona in every start, and he is looking forward to seeing how the pacer takes the next step in his career. “He is a nice little horse, but he is stepping up to a few of the big guns this week, so it will be interesting to see how he can match up against them,” said driver Ricky Duggan when speaking on Tasracing’s From The Stables Podcast. Only seven horses will contest the race where Duggan believes the pacer will get every chance to get a good guide going forward.  “He has drawn the pole over the mile, so he has drawn good enough to get a good guide on how he is going to measure up with them,” said Duggan. The one slight query punters have is if Cool Water Paddy can hold the lead early with several horses in the race possessing good gate speed and Duggan is hopeful the pacer can hold up from the good draw. “I think he has (the speed early), he has drawn the backline a lot in his career and we have never drawn the front-row much to ask him to run the gate, on the few occasions I have asked him to come out he has come out pretty good,” said Duggan. Duggan has won more races than any other driver in Tasmanian Harness Racing history, and he is on the verge of driving 1700 winners, he currently sits on 1697 victories. Some of Cool Water Paddy’s rivals tonight include the Matthew Cooper-trained and driven Call Me Hector. A winner of 17 races, Call Me Hector holds the mantle of the state’s fastest pacer when he recorded a mile rate of 1m 54.3s in Hobart last September. The Art Major gelding loves to lead and bowl along in front in his races and coming back in distance to the sprint trip will suit the pacer whose most recent win was at the home of Victorian harness racing, Melton, in January. Illegal Immigrant is another strong chance in the race, and the Troy Hillier-trained and driven pacer has a good record over the distance, with three starts for two wins and one placing over the distance. You have to go back to September of 2018 to find the last time the pacer contested a race over the sprint trip when he flew around Melton in 1m 55.2s, he has high speed, and the small field suits his chances along with Call Me Hector in the race it will ensure the race is run at a handy tempo. The other highlight on the Launceston card is the $12,000 Launceston Belmont for the two-year-old fillies. The Ben Yole-trained Written In Silk is the race favourite with Ladbrokes at $1.85. Written In Silk, was a $20,000 purchase at last year’s Carrick Harness Yearling Sale and she has won two trials in preparation for her race track debut tonight. Fields for all races have been restricted to 10-horses to accommodate the Tasmanian Government’s directives regarding managing the spread of COVID-19. Horses that raced in Hobart on Friday were the first balloted followed by those with the lowest field selection points till a field of 10 was reached. Racing starts at 17:23.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Zeke Slater always has his eye out for a bargain buy, and last night in Hobart he was in the winner’s stall with Victoria Pass who was stepping out for his first start for the Slater stable. The seven-year-old was well supported in early markets before easing out to $15 when scoring in the Ladbrokes Park Pace. From the wide draw, the pacer raced three-wide and three-back over the final 1200 metres of the race, which was a surprise to trainer Zeke Slater. “I didn’t think he would get that far back,” said trainer Zeke Slater after the race who explained that the pre-race plans with driver Todd Rattray were thrown out of the window mid-race. “Todd commenced his move at about the 1300m, and I told him to be the first to go, but they all came out in front of him so he couldn’t do much about that,” said the winning trainer. “He is not a fast horse, but he is strong, he is a pretty laid-back dude around the stables, but when he gets out on the racetrack, he wants to go,” explained Slater about his recent stable purchase. “Eddie Murdoch had a few on the market, and I ended up buying three off him … I had a few people keen to get involved, and this guy has owners from different parts of Australia and New Zealand,” explained Slater. “There are no immediate plans. Hopefully, we keep racing, and we will just pick a race out for him,” he added. The win of Victoria Pass was the first leg of a training double for Slater who scored later in the night with Capitallee in the Triple M Hobart Pace. The gelding had won two of his four previous races but was a beaten favourite in Launceston the week prior. “It was my fault for his poor effort in Launceston last start, I flattened him in trackwork before that race,” said the trainer. From barrier two driver Troy McDonald took the gelded son of Mach Three straight to the lead where he scored a two-metre win over Betterthanfetta. “He probably needs a break, but with the potential shutdown I will keep pressing on with him,” said the trainer. “With his good gate speed, he should pick up couple more,” added Slater. Punters were on the ball early with Dyslexic ending a run of second placings in the Cascade Draught Pace for three-year-old’s. The pacer was well handled by Rodney Ashwood for Victorian trainer Kate Hargreaves. Trainer Kate Hargraves was delighted with the win. “I was wrapt with his performance as were his owners,” she said. Given the current travel restrictions in place the pacer will remain in Tasmania. “He will have a light week and then we will look for something for him in the next few weeks, he’s staying in Tassie for now as its too hard to bring him back with everything going on,” added Hargreaves.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Blackjackhanover may have only been placed in two of his last 28 starts, but the gelded son of Cardmaster Hanover finally gets his chance to bounce back into the winner’s list when he lines up in the Tas Equine Veterinary Services Pace at Ladbrokes Park in Hobart tonight. The Campbell Watt trained pacer has won 10 of his 126 starts and has been placed on a further 35 occasions. Tonight, the pacer will contest a race for horses that are rated between 50 to 59 for trainers who trained ten or less winners last season. It is a big drop in class from contesting the states premier race, the Group 2 Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup, at his most recent start where he finished 16 metres behind Ryley Major where the trainer was pleased with the run. “I was thrilled with him in that race, Smiley (Paul Hill) said he had plenty of horse left going over the line,” said trainer Campbell Watt. One concern in tonight’s race for the trainer is the outside of the front-row draw in the 2090-metre event. “If he drew in a bit closer he would have been a good thing I would have thought, I still think he can win from out there, it’s no point going back, he is a go-forward horse, and he can get on the bit at times,” said the Mt. Seymour based trainer who has once again given the driving responsibilities to Malcom Jones who uses his five-point concession claim tonight. “He will do all my driving now, I would have let him drive him in the Tasmania Cup but the powers to be wouldn’t let him, he is a well-mannered kid and drives good,” said the trainer. Watt at 70 years of age has three horses in work with his wife Pam who is an integral part of his stable, he and Pam have recently stopped breeding horses as in Campbell’s words “age is catching up to us.” Blackjackhanover is rated a $4.50 chance with Ladbrokes behind the Taylor Ford-trained duo Ashleys Angel and The Thug at $4.40. Ford spoke about their chances on the From The Stables Podcast. Tonight’s meeting will be televised on Sky Racing 1 and TasracingTV’s live Stream with the first race set down for 18:40. Once again, the meeting will be closed to the public with only harness racing licence holders and essential race day personal allowed entry to the track.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

There weren’t any members of the public allowed access to the track last weekend where we had two brilliant meetings. The Burnie Harness Racing Club staged their last meeting of the season on Friday night before the action turned to Launceston last Sunday. This week we race in Hobart on Friday night and Launceston on Sunday night with both meetings to be televised on Sky Racing 1. The Stars Rohan Hillier – continued his excellent run of late with a training and driving double in Launceston on Sunday night. His first win of the night was with five-year-old mare Giftofjoy who justified her short quote at her first run back from late September before Prosecution Witness found some of his best form that he produced last season, with a handy win in a rating 56 to 65 rated race. Resurgent Rebel – continued a strong family tradition when she won the opening race for two-year-old’s when she scored a half-head victory. The Zeke Slater-trained and Troy McDonald driven filly is by Heston Blue Chip and is out of Resurgent Star who has produced Resurgent Spirit (31 wins), Resurgent Dream (10 wins) and Resurgent Storm (10 wins). Ben Yole – once again had a big weekend, he notched up his 100th Tasmanian win of the season and his 800th career win as a trainer after training five winners in Burnie on Friday night and three in Launceston on Sunday. Samantha Gangell – registered her first win as a trainer when Navua Pixie scored a runaway win in the Kelly’s Waste Management Sweepstakes in Burnie. Gangell has been a driver for the past four seasons and four months ago she branched out with her partner Troy McDonald to prepare a small team at Brighton. Kyle Pratten – registered his first driving treble after he had a night out in Burnie, including the N.W.T.L.H.A Mares Incentive with Amazing Daisy. All three of his wins were trained by his employer Ben Yole. Multiple Winners Burnie – Friday evening Ben Yole – training quintet – Good Feelings, Keep Playing, Amazing Daisy, Lake Eyre and My Ultimate Romeo. Kyle Pratten – driving treble: Keep Playing, Amazing Daisy and My Ultimate Romeo. Conor Crook – driving double: Falcon Harry and Lake Eyre. Launceston – Sunday evening Ben Yole – training treble; Quick Changeover, Another Mortgage and Perfect Mach. Rohan Hillier -training and driving double; Giftofjoy and Prosecution Witness. Conor Crook – driving double; Stormont Star and Perfect Mach. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Burnie – Friday evening Unavailable Launceston – Sunday evening Resurgent Storm 56.82s, Perfect Mach 56.84s, Boss Major 56.91s, Prosecution Witness 57.03s and Southern Gnp 57.10s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Burnie – Friday evening Hit’s: None of the seven winners firmed in the betting. Defied The Drift: Good Feelings $3.60 out to $4.20, Keep Playing $8.50 out to $11.00, Falcon Harry $3.00 out to $3.40, Navua Pixie $4.60 out to $7.00 and My Ultimate Romeo $2.90 out to $3.70. Missed: Amendment Thirteen $7.50 into $4.40, Frostyflyer $14.00 into $8.00, Island Bliss $6.00 into $4.00, Nikks Pick $3.20 into $2.60 and Karalta Kruise $6.00 into $3.60. Launceston – Sunday evening Hit’s: Giftofjoy $1.75 into $1.50, Prosecution Witness $5.50 into $5.00, Blackbird Power $26.00 into $20.00, Stormont Star $5.50 into $5.00 and Another Mortgage $18.00 into $9.50. Defied The Drift: Resurgent Rebel $3.20 out to $3.50, Quick Changeover $6.50 out to $7.00, Perfect Mach $8.00 out to $17.00 and Kadar $5.00 out to $5.50. Missed: Our Ideal Fella $3.20 into $2.50, Yellow Taxi $21.00 into $15.00, Resurgent Storm $4.40 into $4.00, Black Centurian $13.00 into $5.00, Neds Beach $4.20 into $3.40, Alaphilippe $5.50 into $3.30, Northview Dave $3.00 into $2.30. Trial File Hobart – Monday evening  Cool Water Paddy intended to race at Melton on Saturday night, but after concerns around potential travel restrictions due to COVID-19 at the time, the connections elected not to accept for the race. Instead, the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona stepped out in a Hobart trial on Monday night where the pacer successfully qualified from a standing start. The Juanita McKenzie-trained pacer was driven by his regular driver Ricky Duggan to a three-metre win over stablemate Im Jaks Teller and Finn Mac Kee in a mile rate of 1m 59.6s. The remaining five trials were won by; Magic Pebbles (2m 15.0s), Buster Malone (2m 9.3s), Gipsy Treasure (2m 4.7s), Spoilt Sport (2m 5.8s) and Distinctive Del (2m 4.6s). Devonport – Monday evening  Only three trials were held on Monday night where Spot Eight led all the way to record the quickest winning mile rate of 2m 3.2s in a 51 to 61 rated trial over Ima Birubi Boy and Maybe Jack. Other winners included Estelle who led all the way to win in 2m 4.3s and Heza Sport who won a combined two and three-year-old trial in 2m 10.7s. Due to COVID-19, there have been many changes to Tasmanian harness trials going forward. All trials will be restricted to horses that need to qualify or horses that are barred from racing. Trials will only be held at race meetings. Further details are available on the Tasracing Corporate website. Week Ahead Increased hygiene measures this weekend will see drivers who have registered colours wear them in their drives. The form guide on has been updated to reflect the correct colours that will be carried this weekend. Hobart race on Friday night and the meeting has been moved to Sky Racing 1 after the cancellation of the harness meeting in Geelong. Seven races will be held where Victorian trainer Kate Hargreaves will be hoping Sweet Lou gelding Dyslexic will be able to break his Tasmanian maiden after placing second in all three starts in the state including the Tasmanian Derby two starts ago. Sunday night in Launceston sees the running of the Launceston Mile where we see Cool Water Paddy take on the open class placers for the first time in his career. He has drawn the pole in the 1680-metre dash and goes into the race off a win in a standing start trial in Hobart on Monday night. No doubt the connections are considering next month’s Easter Cup after they aborted a Melton campaign. The Launceston card kicks off at 17:23 with trials to be held approximately one hour prior to the first race. Interstate this weekend we some local pacers going around including; Melton – Saturday night Race 8 Horse 5 Blingittothemax   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Inform reinsman Kyle Pratten will be hoping that his good run can continue in Launceston tonight where he has eight drives on the nine-race program. Pratten drove his first-ever treble on Friday’s Burnie card including the N.W.T.L.H.A Mares Feature on the Ben Yole trained Amazing Daisy. “I drove her in the George Johnson in Hobart the start prior where she galloped, she did the same thing on Friday night, but after the race was called with the fall soon after the start, that gave me a bit of warning for the rerun to nurse her a bit more into the first corner,” said Pratten. Tonight Pratten rated Oneofthelads as one of his best drives on the card in race three, a rating 51 to 55 event over 2200 metres. “I have driven him four times, and he has placed on three of those races,” said Pratten who was in the sulky for the gelded son of Caribbean Blaster’s most recent effort in Devonport on 15 March. “I’m 99.9 percent certain he would have won at Devonport last start if he would have got out, I never pulled the plugs or turn the whip around,” explained Pratten about the pacer who is prepared by his employer Ben Yole. In race four Pratten takes the reins on Pink Ponder who has been racing well in recent weeks, the daughter of Ponder is generally a mare that when she finds form, she tends to hold if for a number of weeks and Pratten will hope that is the case tonight where they have a wide draw to overcome in the 2200 metre race. “If there is a bit of speed on early, then that will suit her, if we can just find a nice spot midfield or a little bit closer would suit her as she has got a good 200-metre sprint on her and if that’s the case the long straight at Launceston will suit her,” said the driver. Pink Ponder is also trained by Ben Yole who is only one win away from training his 800th career win, and like always he has a number of chances across the program to achieve the feat. Tonight’s meeting is once again closed to the general public with only essential race day staff and licensed participants allowed entry to the track. The meeting will be live-streamed on TasracingTV with race one to be televised on Sky Racing 2 with the remainder of the card on Sky Racing 1. Race one is set down for 17:42.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Brighton based horsewoman Samantha Gangell notched up her first win as a trainer when Navua Pixie scored in the Kelly’s Waste Management Sweepstakes in Burnie last night. Gangell who has been a regular in the winners stall as a driver over the past four years recently decided to take up training four-months ago where she trains a small team alongside her partner and fellow driver Troy McDonald. While it was Gangell’s first training win it was also the first win for the four-year-old mare who was first-up since June. “She was first up for about eight months, I had given her three trials to make sure she was spot on,” said trainer-driver Samantha Gangell after the race. Gangell had two runners in the race including Nikks Pick who was driven by her partner Troy McDonald, but their chances were made hard after some solid early sectionals after holding the lead in the early stages. “I didn’t expect there to be that much speed early which buggered my other horse in the race (Nikks Pick), but it worked out good for me who settled back in the field,” added Gangell. Samantha Gangell (Right) and Troy McDonald (Left) with Navua Pixie after last night’s win. After leading up the three wide line over the final lap and three-quarters of the race, Navua Pixie dashed away late to score by five-metres over La Toison Dor with Penstock Boy a further five metres away third. Navua Pixie had the race won at the top of the home straight which gave Gangell time to enjoy the moment of her first training win. “I was so excited, I started crying near the line, I wasn’t expecting her to win as well as she did as I had to race wide for the final thousand metres,” explained the winning trainer-driver. Gangell has six horses in her care, which is a sufficient number for her while she is in her second last year of studying Psychology Science at university. Her partner Troy McDonald and step-father Eric Jacobson are a big help to let her juggle her uni, training and driving commitments. “Troy does a good job when I have to go to Uni, he is always there doing the horses,” she said. “Eric lets me have his horses at his property and has been a big help to me to get started, the cost of setting up hasn’t been as high as other young trainers would face if it wasn’t for his help,” added Gangell. It was a real family affair with her mother, Denise, owning Navua Pixie. Leading trainer Ben Yole once again dominated the program with five winners across the seven races with Kyle Pratten registering a driving treble. Yole has now prepared 102 winners in Tasmania alone this season and currently sits on 799 training wins in his career.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Leading trainer Ben Yole notched up his 100th Australian training win of the season in Devonport on Sunday night when Shestryingtactics scored in the S & M Horse Transport Mobile. Shestryingtactics was sent out the $3.80 favourite from the pole draw, and the eight-year-old daughter of Sportswriter was well rated in front by Samantha Gangell to get the victory in a mile rate of 2m 3.5s. “I thought she was the best from my team tonight, she just had to have enough gate speed to hold the front,” said Yole. “She didn’t cop a great deal of pressure, and she had a bit of speed late, plus it was a bit weaker field than what she had been racing,” added the trainer. It was the second last night of the Team Teal promotion with the win being the states 14th. The last meeting is the Australian Female Drivers Championship meeting which is currently listed to be held in Launceston next month. It’s the fifth consecutive season that he has trained a century of wins. “It is fantastic, and all credit goes to the staff, without fantastic staff, fantastic owners and a great bunch of loyal drivers it all doesn’t happen,” said Yole. Yole ended up with training a quartet to take his total to 102 wins, with nine of those being earlier in the season when he had his Victorian satellite stable in operation. The first of Yole’s winners on the card was with Gentleman Red who scored in the opening race on the card, the Ladbrokes Pace for horses with a national rating between 30 and 49 over 2297 metres. The gelded son of Sportswriter was last at the 1100 metre mark before racing three-wide from that point, to score by 1.2 metres with Troy McDonald in the sulky. “That’s his sort of class, he took his turn and won, and I have a few others in that class that will do the same,” said Yole. Gentleman Red led home a stable trifecta with Hear the Call and the race favourite Mystery Writer filling the placings. Win 101 came in the Maxfield Drilling Pace where Brian Who won his second race at only his second start since going to the Yole stable. From inside of the second row the pacer sat three-back along the marker pegs and flashed home to score by a half-head over the stablemate The Lemondrop Kid. “I like him. I think he will win a few more yet, and he has a good turn of foot. It was a little bit of a concern when he ended up three-back the fence, but it was a great drive by Rohan Hadley,” said Ben. His last winner of the night came with Jakes A Joy in the C.U.B Pace where he enjoyed a lovely run behind the leader to score by a half-head in a race where Yole trained the first five placegetters. “He was well driven by Gareth (Rattray), you can’t do much wrong when you stick to the pegs around Devonport, you normally earn money,” said the states leading trainer. The next meeting on the North-West coast will be in Burnie on Friday night.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

John “Bulldog” Nicholson has an excellent strike rate when he brings horses to the Apple Isle, and that continued at Ladbrokes Park in Hobart on Saturday night when Micton Mouse scored in the Group 3 Carlton Draught Tasmanian Derby. With John’s son Rhys, in the sulky the gelded son was able to lead easily from his pole draw in the 2579 metre event where they were able to enjoy a soft run during the early stages. The lead time of 77.5s was slower than the Tasmanian Oaks and the Tasmania Cup which was a standing start race before the gelding ran quarters of 32.7s, 30.6s, 29.6s and 29.4s. The mile rate of 2m 4.7s was the equal slowest of the race since it moved to Elwick from the Royal Showgrounds. “I think people did their form and realised he was the early leader and that he loves a bit of distance, he had beat the second favourite twice they have met, so there was no need for us to kill each other,” said Rhys after the win on TasracingTV’s live stream coverage. Micton Mouse scored by 1.1 metres over Dyslexic with Soho Senna 8-metres away third. The race favourite Beat City finished fourth. It was the second win in the race for Rhys and John who teamed up to win the race in 2013 with Ginger Bliss. “This class of horse to who I won it on last time is a big shock, Ginger Bliss was a group raider, we came over with the idea of running top four in the derby but to win it for owners is really good,” said the winning driver. Micton Mouse is a gelded son of local sire Stonebridge Regal and is out of Masie Mouse. The gelding was bred at Westbury by Michael and Toni Laugher. The win of Micton Mouse was part of a rare feat, and it was the first time since 1987 since Tasbred pacers have won the Tasmania Cup, Tasmanian Oaks and Tasmanian Derby in the same year. The last Tasbred pacer to win the Tasmanian Derby was Ryley Major in 2016. Connections indicated after the race that the $50,000 Group 2 Globe Derby in Launceston in June is on the radar for the pacer. Tasmania’s most successful driver of all time Ricky Duggan added the states premier mares race, the Tasmanian Trotting Club George Johnson to his resume when Shesa Tricky Bridge scored a dominant win in the $20,000 event. Trained by Ricky’s brother Adrian, Shesa Tricky Bridge was only having her second start in the state after being claimed from a race at Warragul last month by Tasmanian owner Geoff Bailey. “It was a race we had targeted and gee it’s good when it comes off like that.” Said trainer Adrian Duggan after the win who picked the horse out for one of his loyal clients. “She is a good standing start mare and full credit to Geoffrey (Bailey), the day prior we spent $20,000 at the yearling stales, but he didn’t hesitate and backed my judgement,” explained Adrian. Driver Ricky Duggan made a lightning move down the back straight but was slightly concerned in the early stages of the 2579 metre race. “They was going to walk early, and I was happy when a few took off, but after that, I was pretty confident cause I was just sitting waiting to go,” said the winning driver. Shesa Tricky Bridge, who is by Stonebridge Regal, scored by 13.2 metres over El Jays Mystery and Lockaway Kacie.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Beauty Point-based trainer-driver Rohan Hillier has been a respected figure on the Tasmanian harness racing scene for several seasons, and last night at Ladbrokes Park in Hobart, he and his star pacer Ryley Major took out the Group 2 Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup. From a 30-metre handicap, the star pacer began well in the 2579 metre event to settle one-out and four-back with the second favourite Im Sir Blake ruining his chances when he galloped out. “He began really good and got a nice run through so that was plan A out of the way,” said trainer-driver Rohan Hillier after the win. At the 1800 metre mark, Hillier left his position in reach of the spot outside the leader, but to his surprise, the lead was there, with the race favourite finding the lead with 1200 metres to travel. “I was sort happy to find the breeze at the mile peg, but I just kept going and ending up finding the lead,” added Hillier. Hillier went for home at the top of the home straight, and he was too good by 1.1 metres from Its Back In The Day who settled on the back of the winner for the final 1200 metres, with 2014 winner of the race Star Chamber flashing home for third a further neck away. The mile rate off the 30-metre handicap was 2m 1.4s, with the star Tasmanian pacer becoming the first Tasmanian bred pacer to win the race since Prodigious in 2001. It wouldn’t have been a feature race without some controversy, and there was a couple of minutes after the race that would have worried connections when the driver of the second place getter, Rhys Nicholson reviewed the steward's patrol film over the concluding stages, but he failed to press on with any protest. The win demonstrated Hillier’s ability in the sulky with a brilliant drive, but it is the training performance of the pacer who sustained a tendon injury after a race at Melton in July 2016. Ryley Major had the world at his feet before that injury winning nine of his 13 starts prior including the 2016 Tasmanian Derby. The injury saw the pacer being absent from the track for 983 days and on 17 March of last year, the day after the Tasmania Cup, Ryley Major made a winning return in a $5,500 race in Launceston, not even at that stage did Hillier believe Ryley Major would still be racing 12-months on from that win. “I have to pinch myself, I thought we would be patching him up week to week and was going to just try and win a few easy races, I knew the ability the horse has got and touch wood that he has stayed sound all that time, and hopefully he can stay sound for another year,” explained the winning trainer-driver. Hillier has ruled out a start in next months $75,000 Ladbrokes Easter Cup in Launceston instead deciding to give the pacer a break. “He has been up for a really long time and hasn’t really had a good break, so we will do that now, we had the Mildura Cup on ice a few weeks ago, but he just seemed a bit flat in himself (in recent starts), we will give him a good break and probably come back in six months times,” said Hillier about the future plans. While Hillier’s name is down as trainer in the racebook, he always singles out the work done by those behind the scenes including the effort of his daughter Makenna who does a lot of his work with him in the water as well as his brother Troy and stable foreman Conor Crook. Ryley Major, a gelded son of Art Major, is out of the Totally Western mare Shez Ryleymak who was purchased by the Hillier’s for $5,000 at an interstate yearling sale in 2007. Shez Ryleymak took them on an enjoyable ride winning 23 of her 50 starts including two Group 1 wins and $270,000 in prize money. Who knows, maybe Ryley can match his mum with a Group 1 next time in, we will have to wait and see.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Carlton Draught Tasmanian Derby Ten pacers will do battle in what is a Tasmania Vs Victoria affair in the Group 3 event. Longford trainer Todd Rattray will have a two-prong attack in the race including Kohanah who has won six of his ten starts, the gelded son of Sweet Lou was placed in the Tasmanian Guineas last time out where he sat one-out and two-back. “They went too slow, I didn’t want to go around to the breeze as I don’t think that would have suited him,” said Rattray. “He got home alright, we have put some pull down blinds on him this week to help him concentrate a bit more, added the trainer-driver.  The pacer won a three-year-old race for horses with no more than three wins for the season the start prior where he scored a three-metre victory. “He just waited for them that night, he does that and then kicks again when they get to him,” said Rattray who also prepares Kadar in the race. Tasmania’s most successful driver of all time Ricky Duggan will take the drive on the last start Carrick winner who has had two runs back from a spell. “I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet,” said Rattray. “It is a good draw for him, he will need some luck, but I think he is on the way up, I will leave all the tactics up to Ricky (Duggan) said the trainer. Tasmanian Trotting Club George Johnson After a brave third in the Matron Stakes four starts ago, last season’s Bandbox winner Still Hungover will be chasing his seventh career win in the states premier race for mares. Since she ran in the Matron Stakes, the mare had a Victorian campaign which included a win at Kilmore two starts ago and the trainer Rodney Ashwood isn’t concerned of the 2579 metre trip. “It should be no problems for her, she is pretty fit and came back from Victoria looking a billion dollars,” said Rodney. “I think she will measure up to this field, El Jays Mystery is probably the main one to beat,” added the trainer. Still Hungover has drawn outside of the front row with Rodney giving the drive to his son Alex. “I will leave it up to Alex, he has driven her before and knows her well, we have no set plans, you don’t know what will happen the first fifty or sixty metres,” said Rod. Tasmanian Equine Services Tasmanian Oaks Brighton based driver Troy McDonald will be chasing his second Tasmanian Oaks when he drives the Eric Jacobson trained Missin Rock in the Group 3 event. McDonald won the race previously aboard Ghadastar in 2018. Missin Rock was runner up to A Spanish Dance in the Three Year Old Fillies Championship two starts ago before finishing third to Micton Mouse against the colts and geldings on Sunday. “She has been racing well, the only disappointment of late was three starts ago where she pulled real hard in front,” said McDonald. “I’m pleased to see that field which isn’t overly that strong. It is definitely winnable, just disappointing we drew the widest gate, I reckon that she will see the distance out in that field,” added the reinsman.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Tasmanian harness' night of nights is almost here, with the Group 2 Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup, Group 3 Carlton Draught Tasmanian Derby, Group 3 Tasmanian Equine Veterinary Services Tasmanian Oaks and the state’s premier mares race, the George Johnson all to be staged by the Tasmanian Trotting Club at Ladbrokes Park in Hobart this Saturday night. But first, let’s look back at the second night of the Autumn Carnival that was staged on Sunday where the Victorian father-son duo of John and Rhys Nicholson dominated the card. The Stars John and Rhys Nicholson – John took three runners to Hobart on Sunday with his son Rhys booked to drive all three, and they left with a 100% strike rate. Its Back In The Day was the primary purpose of the trip where he was a dominant winner of the second heat of the Tasmania Cup which was the pacers first start since December 2018. Other winners included Deadly Error who won on debut in the Team Teal Hobart Belmont and Micton Mouse who stamped himself as a Tasmanian Derby contender in the Carlton Draught Pace. Suave Taj – Brighton based trainer Bianca Heenan and driver Christian Salter, continue their excellent run in feature trotting races in Hobart when Suave Taj scored in the Aldebaran Park Hobart Trotting Cup. It was the third start since September 2017, and the geldings first win since August 2017 in the feature event. Cool Water Paddy – won his eighth race in a row when he scored in the Tasmanian Equine Veterinary Services Pace. It was the second start back this campaign for the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona who scored an easy win on Sunday by 25.2 metres in a mile rate of 1m 58.5s for the 2090 metre trip. Hannah Van Dongen and Ray Pullen – continued their good association on Sunday night when they teamed up for a double on the card. Their first winner was with Distinctive Del who won his 14th race with Castor Troy leading all the way to score later in the night. Multiple Winners Hobart – Sunday evening Rhys Nicholson – driving treble; Deadly Error, Micton Mouse and Its Back In The Day, John Nicholson – training treble; Deadly Error, Micton Mouse and Its Back In The Day, Hannah Van Dongen – driving double; Distinctive Del and Castor Troy, Ray Pullen – training double; Distinctive Del and Castor Troy, Ricky Duggan – driving double; Cool Water Paddy and El Jays Blu, Ben Yole – training double; Guys Bettor Bet and Brian Who. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Hobart – Sunday evening Micton Muse 57.75s, Brian Who 58.19s, Missin Rock 58.22s, Distinctive Del 58.27s and Pink Ponder 58.57s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Hobart – Sunday evening Hits: Suave Taj $6.00 into $4.80, Distinctive Del $21.00 into $11.00 and Cool Water Paddy $1.60 into $1.28. Defied The Drift: Deadly Error $2.10 out to $2.30, Micton Mouse $2.50 out to $3.90, El Jays Blu $5.50 out to $6.00 and Brian Who $1.55 out to $2.10. Missed: Dyslexic $3.00 into $2.00, Southern Gnp $16.00 into $8.50 and Lets Pop The Bubbles $12.00 into $5.00. *Race 5 and 8 have been not included due to late scratching’s Trial File Hobart – Monday evening  Six trials were staged, the most impressive winner looking at the results, was Jack Len who scored in a rating 58 to 83 trial over 2090 metres. The Deborah Williams-trained gelding was driven in the trial by Paul Hill who took the 10-year-old gelding to the lead where he ended up scoring a 40-metre victory in a mile rate of 1m 58.6s defeating Im Barney Rubble and Shesa Tricky Bridge. Ashleys Angel warmed up for Saturday night’s George Johnson with a 20-metre win in her trial where she recorded a mile rate of 2m 0.3s. Other winners were; The Thug (2m 8.6s), Thomas Burns (2m 7.2s), Our Ideal Fella (2m 4.9s) and Iden Forest (2m 6.1s). Devonport – Monday evening The Ben Yole-trained Lake Eyre ran the quickest winning mile rate of the session when he recorded 2m 3.5s in a 51-60 rated mobile trial. The nine-year-old gelding was driven by Conor Crook who led all the way to record a 10-metre win. Remaining trials were won by; Written In Silk (2m 11.5s), Kryptonite (2m 8.4s) and Frostyflyer (2m 4.1s). Week Ahead Saturday is Super Saturday at Ladbrokes Park in Hobart. The Group 2 Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup is the state’s premier race where early markets have the local star, Ryley Major, as the $2.10 favourite over heat winners Its Back In the Day at $2.80 and Im Sir Blake at $4.00. They are the only three runners in single figures for the race which sees seven runners at triple-figure odds. The Carlton Draught Tasmanian Derby at Group 3 level is another Tasmania vs Victoria event with Micton Mouse, Beat City and Dyslexic taking on the local challengers which include the Tasmanian Guineas quinella of Colby Sanz and Soho Senna. As for the Group 3 Tasmanian Equine Veterinary Services Tasmanian Oaks, the prize money will stay in the island state with six locally trained mares to do battle. It looks to be a race in two between A Spanish Dance who has drawn well from the pole and Missin Rock who has been placed at her last two efforts. The state’s premier mares race is the Tasmanian Trotting Club George Johnson where once again there is no interstate interest in the race. Other highlights on the card include the final of the Tas Labor Eric Reece Memorial, the Henry Pullen Memorial and the Des And Kay Logan Memorial. Race One will be televised on Sky Racing 2 with the remainder of the card on Sky Racing 1. All races will be shown on TasracingTV’s hosted live stream service. Sunday night the action turns to Devonport with fields for that meeting to be released later this afternoon.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Brighton trainer Bianca Heenan and driver Christian Salter continued their dominance of Tasmanian trotting feature races when Suave Taj took out the $10,000 Aldebaran Park Hobart Trotting Cup on Sunday night. The eight-year-old gelded son of Majestic Son stepped away cleanly from his pole draw in the 2579 metre standing start event and punters that backed the pacer in from $6.00 into $4.80 didn’t have much to worry about during the race. “That was the plan as he is a strong horse to keep him bowling along like that, he got a bit tired towards the end,” said winning driver Christian Salter after the race. “He has good manners but full credit to Bianca (Heenan) she has done a super job with her trotters,” added the winning reinsman. The win was the seventh career win at start 31 for Suave Taj who was previously trained by Danny and Leroy O’Brien before arriving in Heenan’s care who was delighted after the race. “He has had a few issues with his feet which have seen him only have three starts in three years,” said Heenan. “I have a very sandy track at home, and he is loving that and loving life,” added the Brighton based horsewoman. Heenan and Salter won last year’s Hobart and Tasmanian Trotting Cup’s with Trumps Golden Boy with Salter happy to compare the two. “This horse is a lot stronger compared to Trumps Golden Boy from last year,” said Salter. As for the key to driving feature trotting race winners, Salter was keen to put it down to one thing. “I’m driving for a good trainer.” Heenan will have runners in two of the feature races on Tasmania’s premier race night on Saturday. Soho Senna will contest the Tasmanian Derby after his narrow defeat in the Tasmanian Guineas last start behind Colby Sanz. Star Chamber will represent her stable in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup Final. The gelding won the race in 2014. Fields for Saturday nights bumper program in Hobart, that features the Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup, Tasmania Derby, Tasmanian Oaks and the George Johnson will be released on Tuesday afternoon. Star three-year-old sidelined In disappointing Tasmanian harness racing news star three-year-old filly Blame It On Me has been ruled out of Saturday’s Tasmanian Oaks and for the remainder of the season. Part-owner Angela Nettlefold delivered the devastating news on social media that the filly had sustained a fracture and would require surgery on Wednesday to have the leg pinned. Leading driver suspended Driver Mark Yole will be right to drive on Saturday nights program after copping a two-race date suspension on Sunday. Yole was able to defer his penalty to commence after Saturday’s meeting meaning he will miss the meetings in Devonport on 15 March and the meeting in Burnie on 20 March. The leading reinsman who didn’t get home from Sunday night’s Hobart harness meeting until 1.00 am on Monday, then flew across to Melbourne at 6:15 am before driving over 3 hours to Horsham to participate in the Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship. Yole didn’t have a lot of luck finishing down the points table in the four-race series which was won by Victoria’s Kate Gath. Castles conquers Canberra Tasmanian junior driver Charlie Castles was in the winner’s circle last night in Canberra when he drove Joogle to an all the way win. Castles took up a position with trainer James Rattray in late January to further his development within the industry. It was the first win since the move for Castles on the Tasbred four-year-old mare who is trained by his employer.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Victorian father-son duo John and Rhys Nicholson had a night out at Ladbrokes Park Hobart Sunday with a training and driving treble on the ten-race card including the win of Its Back In The Day in the second heat of the Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup. From the 10-metre handicap in the 2579 metre event, Rhys was able to settle the pacer into the one-out one back position before pealing three-wide at the 600-metre mark. From there the gelded son of Washington Son of Washington Vc proved too good by 5.5 metres over The Announcer with Northview Dave a further 23 metres away third. “It’s as easy as driving race cars, it was easy as that,” said winning driver Rhys Nicholson after the race. “With over 12-months off the scene I was worried about the standing start, but he began well and settled in the one-one, and we used his speed at the top of the straight and left a bit in the tank for next week’s final,” explained Rhys. “The owners paid good money for him, and they are not too pushy, whatever Dad says goes,” said the Victorian-based reinsman. “We do know he has a lot of ability; we gave him six-months off to find himself as he was so immature when we got him, and you can see how he has filled out into a lovely horse,” added the winning driver. Short price favourite Holy Basil was a late scratching on vets advice after suffering an elevated temperature. The mile rate of 2m 2.4s was only 0.1s slower than the mile rate recorded by Im Sir Blake in last week’s heat. Two-year-old filly Deadly Error made the most of her excellent draw to score in the $12,000 Team Teal Hobart Belmont. After leading early Rhys elected to hand up to Iden Reactor who was racing outside him before angling into the clear at the 600-metre mark. “She is not a super horse, it was her second trip away from home, to run the gate grab hold and hook out and run on, they are some good signs there,” said the winning driver. Deadly Error is by Captaintrecherous and is out of the Presidential Ball mare Forever After and is raced by John along with Tasmanian born driver Jack Laugher who now calls Victoria home. Their other winner was with three-year-old gelding Micton Mouse who overcame a second-row draw to score in the Carlton Draught Pace over the mile trip. “He is a nice horse, I had my doubts sitting back in the field as he has good gate speed and goes well in front, but he did have a bit of class as he had been racing better horses than these and it showed tonight,” said Rhys. “The speed was on, and that suits him as it is his style, he never gives in which is the main thing,” added the winning driver who indicated that Saturday nights $30,000 Tasmanian Derby is the pacers main aim. John and Rhys teamed up to win the 2013 Tasmanian Derby with Ginger Bliss. “That’s what he has come down here for, and it doesn’t look too strong. Hopefully, he is there about in the placings, he is no Ginger Bliss, but he should be there about,” said Rhys.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Last season’s Tasmanian two-year-old colt and gelding of the year, Colby Sanz recorded his first feature race win as a three-year-old last night when he took out the $12,000 Tasmanian Guineas at Ladbrokes Park in Hobart. The Kent Rattray-trained pacer worked forward to find the lead quite cheaply at the 1700 metre mark and from there he was able to enjoy some soft sectionals including a 64.1s first half of the final mile which was good to see after the gelded son of Betterthancheddar was inclined to over race outside the leader in his start prior in Devonport. “Once he pops in front, he will run whatever you like,” explained trainer Kent Rattray after the win. “We got to the front and got a couple of good quarters and he just keeps boxing on,” added Rattray. The Tasmanian Derby on 14 March is the pacers next assignment and the longer distance of 2579 metres isn’t concerning his trainer. “We have said all along that a mile and a quarter, mile and a half will be his caper and he proved that tonight,” said the Litennia based trainer. The Derby in the past has seen a number of nice horse’s head across for the three-year-old feature and Rattray is hopeful the gelding can measure up. “We hope he can (measure up), we will have to wait and see, there was a couple of very nice horses there tonight that have had a crack at him but couldn’t get him … we would love a nice draw in the Derby and pop on top again,” said Rattray whose father Wayne trained 1997 Tasmanian Derby winner Admiral Karalta. Driver Gareth Rattray was happy with how the pacer responded over the concluding stages. “He ran his first half in 64.1 (seconds), he dropped the bit and relaxed in front but once another horse got beside him, he got going and I pulled the earplugs and he responded well,” said the master reinsman. “He was just fighting them off, he is more a tough customer than a speed horse,” added Gareth. Soho Senna ran a brave race to only be defeated a head with the race favourite Kohanah 4.7 metres away third. Smiley Lad was the last horse to complete the Tasmanian Guineas-Derby double in 1983. The $30,000 Group 3 Tasmanian Derby will be held on Tasmania Cup night on 14 March.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Victorian trained pacer Im Sir Blake proved too good for his rivals when he took out the first heat of the Group 2 Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup at Ladbrokes Park Hobart last night. Trained at Armstrong (near Ararat) by father-son training duo Danny and Leroy O’Brien, Im Sir Blake ($5.50) was forced to do it the hard way leading up the three-wide line over the final 1150 metres of the race to record his 11th career win at his 27th racetrack appearance. Co-trainer Leroy O’Brien who was trackside last night was happy to give the drive to Christian Salter, who has a good association with three-year-old Soho Senna who was formerly trained by the O’Briens before she found his way to Tasmania. “He is a local, he knows the track and he knows the horses plus he is driving well,” said Leroy. One query many had is that it was the first standing start race for the gelded son of Alta Christiano who stepped away cleanly from his 10-metre handicap before finding trouble in the 2579 metre event. “He went away fine but then there was a little bit of a concern when Finn Mac Kee galloped in front of him and when I pulled him down the track I may have oversteered him too much and got out of his gear and conceded a bit of ground,” explained winning driver Christian Salter after the race. “I thought to myself at the 600 (metres) that Goggo Gee Gee and no disrespect to the horse cause he is going super, that he might have come back to us a bit, well he didn’t come back to us but this horse has run 57.1 (seconds) his last half,” added Salter. Leroy was equally impressed with the win. “He was super, it was a 57.1 last half and he was out three-wide, credit to Christian (Salter) he got him travelling down the back, I said to him not to go for him too early as he is a funny horse as he doesn’t feel to be travelling that quick but he kept him underneath him and waited till the top of the straight to let him go,” said the co-trainer. “Full credit to the horse, he was super tonight to fight on as he did,” added Leroy. The co-trainer said that Im Sir Blake won’t contest next week’s heat, instead, the pacer will remain in the state to contest the $75,000 Final on 14 March. “His last hopple work was on Tuesday and he had nothing until today, 100% credit to Bianca and her team they do such a wonderful job. He won’t go around next week (in the heat), we will get him ready for the final, he will benefit from that being here” explained Leroy. Devonport Cup runner up and recent Burnie Cup winner Goggo Gee Gee ($26.00) finished 1.5 metres away in second spot after leading all the way, with the race favourite Ryley Major ($1.45) a further five metres away third in a mile rate of 2m 2.3s. The second heat will be staged on Sunday where more Victorian trained pacers are expected to contest the heat. Holy Basil, King Soloman, Its Back in the Day, Manganello and Perspective have all recently contested standing start trials in the past two weeks across Victoria. Nominations for the second heat close at 9:30 am on Tuesday with the field to be released that afternoon.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

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