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POPULAR Tasmanian harness racing trainer Shelley Barnes knows what it's like to be down and out. After surviving a horror fall in Launceston in 1998, in which she suffered multiple broken bones when catapulted from her sulky in a five-horse fall, she was again faced with the possibility of spending the rest of her life unable to walk as a result of another track accident. While the latest ensured she would never drive in races again, the talented horsewoman, who has been Tasmania's leading female trainer and or driver multiple times over the past 20 years, was back in the winners' circle last night. Barnes is training 12 horses from her Sassafras property on the North-West Coast of Tasmania and she prepared My Koda Kasper to win the Hygain Track Torque Pace in Hobart. The grey gelding powered home with his regular driver Natalee Emery in the sulky to score a narrow, but convincing, win over Blackjackhanover, with Tizyalater a distant third. Barnes purchased My Koda Kasper about two years ago via the internet. “I was looking for a horse to buy and race for myself and I found this one that was unraced and well-bred and he didn’t cost a lot of money,” Barnes said. “He won for me on debut and that paid for him plus a fair bit extra in my hand. “While he never won another race until this latest start, he has been placed and ran a lot of fourths, so he has managed to pay his way.” The son of Jet Laag and Princess Mac has had 27 starts for two wins and seven placings for about $17,000 in stakes and Barnes is confident he has more wins left in him. My Koda Kasper is likely to line up in Launceston on Sunday night. PETER STAPLES

The Justin Campbell stable has been spending plenty of time in the harness racing winners’ circle of late, but his latest victory was arguably more special than most. Really Fayfay produced a courageous effort to lead throughout the Hygain Release for fillies and mares over 1609 metres at Hobart last night. The five-year-old was given no peace for the first 400 metres when attacked for the lead by Sweet Pea Jasper, which was eventually eased to take a sit. The win was made special because it was a family affair, with the daughter of Jr Mint bred by Campbell’s parents Anne and Malcom Campbell and owned by them in partnership with the trainer. It was the Really Fayfay’s first start for almost three months and Campbell was worried she might “knock up” owing to her being taken on early in the race, but she refused to wilt over the concluding stages. Really Feyfey held a clear margin over Fuscienne on the line with Really Fiesty running on well for third ahead of the well backed Days Like This that faced the breeze for the last lap. Listen to what trainer Justin Campbell had to say about Really Feyfey’s first-up win. PETER STAPLES

Colebrook harness racing trainer Paul Medhurst described Bona Fide Hustler as a “bargain Buy” after he notched his fifth win for connections in Hobart tonight. Bona Fide Hustler was purchased by Medhurst for $14,000 from Victorian interests about two years ago, and since arriving in Tasmania, the son of Red River Hanover has amassed about $35,000 in stakes. The six-year-old’s racing pattern these days is to drop back early and come with a barnstorming finish and that’s exactly what played out during his latest victory. With talented novice driver Samantha Freeman in the cart, Bona Fide Hustler was eased away from barrier seven as Freeman settled him in the running line towards the rear of the field. Frankie Falzoni forged his way to the lead, with the favourite Rusty Red Comet facing the breeze and travelling comfortably at the bell. With Freeman making her move at the 600-metre mark, Bona Fide Hustler quickly ranged up to the front runner. Finishing strongly along the home straight, the gelding rattled home to defeat Rusty Red Comet, with Frankie Falzoni hanging on for third. Bona Fide Hustler paid $16.90 on the Tote, but he was backed in to start at $13 with Tattsbet fixed odds. Listen to what trainer Paul Medhurst and driver Samantha Freeman had to say about Bona Fide Hustler’s latest win. PETER STAPLES

Harness racing trainer-driver Nathan Ford says Original Art has the potential to win more races following his last-stride victory in Hobart last Sunday night. Original Art arrived in Ford’s Brighton stable about four weeks ago with modest form to his credit. The son of Art Mark took a step towards changing that with his latest performance. With Faithful Jet leading from the pole and the favourite Rusty Red Comet working in the breeze, Original Art enjoyed the run of the race behind the pacemaker. When the favourite shifted up the track on the home turn, Ford quickly eased Original Art off the pegs before the gelding powered through the gap and set sail after the front runner. Original Art hit the line with a neck to spare over Faithful Jet, with Vander Jenkins the same margin away third. The winner rated 2.02.8 for the 2090 metres, with the last half in 58.9 seconds. “I am very happy with this horse tonight because he really wanted to find the line,” Ford said. “The owners came to me early last month and asked if I would take him on and I think he has the potential to win a few. “I changed a bit of gear with him and we took him to Launceston last week, but it looked as if he didn’t really try a lot. So I changed some more gear and tonight I thought he travelled a lot better and finished the race off well.” PETER STAPLES

A decision by harness racing trainer Melissa Maine to book claiming driver Matthew Howlett to partner her five-year-old Notimetothink in Hobart last night paid big dividends. Howlett urged Notimetothink from the gates to eventually find the lead from barrier two and then the talented young reinsman rated the son of Metropolitan superbly to score by nine metres from Deejay Bromac, with Bone Fide Hustler a neck away third. It made it back-to-back wins for Notimetothink which delivered a similar performance at his previous start and it was a race-to-race double for Howlett, who also guided Frankie Falzoni to victory in the opening race on the seven-event card. Punters were relentless in their pursuit to back Notimetothink, forcing his price in from $2.50 to start $1.80 favourite. Notimetothink arrived in Maine’s stables at Latrobe about seven weeks ago and this was only his second start for the talented mentor, whose partner is star reinsman Gareth Rattray. Putting Howlett on with a novice driver claim enabled the gelding to line up in another C1 and another good draw also played into their hands. The old trainer’s adage of keeping themselves in the best company and their horse in the worst was definitely played out with Notimetothink at his past two starts. The trick for Maine will be to find a C2 that doesn’t boast too many entries that have above average ability. Notimetothink had won once and been placed from 19 starts before joining Maine’s stable, so he is obviously settled in his new environment. Maine and Rattray have been developing their property at Latrobe, about 10 minutes East of Devonport and once finished it should be one of the best in the region. PETER STAPLES

When talented harness racing trainer Chris Howlett purchased Frankie Falzoni as a yearling he was prepared to bide his time with the colt which was passed in at the 2012 Tasmanian Yearling Sale. Howlett bought the youngster after the sales for $9000, but it took a while to see some return. Frankie Falzoni won a race at Carrick last season with some sizeable bets enabling the owners to recoup a chunk the purchase price. In Hobart last tonight Frankie Falzoni delivered a brilliant first-up effort to score a last-stride win in a C0 over 2090 metres. With the trainer’s son Matthew in the sulky, Frankie Falzoni was urged forward from gate three, but was forced to face the breeze before gaining cover as the favourite Who Is Hardeen was sent to the ‘death seat’. When Frankie Falzoni was eased three-wide to improve he gradually made his way to the leaders, but when Howlett called on him for the supreme effort 200 metres out, the son of Chief Marty dug deep to score by a half-neck from Who Is Hardeen, with Tizyalater flashing home from well back to finish third. Howlett explained Frankie Falzoni had a few issues that needed to be sorted out, and given the way he performed at his first start for five months, the gear changes have been successful. PETER STAPLES

WESTBURY harness racing trainer Dick Foley wasn’t surprised with Oscar Blakendon’s win despite the gelding starting as one of the rank outsiders in Launceston last night. Foley was confident enough to have “something each-way” on the five-year-old despite Oscar Blakendon’s modest form during his past four starts. The son of Jr Mint won in Hobart last August, but his form since has been modest, to say the least. But Foley had faith in Oscar Blakendon and parted with some of his hard-earned at the lucrative price of $41 at fixed odds. With Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Oscar Blakendon produced a powerful finish, coming from back in the field to score from Cooked Books and Original Art. A solid pace was set by Bucksaroo, which led into the home straight before being swamped 200 metres out. “I don’t think he was entitled to be such a long price,” Foley said. “I had something on him each-way, but I must admit the barrier draw (12) worried me. “He’s a horse that always seems to find trouble in his races and he keeps drawing bad barriers. “I thought if things went his way he could be in the finish and that’s why I put Gareth on him.” Oscar Blakendon has won twice from 22 starts, with two placings to his credit for just under $13,000 in prize money. PETER STAPLES

Tasmanian harness racing trainer-driver Justin Campbell likened Boltnmach to an Automatic Teller Machine after he scored his first win of the season in Hobart last night. “This horse is my bread and butter horse he just keeps paying for himself with placings and the odd win,” Campbell said. “He’s like an ATM – he just puts in every time he races and we keep getting a collect.” Boltnmach notched four consecutive placings before leading all the way to win the Take the Hassle out of Freight Pace. It was an awesome display of power pacing as the son of Mach Three-Fake Madam worked to find the lead from barrier four and then set a cracking tempo before leaving his rivals in his wake in the home straight. Boltnmach went on to score by over 10 metres from Rusty Red Comet, with Major Callum four metres away third. “This horse has been so consistent despite coming off bad draws and a couple of times recently he’s run second, but gone 1:59 facing the breeze, so he certainly deserved this win,” Campbell said. “Tonight the plan was to use the half decent gate and have a crack for the lead and we were lucky that they let him go to the front and I just let him roll.” Campbell is confident there are more wins in store for six-year-old. “I reckon this horse can win his way to C4 or C5 class because he can run time and he tries so hard,” Campbell said. PETER STAPLES

Handy harness racing performer Star Chamber has been aimed at several features following his win at Hobart last night. Impressed with the gelding’s effort, trainer Nathan Ford will target events such as the Cannonball Charge and Tasmanian Cup. “We’ll raise the bar and aim him at the Cannonball Charge, which will give us a good idea of where he fits into the bigger picture,” Ford said. Driven by Ford, Star Chamber began brilliantly from the tapes to lead easily, with the remainder of the 2579-metre trip a formality. Providing his rivals with a pacing lesson, the son of triple Inter Dominion winner Our Sir Vancelot scored by five-and-a-half metres from Ardlussa Express, with Udoit four metres away third. “This win was terrific and it was the way he went about his job that really impressed me,” Ford declared. “He stepped well, as he always does, from a stand and it was just like a stroll around the training track.” Rating 2:04.1, the six-year-old stretched his record to eight wins and 13 placings from 38 starts with his 58.2-second last half. Ford credits Star Chamber’s form to his recent trip across Bass Strait to Tabcorp Park Melton, which netted two placings from two M0 appearances. Star Chamber won his return start to the Apple Isle, but was disqualified by stewards who deemed he had raced inside the marker pegs in the home straight and as such gained an unfair advantage “He did a good job in those two races at Melton and I have no doubt the interstate trip helped to toughen him up,” Ford said. “When we bought this horse he was a C1, and he’s now a C7, and I am positive there is plenty of improvement in him.” PETER STAPLES

WHEN Brighton harness racing trainer-driver Dylan Ford contacted prominent owner Garry Rogers to inquire as to the whereabouts of former star filly Play Apple Tree he was surprised with the answer. Rogers informed the Tasmanian horseman Play Apple Tree was still roaming a paddock after damaging tendons as a three-year-old in March 2012. Ford subsequently asked if he could work the daughter of Art Major, with Rogers agreeing and dispatching her to Ford on lease. As a two-year-old Play Apple Tree won a heat of the Evicus Stakes at two before finishing second to Cloudy Range in the Final. At three, she won second up, but after two more starts, she was diagnosed with bowed tendons in both front legs, so Rogers had her transported back to Victoria where she stayed until Ford’s phone call last December. Successful at her comeback run last August, Play Apple Tree was unlucky during her next three outings, before scoring at Launceston last week. The talented pacer completed consecutive wins when triumphant with Ford in the cart at Hobart last night. Beginning swiftly to lead from barrier three, Play Apple Tree was simply too swift over 2090 metres to beat Boltnmach – which was gallant after facing the breeze – and Ebabe. PETER STAPLES

It is rare for star harness racing driver Gareth Rattray to salute as he scores with an outsider, but that’s how the Pack And Send Pace panned out at Hobart tonight. Rattray’s elated state was the result of La Ebony Kita’s success after the four-year-old finished stoutly to beat Blitzemgamble and Barooza over 2090 metres. The Ivan Belbin-trained mare has been plagued by injuries and illness almost from the day she came into work as a yearling. By Artistic Fella from La Nikita, La Ebony Kita’s problems began after she had a fall as a two-year-old and opened both knees in the training track mishap. “When she came into work as a two-year-old I was confident she would be very good against the best but everything went wrong,” Belbin said. “She opened both knees up twice in track accidents and then she got foot ulcers that took forever to heal.” Off the scene for 15 months, La Ebony Kita returned to racing last August with an inglorious tail of the field finish at Hobart. She then lifted her game at her subsequent outing when third at the same venue, with Belbin confident a win wasn’t far away. “I put Gareth on tonight and he drove her a treat,” Belbin said. “Gareth used to drive her mother and he says this mare has some of her mother’s old traits. “This mare hangs in when she gets tired just like her mum, but she also has her dam’s good turn of foot and I reckon that’s going to allow her to win more races.” La Ebony Kita’s maiden victory came at her fifth start, having made her debut in April 2013.          PETER STAPLES

TALENTED harness racing trainer-driver Justin Campbell prepared his first treble on the Launceston circuit in 12 years when he dominated at yesterday's rescheduled Launceston Pacing Club meeting. Campbell won aboard John Snow and Damitsam that he also trains and he opened his account for the day aboard the Steve Lucak-trained Stoner Rainbow. It was almost 12 years to the day that Campbell prepared his first treble in Launceston with Really Mal, Itsalongwalkhome and General Kiev. However that trio gave Campbell a record that might never be equaled. The same three horses won at three consecutive meetings in Tasmania in August 2002. "Itsalongwalkhome, Really Mal and General Kiev won at two consecutive meetings at the old Hobart Showground and again at Mowbray so it was a fairly unique effort,' Campbell said. Campbell's treble on Tuesday also had an omen-like tint to it as one of the races he won 12 years ago was the Gareth Rattray Stakes and yesterday Damitsam won the Get Well Gareth Rattray Stakes. "Had we had the information before the meeting started we might have had a little something all-up especially on the Gareth Rattray Stakes won by Damitsam," Campbell said. Campbell said the circumstances surrounding yesterday's meeting - originally scheduled for last Sunday but postponed because of the state of the track caused by heavy rain, meant his horses hadn't been hoppled for eight days. "A lot can be said for not hoppling the horses for eight days because they all ran really well," he said. Campbell was full of praise for his two-year-old John Snow, named after a character from the pay TV show Game of Thrones, but he was particularly impressed with the win of Damitsam. "I just love this horse (Damitsam) because he tries his guts out every time he comes to the races," he said. Peter Staples

STAR Tasmanian reinsman Ricky Dugan is having on of his best seasons with his efforts at the past two Hobart harness racing meetings netting him six winners and multiple minor placings. Last Sunday night he partnered Angela De Marco and Giuliani to victory and both drivers were superb. He rated Angela De Marco to perfection in front and he made a midrace dash aboard Giuliani to find the front and that proved to be the winning move. He was quite upbeat about both hoses. "I thought Angela De Marco's win was full of merit because she stargazed a bit when she slipped clear in e straight but when she caught a glimpse of on coming she lifted," Dugan said. "I have no doubt that the filly will be even better after a spell so the owners should expect her to do some good things as a four-year-old," he said. Giuliani sowed courage in the home straight when at one stage it appeared that he might be swamped by the challengers. "Giuliani has developed into a very strong type and he has good high speed," Dugan said. Angela De Marco is owned by Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt while Merv and Meg Butterworth pay up or Giuliani hat is prepared by Zeke Slater. Peter Staples

Well bred harness racing three-year-old pacer Karalta Dazzler showed why he is Kent Rattray's stable star when he outgunned a handy field in a C2 or better handicap over 2090 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart last night. It was the gelding's fourth win in succession but clearly his most impressive this season. Driver John Walters was content to allow Karalta Dazzler to race outside of the leader Paddys Ace but when he called on his charge for the big effort in the home straight he forged to the front and easily staved of challenges from runner-up Melolyn and Red Buster that gained a rails run to edge out Lickyalips for the minor prize. "I am really pleased with how this horse has come on this time in," Rattray said. "A bit was expected of him when he first went to the races but he had a few issues and that held him back." "He curbed a hock early this year and had to be spelled again but since he's been back he has kept on improving," he said. Karalta Dazzler (Stonebridge Regal-Karalta Crown) was bred by the trainer's parents Wayne and Gaye Rattray. The dam Karalta Crown was placed third in a Breeders Crown final as a two-year-old as well as winning an Evicus Stakes on home soil. She ended her racing career two seasons later with 12 wins and 18 minor placings from 35 starts for $120,000 in stakes. "The mare was very competitive on the racetrack and it looks like she is going to pass that on to her progeny because this horse (Karalta Dazzzler) is starting to deliver what he promised as a young horse," Wayne Rattray said. The trainer said Karalta Dazzler would continue to race while he is in good form. "If the fruit's ripe - pick it," Kent Rattray said. "So we will continue to target suitable races for the horse and he'll let us know when he's had enough," he said. Peter Staples

ONE of the most impressive winners on the 10-event harness racing program at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night was the Tony Petersen-trained three-year-old filly Angela De Marco that led throughout to win a C1-C2 over 2090 metres. With ace reinsman Ricky Dugan in the cart Angela De Marco showed good early speed to find the front and was only tested for a short while in the home straight to easily account for Family Guy and Gavrail. Angela De Marco has won four from nine starts and she also has notched three minor placings for career earnings of about $22,000. She is owned by prominent harness enthusiasts Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt who have invested heavily in standardbreds for the past four years and they have tasted more than their share of success. Duggan said she was never out of third gear yet the filly clocked a mile rate of 2.01.4 and ran home her last half (800m) in 58.76. The trainer said she has the potential to develop into a top class mare next season. Listen to what trainer Tony Petersen had to say about Angela De Marco's latest win. Peter staples

Veteran harness racing trainer Neil Cameron was rewarded for his patience when Liberty Niadh scored a courageous win on debut a The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. With experienced reinsman Rohan Hillier in the sulky, the well bred juvenile proved too strong for race favourite House Haunter ($2.70) and his stablemate Feral Tracy in the Launceston Belmont (1680m), which was the feature race on the mammoth 11-race card. It was a game win as the filly faced the breeze for the last 600 metres but had the stamina and will to eventually forge to the lead and defeat the favourite by eight metres with Feral Tracy 1.8 metres away third and just in advance of her stablemate Freyde hat lost valuable ground when she galloped for a few strides nearing the home turn. Cameron had the filly ready to race early in the season but had to abort the campaign due to illness. "She was probably the first two-year-old to trial back in October last year but she developed a respiratory infection so I couldn't go on with her," Cameron said. Liberty Niadh trialed brilliantly a week prior to her first race assignment and that gave connections and punters cause to back her in from $4.50 to start the $3.20 second favourite "We just had to be patient and we have been rewarded." Cameron explained that Liberty Niadh is the result of a purchase he made about five years ago. "I bought this filly's mother Maggie Adreaming down from Queensland with the intention of racing her," he said. "But she'd had E I (Equine Influenza) and, when I got her stated, I could pick something was wrong." "So I had her checked out and discovered she had a problem with her heart that had been cause by the E I." "So I opted to breed wit her and Liberty Niadh is her first foal," he said. Cameron is unsure about her immediate future. "I've got nothing special planned for her but we might take her to Hobart next Sunday night." "I'll wait and see how she comes through this race and make a decision later in the week," he said. Peter Staples

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