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Harness racing trainer Paul Hill will be hoping history can repeat itself when his two smart youngsters Rocknroll Turbo and Playing Arkabella contest the Dandy Patch Stakes and the Evicus Stakes respectively at UBET Park Hobart tonight. Hill won the two features last season with Hillview Jake (Dandy Patch) and Chica Bella and tonight both of his two-year-olds are pre-race favourites. Rocknroll Turbo is owned and was bred by Charlie and Connie Beadman and while they have enjoyed enormous success with youngsters over the years Hill says this colt could be the best they have owned. "Charlie has bred some good ones but Rocknroll Turbo is just a freak," Hill said. "From the first day he came into work he's been a thorough professional and he does everything asked of him with so much ease it's ridiculous. "Charlie had Jerrys Jet as a two-year-old and he was very special and he was just as good at three but I think this colt is better." Rocknroll Turbo has had only two starts for as many wins. He debuted with an impressive win in the Debutante Stakes in Launceston after which Hill sent him for a spell prior to him winning his Dandy Patch Prelude. He meets the same opposition tonight and drawing gate seven on the outside of the front row should pose no problem. "Rocknroll Turbo was probably about 85 per cent right in the Dandy Patch Prelude but he will be spot on tomorrow night." Playing Arkabella also has drawn gate seven in the Evicus final but she too possesses enough early speed to overcome that if connections opt to try and lead but given his she was handled in the Evicus Prelude she will more than likely be driven cold. "Playing Arkabella has had no luck with barrier draws so this is no surprise to draw seven of seven but from there we might have a look for the front but she's probably better sat so the draw is of no great concern," Hill said. Playing Arkabella has won three of her seven starts and she was placed in the other four. The filly impressed with a tough win in the Sweepstakes final two starts back in Hobart last month and her win in the Evicus Prelude at her subsequent outing also was impressive defeating first-starter El Jays Mystery from the Dick Eaves stable. Peter Staples

In-form reins person Kristy Grant is one of 10 of Tasmania's talented group of young drivers to be selected to contest the 2016 BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers' series. Grant is in career best form with 11 wins this season, five of those coming in the past two months and she completed her most successful day at a races with a winning treble in Hobart last Sunday week. The elite group of drivers selected to contest the series Grant, Nicholas Brockman, Adrian Collins, Taylor Ford, Samantha Freeman, Sam Gangell, Braden Howlett, Matthew Howlett, Wade Rattray and Allister Woods with Justin Howlett and Jack Laugher first and second emergencies respectively. The series, for drivers who are eligible to claim a concession, will be held on all three Tasmanian harness racing tracks starting with Devonport on July 1 followed by Hobart two days later and the series concludes at the Launceston meeting on July 10. The group of 10 comprises the top five concession drivers from last season's Junior Driver award and the best five performers this season according to their position on the state drivers' premiership table as at June 5. Three of the drivers to contest the series are on the verge of driving 50 career winners, after which the novice driver concession cannot be utilised. Collins and Matthew Howlett have driven 48 winners each while Brockman has notched 45 wins. Peter Staples

Talented pacer Resurgent Spirit added the Brighton Cup (2579m) to his long list of harness racing feature race wins with a game effort at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit, fresh from his Ascot Gold Cup win a week earlier, faced the breeze for the last 1000 metres but defied the tough task to emerge triumphant over the fast-finishing Remember Joe with race leader Macho Comacho hanging on or third ahead of the favourite Mister Lennox. The Roger Whitmore-trained five-year-old gelding by American Ideal has won six and notched five minor placings from 14 outings this season for about $45,000 with his overall statistics of 24 wins and 10 minor placings from 43 starts for over $175,000 in stakes more impressive. Connections are contemplating an interstate trip for the gelding as the number of suitable races in Tasmania at this time of the year are dwindling. The gelding set a modern day record of the most number of consecutive wins from debut by a juvenile when he accrued 13 wins in succession as a two and early three-year-old of which nine were at two and included the Sweepstakes and Dandy Patch heats and finals. He won at his first four three-year-old starts but fell short in the Tasmanian Derby in which he finished a game third behind New Zealand-bred gelding Outrageous El from the Victorian stable of Adam Kelly. Resurgent Spirit ventured interstate to Victoria for the Breeders Crown 3YO series but he didn't handle the boat trip and finished down the track in a semi-final and then was last of nine in the Consolation final. Whitmore nursed his stable star back to health and given the way he has won three of his last four starts the gelding could make an impact if connections do decide to give him another chance on the mainland. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing free-for-all pacer Resurgent Spirit would only need to mirror his effort to win the Ascot Gold Cup in Hobart last week to repeat the dose at UBET Park on Sunday night. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding led and gave his rivals a pacing lesson to score convincingly from Macho Comacho and this year's Easter Cup winner Riverboat Jasper and on Sunday night he meets a similar field in the Brighton Cup. However instead of drawing the pole position as was the case in the Ascot Gold Cup he has to contend with the outside gate seven. The in-form Mister Lennox has drawn gate three and he has enough early speed to find the front so it that eventuates Resurgent Spirit's driver James Austin would most likely wait the opportunity to circumnavigate the field and work to the breeze. Macho Comacho also has speed but from gate four he would most likely go back if Mister Lennox came out humming from the gate. There is no doubt Resurgent Spirit is the best stayer in the race so if it boiled down to a dogfight over the 2579-metre journey Whitmore's gelding would win nine out of 10 battles. Peter Staples

A split second decision to change driving tactics aboard promising three-year-old harness racing pacer Kwiatkowski paid big dividends at UBET Park Hobart Tasmania on Sunday night. Trainer-driver Christian Salter had notified stewards that he planned to ease Kwiatkowski ($8.30) back at the start from his outside front gate (7) in a 3C1-C0 event over 2090 metres. But when the horses he expected to begin quickly from inside front-row barriers showed no urgency he urged his charge forward and the gelding easily found the front. Once in the lead Salter allowed the gelded son of Tell All to bole along without any pressure being applied and that enabled him to sneak a couple of easy quarters which proved to be a telling factor over the concluding stages of the race. Kwiatkowski went on to score by almost seven metres from Ductape ($3.30) with Streetside Classic just over a metre away third and well clear of the favourite and stablemate of the winner Iden Amrak ($2.80). "I planned to go back from the wide draw but after we'd gone about 50 metres the two on the inside that I expected to vie for the lead were showing no real speed so I decided to have a crack myself and we crossed without spending too much energy," Salter said. "He is very well bred being out of a sister (Cheatin Heart) to a really good producing mare of Mum and Dad's in Alsorosie. "That was only his third win but I have said all along that he is going to be even better at four and five because he can stay and that's going to be a big asset further down the track." Peter Staples

Talented open class pacer Resurgent Spirit gave his harness racing rivals a pacing lesson at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday when he led all the way to win the $10,000 Ascot Gold Cup over 2579 metres. It was the American Ideal gelding's fourth win of the season from eight starts but it took his overall record to 24 wins from 47 outings with 10 minor placings thrown in for good measure. The former star juvenile stepped cleanly from the front line of the standing start to lead comfortably while one of the joint back markers Macho Comacho (Mark Yole) was sent around the field early to keep the leader company. But when driver James Austin released the reins on Resurgent Spirit ($2 fav) the Roger Whitmore-trained gelding forged clear and went on to score by almost three metres from Macho Comacho with Easter Cup winner Riverboat Jasper two metres away third. Resurgent Spirit was unbeaten as a two-year-old from nine starts and he won his first four starts as a three-year-old having his colours lowered for the first time in the 2014 Tasmanian Derby won by New Zealand gelding Outrageous El. Peter Staples

Veteran harness racing trainer Paul Hill has long been regarded as a dab hand with young horses so it came as no surprise that his two-year-old Playing Arkabella powered her way to an impressive win in the Elderslie Horse Care 2YO Sweepstakes final for fillies over 1609m at UBET Park Hobart yesterday. Playing Arkabella was forced to face the breeze outside of the leader Harshali for the entire race but she made light of the task to go on and score by 1-1/4 metres from Harshali with Volkova Leis over eight metres away third. Hill trained last year's fillies'' sweepstakes winner Chica Bella and he also prepared Almost Famous to win the race in 2001. The winner was well driven by Ricky Duggan who was content to allow the filly to race in the "death" but without putting too much pressure on the daughter of Shadow Play. "This filly has done everything I've asked of her since she came into work and today was her best effort because it was tough out there in those windy conditions but she showed her courage," Hill said. "She is going to be a better three-yea-old so everything she's done so far and is likely to do for the rest of her two-year-old season is a bonus." Playing Arkabella was bred by Kareena Blackwell who also owns the filly in partnership with Brad Jones and Ben Rossendell. "I am absolutely rapt because as a breeder you always hope you can get one that can win a feature race so this is the best feeling ever," Blackwell said. "I work at Roberts (rural trader) so I asked a couple of my work mates Brad Jones and Ben Rossendell to be part of a syndicate to race this filly so they'll both be thrilled." Peter Staples

Well bred two-year-old pacer Williamtell delivered a workmanlike harness racing performance to win the Elderslie Horse Care colts and geldings division of the 2YO Sweepstakes at UBET Park Hobart today. Williamtell had to pull out all stops to stave off a determined Usain Jolt to defeat that gelding by a neck with outsider Really Frank a distant third. The Paul Ashwood-trained Tell All gelding was taken straight to the front from gate two by Gareth Rattray and when he kicked clear turning for home he looked set to win easily. But the lightly raced Tony Petersen-trained Usain Jolt (James Austin) unleashed a powerful sprint over the final 100 metres to almost nab the leader on the line. Ashwood said Williamtell had been set for the race and he wasn't fussed by the narrow winning margin. "It was tough going out there today. He led and did all the tough work in front while the other horse (Usain Jolt) has come off his back and had cover for almost all of the race," Ashwood said. The conditions were made tough by the near gale-force winds that swept across the track during the race. "I couldn't have asked any more of this horse and he will now head to the Dandy Patch (2YO Sires Stakes series) and then have a spell," Ashwood said. Williamtell will now head to the Dandy Patch (sires stakes) series after which Ashwood said the gelding would be spelled. Peter Staples  

When well-bred two-year-old pacer Williamtell won the Golden Slipper in Launceston in late March it came as a surprise to most harness racing punters who invested heavily on his stablemate Offthetopofmyhead that was sent out the $1.15 favourite. But at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday Williamtell is likely to start favourite to win the colts and geldings division of the $20,000 Elderslie Horse Care 2YO Sweepstakes over 1609 metres. Williamtell won the Golden Slipper convincingly at only his second race start and he has since gone on to finish third to Swap Me at his first start on the Hobart track in a Sweepstakes Prelude before winning an open two-year-old event in Launceston last Sunday night. The Paul Ashwood-trained Tell All gelding has drawn barrier two and will be driven by Gareth Rattray who has been in the sulky for all four of the gelding's starts. "I am pleased with my horse's draw and while he hasn't had to be used up early at his four starts so far he has good natural gate speed and I would expect that to be called on for this race," Ashwood said. "I don't know that he can lead but he is the sort of horse that could face the breeze if he had to and still win. "He needed the run in Launceston last Sunday night to top him off for this race." The Rohan Hillier-trained Solid as a Rock has been placed second at all of his four starts but he still looms as Williamtell's main danger on the strength of his gallant second to Swap Me in the Sweepstakes Prelude in Hobart two weeks ago. Solid as a Rock has drawn gate five on the front row while Swap Me has drawn the outside of the back row (10) from where he will need to be driven for luck by Hall of Fame reinsman Ricky Duggan. The Tony Petersen-trained Usain Jolt has drawn the coveted pole position and should he show enough early speed to take advantage of the draw he could surprise at odds. The fillies division of the Sweepstakes boasts only five starters but all are capable of winning. All are winners with the exception of the Shelley Barnes-trained Volkova Leis that has had two starts for a debut third and a last-start fourth behind Resurgent Dream in the Sweepstakes Prelude two weeks ago. Playing Arkabella from the Paul Hill stable was second in the Sweepstakes Prelude (1609m), beaten almost five metres, while Harshali was third but about 12 metres astern and two metres ahead of Volkova Leis. Resurgent Dream, a full sister to former star juvenile Resurgent Spirit (American Ideal-Resurgent Star), is trained by Marc Butler but is owned by her breeder Roger Whitmore who still trains Resurgent Spirit that goes around in the Ascot Gold Cup on Sunday's 10-even program. Peter Staples

With 28 harness racing meetings remaining trainer Ben Yole only needs to retain his present strike rate to prepare 100 or more winners for the 2015-16 season. Yole has a stranglehold on the trainer's title having prepared 66 winners and in Launceston on Friday and Hobart on Sunday he has a number of genuine winning chances that could see him with 70 or more wins as at the end of April. He has notched an average of 8.25 wins per month since the season started in September last year so at the same rate he would reach the century. Yole also has prepared 66 seconds and as many third placegetters along with 75 fourths for total stake earnings of $376,462 which is well over double the next best ($168,534) delivered by Todd Rattray who has produced 23 winners and 52 minor placegetters. Yole made a decision last year to secure horses on a regular basis from interstate and turn them over quickly and so far the exercise has delivered the desired result. He will take a team of 13 to Hobart on Sunday night of which five are engaged in the penultimate race on the seven-event card and four in the last. Happy Schnapps is one of his three starters in race four, a C3-C4 over 2090 metres, and provided driver Adrian Collins can secure a one-out spot early with cover the gelding could make a welcome return to the winner's circle. In Launceston on Friday night Yole will take 18 to the meeting at the UBET Racing Centre and again he has multiple runners in many of the 10 races. Check out Jamie Cockshutt's tips at Punter's Corner. Peter Staples

Tasmanian Hall of Fame harness racing driver Ricky Duggan will be back in the cart in Hobart on Sunday night after spending three weeks on the sidelines as a result of a nasty race fall. Duggan was rendered unconscious when the sulky wheel of a horse he was driving in a race in Hobart clipped a fallen horse that sent him crashing to the track. He was rushed to hospital where scans revealed no bone damage but he suffered serious bruising and some ligament damage to his heel and foot as well as bruising to his upper body. Duggan, 46, was off work for two weeks but returned to his role as groundsman with the Derwent Valley Council on Tuesday. "I don't remember too much about the fall other than being hurled through the air and landing on one foot and then thumping head first into the track," Duggan said. "I've had worse injuries from falls but none that have been this painful. "I pretty much couldn't move for a few days and the pain was excruciating. "I've still got a bit of a limp but I'm getting better by the day," he said. Duggan resumes driving in Hobart on Sunday night where he has six drives on the seven-race program. He has driven 50 winners so far this season and trails Mark Yole by only five so he remains a chance to win another driver's premiership. "I think Mark (Yole) has the premiership in the bag because I don't go to Devonport meetings as a rule so realistically he will have a better chance of winning the title and that would be great for him," Duggan said. One of Duggan's drives on Sunday is the Tony Petersen-trained Dapper Dana that hasn't started for two years but the gelding is reported to be working well and is expected to show up from his front-row draw. Peter Staples

Former New South Wales three-year-old pacer Code Black tuned up for the Tasmanian Derby with an impressive harness racing victory in a CO Pace over 2200m in Launceston last Sunday night. The colt had previously been trained in Sydney by Luke McCarthy after beginning his career in Victoria but is owners Danny Zavitsanos, of Geelong, and Warren Viney, of Spreyton, opted to send him to leading Tasmanian trainer Ben Yole for a tilt at the Tasmanian Derby ``Luke (McCarthy) told me that he was a pretty good horse but a rung below the superstars,'' Yole said. ``Hopefully we can keep him down here for a while because our prizemoney is better than a lot of the restricted-class races up there.'' Although Code Black didn't win by a great margin from El Major and Fleshing, driver Mark Yole said it was good enough. "The colt only does what he has to," Mark Yole said. ``If you look at his record, none of his wins have been by huge margins.' While the Yole team was happy with Code Black's effort so was El Major's trainer Paul Ashwood who says his horse also is in top shape for the Tasmanian Derby to be run at UBET Park Hobart next Sunday night. "I thought my horse's run from a second-row draw was good and that will have topped him off nicely for the Derby," he said.   Peter Staples

Leading Tasmanian harness racing trainer Ben Yole added another win to his season's tally at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night to take his season tally to 58 for what should be an unbeatable lead in the race for the trainer's premiership. His younger brother Mark Yole also leads the driver's premiership table with 46 wins courtesy of a double on Sunday night that included Jane Grant. Mark also partnered the Steve Lukac-trained Pockets of Courage to victory in the Sires Produce final over 2090 metres. However, Yole is only one win clear of Ricky Duggan who is having another stellar season. Duggan is aligned with good stables as he sets out to snare his fifth driver's premiership. The Yole brothers have dominated the first half of the season and younger brother Tim also has been notching his fair share of winners in the sulky. Jane Grant, owned by the Woods Family from Fingal, delivered a first class effort to win. She settled back in the field from her wide front-row draw (6) but when Yole called on her for the big effort in the back straight the last time she improved three-wide without cover and kept finding under strong driving in the home straight. Jane Grant hit the line a metre clear of Mavis Merle who also came from well back, with race leader Pharoahs Daughter hanging on for third a head away. Given the ease with which Jane Grant picked up the leaders over the concluding stages there should definitely be more wins in store in the coming weeks. Peter Staples

Victorian three-year-old filly Dancingwithsierra signalled she has arrived as a genuine Group 1 harness racing contender when she led throughout to win the $30,000 Group 3 Tasmanian Oaks over 2579 metres at UBET Park Hobart last night. With Chris Alford in the sulky the well-bred filly by Modern Art prepared at Toolern Vale by Gary Hoban gave her rivals a pacing lesson on her way to her first Group win, scoring by 11 metres from Gina Grace with Chica Bella a distant third with the winner clocking a mile rate of 2.01.43 and ran home her last half (800m) in 57.91. "She is not a big filly but she has tremendous speed and she has good stamina so I'm confident she will be very competitive in races like the Victorian Oaks and the Breeders Crown series," said driver Chris Alford. "Speed is definitely her biggest asset and once she landed in front tonight and nothing took us on seriously I knew she would be very hard to beat. Dancingwithsierra ($1.50 fav) led easily while the well-backed Gina Grace ($4.90) worked hard to face the breeze two laps from home with Chica Bella ($4.90) content to take the sit in the one-out-one-back position. When Gina Grace's driver Mark Yole tried to apply pressure heading down the back stretch the leader picked up the pace and when Alford released the brakes at the top of the home straight his filly powered clear and hit the line without being fully extended. The winner was bred by her trainer and is raced by his son Craig Hoban. "We bred this filly from a mare we raced with some success (Sierra Tango) and she has already proven herself at stud with this filly and her next foal that is a half-brother that we are hoping will win some good two-year-old races this season," Craig Hoban said. Peter Staples

Well bred harness racing colt Buster Bruv delivered a superb performance on debut to score a runaway win in the One Spirit-One Club-One Family Cripps waratah Pace over 1609 metres at UBET Park Hobart tonight. The Dylan Ford-trained youngster stepped straight to the front from the pole position and with the trainer's younger sister Taylor Ford in the cart he gave nothing else a chance as he stormed to an effortless win over Sweptunderdacarpet and Playing Arkabella. Buster Bruv had trialled well leading up to his debut and he was well backed firming from $4 to start the $3.20 second favourite behind the Paul Hill-trained Playing Arkabella Buster Bruv is by Santastics Pan from the well-bred mare Little Marina (Live or Die-Homeleigh) who won five and was placed 12 times from 45 starts. Peter Staples

Tasmanian harness racing trainer Marc Butler has his sights set on winning the Allen Williams Memorial final at Devonport this Sunday night after his four-year-old Notonasunday scored an effortless all-the-way win in a heat of the series at UBET Park Hobart last night. Notonasunday showed good gate speed to lead from barrier three and once In front driver Mark Yole rated the gelded son of Aces N Sevens superbly to score by almost five metres from Baldock with Karalta Delux almost two metres away third. "I bought this horse about six months ago as an entire and for not a lot of money but after a couple of starts I realised he was pinching himself so I had him gelded and he has been different horse ever since," Butler said. "If he can draw near the inside of the front row in Sunday's final at Devonport he can win." The Allen Williams memorial series is restricted to maidens and horses that have not won a race that carried more than $3000 in stakes. The remaining heat winners were Barooga Jezza, Coccinella, Gods Sake, Ductape and Pageantry. Barooga Jezza won his heat in Launceston last Sunday night producing a mile rate of 2.02.7 with Maybe Charlie likely to make the final in Launceston next Sunday night as one of the four fastest seconds. Ductape from the Ben Rossendell stable is likely to start favourite in the final on the strength of his impressive heat win in Hobart two weeks ago in which Maravilloso ran second and will more than likely earn a final berth. The Ben Yole-trained Coccinella also produced a good mile rate of 2.02.2 in winning his heat in Hobart with second-placed Guestamate another likely finalist based on times. Gods Sake qualified for the final when he won his heat at Burnie where he clocked a mile rate of 2.05.1 and comfortably defeated Art of my Art. The Grant Hodges-trained Pageantry cruised into the final with a commanding win in his heat in Devonport but clocked a modest mile rate of 2.06.3. The four fastest second placegetters from the six heats also will tackle the final with the field to be released on Wednesday. Peter Staples

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