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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

Mavis Merle continued her love affair with the harness racing track at Luxbet Park Hobart last night when she stormed home to win the Sutter Hanover Pace over 2090 metres. Of the mare's eight career wins six have been on the spacious Hobart circuit. The Bradley Walters-trained mare stepped safely from her 20-metre handicap and driver James Austin urged her forward early to face the one-out line while Last Guy Standing stepped straight to the front. With a lap remaining Mavis Merle received cover when Austin eased back to ,allow Rockbank Dancer to slip off the fence to face the breeze but that was short-lived when Martys For Real also left the fence to take up that role leaving Mavis Merle three back in the one-out line. But when Ricky Duggan opted to send his charge and race favourite Zumba Bromac ($3.60) around the field to head the three-w-de train, Austin stayed in on Mavis Merle ($4.10) which looked to be a risky move. Last Guy Standing began to feel the pressure when it was applied in the home straight with Zumba Bromac about to claim the lead. However, Mavis Merle was poised to pounce and when Austin angled her out to challenge she sprinted quickly and went on to score by over a metre from Zumba Bromac with outsider Tizyalator working home well to grab third ahead of Last Guy Standing and the luckless Sir Dasher Dee. It was the Pacific Fella mares fourth win in six stats and given her ability to handle standing starts Walters is likely to target some of the country cups with the mare over the December-January period. The mare has won eight from 32 with 10 minor placings for over $55,000 in stakes. Peter Staples

Lightly raced six-year-old harness racing pacer Baldock gave his new owners plenty to cheer about when he powered his way to an impressive win in the Crown Lager Pace over 2090 metres in Hobart on Sunday night. With multiple premiership-winning driver Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Baldock faced the breeze early before Rattray pushed on to find the front but he was forced to take hold and take a trail when Safari Sunshine pressured for the lead. When the leaders moved clear turning for home Baldock lost ground but when Rattray balanced his charge for the run home the gelding ran on powerfully to score by over three metres Lockaway Kacie and Safari Sunshine. It was Baldock's first start for Marc Butler who purchased the horse after one of his close friends inquired about racing a horse. "My mate was keen to get a horse so I looked around and found Baldock that was with trainer Heath Szczypka who had him for sale," Butler said. "My mate got a few workmates involved and I'm sure they were all rapt with the horse's first start for the group. "I got him about three months ago and it's taken a bit of time to work him out but I reckon from what he showed us tonight he can win a few races. "He wobbled a bit around the corner tonight and lost ground but I should be able to straighten that out. "We can't take any notice of his time tonight because the wind was so strong they were lucky to stay on their feet." Gale force winds swept across the rack early in the night and were probably at their worst for the first three races. Baldock (Christian Cullen-The Summer Wind) had 38 starts for a win and a dozen minor placings before making his way to Butler's stables at Dysart. Peter Staples

Resurgent Spirit returned to harness racing after a five-month lay-off with a brilliant win in an open discretionary handicap over 2579 metres at Hobart on Sunday night. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding was spelled after winning the Brighton Cup in May that followed a game victory in the Plunkett Family Ascot Gold Cup. The gelded son of American Ideal was a star juvenile who was unbeaten in nine starts as a two-year-old and he won his first four starts as a three-year-old before suffering his first defeat in the Tasmanian Derby. On Sunday night he stepped well from his 10-metre handicap and after travelling 600 metres his driver James Austin sent the gelding charging around the field to take up the running. He looked vulnerable on the home turn but when he was seriously challenged 200 metres out he dug deep and was drawing clear of his rivals on the line to score by over three metres. Resurgent Spirit has notched 26 wins and 10 minor placings from 45 starts for $182,732 in stakes. Peter Staples

Underrated harness racing mare Followthewind repaid her staunch followers with an effortless all-the-way win at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Followthewind had strung together a bunch of minor placings since winning in Hobart in early July but with the aid of the pole position (barrier one) the five-year-old mare was able to find the lead and driver Ricky Duggan had no trouble in dictating the speed of the race. After being left alone in front Followthewind slipped clear at the top of the home straight and went on to score by almost six metres from Campaign Drive with Im Justforyou over four metres astern. It was a bold display of front-running with the daughter of Mister Big (USA) scampering over the 1680 metres in 2m.05.2s for a sub two-minute mile rate of 1.59.9. Followthewind is owned and raced by Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt who have enjoyed a lot of success since they teamed up about five years ago. Followthewind has won eight of her 21 starts as well as nine minor placings for almost $50,000 in stakes. There was a lot to like about Followthewind's latest win but the run of Buriton Bailey also caught the eye, coming from well back to finish fifth and only 11 metres from the winner. Look for Buriton Bailey in the coming weeks and especially if the 10-year-old draws the front line. Peter Staples

Harness racing Tasmanian reinsman Ricky Duggan enjoyed one of is best nights at the office in two years when he ended the 10-race harness racing program in Hobart on Sunday night with five winners. It is the second time Duggan has bagged five winners with the only other time coming at a similar Hobart meeting in August 2014. The most surprising aspect of his quintet of wins was that they were all at decent each-way odds. Master Doc won the opening event starting at $12 and he guided Something Eyre home in the following race at $6 and at the expense of the $1.20 favourite The Bettormack. Midway through the program he partnered the Juanita McKenzie-trained mare Zumba Bromac to a stirring win at $9 and Olwen Jaccka saluted in the following event at $13. His longest-priced winner was Cheshire Cat in the ninth event that went around at $14 after opening at $21. Had anybody had a $1 all-up bet on Duggan's five winners they would have collected $117,936. "It was just one of those nights where everything just panned out perfectly for all of my winners in the run," Duggan said. "At the start of the meeting I thought I had two genuine winning chances and a couple of decent each-way hopes." Duggan had nine drives at the meeting and produced five winners and two minor placegetters but his minor placegetters were $2 favourite Merlene Oh that finished third in her race (8) while Angela De Marco ($2.60 equal favourite in the last race on the card. "It could have been my best night ever had the two favourites won," Duggan said. Peter Staples

Todd Rattray produced a training-driving treble at the harness racing meetings at Luxbet Park Hobart, Tasmania, last Sunday night that included another impressive win by his unbeaten Bettor's Delight two-year-old Hafter. His other winners were Guesstamate in a C-1 and The Bettormack. Hafter is unbeaten from four starts but Rattray is confident the well-bred two-year-old gelding will be even better next season. "He has done all we've asked of him this season but we've always been of the opinion he will be a better three and four-year-old," Rattray said. "This was probably his best win because we sat back for the first bit of the race in the small field and when I asked him to sprint and get around them he ran to them quickly and when Christian (Salter)'s horse kicked up he had to do a bit of work to the front. "But in the end he won well so we'll go to a $10,000 race in Launceston next Sunday night, if it holds up, then tip him out for a spell." Guesstamate, a three-year-old filly by Rock n Roll Heaven and owned by long-time stable client Barry Stewart, had been placed five times before this maiden win. The Betttormack had been unplaced at his two previous starts in standing start races but back to a mobile start he was untroubled to score comfortably in a C4-C5 event over 1609 metres. "I think we'll definitely concentrate on mobile starts with The Bettormack but it might not be long before he heads off to Sydney to join my brother James' stable." Ricky Duggan also drove a treble at the meeting while Todd's older brother Gareth Rattray drove a double. Peter Staples

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