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Rocknroll Turbo was one of last season's better two-year-old pacers in Tasmania and from what the well-bred colt showed first-up at Luxbet Park Hobart last night he will be very competitive in feature three-year-old harness racing events this year. The Paul Hill-trained colt won at his first two starts as a two-year-old and ended that campaign with a second to Usain Jolt in the Dandy Patch Stakes final. Hill confirmed the colt suffered a stifle injury during his last start as a two-year-old and required plenty of time in the paddock to recover. "This Rock N Roll Heaven colt is the real deal so when he suffered the stifle problem we just topped him straight out and gave him all the time he needed to fully recover," Hill said. "I've taken my time with him since he came back into work because he's still growing into himself. "Tonight was just a glorified trial really because he's certainly capable of running really good times if required." Driver Rohan Hillier allowed Rocknroll Turbo to fall off the gate from barrier five and settled last but when Hillier called on him to sprint heading into the back straight the last time he hauled in the leaders quickly. However, Hillier halted his progress by slotting into the one-out-one-back position so as not to have the colt punching into a headwind. When they hit the home straight Hillier let the colt loose and he went on to score by over 15 metres from Safari Sunshine that faced the breeze for the last lap with Shesastandout a close-up third. Rocknroll Turbo clocked a mile rate of 2.02s over 1609 metres but it could have been a lot better had the driver so desired. Peter Staples

Veteran Tasmania harness racing trainer Paul Hill has enjoyed great success with juvenile pacers for many years having prepared the best two-year-olds in the state for the past two seasons. At Luxbet Park Hobart this week Hill produced another highly promising two-year-old in Feelin Dusty that made an impressive debut by winning against older horses. Feelin Dusty was nominated for a two-year-old event but when insufficient nominations were received the field was opened up to three-year-old and older non-winners which produced a field of seven. Hill had no qualms about running his juvenile against older and more experienced pacers and the end result revealed why. "They put the race on so that the two-year-olds could get race experience and I was only too pleased when it was kept on the program with older horses in the field," Hill said. "I've had a fair opinion of this horse from day one and I'm sure anyone who saw how he handled his debut would agree he shows great potential. "I've had some very god two-year-olds in the stable in recent times including Hillview Jake and Chica Bella that were named the state's best two-year-olds in their respective sex categories in 2015 and I reckon Feelin Dusty is right up there as far as ability is concerned." Hill partnered Feelin Dusty on debut and sent the well-bred gelding (Mr Feelgood-Maybe Elite) straight to the front from the pole position (gate 1). Once in front Hill allowed the colt to bowl along at his leisure and when he called on him to sprint turning for home he left is rivals in his wake. Feelin Dusty powered to the line to score by 7-1/2 metres from three-year-old filly Hayley's Comet with Tell Mia Story over two metres away third with the winner clocking a respectable mile rate of 2.02. Hill says Feelin Dusty will progress to the Debutante Stakes in Launceston next Friday. Peter Staples

Southern Tasmanian harness racing fans are in for a treat at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night with the New Year's Day meeting boasting two of the Hobart club's best races. The eight-race card features the Hobart Pacing Cup and Eric Reece Memorial finals with both considered wide open affairs. The Hobart Pacing Cup will be run over 3060 metres and comprises a field of 14 that made it into the race through a series of heats. Likely favourite Resurgent Spirit has already been scratched from the race which paves the way for the emergency Idle Hands to gain a start. Victorian-owned Just Knew qualified for the final with a fifth in the first heat in Hobart four weeks ago but he has since scored two impressive wins, the latest in the Meander Valley Cup at Carrick on Tuesday. Just Knew is trained in Victoria by Keith Cotchin but he left the horse in Tasmania after the Hobart Cup heat to be prepared for the rest of his stay by Mellissa Maine who rates the six-year-old gelding a good chance of winning the final. "He has to back up from Tuesday's win but he has done all the right things since that run so hopefully he can have a bit of luck go his way on Sunday night," Maine said. Just Knew, a winner of 12 of his 68 starts, will be driven by Maine's life partner Gareth Rattray who also has a good opinion of the horse. The son of Mach Three hadn't won a race since June when he arrived in Tasmania for a tilt at the Hobart Pacing Cup. The Reece Memorial final over 2090 metres boasts an even field of 12 with heat winner Couta Rocks expected to start favourite given the way he delivered the knockout blow to his rivals in his heat last Sunday week. It was his fifth start in the state since arriving from Victoria in September and trainer Paul Hill says the gelding has thrived since his heat win. Couta Rocks is owned by Tasmanians who raced the horse in Victoria where he notched a win and four minor placings before landing in Hill's stables at Tea Tree. Peter Staples

Victorian pacer Lets Elope joined a small but elite harness racing group when he powered his way to victory in the $40,000 Luxbet Tasmania Cup over 2579 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart yesterday. In winning the Group 3 event he became only the third horse in the history of the race to win in consecutive years with Motu Crusader (2012-13) and Tailamade Lombo (1998-99) the only others to have achieved the feat. It also was a double for Tasmanian-born driver Josh Duggan who delivered a brilliant tactical drive to secure victory. Five Star Anvil was the short-priced favourite ($1.40) and when driver Zac Phillips sent him straight to the front those who took the prohibitive odds would have been content while Major Callum ($31) faced the breeze with Pachacuti ($13) on his back and Lets Elope ($3.90) settled last. When Phillips allowed the favourite more rein leaving the back straight the last time the 10-year-old sped clear but Duggan had Lets Elope would up and chasing hard and Pachacuti looked a winning chance when he peeled three-wide to challenge. But when Duggan called on Lets Elope for the supreme effort the Brent Lilley-trained eight-year-old dug deep and had enough in reserve to score by two metres. "It was always going to be a race of tactics and thankfully ours (tactics) paid off," Duggan said. "It was a great thrill last year to win the race because it's my home town cup but to win it again is a bit special." Lilley said eight-year-old gelding by Real Desire had been racing well without luck in his home state and was quietly confident he had the gelding in top shape for the assignment. "We had him in a few races where he had to be driven for luck and often things didn't pan out but just prior to sending him down here to Tassie I was confident I had him in as good a condition as he's been in this prep," Lilley said. "He's been a very good horse for his owners because that his 24th win and he's been placed more than 30 times and he's won almost $500,000. "I sent the horse to Paul Ashwood who has been looking after him here in Tasmania so I think we'll leave him here for a month or so and let him go around in some of the nice free-for-alls coming up." Peter Staples

Spitfire Rose gave her harness racing trainer-driver Rohan Hadley his biggest win in ages when she toughed it out facing the breeze to win the $20,000 George Johnson feature for mares at Luxbet Park Hobart yesterday. Spitfire Rose ($5) raced outside of the leader Angels of Demons that was backed in to start the $1.40 favourite but when Hadley asked his charge to extend turning for home she forged to the lead and went on to score comfortably from outsiders Modern Chic ($51) and Zumba Bromac ($17) while the favourite capitulated and finished a distant last. It was Spitfire Rose's second win in the race having been successful in 2014 when driven by Gavin Lang. "She is a very good mare and I'm sure she has plenty more to give," Hadley said. "Today was more a race of tactics because I thought that if I had my mare at the favourite all the way then my mare's toughness might shine through and that's pretty much how it panned out. "We've got a few plans for this Jereme's Jet mare next year and hopefully she can win another nice race." Hadley suffered an illness about two years ago that kept him sidelined for about eight months which is why he had to call on Gavin Lang to drive the mare in the 2014 George Johnson. Peter Staples

Veteran Tasmanian harness racing trainer Paul Hill received an early Christmas present when former Victorian pacer Couta Rocks stormed home to win a heat of the Eric Reece Memorial over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart yesterday. With ace driver Ricky Duggan in the sulky, Couta Rocks ($3.40 fav) settled beyond midfield from his wide second-row draw but looked to be travelling comfortably when Duggan sent him three-wide around the field in the back straight the last time. The leader Iden Amrak ($3.60) was placed under pressure turning for home with Pockets of Courage looming as the winner but when Duggan eased his charge to the outside of the field the gelding answered the call and powered home to defeat Entreemaindesert ($34) with Shesastandout ($4.80) working home well to grab third ahead of Pockets of Courage. It was the five-year-old Art Major gelding's first win for Hill and first in the state with his only other win coming at Shepparton in Victoria over a year ago. "I'm pleased with his effort today and even though Ricky (reinsman Duggan) said he knocked off a bit when he hit the front he is improving all the time and I'm confident he'll continue to win," Hill said. The Eric Reece Memorial final will be held in Hobart on New Year's Day. The first six home in each of the two heats qualified for a final berth. Peter Staples

Ancient Moonlight is lucky to be alive let alone winning races. The Juanita McKenzie-trained gelded son of Live or Die dodged death about a year ago but thanks to luck being on his side and some tender loving care from his owners and trainer the harness racing gelding looks set to realise the potential he showed when he first arrived in Tasmania. Ancient Moonlight was having his first start for a year when he came from last turning for home to score a runaway victory in the Talbot Hotel Pace for C3-C4 performers over 2090m metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. One of his part-owners Barry Cooper said the gelding virtually died on the operating table but somehow managed to survive the ordeal. "The horse's heart stopped and he was gone but he is a fighter and came back to us and here he is winning at his first start since the ordeal. It's quite amazing," an motional Cooper said after the win. Duggan was full of praise for the gelding that was purchased for an undisclosed sum in New Zealand as a four-year-old. He had only three starts in Tasmania as a four-year-old winning two after a debut second. The gelding resumed as a five-year-old with a win at Carrick in a heat of the Northern Tasmanian Light Harness Association Cup but he suffered an injury in the final and that was his last start before emerging triumphant last night. Duggan said the horse is bound for bigger and better things. "To come from where he was tonight and win is an amazing effort and I'm sure there are plenty more wins in store for him," Duggan said. Peter Staples

Marvilloso promised a lot as a young horse but couldn't quite make the grade but perseverance has paid dividends for his harness racing trainer and part-owner Adrian Duggan. The five-year-old powered home after enjoying a gun run to score comfortably from Marnu The Beast and Gaggle Coordinator in the CUB Pace over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night. He had a bunch of minor placings in his first preparation for Duggan before being sent to Victoria where he was bred with the hope of picking up some of the big prizemoney up for grabs through the Vicbred bonus scheme. "We bought this horse for $7000 and even though he hadn't won as a two or three-year-old we thought he might as well have a crack in Victoria so we sent the horse to Scott Dyer but we had no luck from three tries and brought him back home," Duggan said. Marvilloso developed a few issues that needed to be addressed but it was only when Duggan decided it was time to geld the horse that the improvement started. "We kept him an entire because he is such a lovely natured horse but in the end his manhood was presenting a few issues with his gait so we gelded him and it's made a big difference. "This is his first preparation as a gelding and he's been very competitive and this win will help his confidence." The Village Jasper gelding has started 27 times for this win and eight minor placings and while a lot of horses with such modest form might have been dispatched to a life at pony clubs or farm horse he has remained with Duggan for one prime season. "My wife Amanda absolutely loves the horse so we kept him going and that's why it's so great that he's finally won a race and I'm sure there are more wins left in him." Peter Staples

Major Callum came of age at Luxbet Park Hobart last night when the modestly-performed harness racing six-year-old delivered a career-best effort to win the Shadforths Financial Group Pace over 2579 metres. The Juanita McKenzie-trained gelding stepped well from the standing start but was forced to work hard to eventually find the lead while the odds-on favourite Resurgent Spirit also had to work three-wide for 500 metres before eventually finding a spot at the leader's wheel. Major Callum ($16) looked to be struggling 500 metres out when Resurgent Spirit applied the pressure but the gelded son of Art Major refused to wilt and fought back to edge out the favourite on the line with Macho Comacho ($35) working home well to grab third. It was Major Callum's 11th but clearly his best and McKenzie said the gelding had always had above average ability but too often had been the victim of bad luck in his races. "This horse tries so hard every time he goes around and had it not been for rotten luck in a lot of his races he would be a much higher rated horse," McKenzie said. "He is very good from a standing start so this type of racing suits him but at the end of the day he is my favourite horse and has been ever since he was a two-year-old. Duggan had not been a fan of Major Callum but he said after this win his opinion might change. "Let's say I'm starting to warm to the horse," Duggan said. "He is such hard work because you've got to be at him the whole time but tonight I wanted to make sure we had something outside of him because he tries so hard and goes best when he's tested. "He's done a good job to beat the favourite so I reckon he's going to be very competitive in these type of races looking forward." The connections of Resurgent Spirit ($1.60) weren't fazed by the loss. "My horse had to do a lot of work too so he's stuck to his guns well and I have no doubt he will be competitive in whatever he tackles next," said driver James Austin. Peter Staples

The Ben Richardson-trained Wasonie Snake delivered a workmanlike performance to score a harness racing career best win in the Matilda Rawlings Pace over 1609 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. Wasonie Snake travelled well in the one-out line while Thatswhatshesaid set a solid pace but when driver Ricky Duggan eased Wasonie Snake three-wide to challenge the gelded six-year-old swept to the lead and hit the line a comfortable margin ahead of Thatswhatshesaid and Me Mate Les. It was Wasonie Snake's second win of the season but given the way the gelding hit the line it won't be his last this preparation. Wasonie Snake delivered a mile rate of 1.58.07 which was the first time he had produced a sub two-minute rate. The gelding has had 38 starts for four wins and eight minor lacings for over $24,000 in stakes but his form this time in has been the best since he started racing in Victoria in January 2014. It was a solid performance and not dissimilar to the one that earned him his previous win in Hobart in September. There was a lot to like about the effort of Thatswhatshesaid as this six-year-old stuck tom his guns after setting a solid tempo and he won't be far away from winning again. Peter Staples

Consistent harness racing pacer Grinable opened his winning account for the season with a last-stride win in the Ella Coulson Pace for C3-C4 pacers over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. The Adrian Duggan trained and driven seven-year-old settled sixth and three-back the fence and that's where he remained until the field turned for home the last time. But when Duggan shouldered his way clear close to home the gelded son of Grinfromeartoear laid his ears back and charged home to grab Sir Dasher Dee right on the line with Zumba Bromac a close-up third. It was Grinable's fifth start this preparation but he had been unlucky at two previous outings, in particular a fourth behind Blackjackhanover in a C4-C5 in Hobart immediately prior to last night's assignment. "I've been very happy with the horse's progress this time in although we had a bit of a hiccup three starts back but I've sorted a little issue out and he's right back on track," Duggan said. "He is not an overly big horse but he's quite solid and he tries hard so we'll just plod along with him and aim him at a couple of the country cups. "The Carrick Cup would be a suitable race for him so that will be one of his targets in the New Year." Grinable was sent to Duggan as a two-year-old by his original owner Neale Donnelley and the gelding performed well but he lost his way so the owner opted to get out of the hor6se so Duggan put together a small syndicate that still races the gelding. Grinable has won nine and snared 18 minor placings from 59 starts for almost $64,000 so he has been a decent money spinner. Peter Staples

Well-bred harness racing gelding Roll West delivered a knockout blow to punters in the opening event in Hobart when he led throughout at big odds ($25) to win the CUB Pace over 2090 metres. Roll West had only two starts as a two-year-old for a minor placing before being spelled for seven months. He resumed with a game second in Hobart then blotted his copybook with a near-last effort in Launceston last week but once he found the lead last night he settled well and proved too strong for his rivals. Roll West (Roll With Joe-Western Cheater) was bred by Noel and Marlene Salter at their Brighton property and is trained by their son Christian Salter. He had to work hard early to find the lea from his near-outside front-row draw (6) but once he achieved the feat he settled well for his trainer who rated the gelding superbly. The favourite Buster Bruv ($1.60) was allowed to settle last but he looked good when his driver Dylan Ford let him slide around the field at the bell but when he looked likely to cross to face the breeze nearing the top turn the last time he went from cruising to being under pressure quickly. Goggo Gee Gee loomed to run down the eventual winner but he was unable to make an impression at the business end of the race but stayed strong to hold second spot ahead of the well-backed Shesastandout ($5.30). Peter Staples

Talented pacer Buster Bruv again showed why he will be heading to some of the state's feature harness racing three-year-old events with an impressive win in the CUB Pace over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday. The Dylan Ford-trained gelding showed good early speed to lead from a wide front-row gate (6) and while his trainer-driver slowed the tempo for a pedestrian first quarter of 34 seconds it was the way he toyed with his rivals at the business end that impressed most. When Ford allowed the gelded son of Santastics Pan more rein in the home straight he burst clear and went on to score by almost 17 metres from Roll West that faced the breeze for the last lap with Really Frank third but eight metres astern. Buster Bruv ($1.20 fav) covered the journey in 2.41.1 for a mile rate of 2.04 but ran home his last half (800m) in 57.5 but his last 400m was covered in 27.9 and without being fully extended. "I've had this horse since he was a yearling and while he didn't show me a lot early on he has grown into a very nice horse and he keeps improving which is a good sign," Ford said. Buster Bruv has had only six starts for three wins and two minor placings. 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

Star Tasmania harness racing pacer Resurgent Spirit delivered a sensational performance to win an open discretionary handicap over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding started off the sole back mark of 30 metres and while he settled last and was still in that spot when the field entered the home straight the last time he somehow found a way to win. When driver James Austin called on Resurgent Spirit for the supreme effort in the home straight the six-year-old gelding laid his ears back and charged home to win narrowly from dead-heaters Major Callum and Chief Destroyer. "The way he had been working at home on the training track I knew he'd be able to deliver that sort of performance," Whitmore said. Resurgent Spirit (American Ideal-Resurgent Star) will be aimed at the $40,000 Tasmania Cup to be run in Hobart in late December. Peter Staples

Tasmanian harness racing trainer-driver Dylan Ford was content to put Buster Bruv in the spelling paddock after only four starts as a two-year-old last season and it looks like the move will pay big dividends. The colt by Santastics Pan won on debut and after two minor placings from his next three starts he was sent for a spell. In Hobart last night the colt delivered a warning that he could be a serious competitor in some of the better quality three-year-old events this season. Buster Bruv showed good gate speed to lead but having spent plenty of energy to obtain the front Ford opted to ease and take a trail when James Austin pushed for the lead aboard Safari Sunshine. But in the back straight the last time the leader shifted up the track and Ford pounced on the opportunity to drive Buster Bruv up along the rail to regain the lead and once balanced at the top of the home straight the colt forged clear. Buster Bruv ($2.40 fav) went on to score by over 14 metres from Jimmy Da Panda ($12) with Safari Sunshine ($5.50) hanging on for third ahead of Hilargi. Listen to what trainer-driver Dylan Ford had to say about Buster Bruv's first-up win. Peter Staples

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