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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

Former Victorian Ben Yole joined elite company at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night when he became only the fourth harness racing trainer in the code's history to prepare 100 winners in a season. Yole celebrated the milestone when his five-year-old Lake Eyre ($18.70) powered home to win the Ian Blackburn Pace with his younger brother Mark Yole in the sulky. Only Hall of Famers Wayne Rattray, his son Barrie Rattray and Neville Webberley are the others credited with having trained 100 winners. Yole moved permanently to Tasmania about 10 years ago with the hope of resurrecting his training career after five years in his home state had produced only modest results. "Training 100 winners is just an amazing result for us and it is certainly way more than we ever imagined we could get at the start of the season," Yole said. "Halfway through the season I was rapt because the plan we had of turning the horses over once they met their mark and taking a punt to buy horses we thought would suit Tasmania, was starting to pay off. "But achieving this has taken a team effort from a lot of dedicated people. "My brothers Tim and Mark do a hell of a lot of work and my Dad (Wayne) is a huge help and then there's Tony McHenry who is there every day to help work the horses. Yole transported 19 horses to last night's meeting and that has been a regular occurrence this season. "It's a 15-hour day for everyone when we've got so many horses at a meeting and, to be honest, if I didn't have the personnel that I have at the stable it just wouldn't happen." Lake Eyre settled in the back half of the field from his wide front-tow draw while stablemate Pushkin ($24) ensured a solid tempo when he raced to the lead 1400m from home with the odds-on favourite ($1.80) content to face the breeze. When the pace slowed just over a lap from home Lake Eyre's driver Mark Yole sent his charge three wide to try for the lead but Ricky Duggan aboard the favourite wasn't about to surrender the "death". Lake Eyre was three wide to the home straight but hit the front and then found the courage to stave off all challengers to on and defeat Followthewind by a metre with Pushkin hanging on for third. Peter Staples

Lightly raced four-year-old pacer Demonstrative (Rod Ashwood) broke his maiden status at Luxbet Park Hobart yesterday with a game harness racing win in the Gerald Glover Pace over 2090 metres. Despite having to face the breeze in bleak conditions the Eric Jacobson-trained gelding forged to the lead in the home straight and went on to score by over a metre from the favourite Major Jamane ($2.10) with Never Unachievable ($8) a close-up third and just in advance of Bertils Bliss. Demonstrative (Western Ideal-Luvi Duvi Lombo) was having his third run back from a spell and he was well-backed to win the race. "The horse has been working well and we thought he could lead, in fact our confidence was based on him leading but when he was left facing the breeze I had some doubts he would stick it out," Jacobson said. "But to his credit he was strong over the final 200 metres when he was probably entitled to fade a bit, so all in all it was a very pleasing run." It was an overdue win for the stable but Jacobson, who in his heyday was vying for trainer's premierships, said the wins these days are just a bonus. "I'm pretty much retired these days with only four horses to work and that suits me. "Demonstrative is no world beater but he's improved to the point where he can probably win another couple but all four of the horses I have in the stable are in the same boat and all are pretty much paying their way." Demonstrative is owned and raced by Shane Hildebrand and Mick Jones who are two of his most loyal stable clients. Peter Staples  

Talented harness racing pacer Little Jethro is probably one of the best named horses going around in the Michal Smith Pace at Luxbet Park Hobart today. The pint-sized gelding from the Rod Plunkett stable is usually dwarfed by his opposition but when given the right run in a race his powerful finishing burst more than makes up for lack of height. Little Jethro scored his last win in Launceston in mid June when he proved too strong in a C2-C4 event over 2200 metres and today he meets slightly weaker company than he has been racing against of late. He followed his win in Launceston with a close-up fourth in a much stronger grad (C4-C6) and was unlucky not to have finished closer to the winner and he has been competitive from awkward draws at three subsequent starts. Today he starts from outside the second row in gate 10 but that should be a bonus as he follows out last-start winner Rockbank Dancer that led throughout when able to cross from the wide gate on the front row in Hobart last Sunday night. "It looks a nice race for him and if we get the luck he needs in the run then he's a good winning chance," Plunkett said. Little Jethro will be driven by John Walters who is having his best season in over a decade. He is a quality senior driver who has been given more opportunities since he won the Group 3 Easter Cup in Launceston aboard Riverboat Jasper in March. Walters partnered Rockbank Dancer to victory last Sunday night but he was already booked to drive Little Jethro when Rockbank Dancer's trainer Christian Salter decided to enter his horse for today's assignment. "My horse is on a five day back-up and I've never done that with him before but he is starting to mature and if he is to progress through the classes he's going to have to get used to this type of racing," Salter said. "He pulled up great from last Sunday night's race so from gate three we will be looking to find the front and if that happens I reckon he's the one to beat even though he's stepping up quite a bit in class." The Juanita McKenzie-trained Zumba Bromac should be improved by her first-up effort in Hobart last Sunday night to finish fifth to Rockbank Dancer. The four-year-old was held up when trying to improve but finished off well in the home straight. Other winning chances in the race are Alpinion, Future Promises and Origin Billy. The first race is scheduled to start at 2.08 pm (AEST) with the last of eight at 6.02 and all races will be broadcast on Sky 1. Peter Staples

Experienced Tasmanian reinsman John Walters celebrated a double at Luxbet Park Hobart last Sunday night to take his harness racing season tally to 34 which is the highest he has been on the premiership table in over a decade. He partnered outsider Rockbank Dancer ($22) to an all-the-way win in the Eddie Hook Pace for C1-C2 pacers over 2090 metres and Walters capped the night when he guided the $2.60 favourite Another Derek to an all-the-way win in the CUB Pace (2090m) after taking advantage of the pole position. While Walters has always been considered a quality reinsman he hasn't always been able to get behind the better quality horses but this season he has excelled and it probably has a bit to do with him winning the $40,000 Group 3 Easter Cup aboard Riverboat Jasper. Walters's father Harry won an Easter Cup aboard Andy Cast in 1976 so when John matched that feat it boosted his confidence to an all-time high. "There's no doubt winning the Easter up to accomplish something that my Dad did was a special moment for me and the records say we are only the second father and son to have won an Easter Cup so that's quite special," Walters said. "There's probably a few reasons why I am getting more drives these days and one is that there aren't as many senior experienced drivers around like there was a few years ago. "I am enjoying my driving more than ever and it would be fair to say that driving winners makes you keener and this is probably the most winners I have ever driven in a season," he said. Walters, 53, is a great judge of pace and when aboard a horse with stamina he is hard to beat if able to lead, although his drive to emulate his late father's feat in this year's Easter Cup was arguably his best in years. With 10 meetings remaining this season Walters is in sixth place on the premiership table courtesy of him having driven 34 winners but he also has finished second 29 times and snared 37 third placings for stake earnings of $226,728. Peter Staples  

Faithful Garby spent almost a year out of the harness racing winner's circle but at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night she bounced back with a vengeance. She scored an effortless win in the Mark Geeves Pace over 2579 metres scoring by almost 17 metres from Remember Joe with Sapphire Swayze a close-up third. The mare spent almost a year campaigning in Victoria and New South Wales producing a few minor placings before returning to Tasmania at the end of April. She spent just over four months in the care of James Rattray who campaigned the five-year-old at Menangle where she two minor placings and a couple of fourths from eight outings. Now back with Melissa Maine at Latrobe, Faithful Gabby has had four starts with two seconds leading up to this latest win suggesting she is on track to keep winning back in her home state. Faithful Gabby has won 10 and been placed as many times from only 30 starts for just over $90,000 in stakes with her biggest win the $30,000 Group 3 Granny Smith final in Devonport last year. Peter Staples

Harness racing driver Adrian Collins left it until the last minute to win his first BOTRA Novice Drivers Challenge series at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday. It was Collins' last chance to win a novice drivers series as he is only one win away from losing his claim. Collins, 39, won the fourth of the five-heat series aboard Little Bit Of Big and despite finishing last in the fifth and final heat he had done enough to score a one-point win over Matthew Howlett. "I'd like to thank all the trainers for giving me the opportunity to drive their horses," Collins said. "I've come close to winning a couple of novice driver series but fell short by a couple of points." It was a drama-packed series finale with the first of Sunday's two heats was marred by a nasty fall approaching the home turn. Series leader heading into the last two heats was Kristy Grant but she suffered facial lacerations and bruising when her charge Kamili raced roughly before crashing to the track and Heavenly Rock with Samantha Gangell aboard, was unable to avoid the fallen horse and crashed into the flaying sulky of the fallen horse. Gangell had a very heavy fall and was knocked unconscious. She lay motionless on the track for a long time before being taken to hospital with concussion and remained in hospital for x-rays on her shoulder. Grant was lucky to escape with only cuts and abrasions but she was more concerned about not winning the series because she was adamant her charge would have won the race. "I really thought my horse was going to win but I just couldn't steer her," Grant said. Two replacements were required for the fifth and final heat but only one claiming driver, Ken Hall, was on course and, after a ballot, it was determined that he would drive Olivers Mate while Christian Jaz had to be withdrawn.. Jack Laugher won the final heat on Frankie Falzoni who came from last at the bell to beat Fortino and Sign No More. The top six points scorers for the series were: 43 Adrian Collins, 42 Matthew Howlett, 38 Adam Woods, 33 Nicholas Brockman, 29 Kristy Grant, 28 Wade Rattray. Peter Staples

One of the most impressive winners on the nine-event harness racing program in Tasmania at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night was the Tommy Jackson-trained Finn Mac Kee (Stonebridge Regal-Scarlett Finn) who led throughout to easily win a C2 event over 1609 metres. It was Finn Mac Kee’s fifth win from only 13 starts but arguably his most impressive. The four-year-old is expected to have one more start in a C-2C3 in Launceston in a couple of weeks before being sent for a spell. “I’ll most likely give him one more start and then spell him but when I bring him back I’ll get him qualified from a standing start because I’d like to aim him at a few of the country cups over the Christmas-New Year period next season,” Jackson said. Finn Mac Kee has been a model of consistency this season winning four and being placed as many times from his 11 starts this time in. “I said early on that this horse could be the best I’ve had and he’s done nothing to change that opinion. “I don’t think he’ll have any problem with qualifying for standing start races and if I’m right he will be very compeitive in a few of the country cups. I’m not saying he’s up to the best but he is improving all the time and he loves to race,” he said. ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Veteran Tasmanian harness racing trainer Paul Hill has always had a knack with producing top flight young horses and this season has been no exception with his star filly Playing Arkabella scoring an emphatic win in the $30,000 Evicus Stakes final over 1609 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Hill won the race last year with his filly Chica Bella and while she was impressive throughout her two-year-old season there was as much to like about how Playing Arkabella went about her business in the last major feature juvenile race of the season. With Ricky Duggan aboard, Playing Arkabella ($1.50) was forced to work hard early from her outside front-row draw but eventually she was sent around the field to face the breeze outside of Harshali with the well-tried El jays Mystery on the back of the leader. When Duggan called on his filly for the big effort in the home straight she sped clear and went on to score by over 10 metres from El Jays Mystery ($7.80) with Harshali ($7.70) a short half-head away third. It was the filly’s fourth win from eight starts this season and she filled minor placings at her other four starts with this prizemoney from this latest win taking her career earnings to almost $46,000.. Hill prepared the favourite Rocknroll Turbo in the Dandy patch final but he had to settle for second to the highly promising Usain Jolt, depriving Hill of a record of preparing the winner of the Dandy Patch and Evicus two years in succession as he trained Hillview Jake to win last season's Dandy Patch. ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ A Tasmanian harness racing star may have emerged at UBET Park Hobart last night when Usain Jolt, a well-bred two-year-old prepared by astute horseman Tony Petersen, delivered a brilliant performance to win the $30,000 Dandy Patch Stakes over 1609 metres. Usain Jolt (James Austin) went into the race having not won from four previous starts while the favourite Rocknroll Turbo was aiming to keep his unbeaten record intact having won at his only two outings, including an effortless win in the Dandy Patch Prelude two weeks earlier. But Petersen was able to iron out a couple of little problems that were impeding the gelding to race truly and it made all the difference. Harjeet showed brilliant early speed to lead but he was then taken on by the second-favourite Williamtell (Gareth Rattray) that rolled to the front and set a slid tempo while the favourite Rocknroll Turbo faced the breeze. Rocknroll Turbo hung badly throughout the race and that didn’t help his cause but when Ricky Duggan gave Usain Jolt his head racing down the back the last time he loomed as a genuine contender. But when the gelded son of Village Jolt balanced for the run home he powered past the leaders and went on to defeat Rocknroll Turbo by eight metres with a similar margin to Williamtell. “This horse has always shown us good ability but he’s just been a little bit wayward in is action but I sorted that out leading up to this race,” Petersen said. “He is very well bred and his breeding goes back to Chamfer Star and that’s really solid.” Austin was thrilled with the win and predicts a bright future for gelding. “The way this horse ravelled into the race tonight he was never going to lose. Tony has been able to straighten him out and I reckon there’s still plenty of improvement in him,” Austin said. Usain Jolt is owned by Jacinta Webb, Deb Carlton and life partners Tammy Carlton and Sam King. Peter Staples

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

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