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North West Coast owners Nathan Rockliff and Peter Webb celebrated one of their biggest wins in harness racing on Sunday night in Hobart when Poker Storm claimed the New Norfolk Pacing Cup in slashing style. The Trump Casino-Cameo Mist ten-year-old also provided his career-long trainer-driver Adrian Duggan a home town cup success. “It was a thrill to win the New Norfolk Cup. I’m from the Valley so it was very satisfying and to win for Peter and Nathan was even better; they are great owners and have been since they first asked me to take him as a two-year-old after he had been broken in by Brett Jaffray,” Duggan said. Poker Storm came off the 20-metre mark in the cup and settled well back in the field before Adrian made his move approaching the bell, latching onto the back of Sheer Strength and grabbing a cart into the race. As the field turned for home Duggan pulled Poker Storm to the centre of the track and scorched home over the gallant favourite Full Speed Ahead to win by a half-head. “He’s won 19 races, run 38 placings and picked up $135,000 in prize money so he’s been a great money spinner for connections and the stable.” “Storm is just a little below the top bracket, but he gives 110 per cent every time he steps out on the track; he’s won an Ulverstone Cup and ran third in the Devonport Cup,” Adrian remembered. “There’s no doubt one of his biggest runs was his fourth in the Maxfield Drilling Raider Stakes when Quastor Centurion and Beautide fought out a memorable finish. I couldn’t get a run in the straight and we only finished 4.5 metres from the two stars.” By Shane Yates Reprinted with permission of The Advocate

Talented harness racing trainer Matthew Dwyer spent a number of years in the harness racing wilderness but the lure of a good horse has seen him make an overdue return to racing in Tasmania. At the Elwick Racing Centre in Hobart on Sunday night two of his three stable tenants produced bold efforts with Queens Advocate scoring an impressive win in a C7 or better event over 2579 metres and The Majority was game when fifth in the feature race the Hobart Pacing Cup over a grueling 3060 metres. It was a gem of a drive from Gareth Rattray who settled Queens Advocate ($2.80) near last before latching onto the back of the well-backed Queens Advocate ($3 into $2.40 fav) and when they reached the home turn Rattray eased his mare four-wide to challenge and she ran home powerfully to score from Jetcraft and Jaccka Len. Queens Advocate was a well-performed mare when in the care of top trainer Juanita McKenzie before being moved on after the mare had suffered an injury that kept her out of racing for a year. Dwyer's wife Lauren leased the mare from owner Georgie Johnson (Lauren's cousin) and provided the mare stays sound the Dwyers should look forward to more success in the coming months. "I am very pleased with how Queens Advocate has come on this time in and I thought on her previous run at Carrick that she'd be very hard to beat. "The mare had a quarter crack injury at the end of her time with Juanita (McKenzie) and when Lauren (Johnson) said she was thinking about what to do with the mare we decided to try her out and she's going super." The Majority led in the Hobart Pacing Cup after stepping straight to the front from the standing start and after being taken on twice in the run the Art Major gelding battled on tenaciously over the final 300 metres to be just edged out of fourth place. "At first I was a shade disappointed with The Majority's effort but when I watched the replay of the race a couple of times I realised he did a pretty good job so we'll progress now to the Devonport Cup and if he happened to lead and put in a similar effort he'd be hard to beat." Dwyer only has a stable of three with his otter tenant an unraced two-year-old. Peter Staples

Feelin Dusty continued on his winning way in Hobart on Sunday night with a courageous harness racing win in a 3A0-3A1 over 1609 metres. The Paul Hill-trained three-year-old was forced to face the breeze outside of Bettabrown Tiger that geld the pole position after an early battle for the lead. The pair broke clear of the rest of the field in the back straight the last time with Feelin Dusty edging clear over the concluding stages to defeat Bettabrown Tiger by a half-head. It was Feelin Dusty's second win from as many outings this season and Hill was delighted with the gelding's latest effort. "The aim was to win his two three-year-old races before we look at the feature events coming up so it is mission accomplished for part one of his campaign," Hill said. "The other horse (Bettabrown Tiger) did a great job and fought on well but from 400 metres out I always felt my horse was going to win. "He copped a cold about six weeks ago and that set him back two weeks but he recovered quickly but I'll give him an easy 10 days and in the meantime work out a suitable race program for him leading up to the Tasmania Derby. "The Globe Derby (3YO sires stakes) is his main mission this season and that's in May so we've got a bit of time to sort out where he races heading towards that event." Bettabrown Tiger, prepared by Melissa Maine and driven by her partner Gareth Rattray, was courageous in defeat and he should make his presence felt in whatever he tackles in the coming months. The Todd Rattray-trained Bremusa trailed the leader throughout and stuck to his guns well and will definitely be improved from the run and Debt Till We Part finished fifth. Debt Till We Part is a well put together colt by Santastics Pan (USA) that has improved a great deal from last season and he too should win his share of races. Peter Staples

Victorian harness racing mare Milly Perez also made a one-act affair of the $20,000 George Johnson for fillies and mares in Hobart, Tasmania on Friday night Milly Perez settled last from her outside second-row draw (9) but inside the first lap her trainer-driver Michael Stanley sent her around the field to easily roll to the front and that was the end of the penny section. The well-bred Four Starzzz Shark mare set a solid tempo and hit the line 12 metres clear of Queens Advocate with Courageous Katie a fast-finishing third. "I've only had this mare for about five weeks but as soon as she arrived in the stables I made plans to run her in this race (George Johnson)," Stanley said. "I've been coming to Tasmania for quite a few years and I knew this race was on the calendar so it's mission accomplished. "I'll be aiming her at some of the country cups because she will definitely be up to that class. "There's a bit of scope with her and if we can pick up a couple of wins in features shell pay her way." Peter Staples

Victorian pacer Major Secret delivered everything expected of him to easily win the harness racing Group 2 $50,000 Tasmania Cup in Hobart on Friday night. Major Secret settled just beyond midfield his wide second-row draw but after travelling less than a lap his driver, international reinsman Sidney Van Den Brande, allowed the seven-year-old Art Major stallion more rein and he quickly rounded up the leaders and strolled to the front. When Van Den Brande gave the stallion one flick with the persuader he bounded clear and went on to score almost 19 metres from Roger Ramjet ($21) with No Spring Secrets ($34) over two metres away third and just in advance of Mister Lennox ($21). The Emma Stewart-trained stallion started the $1.22 favourite and many punters rated that a luxury price given what the gelding did to similar opposition at his previous start in Tasmania when an effortless winner of the City of Launceston Cup earlier this month. Stewart did not attend the meeting but Van Den Brande said Major Secret was bound for some of the better country cups at home in Victoria. "I have no doubt Emma (Stewart) has some big country cups in mind for the horse because he is very smart as he showed tonight," Van Den Brande said. "It was a very easy assignment for him tonight because once we rolled to the front he was never going to be seriously challenged." Major Secret covered the 2579 metres in 3m.11.4 for a mile rate of 1.59.4 but he ran home his last half (800m) in 56.6. Van Den Brande has been in Australia for 15 months and for the past six months he has been aligned to the Emma and Clayton Stewart stable The Belgium-born reinsman has driven in five countries but rates Australia the best. "I am very happy here and I have been given the opportunity to drive some very good horses and this one (Major Secret is the best." Peter Staples

Illegal Immigrant produced one of the best efforts harness racing seen on the Hobart circuit this season when he powered his way to an impressive win in a C1 final over 2090 metres on Friday night. With his trainer-owner Troy Hillier in the sulky, the gelded son of American Ideal was set a task when Hillier eased him three-wide at the bell to make his run but he was left stranded and without cover to the homer straight. But the lightly raced five-year-old was up to the task and made it look easy as he cruised alongside the leaders The Aussie and Buster William and went on to defeat Buster William by over five metres with The Aussie seven metres astern. Hillier purchased the gelding from New Zealand for an undisclosed sum but he said the two recent wins had helped pay for well over half the outlay. "I haven't picked out any races in particular for this horse but I know one thing for sure, he's very good," Hillier said. Illegal Immigrant has had 22 starts for five wins and four minor placings but if Hillier's assessment is correct there are a lot more wins in store. Peter Staples

Astute Tasmanian harness racing trainer-driver Ramon Pullen left Tasmania bound for Queensland in search of the warmer weather about 14 years ago but a combination of homesickness and an ailing Queensland harness industry drew him back to his place of birth. He returned with a handful of horses and it was only a matter of time before the winners started to flow. In Hobart last Friday night his talented five-year-old Castor Troy ($9.80) made it successive wins when he powered home from well back to win a C1 over 2090 metres. The gelding settled near the rear of the field but when the second-favourite Flying Wingard ($2.60) eased out three-wide to make his move castor Troy's driver Rodney Ashwood latched onto that horse's back for a ride home. Flying Wingard hit the front half-way up the home straight but when Ashwood got busy on Castor Troy the gelded son of Aces N Sevens slipped into overdrive and powered home to score easily. Castor Troy hit the line 3.2 metres clear of Flying Wingard with Artarama over nine metres away third. Peter Staples

The harness racing connections of talented three-year-old filly Vouvray Beach will aim her at a few of the feature races this season following her impressive first-up win in a combined 3C0-C1 and C0 Pace over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. Vouvray Beach ($1.80) worked home three-wide without cover for the last lap but she just took it in her stride to score by over a metre from race leader Ideal Karalta ($8.60) with Our Triple Asset ($16) over three metres away third. "That was the filly's first outing since May so she will take a lot of benefit from the run going forward," said part-owner Jamie Cockshutt. "The plan is to try and run her through the classes this time in but if she pulls up well from this then she is more than likely going to a fillies and mares' race over 1680m in Launceston next Sunday." It was a heady ride from Ricky Duggan who allowed her to settle midfield in the one-out line before improving to the one-out-one-back spot. With a risk of being pocketed he made his more at the bell to lead the three-wide train and when he moved alongside the leader in the home straight he eventually wore that horse down to score comfortably. Vouvray Beach is owned by Cockshutt in partnership with Barry Cooper and they left the meeting with a double courtesy of their talented four-year-old Jaks Teller keeping his unbeaten record this season intact in a C4-C5 event over 2090 metres. Jaks Teller settled midfield in the one-out line but when his driver Ricky Duggan became unhappy with the tempo he unleashed the four-year-old and he quickly whipped around the field to take control. Once in front he travelled well and when Duggan gave him more rein at the top if the home straight he powered clear and went on to win by almost 320 metres. "I reckon we'll tip Jaks Teller out for a spell now and bring him back to prepare for the Easter Cup," Cockshutt said. Peter Staples

The connections of star four-year-old Tasmanian pacer Jaks Teller will resist the temptation to rush the harness racing Washington VC entire into top company by instead allowing him to gradually make his way through the grades. Jaks Teller took his career win tally to seven from only eight starts when he led almost throughout to score comfortably in a C3-C4 event over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. With Ricky Duggan in the sulky, the four-year-0oold settled midfield from his front-row draw but as soon as Our Classic Mach settled in the lead Duggan sent his charge around the field to take charge. From there on it was little more than a procession as Jaks Teller gave his rivals the slip turning for home and he went on to defeat Our Classic Mach by 7.2 metres with Kvitova Leis almost two metres away third. "We have the Easter Cup in mind for this horse but he is going to have to improve his overall racing manners to get to that goal," said part-owner-0breeder Jamie Cockshutt." He still does a lot wrong so there is no use rushing him into races against the best with him still learning his craft. "There's no need to rush him and if we take our time and let him mature gradually he'll have a much better chance of getting to top company." Jaks Teller again ran about in the home straight but his lead was so great the end result was never in doubt. Cockshutt said Jaks Teller would tackle a C4 in a week or so and when and if he reaches C7-8 class he will be given a spell and then return for a crack at the 2018 Easter Cup in Launceston at the end of March. Peter Staples

One of Tasmania's most exciting harness racing  pacers Jaks Teller will line up in a race at Luxbet Park Hobart tomorrow night with bookmakers predicting the Juanita McKenzie-trained gelding will make it six wins in succession. Early markets have Jaks Teller at the prohibitive price of $1.30 but to some that represents luxury odds. At the four-year-old's most recent outing in Hobart two weeks ago he recorded a mile rate of 1.58.8 over 2090 metres and ran home his last half (800m) in a slick 56.3 seconds which was one of the fastest times recorded by a class three horse this season. While his trainer is trying to keep a lid on the son of Washinton VC's potential it is clear the New Zealand-bred entire has the potential to quickly win his way to open class. Jaks Teller has drawn gate three in a C3-C4 mobile event over 2090 metres and should he find the lead it is hard to see any of his rivals running him down. Even if the speedy Ebonyallstarzzz beats him to the front, Jaks Telller's driver Ricky Duggan can either race outside of the leader or push on for the lead, which would benefit Ebonyallstarzzz because she would then enjoy the run of the race on the leader's back which would enhance her chances of filling a place. Peter Staples  

When lightly raced harness racing three-year-old pacer Streitkid debuted with an all-the-way victory in Hobart two weeks ago his owners Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt were elated. The gelding had to be bottle fed at birth after the mother rejected him and there were other issues so just to see him make it to the races and win first-up was all they could have asked. But last Saturday night at the same venue and in a heat of the Australian Driving Championship, Streitkid did a whole lot more than just mirror his debut performance. He was again able to make full use of the pole position and lead but it was the way he toughed it out when seriously challenged by the highly promising Flying Wingard that had the hairs on the neck of his owners standing to attention. Streitkid enjoyed a comfortable lead but he had Flying Wingard for company over the final 600 metres and when the going got tough 150m from home Streitkid dug deep to stave off the determined challenge. South Australian driver Wayne Hill piloted the gelding to victory and after the race he described the gelded son of American Ideal as "gutsy". "That was one tough effort for horse only having his second start. He was in for the fight and refused to lay down." Streitkid is from the mare Ima Blissfull Hall that was owned and raced by Cooper and Cockshutt. The mare showed a lot as a young horse but injury prevented her from realising her potential. Cockshutt said the Streitkid, prepared by Paul Hill, will be aimed at the 3YO Globe Derby Stakes in May. Peter Staples

The nation’s harness racing spotlight will be fixed firmly on Tasmania on Saturday night as the leading drivers in the land descend on Hobart for the Yabby Dam Racing Australian Drivers Championship. Two drivers from each state will contest the series with points allocated across the six nominated races. The host state will rely on the famous Rattray brothers, Gareth and Todd, to fly the flag for Tasmania and repel the mainland invasion that includes Victorian stars Greg Sugars and Chris Alford along with Queenslanders Shane Graham and Mathew Neilson. Leading female drivers have taken a foothold in the sport with Ellen Rixon selected to represent New South Wales and Danielle Hill suiting up for South Australia. Leading the West Australian assault is the legendary Chris Lewis, one of the star attractions of the championship. Lewis seemed destined for fame in the racing game from birth, born in North Adelaide on the horse’s birthday August 1, 1955. Chris drove his first winner at Kapunda as a 16-year-old in January 1972. A month later he steered home his first city winner at Globe Derby behind Carclew in the South Australian Guineas. It was Chris’s first feature race win, and little did the youngster know that four years later Carclew, trained by his father Allen would give him his first Inter-Dominion Championship, defeating the iron horse and people’s hero Pure Steel at Globe Derby. At 20, Chris became the youngest driver to win Australia and New Zealand’s greatest race and followed up eight years later with The Village Kid at Albion Park. Chris decided a move to Western Australia would allow him to pursue a professional career in the gig, and the rest, as they say, is history. Lewis topped the West Australian Drivers Premiership table again last season, making it ten driving premierships, winning a staggering 214 races, 38 clear of his closest rival Ryan Warwick, who will also represent WA in the championship.  LEGEND: Chris Lewis as won ten West Australian Drivers Premierships and driven more than 50 Group One winners. Lewis got 2017 off to a flying start, with four winners at Bunbury on New Year’s Eve placing him in an exclusive club with Gavin Lang and Chris Alford, reinsmen who have driven more than 5000 winners in Australia.   Chris first drove at Gloucester Park in June 1976 when he took part in the inaugural Australian Young Drivers Championship. He represented Australia in the 2011 World Drivers Championship in the USA and has also driven winners in Moscow. Chris has driven over 50 Group One winners in his career including the Australian Pacing Championship, WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup, WA Derby & Oaks, and WA Golden Slipper Stakes. The West Australian Racing Industry inducted Chris into the Hall of Fame in 2010. By Shane Yates Reprinted with permission of The Advocate

History was created last Sunday at Luxbet Park in Hobart when Shadow Storm and Rohan Hillier flew up the Roberts Bridgewater Sprint Lane to become the first harness racing combination to win. It was only the second meeting that the sprint lane had been in operation since being reintroduced. The previous sprint lane was removed from the Royal Hobart Showgrounds in the early 90’s. One of our newly adopted locals, Destreos was inducted into the Queensland Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday evening. Known around Ken Rattray’s stables as “Dexter”, the star pacer has brought a lot of positive social media attention to the local racing scene and is only four wins away from reaching a century of wins. Like last week, a number of races in Launceston on Sunday are heats into finals for the horses that will be driven by Australia’s best drivers on Yabby Dam Racing Australian Drivers Championship night in Hobart on October 28. The Stars Ricky Duggan – drove two smart pacers to victory on Sunday in Hobart. His first win was aboard the well-supported debutante Streitkid for trainer Paul Hill. Duggan then partnered up with Juanita McKenzie to win with Jaks Teller. Mark Yole – was rewarded with a win on Fernco Bobby G, who has been racing very well of late. Ken Rattray – broke through for his first win since relocating back to Tasmania with Tuxedo Max in Devonport on Friday. Ben Yole – once again dominated the weekend with six winners across the two meetings held in the state. Black Booker Flying Wingard This Badlands Hanover entire was having his first start in the state since crossing Bass Straight to join the stables of Marc Butler. After drawing outside the front line driver Kristy Grant restrained the pacer back to the tail of the field. With a number of horses failing to improve theirposition over the final lap. Grant had to pull Flying Wingard out seven wide turning for home and the pacer let down with a fast finishing burst to finish in third position. Watch the replay here Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action in Devonport on Friday. Jeans Mattjesty 58.74, Im Born To Rule 59.30, Liv Lavish 59.56, Hafter 59.59, Heza Rummage 59.65. Hobart on Sunday. Devendra 56.10, The Dip 56.52, Fernco Bobby G 56.60. Outside of race six; Our Pacquiao 57.46, Flying Wingard and Full Speed Ahead 57.76. View all Tasmanian sectional data here. Trial File Hobart on Sunday Thatswhatshesaid was able to lead all the way to win the trial prior to Sunday’s race meeting. The Taylor Ford driven mare recorded a time of 2:00.0 for the 1609 metre trial. Watch the trial win here. Carrick Park on Monday Promising three-year-old Semowillrev made light work of his 3C0/C0 trial when he led all the way to win by a big margin in a mile rate of 2:01.2 for the 2150-metre event. Other trial winners from the session were Jane Grant (2:08.8) and Buster William (2:04.4). Week Ahead Without a doubt the headline race in Launceston this Sunday will be the Impress Print Stakes which features Tasmania’s best pacers at present. Destreos is still searching for his first win in Tasmania and will no doubt be more suited to the mobile start conditions as will Devendra who recorded the quickest last half mile of the meeting in Hobart last Sunday. Fernco Bobby G who won the discretionary in Hobart last Sunday has come up with barrier two, while Dapper Dana and Im Born To Rule who are both racing well without winning coming up with barriers one and three respectively. The Steve Davis trained Modern Ruler is first up since May and has not been seen at the trials this campaign. The race is set down to be run at 20:33, with the first of nine races to get underway at 17:48. Meanwhile one of the states Inter Dominion hopefuls Pachacuti will line up in a free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday Evening. Last season’s Tasmanian Horse of the Year has been transferred to the Sydney stables of James Rattray. Rattray has been enjoying a great run of success in recent weeks including a training double on Tuesday at Menangle with Tasmanian owned, Glenenise (1:53.6) and Tasmanian bred and owned, Rykov Leis (1:51.9). Also on Saturday evening Tasmanian owned and bred Resurgent Spirit will be chasing his first win in Victoria when he lines up in the $30,000 Swan Hill Cup. If the emergency fails to gain a start the winner of over $194,000 will start from the pole position. He will be driven by former Tasmanian Alex Ashwood. Duncan Dornauf

Shadow Storm became the first horse to win using a sprint lane that came into effect on the harness racing Hobart track two weeks ago. It was only a matter of time before it happened but it probably would have had a greater affect had the winner been one of the favourites. Hobart was the first track in Australia to introduce a sprint lane in the late 1990s when racing was held on the old Royal Showground track and it almost led to a boycott when most drivers and trainers objected to its introduction. The pressure applied by participants was so great it eventually led to the sprint lane's demise but a few years later almost every major track in Australia was installing a sprint lane or passing lane as they were then known. Shadow Storm was friendless in the betting drifting from $21 to start at $46 and one of the rank outsiders. But given a gun run on the back of the leader Johns Legacy, the gelded son of Mr. Feelgood settled well and when presented with the sprint lane at the top of the straight he stormed home to win convincingly from Johns Legacy and Miss Ruthless. Peter Staples  

Prominent harness racing owners Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt have enjoyed plenty of success over the years but in Hobart on Sunday night they celebrated a win that probably meant more to them emotionally than most. Streitkid utilised the pole position draw and with ace reinsman Ricky Duggan in the sulky the gelded son of American Ideal led and gave his rivals a pacing lesson. The three-year-old's dam is Ima Blissful Belle, that was arguably one of the best pacers owned by Cockshutt and Cooper, went amiss early in her career which sent her to an early stud career. "We tried to get the mare in foal five times and failed and I was about to give up but my business partner Barry Cooper convinced me to give the mare one more try and this horse is the result," Cockshutt said. "The mare foaled down at Sue Streit's Elderslie Horse Care property (at Elderslie just north of Hobart) and it was Sue who had to bottle feed this horse when the mare rejected him so it was Sue's late night vigils that helped keep him alive. "We will be forever grateful to Sue (Streit) so we decided to try and have her surname in the colt's name. "We originally tried to secure Streitwise but that was rejected but we got Streitkid." Streitkid ($3 into $2.80) began brilliantly to lead while the favourite Kaliska Leis ($2.60) face the breeze with the other well-backed conveyance Flying Wingard ($5) was taken back to last from an outside front-row draw. Duggan ensured a reasonable tempo but with his charge able to sneak a couple of cheap quarters the gelding had plenty in reserve when called on for a sprint to the line. Streitkid gave his rivals the slip at the top of the home straight and he went on to win by over 10 metres from Hot Shot Bonnie with Flying Wingard flashing home from last to grab third. Peter Staples

W H (Hec) Baker was regarded as one of the best Tasmanian reinsmen to sit in a sulky and in Hobart last night the former great was inducted into the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame at a gala awards ceremony at Luxbet Park. Baker's career covered four decades from 1945 to 1976 during which time he drove 516 winners and was the state's leading driver on two occasions in 1957/8 and 1965/66. He handled the ribbons on a number of outstanding pacers none greater than champion Chamfers Star. The pair combined to capture the 1964 Easter Cup and the 1965 Tasmanian Pacing Championship. Baker won the Tasmanian Derby three times. He won aboard Raider Chimes 1956, Jimmy Maru (1960) and in 1970 he won with Atok. Pipriki was successful in the Danbury Park Cup while Raizaire proved too good in the 1957 Show Cup. Baker also enjoyed triple success in the The Metropolitan Cup with Tasara in 1958, in 1961 with Shannon Bay and again with Karaman in 1974. There were also Dual successes in the Brighton Cup with Hideaway and Prince Chamfer and the Westbury Cup partnering Fantastic and Lulu O'Neill. Baker is regarded as one of the doyens's of Tasmanian Harness Racing and is a deserving inductee to the Hall Of Fame. Peter Staples  

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