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I Am Camelot delivered a career-best effort to score an impressive harness racing win in a C4-C5 event over 2200 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. The Deborah Williams-trained gelding earned a reputation as a horse that only does his best when he leads but last night the six-year-old was able to settle back in the field from his outside second-row draw and rattle home to score an emphatic win. It was the gelding's fifth win from 10 starts this season and Gareth Rattray's fourth aboard the son of Safari from five drives. "The horse was travelling great on the back of the favourite No Spring Secrets and I was happy for that horse to take us into the race but he wasn't going well enough so we had to go six-wide on the home turn," Rattray said. "He's a horse that gets revved up and hard to handle but he settled tonight and he really finished the race off well." I Am Camelot is only lightly raced as he's only had 22 starts for five wins and as many minor placings for closing in on $30,000 in prizemoney.  

Wesley Vale harness racing trainer John Castles teamed up with the state's leading driver Gareth Rattray to snare a double at the meeting on the North-West Coast in Devonport last Friday night. The pair combined to win the Harding Hotmix Mobile with Spot Eight to give that gelding his third win of the season and that followed an impressive performance from Dayraid to win a C1 or better handicap over 1286 metres. Dayraid, owned by staunch harness racing  stalwarts on King Island, was having his first start for Castles and he was given the run of the race behind the leader by Rattray. When the pace quickened about 600 metres from home Rattray was able to ease Dayraid off the fence to make his move and once in clear racing room the six-year-old gelded son of Dawn of a New Day ran on well to score by a neck from race leader Dellas Command with Sign No More 4-1/2 metres away third. Dayraid was well backed to start the $4.30 equal favourite with Dellas Command and given the way Castles' horse hit the line there should be more wins in store in the coming weeks. Spot Eight's win was arguably his best this season as he drew the outside of the second row and was forced to settle at the rear. Rattray made his move three-wide about 800m from home and he latched into the back of Timely Sovereign that went ahead of him. But he ended up three-back in the running line when Union Force barged out in front of Timely Sovereign. Union Force ended up in the breeze and when they turned for home Spot Eight was forced four-wide but he proved too strong for his rivals going in to score by 1-1/2 metres from Timely Sovereign with Union Force 2-1/2 metres away third. Rattray ended the night with a treble courtesy of Tisu Bombbelle winning the last race on the seven-event card. Peter Staples      

Well-bred harness racing three-year-old pacer The Village Sneak broke through for her first win with an emphatic all-the-way victory in the Crown Lager Pace over 2200 metres at Luxbet Racing Centre in Tasmania. With leading reinsman Gareth Rattray aboard, the Michael Laugher-trained filly stepped straight to the front and when she was pressured by the favourite Sea Sky in the home straight she dug deep and refused to wilt and went on to score by 1.2 metres from the favourite with outsider Freds Under Fire a closing third 5.4 meres away. The Village Sneak is by Village Jolt from the Courage Under Fire mare Im Sneaky. She went into the race having been placed only once from five tries but this win will do her confidence the world of good and she can only improve as she goes forward. Outside of the winner the most encouraging run in the race belonged to third placed Freds Under Fire that dropped off when the leaders sprinted but under strong driving from his driver Craig Hayes he made up good ground over the concluding stages to place third. The gelded son of Courage Under Fire has his sire's conformation but he also might have inherited a bit of his heart and will to win. Freds Under Fire is definitely one to follow over the coming months. Peter Staples  

Talented pacer I Am Camelot returned to harness racing with a brilliant all-the-way win in a C1 event over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night. The Deborah Williams-trained gelding made the most of a front-row draw to lead from gate three and once in front the six-year-old was rated superbly by Gareth Rattray. I Am Camelot had not started since December last year but a good performance in a recent trial was enough to give punters confidence to back the gelded son of Safari in to start the $3.80 favourite. "This horse has loads of ability and I think the long break has been good for him," Williams said. "He has always been a horse that gets all worked up at the races and tonight was no exception but overall it was a good result. "We will continue to run him in Hobart because he races well here." Rattray said the horse raced fiercely early but ha d settled well enough under restraint to win the race. "I'll just keep working him through the classes but we are hoping this will be his best season. "We could have brought him back to racing sooner but we opted to concentrate on a few other younger horses and I think the extra time away from racing as done him the world of good." Peter Staples

Lightly raced six-year-old harness racing pacer Baldock gave his new owners plenty to cheer about when he powered his way to an impressive win in the Crown Lager Pace over 2090 metres in Hobart on Sunday night. With multiple premiership-winning driver Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Baldock faced the breeze early before Rattray pushed on to find the front but he was forced to take hold and take a trail when Safari Sunshine pressured for the lead. When the leaders moved clear turning for home Baldock lost ground but when Rattray balanced his charge for the run home the gelding ran on powerfully to score by over three metres Lockaway Kacie and Safari Sunshine. It was Baldock's first start for Marc Butler who purchased the horse after one of his close friends inquired about racing a horse. "My mate was keen to get a horse so I looked around and found Baldock that was with trainer Heath Szczypka who had him for sale," Butler said. "My mate got a few workmates involved and I'm sure they were all rapt with the horse's first start for the group. "I got him about three months ago and it's taken a bit of time to work him out but I reckon from what he showed us tonight he can win a few races. "He wobbled a bit around the corner tonight and lost ground but I should be able to straighten that out. "We can't take any notice of his time tonight because the wind was so strong they were lucky to stay on their feet." Gale force winds swept across the rack early in the night and were probably at their worst for the first three races. Baldock (Christian Cullen-The Summer Wind) had 38 starts for a win and a dozen minor placings before making his way to Butler's stables at Dysart. Peter Staples

TALENTED harness racing trainer Melissa Maine was contemplating sending her well-performed mare Faithful Gabby to the breeding barn this season but after she delivered a stellar performance to win a race at Luxbet Park Hobart last Sunday night those plans have been put on the back burner. Faithful Gabby raced outside of the leader and race favourite The Bettormack ($1.80 fav) for 600 metres before rolling to the front and when her driver Gareth Rattray called on the mare to extend turning for home she sped clear and went on to defeat The Bettormack by 6-1/2 metres. Faithful Gabby ($4.80 into $3.10) recorded a mile rate of 1.57.3 which is the fastest she has registered in Tasmania, although the mare finished a half-neck second to Shes Just A Delight at Melton last year in which the winner clocked a rate of 1.54. Last Sunday night's win has most likely delayed the mare's career as a broodmare. "I had started to look for stallions for this mare and we had almost settled on one but after her effort on Sunday night we've decided to keep her racing," Maine said. "It was a good win but it wasn't a surprise because she has been going really well. "I'll give her a short spell and then aim her at a couple of nice mares' races over the Christmas-New Year period here in Tassie. Faithful Gabby (American Ideal-Faithful Sally) has won 12 of her 35 starts with 11 minor placings helping to nudge her carer stake earnings beyond $100,000. "I was keen for her to earn over $100,000 in prizemoney and that was another incentive to keep her racing because it will enhance her stud value."   Peter Staples

Well-bred harness racing filly Nances Delight kept her unbeaten record intact when she led throughout to win a 2C0 event over 1680 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. With ace reinsman Gareth Rattray in the sulky the two-year-old showed brilliant gate speed to lead from gate three and once settled she set a solid tempo. Somethinsweetboutme ($23) settled on the leader's back while the well-backed El Jays Mystery ($2.50) strolled along in third spot but at the half-way mark Rattray slowed the tempo so the driver of El jays Mystery, John Walters, eased off the fence to allow his filly to face the breeze to ensure the leader didn't loaf for the last 800 metres. But the move was all in vain with Nances Delight ($2.10 favourite) strolling to an effortless win over El Jays Mystery with outsider Eternal Shadow a close-up third. The Melissa Mayne-trained filly clocked a mile rate of 2.02.3 and she covered her last 800 metres in 58.9 seconds. "We've been pleased with this filly from day one and she has already developed some nice habits. She has good gate speed and she can quicken well in a race," Rattray said. "She gives me the impression she will be a better three-year-old so hopefully she can go on with it next preparation." Peter Staples

Harness racing owner Mick Maxfield has owned some handy two-year-olds over the years but the latest youngster to sport his colours could be his best. With Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Offthetopofmyhead scored an emphatic win in a 2C0-2C1 event over 1680 metres in Launceston on Sunday defeating recent Dandy patch Stakes winner Usain Jolt by a comfortable margin. But the most impressive part of the win was that he broke the state two-year-old mile rate record. The Paul Ashwood-trained colt rated 1:56.67 for to eclipse the previous best of 1:56.9 recorded by Williamtell earlier in the year. "He's the best horse I've trained for a while but the penny hasn't dropped yet," Ashwood said. "He still does a few things wrong like running up the track a bit but he is at least starting to think about what's going on." Offthetopofmyhead had an interstate trip to Melbourne in April but he failed to flatter. "He wasn't really ready for the trip or the opposition but I have no doubt he will get another chance. "The son of Western Ideal will run in a $10,000 race in Hobart next Sunday then in a heat of the Breeders Crown before going back to Victoria for the Breeders semi-finals." Stablemate Lynniemach, who ran third in Sunday's race, will follow a similar path. Ashwood also won with smart three-year-old El Major who isn't paid up for the coming feature races. Peter Staples

Improving harness racing pacer Im Full Tilt made a one act affair of the Hardings Hotmix Pace in Devonport on the North-West Coast last night to make it three wins in succession. The Paul Ashwood-trained gelding had been threatening to find is best form and ever since he broke through for an overdue win in Launceston late last month he has continued to improve. Driver Gareth Rattray had to use the five-year-old up early to make the most of the pole position but once in front he set a solid tempo and when the reins were released leaving the back stretch the last time the gelded son of Gotta Go Cullen left his rivals in his wake. Im Full Tilt ($1.60 fav) hit the line three metres clear of The Black Centurian ($11.80) that stormed home from near last to grab second with Little Jethro ($8.40) 13 metres astern. It was the second leg of a winning double for Ashwood who also prepared Weona Masterpiece to win the John McKenna Race Night Vet Pace over 2297m courtesy of a brilliant drive from Rohan Hillier. Weona Masterpiece ($2.80 fav) settled just worse than midfield but when Mark Yole sent Jimbaran to the front and set up a huge margin Hillier sensed the danger of being left to far back in the field so he sent Weona Masterpiece scorching around the field to slot in behind the leader. It proved to be the winning move as Weona Masterpiece (Tiz A Masterpiece-Dominion Lady) ranged alongside the leader tuning for home and went on to defeat Outlaw ($4.50) by 4-1/2 metres with Jimbaran ($5.50) a metre away third. Peter Staples

Well bred two-year-old pacer Williamtell delivered a workmanlike harness racing performance to win the Elderslie Horse Care colts and geldings division of the 2YO Sweepstakes at UBET Park Hobart today. Williamtell had to pull out all stops to stave off a determined Usain Jolt to defeat that gelding by a neck with outsider Really Frank a distant third. The Paul Ashwood-trained Tell All gelding was taken straight to the front from gate two by Gareth Rattray and when he kicked clear turning for home he looked set to win easily. But the lightly raced Tony Petersen-trained Usain Jolt (James Austin) unleashed a powerful sprint over the final 100 metres to almost nab the leader on the line. Ashwood said Williamtell had been set for the race and he wasn't fussed by the narrow winning margin. "It was tough going out there today. He led and did all the tough work in front while the other horse (Usain Jolt) has come off his back and had cover for almost all of the race," Ashwood said. The conditions were made tough by the near gale-force winds that swept across the track during the race. "I couldn't have asked any more of this horse and he will now head to the Dandy Patch (2YO Sires Stakes series) and then have a spell," Ashwood said. Williamtell will now head to the Dandy Patch (sires stakes) series after which Ashwood said the gelding would be spelled. Peter Staples  

When well-bred two-year-old pacer Williamtell won the Golden Slipper in Launceston in late March it came as a surprise to most harness racing punters who invested heavily on his stablemate Offthetopofmyhead that was sent out the $1.15 favourite. But at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday Williamtell is likely to start favourite to win the colts and geldings division of the $20,000 Elderslie Horse Care 2YO Sweepstakes over 1609 metres. Williamtell won the Golden Slipper convincingly at only his second race start and he has since gone on to finish third to Swap Me at his first start on the Hobart track in a Sweepstakes Prelude before winning an open two-year-old event in Launceston last Sunday night. The Paul Ashwood-trained Tell All gelding has drawn barrier two and will be driven by Gareth Rattray who has been in the sulky for all four of the gelding's starts. "I am pleased with my horse's draw and while he hasn't had to be used up early at his four starts so far he has good natural gate speed and I would expect that to be called on for this race," Ashwood said. "I don't know that he can lead but he is the sort of horse that could face the breeze if he had to and still win. "He needed the run in Launceston last Sunday night to top him off for this race." The Rohan Hillier-trained Solid as a Rock has been placed second at all of his four starts but he still looms as Williamtell's main danger on the strength of his gallant second to Swap Me in the Sweepstakes Prelude in Hobart two weeks ago. Solid as a Rock has drawn gate five on the front row while Swap Me has drawn the outside of the back row (10) from where he will need to be driven for luck by Hall of Fame reinsman Ricky Duggan. The Tony Petersen-trained Usain Jolt has drawn the coveted pole position and should he show enough early speed to take advantage of the draw he could surprise at odds. The fillies division of the Sweepstakes boasts only five starters but all are capable of winning. All are winners with the exception of the Shelley Barnes-trained Volkova Leis that has had two starts for a debut third and a last-start fourth behind Resurgent Dream in the Sweepstakes Prelude two weeks ago. Playing Arkabella from the Paul Hill stable was second in the Sweepstakes Prelude (1609m), beaten almost five metres, while Harshali was third but about 12 metres astern and two metres ahead of Volkova Leis. Resurgent Dream, a full sister to former star juvenile Resurgent Spirit (American Ideal-Resurgent Star), is trained by Marc Butler but is owned by her breeder Roger Whitmore who still trains Resurgent Spirit that goes around in the Ascot Gold Cup on Sunday's 10-even program. Peter Staples

Gareth Rattray's chances of winning an 11th successive Tasmanian driver's premiership are remote given he is 25 off the leader Mark Yole (57) with two thirds of the harness racing season done and dusted. But it won't stop the talented reinsman from delivering star efforts as was the case last weekend. Rattray, who spent two months sidelined with a hand injury, produced four sensational drives for as many wins of which three were in Launceston last Friday night and one on the seven-event card in Hobart last Sunday. Rattray's winners in Launceston were Im Full Tilt in a C2-C3 over 2200 metres for Devonport trainer Paul Ashwood; Parwill in a heat of the Harry Holgate Memorial series and he produced a masterly performance to guide Spot Eight to victory in a low grade race over 1680 metres. In Hobart he partnered the Christian Salter-trained Iden Amrak to victory in a 3YO and older event over 1609 metres after the gelding was backed in to start the $1.70 favourite. Yole notched one win at each meeting to maintain his edge over Ricky Duggan who resumed driving in Hobart last Sunday after spending three weeks on the sidelines as a result of a nasty fall in Hobart on April 10. Duggan saluted at his first drive back by guiding $8.70 chance Swap Me to a convincing win in a 2YO S0weepstakes Prelude over 1609 metres, defeating Solid As A Rock and Williamtell with first starter Usain Jolt a close-up fourth. Yole is the favourite to win the driver's title given he is the number one stable driver for his brother Ben Yole who is sure to take out the trainer's premiership as he sits on 67 wins to be 44 clear of his nearest rival Todd Rattray. Peter Staples

Tasmania's reigning premier reinsman Gareth Rattray returned to the harness racing sulky last weekend after a lengthy absence. Rattray suffered damage to a finger on his left hand in a freak accident when he was leaving the Carrick races in late January. Rattray drove in Devonport last Sunday night and at the Hobart meeting last night and while he ended the two-meetings without a win it is only a matter of time before he is back in the winner's circle. His best result was a second aboard Bones Jones in the last race on the card at Devonport on Sunday night and he snared a third placing with Last Guy Standing in Hobart and both of his placegetters were prepared by his life partner Melissa Maine. Rattray has won the last 10 driver premierships but if he is to make it 11 straight then he will need to produce a miraculous turnaround as he has 14 wins to his credit so far this season while Mark Yole has made the most of his absence rocketing to the lead with 41 wins. Yole is three clear of Ricky Duggan with Tod Rattray next best with 24. Yole's other advantage is that his brother Ben is the state's leading trainer by a long way with 53 winners to be 31 wins clear of disqualified trainer Nathan Ford with Todd Rattray next on 17. Most of Yole's wins have come from his brother's stable. Peter Staples

Astute harness racing trainer Paul Ashwood has always had a good opinion of Im Full Tilt so when he won in Hobart last month he predicted the gelding might go on and win a few in succession. At UBET Park last night Im Full Tilt also made it two wins in succession when he powered his way to an impressive win in the Cheatin Heart Pace over 2090 metres. With reigning premier driver Gareth Rattray aboard Im Full Tilt settled midfield in the one-out line with cover before Rattray eased him three-wide to make his run entering t7he back straight the last time. When Rattray called on the gelded son of Gotta Go Cullen for the big effort he quickly collared the leaders and went on to score by over eight metres from Scruffy Jake with Union Force almost a metre away third. Im Full Tilt has won six and been placed 23 times from 46 starts, is prepared by Paul Ashwood at Wesley Vale for prominent owner Mick Maxfield. Peter Staples

THE Launceston Pacing Club will play host to this year's Australian Driving Championships next month and Tasmania's dynamic harness racing duo of Gareth Rattray and Ricky Dugan are champing at the bit to take up the challenge against Australia's best. All states have selected their representatives and the personnel reads like a who's who in harness racing. Gavin Lang and Greg Sugars are names synonymous with harness racing in Victoria so their presence is sure to help lift the profile of the event while Queensland's Grant Dixon and Shane Graham also are regarded as stars in their state and on the national stage. Gary Hall and Chris Lewis are household names in Western Australia where rarely a meeting passes without either one producing multiple winning drives. Ryan Hryhorec and Danielle Hill will represent South Australia while Robert Morris and Lauren Panella have the honour of representing New South Wales. The event will be held at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on November 15 and only the ADC reinsmen and women will be driving at the meeting. It is hoped the meeting will boast a nine-race card with the winner of the championship to be determined on a point-score basis. Peter Staples

Premier reinsman Gareth Rattray has been making it a habit lately of saluting aboard outsiders and he was at is again at UBET Park Hobart last Sunday night when he guided Melpark Maestro to a last-stride harness racing victory in the Noel Salter Claimer over 2090 metres. The well backed Givitaname ($3.90) began well from the standing start to lead but Rattray quickly had Melpark Maestro in the one-out-one-back position where he travelled sweetly for most of the race. When Rattray eased his charge three-wide to 500m out the leader lifted the tempo and Givitaname shot clear turning for home. But under strong driving from Rattray, Melpark Maestro eventually ground the leader down and gained the desired result in the last stride. It was the Heath Szczypka-trained gelding's first win of the season but according to his trainer the signal that he was closing in on another was delivered at his previous start when sixth in Launceston but beaten less than five metres. Peter Staples

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