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Bridport harness racing trainer Grant Hodges is eyeing off a trip to Melbourne with his in-form gelding Wingatui Dew following the five-year-old gelding's fifth win in succession since arriving in Tasmania three months ago. Wingatui Dew led throughout at his first four attempts for Hodges but at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night the gelding had to do it tough by facing the breeze but it proved a mere blimp on the radar for the son of Grinfromeartoear. Smart mare Licinia showed her customary early speed to lead from gate three and while driver Erin Hollaway aboard Wingatui Dew issued a short-lived challenge she ended up being content to allow her charge to face the breeze. The pair matched motors to the well in to the home straight the last time but when Hollaway called on her charge for the supreme effort he was up to the task and forged clear to defeat Licinia by almost four metres with Onemorelaugh a further 2.4 metres astern. "The owners paid good money for this horse as a tried horse in New Zealand but when he couldn't cut it at the main meetings so he ended up at the mid-weeks," Hodges said. "They were also having difficulty keeping the weight on him so since he's been with me I've kept him fresh and tried to space his runs," he said. Wingatui Dew has won his way through the grades in Tasmania and is now a C4 horse. "The general idea is to get him to the best level we can here in Tassie and then slip across the water to Melbourne and try and win an M0,"Hodges said. Peter Staples      

Star harness racing mare El Jay's Magic looks set for another big season following her impressive first-up win in the $10,000 Ella Coulson Cannonball Charge (1609m) at Ubet Park, Hobart. El Jay's Magic was resuming from a four-month spell but made light of the task as she faced the breeze outside of the leader Run Ripalong and when driver Erin Hollaway called on the mare to extend turning for home she sped clear and went on to win decisively. El Jays Magic was last season's best performed mare and her trainer Grant Hodges said she was destined for a big 2015-16 season if she did well during her break. It was clear after she demolished her opposition tonight that she had done well during her spell and she looks set to be aimed at the George Johnson and possibly another interstate trip to tackle some feature mares' races. She clocked a mile rate of 1.57.01 and did it comfortably in defeating All I Cab Be that tried hard in the home straight with Star Chamber coming from last to grab third just in advance of Jukebox Music. Peter Staples

In form pacer Wingatui Dew continued his dominance since arriving in Tasmania just over two months ago with another impressive win at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Wingatui Dew (Erin Hollaway) has won all four of his starts in his adopted state and now trainer Grant Hodges is starting to ponder what he might be capable of a littler further down the track. "We don't know how deep the well is but he definitely has surpassed expectations since he arrived at my stables," Hodges said. "He was doing a few things wrong when he first came to me and he did a lot of things wrong when he won at his first start here in Tassie but he is learning," he said. Wingatui Dew began well from gate four and driver Erin Hollaway had no trouble in sending the gelding to the front. She ensured a solid tempo and when she released the reins turning for home the gelding powered clear and had no trouble fending off the challengers to score comfortably from Our Percius that trailed the winner throughout and Onemorelaugh that enjoyed a cushy run in the one-out line. Wingatui Dew is unbeaten from four starts in Tasmania and prior to crossing Bass Strait he won only once from 14 starts last season when in the care of Darren Hancock. The five-year-old produced a mile rate of 1.58.7 at his first start in Tasmania but he has a personal best mile rate of 1.53.6 as a 3YO in winning at Menangle (1609m). Peter Staples

When Wingatui Dew notched a win at his first start in Tasmania for Bridport-based harness racing trainer Grant Hodges the gelding's driver Erin Hollaway suggested he would need to mend his race manners to progress through the classes. It would seem the training program is working because Wingatui Dew that pulled ferociously in the lead at his Tasmanian debut a month ago showed far better race manners to keep his unbeaten record in Tasmania intact. Wingatui Dew settled in the breeze outside of Just Like Elle and travelled well to the home turn. When Hollaway called on the five-year-old gelding for the big effort at the top of the straight he bounded clear and had no trouble fending off a serious challenge from Im Full Tilt that had enjoyed a cushy run on the back of the eventual winner. Wingatui Dew ($1.30 fav) scored by almost three metres from Im Full Tilt with Future Promises about 13 metres away third, coming from last on the home turn. It was the second leg of a winning double for Hollaway who also scored aboard lightly raced five-year-old Animi Sub Ignis from the John Castles stable that delivered a powerful finishing burst to score impressively in the McKillop Insurance Brokers Pace over 2200 metres. The odds-on favourite Metro Mouse ($1.80) led from the pole position while Hollaway allowed Animi Sub Ignis ($19.30) to settle at the rear of the field from his wide second-row draw (9). Metro Mouse dictated in front but Hollaway's charge was bolting down the back and still under a hold near the home turn where when the leader's driver Gareth Rattray started to feel for the persuader. When Hollaway had Animi Sub Ignis balanced in the home straight the gelding powered home to defeat the favourite comfortably with Berri Damour edging John Snow out of the minor prize. Peter Staples

Former New South Wales pacer Wingatui Dew delivered a knockout blow to harness racing punters in Launceston on Sunday night when he outgunned a long odds-on favourite that most punters deemed a certainty in the Stonebridge Regal Pace (C0) over 2200m which was the first leg of the quadrella. The Barrie Rattray-trained Bettormack started the $1.10 favourite while Wingatui Dew was a big drifter $8 to start $13.90. But Wingatui Dew flew the gate to lead easily and while Todd Rattray aboard The Bettormack had a look for the lead he quickly realised it was a futile exercise and eased his charge out of the contest. The Bettormack faced the breeze for most of the race with the driver content to sit over a sulky length from the leader so as not to overtax his horse. When Rattray asked The Bettormack for the big effort in back straight the last time he was unable to make any impression on the leader. Wingatui Dew cruised to an effortless emphatic win over the favourite with Berri Damour a distant third ahead of Bad Boy Hughes. It was Wingatui Dew's first start in Tasmania and the Grant Hodges-trained four-year-old had only fair form at Menangle prior to arriving in Tasmania. While his win was impressive, driver Erin Hollaway said the gelding must mend his ways if he is to go the next step in Tasmania. "He didn't settle at all tonight so we are going to have to fix that or it will bring him undone sooner than later," Hollaway said. "He is a nice horse and we knew from watching replays from his runs at Menangle that he had good gate speed and he definitely showed that tonight," she said. Peter Staples  

Tasmanian harness racing trainer Grant Hodges is beaming after the efforts of two of his stable tenants at Melton in Victoria last Friday night. El Jays Magic scored an impressive all-the-way win in the $25,000 Jane Ellen mares race over 2240 metres and his talented gelding Clamorous defied a tough run in the breeze to go down by only a half-neck in a heat of the Winter Championships over 1720 metres. "El Jays Magic went super and she just keeps on performing every time I raise the bar," Hodges said. "It's hard to stack the Tassie form up against the mainlanders sometimes but I'm sure I haven' got to the bottom of this mare and she could be up to some of the top mares' races next season," he said. Clamorous was a game second to the odds-on favourite Mister Mundaka ($1.50) that led while the Tasmanian faced the breeze and kept finding at the business end of the race. "I thought Clamorous was a huge run and if he draws the front in the final on Friday night he should be in with a big chance," he said. Clamorous will definitely start in the Winter Series final over 1720 metres on Friday night while El Jays Magic will be nominated for a race on the same program that is for M1-M2 pacers with a preferential draw for mares, so she is guaranteed to draw the front line. "El Jays Magic pulled up really well form her run so we might as well have a crack at another race on Friday night but I'll make a final decision closer to the day," he said. Hodges said both horses would more than likely to head home for spells after Friday night's assignments. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing mare El Jays Magic is likely to head interstate for a campaign that would include a series of races for MO mares at Melton following her impressive win in a free-for-all over 1609 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. El Jays Magic sizzled around the Hobart circuit to clock a time of 1m.55.4 seconds to just miss equalling Richie Walton's track record (1.55.3) which was set in May 2008. It was the fastest mile run by a mare on the Hobart circuit since Queen Carey clocked 1.56.3 in a free-for-all on the opening day of the new complex at UBET Park in October 2005. El Jays Magic (JR Mint-Jays Belle) is owned by Lyndon and Gail Menegon who bred the mare at their Big Park Stud. "It was a tremendous effort to win let along run that time," Lyndon Menegon said. "She has always possessed great speed but to cross that field from the outside of the front row as easily as she did was quite brilliant." "Then to almost eclipse Richie Walton's track record also was testament to her ability," he said. The Dip tried to lead from the pole position and he was challenged by Dodgermemate that left El Jays Magic to race three-wide in her attempt to cross down to the pegs. The early battle for the lead didn't seem to affect the mare because she was quite strong at the business end of the race. El Jays Magic sizzled home her last half (800m) in 57.3 to score by over three metres from her stablemate Clamorous with The Tip a further two metres away third. "Grant has been talking about taking El Jays Magic, Clamorous to Melbourne and after this latest win by the mare he's sure to go," Menegon said. Hodges confirmed today that El Jay's Magic and five-year-old Clamorous and possibly two Victorian-bred youngsters will head to Melbourne next week. "I've had a look at the Victorian calendar and there are a few nice race options for El Jays Magic in the coming weeks and there are plenty of suitable races for Clamorous and they both deserve the chance to go over there and win an M0," Hodges said. "I'm looking at taking a couple of other younger horses as well to make it a more financially viable exercise because it costs about v$4000 to take the truck so if I can put more on the truck it is less taxing on the owners. "But I've got a float over there (Melbourne) so if it ends up only being the mare and Clamorous I'll put them on the transport service truck and pick them up over there and float them to where they will be stabled," he said. El Jays Magic is a five-year-old that only began racing in July 2013 and in just under two years she has raced 30 times for 13 wins and a dozen minor placings for about $77,000 in stakes while Clamorous has won 10 and been placed 15 times from 32 starts for $63,000 in prizemoney. Peter Staples

THE optimistic people of this world have a way of putting a positive spin on even the most negatives situation and for harness racing breeders Lyndon and Gail Menegon that certainly was the case with a filly they took to the yearling sale four years ago. The Menegons offered a striking filly by J R Mint at the 2011 sale but she never drew a bid, much to the surprise of the filly's breeders. They took the filly home and decided to send her to a trainer for assessment. "We took her home from the sale thinking there must bee something wrong with her even though I was very confident there wasn't," Lyndon Menegon said. "A bit later on I asked trainer Grant Hodges to take her home and try her - and we haven't looked back since." In Launceston on Sunday night that now five-year-old mare El Jays Magic scored an emphatic win in the prestigious $10,000 Shirley Martin Mother of Pearl over 2200 metres. It was El Jay Magic's ninth win from 23 starts which is outstanding considering she never started racing until her late three-year-old season. She has also notched 10 minor placings, finishing out of the money only four times which includes one instance where she failed to finish. This latest win signaled her arrival as a serious contender for the state's best mares' race, the George Johnson, to be run in Hobart later this month. Hodges believes the mare's best is yet to come. "She is a strong and versatile mare that does extremely well for her size," Hodges said. "She is good when she leads but she also is a very capable sit and sprint horse." "When she's in front at home nothing else in the stable can get around her," he said. Peter Staples

Consistent harness racing pacer Clamorous will head to the spelling paddock this week on the back of his sixth win for the season. Clamorous produced the goods to outgun his rivals over 2200 metres in the Tenirama Pace at The Tote Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night. The four-year-old gelding was having his 17th start for the season with this latest win is third from his past four starts. Clamorous enjoyed the run of the race in the one-out line and when Hodges called n him for the big effort turning for home he rounded up the leaders and went on to score comfortably from Melolyn and Divas Delight. The gelding's trainer-driver Grant Hodges described the gelded son of JR Mint as "one of the most consistent horses in his stable". "This horse has done a wonderful job for his owners this time in but he deserves a spell so he'll be off to the paddock after this win," Hodges said. "He's missed a cheque once in 17 starts this time in and that speaks volumes for the horse's ability." "I believe he still has improvement in him and hopefully that will eventuate next prep," he said. The gelding has impressive career stats of 20 starts for eight wins and nine minor lacings for almost $47,000 in stakes. Clamorous is owned and raced by the Arthur Wilson Memorial syndicate that have had Great Success in the past decade with Insobriety one of their best that started 67 times for 18 wins and 22 minor placings and finished his racing career in Queensland. Peter Staples

PROMINENT Tasmanian harness racing owner Mick Alexander has raced some handy horses over the years but the way Falco Peregrinus delivered the knockout blow to his rivals in the Westbury Cup at Carrick on Friday he might be the best. Falco Peregrinus (Dream Away-Peregrine NZ) settled last and understandably from his sole 20-metre back mark but he was still near the rear turning for home and looked unlikely to even run a place when they straightened. But when novice driver Dylan Ford took him to the outside of the track and called on the seven-year-old gelding for the supreme effort he rattled home at the rate of knots to score by almost three metres from race leader High Flyin Ruler with Put Mback three metres away third. It was a herculean performance to win from that position in such a high grade race open to C4 plus performers. The gelding began his career in Victoria where he won a C0 and two C1 races at Ballarat and Stawell in 2010 before heading to Menangle the following season where he won a 4YO over 1609m. After three more minor placings at that track the following preparation he was dispatched to Tasmania just over a year ago and won first-up for Grant Hodges. He was transferred to Keith Toulmin and in his care he notched four minor placings leading up to this latest win. By Peter Staples      

Smart pacer My Mickey Blue Eyes made a welcome return to the winner's circle in Tasmania with an emphatic all-the-way win in the Examiner Stakes (C5-C6) over 1680 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight. My Mickey Blue Eyes began brilliantly from gate two to find the lead while the even money favourite Riverboat jasper was urged forward by his driver Rohan Hadley to face the breeze. When Hadley called on the favourite for the supreme effort in the home straight the last time the gelding was unable to make up the leeway and My Mickey Blue Eyes forged clear to score comfortably. The Wayne Campbell-trained Riverboat Jasper, that was first-up from a spell, held on for second ahead of Melpark Maestro that trailed the leader to the home turn where driver Grant Hodges eased off heels and ran on three-wide to just miss securing the quinella spot. My Mickey Blue Eyes is prepared by Juanita McKenzie who has a great team forming at her Magra stables. My Mickey Blue Eyes spent three months racing in Victoria during the winter where he had minor placings at Terang and Melton from his five outings. By Peter Staples

Age is no barrier for Watchmefella when it comes to winning races, as proven by the nine-year-old’s dashing victory in the Chartley Estate Claimer over 2200 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. Watchmefella (Pacific Fella-Keeping Watch) finished over the top of a handy field to score from Sugastikysweetstuf and Maybe Doc and along the way recorded a sub two-minute mile rate of 1.59.5. It was Watchmefella’s fourth win since transferring to Grant Hodges’ stables in Tasmania from Victoria in August last year but it was his 22nd career win from 117 outings. “He’s been a good honest horse,” Hodges said. “He has a bad tendon so it’s amazing that he keeps going.” “He doesn’t win too often these days but he usually earns a cheque,” he said. According to Hodges Watchmefella is not the toughest horse to land in his stable so he needs to be driven with a sit to do his best and Hollaway delivered the drive to best suit the gelding. “If he gets the right run in a race he can sprint with the best of them,” Hodges said. In one of Watchmefella’s wins last season he powered home to defeat Beautide, Twilight Town, Queen of Fire, Grizz Wyllie and Saturday Nights in a six-horse free-for-all that was rated one of the best races of the season. He also placed fourth, just behind the placegetters, in both the Easter Cup and Devonport Cup last season “He was a good horse before he came here and won a couple of country cups in Victoria so he has always had the ability,” he said. Hollaway had a fall in a later race on the program, parting company from El Jays Magic in the Impress Print Pace but she walked away without any serious injury. By Peter Staples

Brighton harness racing trainer Matthew Dwyer is confident he has found the key to former Victorian pacer Fictional Hero. When the five-year-old arrived in Tasmania he was a maiden that boasted 11 minor placings from 37 starts. Since joining Dwyer’s stable last month he has won at his only two outings for his mew mentor. This latest victory follows a first-up win for Dwyer in Hobart a week earlier. On Sunday night driver Troy Hillier was content to allow the gelding to face the breeze outside of the leader Hesione. Fictional Hero forged to the lead in the home straight and staved off determined challenges from runner-up Partyboy Glenwood with the heavily backed favourite Lonesome Kid a luckless third. Lonesome Kid was backed in to start the $1.70 favourite but had insufficient room to get through over the concluding stages with the driver Grant Hodges hitting the line with a lap full of horse. Dwyer is building a handy team and he could be a major player in some feature races over the December carnival. Peter Staples

North-West Coast harness racing trainer John Castles provided punters with the omen bet of the night in Launceston last Friday night. Castles prepared Gottalovefridays to win the Lee's Orchards Pace over 2200 metres and had to defy a trend to deliver the goods.

Leading Tasmanian harness racing trainer Grant Hodges wishes Falcon Shaw had arrived in his table as a three or four-year-old instead of a gelding rising seven.

Bridport-based harness racing trainer-driver Grant Hodges has taken a handy lead in the 2012-13 Halwes Medal count.

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