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Talented teenage driver Taylor Ford made a wise career move about two months ago when she decided to head north to work for the state's leading harness racing  trainer Ben Yole. Ford has been slowly but surely improving her ability in the cart but since she's been working for Yole she has gone to a new level. In Hobart last night she extended her lead in the novice driver's premiership courtesy of a driving treble. Ford delivered super front-running performances in three consecutive races winning aboard Rajah Wealth, Jean Baptiste and Happy Schnapps and all for her new boss Ben Yole that also increased his lead in the race for the trainer's premiership. Her first winner was Rajah Wealth that was allowed to race outside of the leader for the last lap and a bit and when Ford called on eight-year-old gelding for the supreme effort he drew clear and had enough kin reserve to stave off all comers. It was a stable trifecta with Yole's Philtra Phella and Our Archangel filling the minor placings. Ford then sent Jean Baptiste to the front from the mobile start making full use of that horse's pole position and in the following race she guided Happy Schnapps to an all-the-way win. Peter Staples

Lightly raced five-year-old pacer Alpinion notched a game win for his new harness racing trainer Deborah Williams at UBET Park Hobart last night. Alpinion had been placed at his previous start but that was good enough to give his trainer confidence going into this latest assignment. With talented reinswoman Natalee Emery in the sulky, Alpinion was bustled to hold the lead from the pole position but he settled well once he was established as race leader. When Alpinion was called on to deliver at the business end of the race he was strong enough to fend off all challengers and hit the line over three metres clear of Zumba Bromac with John Snow a head away third. "He is a nice horse and I'm sure after a short spell he will win a few more," Williams said. "He has improved with each start for me and while he continues to do that he will win again," she said. The gelding by Safari is owned by John Timbs who has been racing horses with much success for over four decades. Peter Staples

Former star harness racing juvenile Resurgent Spirit returned to his best at UBET Park Hobart last night to win a free-for-all over 2090 metres. Resurgent Spirit dug deep and kept grinding away after facing the breeze for the last 1200 metres and it was a desperate lunge right on the line that secured him the win over Remember Joe. Resurgent Spirit was ninth in the Hobart Pacing Cup as the $2.50 favourite and finished over 25 metres from the winner. But back to the 2090-metr trip and from a good draw the gelded son of American Ideal was able to recapture his best form. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding gives the impression he is getting better with racing so the Devonport and Easter Cups could both be back on the radar. Resurgent Spirit was an outstanding juvenile winning his first 13 races as a two and early three-year-old and he captured the feature 3YO event of the season in the Globe Derby Stakes. In recent times his form has waned through a niggling injury but Whitmore has been patient and given his stable star plenty of time to overcome the issue. Peter Staples

Harness racing trainer Ben Yole has made a brilliant start to the season and that he keeps building on his successful team suggests he could emerge as Tasmania's premier mentor by season's end. At UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night Yole added another win to his tally when Happy Schnapps led throughout to win the UBET Pace over 2090 meters with talented novice driver Taylor Ford in the sulky. Despite being well placed in the C2-C3 event Happy Schnapps started at the lucrative price of $5.10. Yole said Happy Schnapps had been going well enough to suggest the five-year-old gelding would make his presence felt and in the end the son of Grinfromeartoear made a one-act affair of the race scoring by over four metres from Soo Special with Laforce 1-1/2 metres away third. The win took Yole's season tally to 32 to be 10 clear of his nearest rival Nathan Ford. The trainer's younger brother Mark Yole has capitalised on the stable's success to be the state's leading driver on 26 wins and well clear of Ricky Duggan (15) and the injured Gareth Rattray (14). Peter Staples  

Emotions ran high at UBET Park Hobart last night when Remember Joe powered home to score an impressive harness racing win in the Smithawards Hobart Pacing Cup. Remember Joe, a horse named in honour of the late Joe McKenzie who was one of the best and most colourful harness trainers of the modern era, delivered a career best performance to win a race that trainer Juanita McKenzie has longed to win. "The Hobart Pacing Cup is a race I have wanted to win as a trainer and to win it with a horse named after my Dad is just amazing," McKenzie said. McKenzie had three runners in the race with outsiders Something Eyre and veteran pacer Our Chain of Command sent around at big odds. "To be honest I wasn't confident about winning the race but I thought Remember Joe would be a chance if he could lead and when that didn't happen I thought it was all over." "But Rodney (Ashwood) drove a perfect race and when he got him to the outside in the home straight Joe just powered home." "I was also worried that Joe might not be able to get the trip (3060 metres) but he proved me wrong," she said. Outsider Truly Blissful ($51) began brilliantly to roll to the front but Ashwood was keen to take that spot and sent Remember Joe in pursuit of the lead. But when that failed he opted to take hold and settle behind the leader. The favourite Resurgent Spirit ($2.60) moved up to face the breeze while the rank outsider Dodgermemate ($81) settled in the one-out-one-back position with the well-backed Jukebox Music ($5.50) on his back in the one-out line. Turning for home it looked as if Remember Joe would fail to gain a clear run but Ashwood cleverly eased into the right spot at the right time. Once in the clear Remember Joe powered home to defeat Dodgermemate by 3-1/4 metres with his stablemate Truly Blissful almost three metres away third. McKenzie said there had been a temptation to take remember Joe back to Melbourne for another campaign but connections have agreed to keep the horse racing in Tasmania. "There are a couple of country cups we'll have a look at before we give him a spell," McKenzie said. Peter Staples  

Veteran harness racing trainer Tommy Jackson was diagnosed with Cancer three years ago and even for a fleeting moment he thought his days were numbered. But the battler from Magra regrouped and decided the best way to tackle the problem, other than medication, was to take a positive attitude and that included buying a horse and getting back into training as small team after taking a year off. At UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night Jackson prepared Finn Mac Kee to win the Eric Reece Memorial, the horse he bought just before he was diagnosed with his illness. It was Finn Mac Kee that kept him going and now he feels on top of the world and doing what he loves most. "I believe Finn Mac Kee is a horse going places and who knows he might he the one I've been looking for all my life," Jackson said. "When he first came to me he had his share of issues but I remained patient and now it's paying off," he said. Finn Mac Kee was well driven by Paul Hill who was quick to act when one of the favourites Sparkling took off three-wide to attack for the lead but when he was unable to cross to the one-out line Finn Mac Kee had cover in the three-wide line for the last lap. When Hill called on the Stonebridge Regal four-year-old gelding for the big effort in the home straight he sprinted clear and left his rivals in his wake. Finn Mac Kee hit the line over eight metres clear of Witch Master with Alpinion almost a metre away third. Jackson said Finn Mac Kee will head to the spelling paddock tomorrow for a six-week break. Peter Staples

Aatute Tasmanian harness racing trainer Dick Eaves almost heaved a sigh of relief when his former star three-year-old filly Barynya returned to somewhere near her best form to win the $20,000 George Johnson feature races' race at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday. Barynya was an outstanding two-year-old and was even better at three, winning the Tasmanian and Victorian Oaks that earned her the Australia 3YO filly of the year title. But she lost form and became a work in progress for Eaves. On Sunday she showed she could be on track to tackle some of the best mares' races in the nation coming from last to storm home and win the George Johnson which is one of the most prestigious mares' events on the national calendar. "We've had our share of issues with this mare for a while but there's no doubt in my mind that she is getting back to where she needs to be to be competitive in the better mares races," Eaves said. Barynya returned to racing from a decent spell in the City of Launceston Cup over 2579 metres last Sunday week in which she finished a respectable seventh. "We had to start her off somewhere and with restricted options she had to go around in the Launceston Cup over 2700 metres which was a tough ask for a first-up assignment." "But we looked after her and today she's produced what I expected." "That's the best way to drive her. Settle her at the back and come from behind with one decent sprint." "A couple of times in Victoria she was driven tough and did plenty of work but that's not how to get the best from her," he said. Eaves has plans to tackle some of the best mares' races on the calendar. "We will aim her at the Ladyship Mile in Sydney and there's a couple of real good mares races in Melbourne so that's where she will most likely be heading but in the meantime we'll tackle a couple of free-for-alls at home before she heads interstate," Eaves said. Peter Staples

Lightly raced harness racing mare Zumba Bromac was a very impressive winner of a heat of the Eric Reece memorial over 2090 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday. The Juanita McKenzie-trained four-year-old was resuming from a four-month spell but made light of the task. With Ricky Duggan in the cart the mare began well from her outside front-row draw to lead the one-out line and when the leader quickened noticeably in the back straight the last time Duggan allowed his charge to fall in behind and take a trail. When he eased her out to make a charge in the home straight she sprinted quickly and went on to score easily from Cardinal Finn and Thatswhatshesaid. The second heat was taken out by the Tommy Jackson-trained Finn Mac Kee that faced the breeze for much of the race before forging clear of race leader Young Bruiser close to home. The final heat was won by the Rodney Ashwood-trained Sparkling, another four-year-old mare that is only lightly raced with this latest outing her fourth but she has won three and been placed second in the other. The Reece Memorial final will be held in Hobart in a fortnight. Peter Staples

Star Chamber will attempt to make it back-to-back wins in the Tasmania Cup when he lines up in the Tasmanian Pacing Club's premier harness racing event over 2579 metres at UBET Park Hobart today. The Nathan Ford-trained gelding won the race last year as well as a string of other feature events and he tuned up for tonight's assignment with an impressive win in the City of Launceston Cup over 2698 metres at Mowbray last Sunday night. Star Chamber was clearly last season's best free-for-aller in Tasmania and he was recognised for his efforts when awarded the Beautide Medal for outstanding achievement on home soil for the 2014-15 season. Tonight he starts from the outside of the second row (13) but that should have no effect as he is usually taken back at the start and saved for one powerful sprint at the end of his races. His opposition tonight is strong, especially from interstate with the Victorian Lets Elope from the Brent Lilley stable expected to improve at his second start in the state. Lets Elope was second to Star Chamber last week and that came on the back of an impressive win in the Ballarat Cup in his home state three weeks ago. Another Victorian Hilltop Hustler is fresh from a first-up second in the Stawell Cup two weeks ago which convinced Victorian trainer Michael Stanley to send his handy free-for-all pacer for this race and maybe stay on for the Hobart Pacing Cup. Hilltop Hustler resumed from a lengthy spell to finish a game second behind the Emma Stewart-trained Yankee Rockstar that started a short price favourite ($1.50) to easily win the Stawell Cup but the runner-up was game in defeat. The other interstate invader is Glenferrie Hood that is prepared in Victoria by Ahmed Taiba. Glenferrie Hood will be driven by ace New Zealand reinsman Anthony Butt who will be hoping the gelding can improve on his last-start fourth in the Yarra Valley Pacing Cup last Friday week. 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

Our Spunky Monkey might not be the best gaited horse to land in Chris Howlett's stables at Broadmarsh but with two wins at his past two starts the harness racing gelding looks certain to pay his way this preparation. The former Victorian gelding's latest win came at UBET Park Hobart last night where he led throughout to easily win the Sutter Hanover Pace over 2090 metres Howlett said Our Spunky Monkey was purchased for a modest sum about a year ago as a horse that his sons, Braden, Matthew and Justin could "mess about with and try and win a few races". "My son Braden was talking to Alex Ashwood who suggested this horse might be worth buying so we took the punt and so far it is working out fine," Howlett said. "He went fairly well at his first few starts for us but he developed a slight tendon problem so we just gave him six months off and he's come back better than ever." Our Spunky Monkey began his career in New Zealand where he won a race at Reefton and placed at Nelson before finding his way to Amanda Turnbull's stables in New South Wales. He won at his first start for Turnbull at Dubbo before making his way to Victoria. "He is a nice little horse that doesn't do too much wrong and he possesses good gate speed so that's going to help him while he's racing in the lower grades," he said. Peter Staples

IF harness racing trainer Nathan Ford needed any convincing that his 10-year-old Jukebox Music was up to tackling feature races during the Christmas-New Year period he received the confirmation at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night where the gelding equalled a long-standing track record on his way to an impressive win in the My Sir Duke Pace over 2090 metres. Jukebox Music clocked a mile rate of 2.00.1 which matched the time set by Trouble No More in February 2007. Jukebox Music started off a back mark of 30 metres in the discretionary handicap but stepped cleanly to settle on the back of the main body of the field after traveling 200 metres. When Ford was about to send Jukebox Music into the three-wide train the run closed and he was forced to go back to the inside to find a clear run home. It was a move that proved to be the difference between winning and losing. When Ford called on Jukebox Music for a dash at the leaders in the home straight the gelded son of Christian Cullen powered home to score by almost a metre from Remember Joe that looked the winner when he kicked clear at the top of the home straight. Race leader Ciskei battled on for third ahead of race favourite resurgent Spirit that also came from well back in the field. Ford has singled out the Hobart Pacing Cup as Jukebox Music's main mission. "I have thought all along that the Hobart Pacing Cup would be the ideal race for this horse because it is a standing start series and the final is over 3000 metres and he will really appreciate that trip," Ford said. "I've tried him a few times in mobiles and he just doesn't perform like he does in stand-start races so that's what we'll concentrate on in the immediate future," he said. Peter Staples

Last season talented harness racing trainer Kate McLeod was confident her then nine-year-old Georgefromguam would knock up winning races but after four minor placings she was forced to send him to the paddock. But in Hobart last Sunday night Georgefromguam delivered the gods with an impressive al-the-way win at what was his first start for eight months. With Erin Hollaway in the sulky, Georgefromguam showed enough gate speed to cross and lead from barrier five and the driver proceeded to get away with a modest mid-quarter that enhanced the gelding's chances of securing the elusive win. Our Percius worked home well to finish second after trailing the leader throughout while Lu Way Lord made up good ground to finish third. "The hose has been dog since I've had him but he broke down three times with tendon issues before he arrived at my stables," McLeod said. "He went into this race a bit underdone because I have to be careful not to let him overdo it on the training track because of his issues but he found enough tonight to get a much deserved win," she said. Georgefromguam, previously trained in NSW by Larry Eastman, had not won since successful at Charlton in Victoria in May 2012. "I am confident this horse has plenty of improvement in him and it wouldn't surprise me if he rattled off a couple of wins in quick succession," McLeod said. Peter Staples

When talented Tasmanian harness racing trainer Marc Butler was offered the chance to take over the training of a well-performed four-year-old he jumped at the chance. The horse in question was Franco Sheffield, a New Zealand-bred pacer owned by Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper who have been a formidable combination and a force in Tasmania's owner ranks for many years. At UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night Franco Sheffield proved he still has a lot to give and Butler, while not becoming overawed by his effort to win a C4-C5 by almost 19 metres, was quick to admit the gelding could be his next "good horse". Butler owned and trained Joesashyguy that won him a Tasmanian Derby and was still delivering stellar performances beyond his use-by date but for the time being this gelded son of Live Or Die has the potential to put Butler, a boutique trainer these days, back in the harness racing spotlight. On Sunday night Franco Sheffield showed good gate speed to lead from barrier four and once in front, driver Ricky Duggan had a battle to hold hm. "When he led he wanted to get on with the job pretty much from the outset but he eventually came back to me," Duggan said. "Entering the back straight the last time he kept tugging so when I let him go he just powered away and went on to win as he liked and I never had to pull the plugs," he said. Franco Sheffield hit the line 18-1/2 metres clear of Punt Road Disco with Sky Tower just over a metre away third. He clocked a mile rate of two minutes and small change but ran home his last half mile (800m) in a slick 56.2 seconds which is outstanding on the Hobart circuit at the moment. The five-year-old was having only his third start for Butler who acquired the gelding from Juanita McKenzie who had to find room for a few new horses and Franco Sheffield was one that was selected to be rehomed. "He has been with me for about six months and this was only his third start for me and from what he showed there should be more wins in him that's for sure," Butler said. "He doesn't do much wrong - he's pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of horse." "He is going to have to improve because he is getting up in grade but I am quietly confident he can deliver," he said. Peter Staples

Lightly raced five-year-old gelding I Am Camelot delivered one of the best harness racing performances of the night at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday to win the O A Kingston Pace over 1609 metres. I Am Camelot was having only his third start back from a two-year break that was enforced though injury. The Deborah Williams-trained gelding showed great gate speed to lead comfortably from barrier three and when driver Natalee Emery released the reins in the back straight the last time the gelding spreadeagled the field. I Am Camelot (Safari-Lady Margerica) went on to score by 18-1/2 metres from Punt Road Disco with Witch Master a metre away third. He clocked a mile rate of 1.59 and sizzled home his last half-mile (800m) in 57.6 seconds. I m Camelot suffered a slab fracture of the radical carpal bone in his off-front knee that wasn't identified until he was a three-year-old. 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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