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CALL THE MARSHALL gave an indication that he will be competitive in next Sunday's $40,000 Easter Cup final with an impressive all-the-way win in his heat over 2698 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight (Sunday). With leading reinsman Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Call The Marshall ($2.90) stepped brilliantly from gate four to find the lead and he was never headed on his way to a comfortable win over the heavily backed Dapper Dana ($2.05 fav) with Falco Peregrinus ($8.50) doing his best work over the concluding stages for a close-up third. Call The Marshall was coming off a win over last year's Easter Cup winner Biggernbettermax in a discretionary handicap in Launceston but this latest victory was even more impressive. The other heat was taken out by the Dick Eaves-trained mare Arts Bliss that also led all the way but at the sweet odds of $13. Arts Bliss has been a consistent mare in lower grades but eaves has said all along that he was keen to get her to the Easter Cup because she is tough and that she was just starting to deliver in her races. The mare by Blissfull Hall from Arts Darling (x Perfect Art) won the Scottsdale Cup in January and followed up with a game win in a discretionary handicap in Launceston about four weeks later. She went into this race on the back of a game second in the Sylvan Lass over 2090 metres in Hobart behind Dapper Dana. Arts Bliss held on to defeat dead-heaters Our Chain of Command and back marker (off 40m) Motu Crusader. But the biggest run in the race was that of fourth-placed Saab Quality that missed the start at least 60 metres. The Daryl Bates-trained gelding made up the lost ground and crept along the rails once he tacked on and when driver John Walters called on him for an effort in the home straight he flashed home along the rails to finish fourth. The $40,000 Examiner Easter Cup will be run over 2698 metres in Launceston next Sunday night (Easter Sunday). By Peter Staples

THE harness race meeting at the TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night boasts heats of the Easter Cup and the Raider Stakes for four-year-olds. The two Easter Cup heats (races 4 & 5) have produced fields of eight and seven respectively with last year's winner Biggernbettermax off the back mark of 20 metres in heat one while dual Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader will have to contend with a back mark of 40 metres in heat two with Our Chain Of Command off 30 metres. Biggernbettermax raced in New South Wales late last year and up to the end of January where he failed to win a race but he was sent back to trainer Barrie Rattray's property in February for another crack at the Easter Cup. The first heat boasts a handy line-up including the promising Dapper Dana that has drawn the pole position but this is his first test in the silk department. Zeke Slater's latest stable tenant The Adriatic has drawn gate two and he could be competitive along with the Keith Toulmin-trained Falco Peregrinus that could not have been more impressive in winning the Westbury Cup at Carrick last month. The second heat should be a battle between the back markers although the Melissa Maine-trained Spot Nine that won the Hobart Pacing Cup in January must be considered an each-way chance despite his poor performances in the Devonport Cup and at his subsequent outing in Launceston. His latest effort when second to Call The Marshall in a discretionary handicap in Launceston was full of merit. The David bates-trained Saab Quality hit the line hard in the Governor's Cup in Hobart last Sunday night so if he steps cleanly from his 10-metre handicap he must be considered a winning chance. Dual Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader probably deserves his 40-metre handicap but that mark might be a bit too much in a heat, while Our Chain Of Command has the early speed and then stamina to handle his 30-metre lift. The Raider Stakes heats (races 8 & 9) each boast six starters but the races are filled with talented four-year-olds. Heat one should be a match between Pachacuti that returned to wining form in Hobart last Sunday night and Melolyn that has always shown above average ability and will be fitter for two runs back from a spell for a first-up win and a second last time out. Heat two is a more open affair with Barrie Rattray holding the key with pole marker Rykov leis and Devendra that has drawn gate two and will improve on his eighth in Hobart last Sunday night in which he carried a flat tyre for almost the duration of the race. By Peter Staples

AN effortless win by Victorian pacer Five Star Anvil in the Governor's Cup in Hobart on Sunday night has tempted trainer Adam Kelly to keep his stable star in Tasmania for one more assignment. Kelly had planned to take Five Star Anvil back to Victoria this week but he is toying with the idea of running him in the $40,000 Easter Cup in Launceston on April 20. Five Star Anvil powered home from the rear of the field to win the Governor's Cup over 2579 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night to defeat Saab Quality and Motu Crusader. It was the first leg of a feature race double for Kelly who also prepared the Tasmanian Derby winner Outrageous El. While the race was set up for a swooper owing to a solid tempo set in front by Our Chain of Command, Five Star Anvil still had to produce the goods when driver Gavin Lang asked for the supreme effort. But it was the ease with which the gelding delivered the knockout blow to his rivals that impressed his trainer. "The plan was always to run in this race (Governor's Cup) and head home but he was awesome tonight so I am now thinking about staying for the Easter Cup in a fortnight," Kelly said. "If I thought he would get a 30-metre handicap I probably wouldn't stay but he might be a chance off 20 metres, anyway that's something I'll have to weigh up in the next day or so," he said. The nominations for the Easter Cup close on Tuesday (April 8). Lang was delighted with the win. ''The race pretty much played into our hands with such a solid tempo but in saying that he still had to deliver and he did it well within himself," Lang said. Five Star Anvil is one of five horses Kelly brought to Tasmania for a month-long stay and they have all delivered multiple wins making it a very profitable exercise. By Peter Staples

HARNESS racing trainer Zeke Slater has his eyes in the St Marys Cup with Class Above Lombo that scored an impressive win in Launceston last Sunday night. The St Marys annual meeting is traditionally run on New Year's Day but when the SMPC had to cancel this year's event because of the state of the grass track the meeting was set aside to be run in another timeslot Tasracing, in conjunction with the SMPC, settled on Easter Saturday and all is in readiness for what should be another brilliant day of harness racing at the East Coast venue. The rescheduled meeting features the St Marys Cup that boasts prizemoney of $10,000 and it is being targeted by many trainers, including Slater. Class Above Lombo is unbeaten from his three starts in Tasmania, the latest last Sunday night in Launceston in a C4 event over 2200m. But he needs one more win to take her to C5 class that is the benchmark for entry into the St Marys Cup, which is a standing start event. "The horse has not won from a standing start but he has very good manners so I don't think it (standing start) would present a problem," Slater said. "It looks an ideal race for him and it's worth $10,000 so I'll probably run him at Devonport next Monday night in a C5 or better race to try and get his qualified class wise," he said. By Peter Staples

Talented Victorian harness racing pacer Outrageous El confirmed his status as a genuine Tasmanian Derby prospect with an effortless win against the older horses in a class one over 2200 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. Driver Rohan Hadley was forced to make his charge work hard to find the lead but once in front the Adam Kelly-trained gelding travelled sweetly and when asked to extend at the top of the home straight he forged clear. Outrageous El went on to score by almost six metres from El Jays Magic with Another Jasper over two metres astern. It was the gelding's third win in success from his four lifetime starts and his second in Tasmania, having been successful in Devonport at his first try on foreign soil. Kelly was hoping the son of Elsu would measure up to Derby class when he travelled him across Bass Strait and so far the three-year-old has lived up to expectations. The Tasmanian Derby will be run over 2579 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night. Peter Staples  

Prominent Tasmanian harness racing owners Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper will be hoping their New Zealand-bred three-year-old Watch This Spot can produce his best to win Sunday night's SEW Eurodrive Tasmanian Derby over 2579 metres at Tattersall's Park. Cockshutt and Cooper purchased Watch This Spot in New Zealand last year for an undisclosed sum and immediately sent him to Dean Braun's stable. The gelding won a 2YO on debut at Cranbourne and after a minor placing at his subsequent outing at Terang he was dispatched to Tasmanian where he scored an emphatic win in Launceston. He was shipped straight back to Victoria where he placed at Kilmore before ending his 2YO season with a win at Bendigo,' Watch This Spot resumed in March with a win at Kilmore and after meting interference in the VHRSC 3YO Cup at Melton he went to Geelong where he finished a game second to Ideal Majority in a 3YO Pace over 2100m. Braun is quietly confident watch This Spot can emerge triumphant on Sunday. "This is a very nice horse that is more than capable of winning the Tasmanian Derby," Braun said from Melbourne today. "I wouldn't be sending him if I didn't think he could win." "It is likely to be a strong Derby from what I hear but I have a lot of confidence in this horse. He hasn't disappointed me at any stage and provided he travels well I expect him to be hard to beat," he said. The Derby promises to be one of the best in years with local star Resurgent Spirit aiming to notch his 14th consecutive win and steal the record for the most number of consecutive wins in Tasmania from the great Halwes. Local 3YO Rusty Red Comet also has been racing in career best form with his win last Sunday night in Launceston testament to his ability to warrant respect in next Sunday night's classic. Peter Staples

After failing to secure a winner owning thoroughbreds and greyhounds, Spreyton owner Warren Viney turned his attention to harness racing and to his delight he struck gold. Viney is paying up for three pacers of which two, Lake Eyre and Soho Wonder, are based in Victoria with Melton-based mentor Beau Tindale but went around in Launceston last night. Lake Eyre scored an emphatic win in a 3YO and older pace over 2200 metres. With top Victorian driver Lisa Miles in the cart, Lake Eyre faced the breeze for much of the race before powering clear in the home straight and went on to defeat Robyn Scherbotsky by almost 16 metres with Lady Elaine four metres away third. It was Viney's second winner in the space of a week as his Tasmanian-based 3YO Wasonic Snake successful in Launceston last week. The other horse in Tindale's care, Soho Wonder, raced in Launceston last night and finished a game second to quality Tasmania three-year-old Rusty Red Comet. Given the ease with which Lake Eyre dispensed with his rivals he would be more than competitive in next Sunday night's Tasmanian Derby but it will be touch and go as to whether he gains a start in what promises to be one of the best Tasmanian Derbies in ages. Peter Staples

WHEN prominent harness racing owners Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper bought Dapper Dana early last year as an unraced three-year-old in New Zealand they were hopeful of him reaching top grade. Dapper Dana hasn't disappointed and his latest win is testament to his ability and growth as a serious racehorse. In Launceston last Sunday night Dapper Dana (Rocky Duggan) powered home to defeat the highly ranked Melolyn and in-form Devendra in the $10,000 4YO Championship over 2200 metres. Dapper Dana has progressed through the classes with this latest victory his sixth this season and ninth career win. He won his first three races in Tasmania before finishing second in the St Leger to Victorian three-year-old Ginger Bliss. Trainer Juanita McKenzie aimed the gelded son of Bettors Delight at the Tasmania Derby in which he finished third to Ginger Bliss but after a failed interstate trip for a crack at a $20,000 3YO Classic at Ballarat he returned to Tasmania for a well earned spell. His form this time in has been outstanding winning six of his 10 starts that also includes two luckless seconds. Dapper Dana has been driven in most of his races by Ricky Duggan who was aboard last Sunday night. "He's very quick," Duggan said. "As he was going through the grades we'd let him run the gate and lead." "But now that he's up in class we tend to let him settle back in the field and use his sprint," he said. This was arguably Dapper Dana's best win as he had to come from behind and run down Melolyn that took control midrace and he has always been hard to run down while Devendra came from last with 500m to go to finish on the heels of the winner. By Peter Staples

Veteran harness racing pacer Motu Crusader captured another feature race in Tasmania when he scored a game win in the $10,000 Beautide Launceston Mile over 1680 metres last Sunday night. Motu Crusader has enjoyed a lot of success in Tasmania as he has won the past two Tasmania Cups and a bunch of other feature races over the past two years. At this most recent outing he was partnered by Victorian driver Grant Campbell who allowed the gelding to settle rearward and come with a late charge but he only just got there in the end. Motu Crusader, owned by Merv Butterworth, powered home to edge out Five Star Anvil in the shadows of the post. "We enjoyed a great run in the race but a slower than expected first half mile didn't help his cause," Campbell said. "I always thought that I was going to catch Five Star Anvil but we only just got there." "The fact that it's a long home straight certainly helped," he said. The driver was full of praise for trainer Zeke Slater who had not started the gelding since he contested the Hunter Cup in Victoria on February 1. Slater said Motu Crusader's next target will be the Easter Cup in Launceston on April 20. Peter Staples.

AS soon as Tasmanian two-year-old harness racing filly Karalta Impulse won the Keith Stanley Debutante on debut in Launceston in January connections started making plans to send her to Sydney. Karalta Impulse is owned by Wayne and Gaye Rattray who took no time in deciding to send the filly to their grandson James Rattray who has established stables near Menangle in NSW. James Rattray has emerged as a star in the training ranks in Australia courtesy of his stable star Beautide winning the Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion. At the filly's first start in NSW she finished second to Gotta Glow in a 2YO fillies' race over 1609 metres at Menangle before finishing down the track at Penrith. But at her most recent outing she scored an impressive win in a Gold Tiara heat over 1720 metres at Bathurst last Thursday night. Karalta Impulse (Million Dollar Cam-Royal Athlete) has drawn ideally in barrier one for the final on Saturday night. Peter Staples

  STAR Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Resurgent Spirit is on the verge of matching a winning race record with Halwes, regarded as one of the greatest standardbreds of all time.   Resurgent Spirit captured the record of the most number of consecutive wins from debut when he notched his 12th win in succession in the 3YO Championship in Launceston early last month to overtake Dare We Dream’s record of 11 straight.   The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding will line up in a C1 in Hobart on Sunday night and from barrier two in a nine-horse field he should be able to roll to the front and give his rivals a pacing lesson.   If successful he also will take the record of the most number of consecutive wins in Tasmania of all classes that is presently shares by the great Golden Alley and Happy prospect that each won 12 in succession on home soil.   The gelded son of American Ideal was bred by his trainer-owner and given the ease with which he won a trial recently clocking a sensational last half he should be able to keep his unbeaten record intact, barring accidents.   The horse has gone from strength to strength this time in and he has been well looked after by his owner-trainer.   If there was to be an upset it could come from the Christian Salter-trained Vande Velde that has been racing well this time in with a first-up second to Resurgent Spirit in the 3YO Championship followed by a win in Hobart in a C0 and a last-start fourth in a C1 over 2200 metres in Launceston.   The following are statistics of winning sequences of some of Tasmania’s former stars compiled by historian Peter Cooley:   The performances of three year old pacer Resurgent Spirit in winning his first 12 starts, has bought up the question of who has been our best juvenile pacer in Tasmania.   Dare You Dream created a big impression by winning his first 11 starts, four two year olds and seven the following year. In all he won 14 of his 17 races and is the only Tasmanian bred pacer to win his first 11 starts.   The ill fated Cody Maverick did not win until his fourth start but then reeled off nine in a row before his tragic death at Bendigo.   The great Halwes won 13 in a row during his career, the last being the Tasmanian Championship final which he won from 48 yards (40 metres).His next start he lost on protest to Robin Dundee in Melbourne.   Golden Alley won his first 12 Tasmanian starts, although in that time he suffered three defeats in Victoria. At his 13th Tasmanian start he was defeated by Scott’s Bay in a heat of the Tasmanian Championships.   Happy Prospect won 10 races as a two year old, with three defeats. .He won his last seven starts as a two year old and his first five as a three year old, a total of 12 in a row. He raced 21 times for 17 wins.   Prospect Star won a total of 20 races in his juvenile years, five as a two year old and 15 the following year.   Another Shy had 11 two year old wins (eight in a row) and won another eight as a three year old Perhaps the best two year old the state has produced was The Yank.   In the 1978 season he raced 12 times for 10 wins (nine in a row). Amongst his wins were the $ 15,000 NSW Challenge    Stakes and the $ 10,000 NSW Saplings Stakes. He also had two starts on Moonee Valley winning from 30 and 40 metres behind.   Mi Coconut won her first 10 starts in Tasmania and Victoria.   Halyer won four races from nine starts as a two year old, including his last two as a two year old.    The following season he won his first nine starts before finishing second in the NSW Derby. He rounded off the season by winning   the Australian Derby at Gloucester Park   It was harder for pacers that raced many years ago to string together a long sequence of wins.   The great stallion Our Globe won his two starts as a three year old, the following season he raced four times for as many wins including the New Norfolk Cup.   As a five year old he met his first defeat in a Sorell Cup, and then with only seven life time starts he contested the 1938/39 Inter Dominion at Launceston.   Our Globe defeated Springfield Globe in the first round of heats. He then defeated Globe Dorell in the second set of heats three days later.   He was disqualified for six months when he finished unplaced on the third day of the Championships.   The two pacers he defeated on the first and second day ran the quinella in the Final. Our Globe resumed racing eight months later and won his first three starts.   Consecutive Wins from Debut Resurgent Spirit            12 Dare We Dream           11 Mi Coconut                  10   Consecutive Wins Halwes             13 Resurgent Spirit            12 Happy Prospect           12 Halyer                          11 Cody Maverick            9 The Yank                     9 Another Shy                 8   Consecutive Wins in Tasmania Golden Alley                12 Resurgent Spirit            12 Happy Prospect           12 Halyer                          9 By Peter Staples  

IF Call The Marshall can live up to his trainer’s expectation then the Mick Maxfield-owned gelding could lead all the way to win the $25,000 Devonport Cup on Sunday night. Call The Marshall tuned up for the Devonport Cup with an impressive win in a restricted grade race Launceston last Sunday night with Gareth Rattray aboard. After the race Ashwood declared the gelding had what it takes to win a feature race. “I think he’s up to free-for-all standards,” Ashwood said. “He’s a good beginner from a standing start and, if he jumps to the front (in the Devonport Cup) he will be very hard to get around,” he said. The barrier gods smiled on Call The Marshall as he will start from gate three on the front row so he has a head start on realising his trainer’s expectations. However, he has smart beginners in Run Ripalong (1) and recent Burnie and Carrick Cups winner Devendra (4) on either side that also will be vie for the lead. Maxfield and Ashwood went close to winning the Devonport Cup in 2008 with Special Chance that tried to lead all the way only to be collared close to home by Lombo Limmo and they finished 25 metres clear of the rest of the field. By Peter Staples  

TASMANIA has long been known for its ability to produce top drivers with many following a family tradition in taking to the sulky. At Carrick last Saturday Chris Aylett notched his first winner when he guided Liams Dream to victory in the Dakin Refrigeration Pace over 2150 metres and it was a drive to be remembered. Liams Dream is also trained by Aylett who is the youngest son of Phil Aylett who has earned a reputation as a master horseman and astute trainer of standardbreds. Liams Dream went into the race with modest form, although his previous outing in Launceston and the gelding had worked well during the week leading up to this latest assignment. It was a great result for the Aylett family and it was Chris’ first win from only a handful of drives.    Liams Dream faced the breeze for most of the race outside of the leader Heres Your Chocky. When Aylett called on Liams Dream to sprint turning for home the gelding forged to the lead and had enough in reserve to stave off a late challenges from Boozy Rouge with Heres Your Chocky hanging on for third four metres astern. Phil Aylett has obviously passed on plenty of advice on how to get the best out of Liams Dream that is lucky to be still racing. Liams Dream (Dream Away-Marlee Jayne) was bred by Col Johnson who had enormous success with progeny of the mare Marlee Jayne. The gelding suffered suspensory injuries and was about to be retired but was eventually gifted to Phil Aylett who opted to take the horse to Victoria for stem cell treatment. “The stem cell treatment worked fine and while the horse still has to be carefully managed he is sound and has a bright future,” Phil Aylett said. Peter Staples  

The Tasmania Premier Harness Yearling Sale will be conducted by Davidson Cameron & Co Dubbo Pty Ltd and Tasracing at 6pm next Friday at Inveresk Showground, Launceston. The sale comprises 39 lots by 17 different sires including Australia’s leading juvenile sire Art Major and the champion North American sire Rocknroll Hanover. Other well known stallions include Courage Under Fire, Shadow Play, Elsu, Four Starzzz Shark, Julius Caesar, Mister Big, Major In Art, Tiz A Masterpiece, Stonebridge Regal and JR Mint.   The offering includes the first foal of the Vicbred 2YO champion and Tasmanian Oaks winner Shez Ryleymak and a colt closely related to the Miracle Mile winner and nominal Inter Dominion favourite Beautide. Besides Shez Ryleymak, the progeny of Group and classic winners Cam River, Mon Poppy Mary, Laconic, Cullens Angel (1:54.8), Thabela Brioso, El Jays Belle, Pennys Dragon and Whata Dragon are listed to go under the hammer. There’s half-brothers and sisters to top performers such as Abbreviated (Vic. Youthful), Cat Bay (Globe Derby Stakes), Cullens Angel (Granny Smith), Daisy Adele, Black Centurian, Prisoner, Laconic Jamane, El Jays Belle, Cruisin Fella and Melolyn. All yearlings presented for sale will be eligible to compete in $10,000 Yearling Sale Classics for two and three-year-olds of both sexes. They will also be eligible for a $2,000 Tasbred win bonus for each of their first two race wins as both as a two and three-year-old. Furthermore, the youngsters are eligible for a one-off $2,000 First Win Bonus for their first race win anywhere in Australia before reaching four years of age. For a catalogue or further information contact Kevin Neilson on (03) 6212 9316 or email or the auctioneers Davidson Cameron and Co on (02) 6884 8355. The online catalogue for the sale can be viewed at . by Peter Wharton

While Bridport trainer-driver Rohan Hadley remains sidelined from the sulky due to injury his stable continues to produce winners with the help of some good contacts in Victoria. Hadley secured a double at The TOTE Racing centre in Launceston on Sunday night with two horses sent to him by the same owners. Recent stable additions Me Mate Les and the consistent mare Spitfire Rose delivered the goods in fine style. Me Mate Les, driven by James Johnson, having only his third start in Tasmania, ran home strongly to defeat race favourite Major Callum and I've Got Oomph that powered home along the rails in the Charltey Estate Pace over 2200 metres. Spitfire Rose, driven by Rohan Hillier, also put up a strong performance to hold out late challenges from Clamorous and My Greek Mate in the Stakes. It was Spitfire Rose's sixth win since she made her debut for the Hadley stable in July last year. The trainer has also won three races with another mare, Gorgeous An Divine that comes from the same source. Hadley broke his collarbone and a bone in his lower arm in a race fall in Launceston early last month and while the injuries are healing well he is still expected to be out of the sulky for a few more weeks. While waiting to jump back in the cart Hadley is hoping Me Mate Les can add to his winning tally in the coming weeks. “I think there are two or three more wins in him (Me Mate Les) yet,'' Hadley said. “He won only one race in Victoria (at Wangaratta in October 2012).” “Apparently he looked like winning a few more but was unable to go on with it.” “The owners thought he'd had his time over there (Victoria) and Graeme Lang, who trained him, suggested they try him over here.'' Hadley said that Me Mate Les got all the favours last night, enjoying a good run. ``James drove him very well,'' the trainer said. By Peter Staples  

STAR Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Resurgent Spirit broke another record when he powered his way to victory in the 3YO Championship over 2200 metres at the TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit went into the race unbeaten from 11 starts that was equal to Dare We Dream's record of 11 consecutive wins from debut. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding equalled that record by winning at New Norfolk on Australia Day in front of his home crowd for the first time. Dubbed the "Pride of the DerwentValley" after that win with local residents lining up to have their photograph taken with the gelded son of American Ideal. His effort to win at New Norfolk was outstanding but this latest effort superseded the New Norfolk win. Driver James Austin was content to allow Resurgent Spirit to ease to the rear of the field from his outside front row draw (7). Vande Velde began brilliantly from the gate to lead from barrier six but when Metro Digby (Paul Williams) appeared and looked for the lead the driver of Vander Velde, Rohan Hillier, was happy to hand up. But when the pace slackened slightly Austin set his charge alight and Resurgent Spirit crept around the field to eventually face the breeze. When Williams gave Metro Digby more rein his horse slipped clear and at one stage Resurgent Spirit looked to be struggling but star three-year-old was only kidding and when Austin pulled the ear lugs for the first time in the horse's racing career the gelding knuckled down to his task and swept to the lead close to home and won with authority. He ran the 2200-metre trip in 2m.46.7s for a mile rate of 2.01.9 but ran home his last half mile (800m) in 57.6s Resurgent Spirit is now set to chase down the great Halwes' record of 14 consecutive wins in Tasmania. By Peter Staples      

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