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After producing four consecutive minor placings, smart harness racing  two-year-old filly El Jays Mystery finally delivered the goods by winning her first race in Launceston last Sunday. The Dick Eaves-trained youngster was well driver by Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang who allowed the filly to settle at the rear of the field and when he called on her for the big effort late she sprinted powerfully to the line to record a convincing win in the Cliff Robins Memorial over 1680 metres. El Jays Mystery hit the line almost three metres clear of race leader Joes Little Girl with Schouten Island that had faced the breeze throughout, just over a metre astern. It was an impressive win and one that impressed two of her owners in particular in thoroughbred trainers John Blacker and Leon Laskey. It is Blacker and Laskey's first venture into owning a standardbred and they were convinced to take shares by the filly's breeders Lyndon and Gail Menegon who also have shares in a couple of thoroughbreds trained by Blacker. El Jays Mystery (Live or Die-Lombo Anastasia) was bred by the Menegons at their Big Park Stud at Piper's River in the North of the state. The filly is a half-sister to former Tasmanian Oaks winner Barynya (X Blissfull Hall) that is now racing successfully in Queensland. Peter Staples

Well-bred harness racing filly Nances Delight kept her unbeaten record intact when she led throughout to win a 2C0 event over 1680 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. With ace reinsman Gareth Rattray in the sulky the two-year-old showed brilliant gate speed to lead from gate three and once settled she set a solid tempo. Somethinsweetboutme ($23) settled on the leader's back while the well-backed El Jays Mystery ($2.50) strolled along in third spot but at the half-way mark Rattray slowed the tempo so the driver of El jays Mystery, John Walters, eased off the fence to allow his filly to face the breeze to ensure the leader didn't loaf for the last 800 metres. But the move was all in vain with Nances Delight ($2.10 favourite) strolling to an effortless win over El Jays Mystery with outsider Eternal Shadow a close-up third. The Melissa Mayne-trained filly clocked a mile rate of 2.02.3 and she covered her last 800 metres in 58.9 seconds. "We've been pleased with this filly from day one and she has already developed some nice habits. She has good gate speed and she can quicken well in a race," Rattray said. "She gives me the impression she will be a better three-year-old so hopefully she can go on with it next preparation." Peter Staples

Art Of My Art made it three wins from is past four starts when he scored a narrow win in the Carlton Draught Pace for harness racing three-year-olds over 2200 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. The gelded son of Art Colony had been cleverly placed by his trainer John Castles who entered hi in non-penalty races that made up heats in a novice driver series in which he won one and placed second in another before winning a 3C0 at Devonport prior to this latest assignment. Art of My Art drew awkwardly on the inside of the second row but somehow Rohan Hillier managed to secure the one-out-one-back position after travelling about 600 metres. God Sake faced the breeze outside of Rocknroll Dancer that set a solid clip with All Style Sammy on the leader's back. When God Sake forged to the lead Hillier sent his charge three-wide to give chase and after finding the front 200 metres out he battled gamely to have just enough in hand to defeat All Style Sammy with God Sake third Peter Staples

Tasmanian harness racing owner-trainer Wayne Campbell would have been bitterly disappointed had his two-year-old gelding Buster William not furnished into the horse he is today given his breeding. While last Sunday night's win in Launceston was his first he showed enough at his first eight starts to suggest that winning would be a formality. In Launceston on Sunday night the gelded son of Rocknroll Heaven delivered the goods, scoring by over a metre from race leader Dromana Beach with Sweptunderdacarpet a game third. Campbell bred Buster William from his former classy filly Maggie Kennedy, a winner of 10 races including the Bandbox Stakes and she also was a Tasmanian Oaks placegetter. "Maggie Kennedy was a pretty good mare and this is her first foal,"Campbell said. "He (Buster William) is an honest little fella who deserved the win because he's been racing against the really good ones and been very competitive.'' Campbell makes a point of only breeding every second year, a process that has proven successful. "If I didn't do it (breed every other years) I'd end up with too many horses. "I just do it for a hobby - if I bred every year I couldn't feed them all." Buster William had to do a bit of work early from his wide front-row draw (6) but driver Mark Yole eventually worked his charge to the death, outside of Dromana Beach. The $1.20 favourite looked set to win easily half-way up the home straight but when he hit the front he switched off and only- scored by just over a ,metre from Dromana Beach. Yole said he didn't pull Buster William's ear plugs until he had to but when he switched off he quickly reached down the sulky shaft and pulled the cord to release the deafeners and that sparked him up again. Peter Staples

In-form three-year-old pacer Little Bit of Big delivered another stellar harness racing performance to score an impressive all-the-way win at the Luxbet Racing Centre over 1680 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. Little Bit of Big made it three wins for the season when she made the most of the pole position to lead throughout in a 3C0-C0 race that boasted a quality line-up. With Rohan Hadley in the sulky, the Shelley Barnes-trained filly by Mister Big from Vanstand stepped well from the mobile and despite being attacked early she withstood the challenge to lead comfortably and then had to call on her courage to fend off rivals in the home straight. Little Bit of Big joined Barnes' stable recently and she is hoping the owners will allow her to retain the filly beyond the winter months. Listen to what trainer Shelley Barnes had to say about Little Bit of Big's latest win. Peter Staples

After producing a driving treble in Hobart last Friday experienced harness racing reinsman John Walters continued his good form in Launceston last night with another outstanding drive to secure a last-stride win aboard Karalta Boomer in the Crown Lager Pace over 2200 metres. Walters, 53, had the Kent Rattray-trained three-year-old perfectly positioned in the one-out-one-back position after travelling 400 metres with the well-backed Dasher Hiouli setting a solid pace in front. Dasher Houli (Rohan Hillier) looked to be travelling like the winner when he slipped clear turning for home but when Walters allowed his charge more rein the gelded son of Major In Art ran to the leader and they settled down to a two-horse war all the way up the home straight with Walters able to get everything from his charge to win by a half-head. It was Karalta Boomer's seventh win of the season and coupled with his six minor placings he has career earnings of almost $30,000. Karalta Boomer was bred by his owners Lyndon and Gail Menagon who own and operate Big Park Stud that is one of the largest standardbred breeding operations in the state. Peter Staples

Harness racing owner Mick Maxfield has owned some handy two-year-olds over the years but the latest youngster to sport his colours could be his best. With Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Offthetopofmyhead scored an emphatic win in a 2C0-2C1 event over 1680 metres in Launceston on Sunday defeating recent Dandy patch Stakes winner Usain Jolt by a comfortable margin. But the most impressive part of the win was that he broke the state two-year-old mile rate record. The Paul Ashwood-trained colt rated 1:56.67 for to eclipse the previous best of 1:56.9 recorded by Williamtell earlier in the year. "He's the best horse I've trained for a while but the penny hasn't dropped yet," Ashwood said. "He still does a few things wrong like running up the track a bit but he is at least starting to think about what's going on." Offthetopofmyhead had an interstate trip to Melbourne in April but he failed to flatter. "He wasn't really ready for the trip or the opposition but I have no doubt he will get another chance. "The son of Western Ideal will run in a $10,000 race in Hobart next Sunday then in a heat of the Breeders Crown before going back to Victoria for the Breeders semi-finals." Stablemate Lynniemach, who ran third in Sunday's race, will follow a similar path. Ashwood also won with smart three-year-old El Major who isn't paid up for the coming feature races. Peter Staples

Star Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Ryley Major will most likely head to Queensland next month to tackle that state's harness racing Derby following his impressive win in the $30,000 Globe Derby Stakes in Launceston on Sunday night. Ryley Major made it seven wins in succession when he led throughout to easily take out the prestigious sires stakes event over 2200 metres scoring comfortably from Hillview Jake and Spot Eight. The gelding's trainer-driver and part-owner Rohan Hillier said Ryley major had missed an opportunity to contest the rich Group 1 sires stakes series in Victoria for which he was qualified but that the $75,000 Queensland Derby has become a possible target. "There's no doubt this horse would be competitive against what is likely to go around in the Queensland Derby so I just have to wait and see how the horse is in the next week or so before I make a final decision on travelling him to Queensland," Hillier said. "He's unbeaten from eight starts this season so he's definitely earned enough to warrant making the trip and if I go I'll take the family and make a holiday of it. "If we go I'd also run him in the $25,000 Gold Coast Derby on July 9 which is a week before the Queensland Derby and they are both run at Albion Park. "He's won this race (Globe Derby) by leading but that's not his go. He has really learned how to race this time in but he is much better horse when he doesn't lead. This season's Tasmanian Derby winner was competitive against the best two-year-olds last season but he has gone to another level this season and Hillier is confident he will be even better as a four and five-year-old. Peter Staples

Early last week talented harness racing trainer Broke Hammond was unsure whether her well-bred three-year-old filly would take her place in the $30,000 bandbox final in Launceston on Sunday night but thankfully she was able to work through some issues and deliver her on race night. While she drew the pole position it was no advantage because she has no great gate speed so she was always going to need her share of luck to emerge triumphant. With Troy Hiller in the sulky the daughter of Stonebridge Regal-Cam River settled three-back the fence on a hot speed set by Tisu Bombelle and at the top of the home straight the last time she was going to need a minor miracle to secure a run. But Hillier believed the leaders might get up the rack a bit when the pressure was applied and he was right which allowed Ordinaire Jane to motor home along the rails to emerge the winner by a narrow margin over Little Bit of Big and the well-tried Itz Gemmas Delight. "I've had so many little problems with this filly, particularly with her feet, so I must thank Michael laugher a lot for helping her out in that department and a lot of other people who have played a hand in her getting to the races this time in," Hammond said. "There was one stage there that I was convinced she might not get to the Bandbox series but she got there and after she flashed home to run second in a prelude I was quietly confident she had the ability to win the final but she was going to need a lot of luck from the pole (inside front-row draw) and that went her way. "She hasn't grown much because she still only about 14 hands high but she tries her heart out and she has this terrific turn of foot as she showed to win tonight. Hammond was also leased that Ordinaire Jane has won a race that her mother won. "You don't often win a race with a filly that was also won by the4 dam and Cam, River was a terrific mare for us and hopefully this daughter can be the same." Peter Staples

Bad luck finally turned to good luck for underrated harness racing gelding Ken Two Stars at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston (Tasmania) on Sunday night. Ken Two Stars powered home from well back in the field to score an impressive and unhindered win in a 3YO Pace over 2200 metres with leading driver Mark Yole in the sulky. The gelding’s owner-trainer Wayne Campbell said luck had been against the gelded son of Courage Under Fire at recent outings. “This is only his second win for the season but he has had a lot of bad luck,” Campbell said. “He’s not a brilliant horse but he is honest and he’s got a good sprint. “After he won three races as a two-year-old we thought he was going to develop into a real nice horse. “We’re still having a lot of fun with him but he hasn’t quite progressed like we thought he would.” While Ken Two Stars has definitely had some bad luck at recent outings he also has been bothered by a respiratory issue. “You only notice it when he pulls up but we’ve got a non-choking collar on him now and that seems to have helped,” Campbell said. Mark Yole ended the meeting with three winners to extend his lead in the race for the driver’s premiership while his older brother Ben Yole prepared four winners on the eight-event card to further strengthen his stranglehold on the trainer’s title. Ben Yole took his season tally to 80 wins to be over 50 clear of his nearest rival Paul Ashwood while Mark Yole ended the meeting on 66 wins to be 11 clear of his archrival Ricky Duggan. Peter Staples

If any of the fixed odds wagering operators in Australia were prepared to put up a market on whether Ben Yole would win this season's Tasmanian trainer's premiership with 100 winners or more his opening price would probably be $1.01. Yole delivered another outstanding effort in Launceston on Sunday night preparing four winners on the nine-event card to take his season tally to 80 winners with 20 meetings remaining. The math is simple. One winner at each of the remaining meetings would give Yole the magical century of wins and while he never started out with that goal he is warming to the prospect. "I never think about how many wins I might train in a season. I just concentrate on working the horses that I have in the stable with the aim of winning as many races as we can and if that happens to be 100 or more then so be it," Yole said. "I have a policy of turning the horses over regularly and thankfully I've been able to get the ones that have been able to progress once they arrive at my stables." "But now that I'm this close to getting 100 winners of course I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested.   "The way the team is going 100 winners is very much a realistic number with 20 meetings remaining."   Most of Yole's horses are from interstate. He keeps a close eye on the Victorian racing scene and targets horses to buy or lease that he feels would win a few in Tasmania and others are from owners who have been impressed with his strike rate and are keen for him to train their steeds. Yole is over 50 wins clear of his nearest rival Paul Ashwood so there is no doubt about Yole winning his first trainer's title. His younger brother Mark also snared three winners at last Sunday night's meeting to take his season tally to 66 wins to put him 11 wins clear of his nearest rival Ricky Duggan who rarely ventures to the winter meetings at Devonport or Launceston. Peter Staples

Talented young Tasmanian Harness Racing reinsman Matthew Howlett clinched his second harness racing Youngbloods Challenge at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night in what was one of the closest finishes in the series' 30-year history. Howlett guided Spot Eight to victory in the fifth heat of the series to earn maximum points (16) and in the sixth and final heat he partnered Bona Fide Hustler into fourth place to earn just enough points (7) to emerge the victor with 52 points. He finished one point clear of Nicholas Brockman and Wade Rattray who dead-heated for second on 51 while Samantha Gangell was next best on 43 points. In 2013 Howlett was 16 years and 10 months when he became the youngest ever winner of the competition that is restricted to drivers under the age of 23. Howlett was seven points off the pace going into the final two heats and gave himself little hope of winning as both of his drives were at double figure odds. Spot Eight won paying $13.50, much to the displeasure of punters who regarded The Real Reverend a good thing, backing the previously unbeaten gelding in to start the $1.30 favourite. The second heat also went to an outsider, with Wade Rattray's drive The Last Guy Standing ($17.80) finishing too powerfully for the favourite Finn Mac Kee (Brockman). Howlett clinched the title courtesy of a heady drive to finish fourth aboard Bona Fide Hustler that travelled three-back the fence but was snagged back to last when the leader Rusty Red Comet capitulated in the back straight. FINAL POINTS after six heats: 52 Matthew Howlett; 51 Nick Brockman, Wade Rattray; 43 Sam Gangell; 40 Dylan Ford, Lyarna Graham; 39 Justin Howlett; 28 Brady Woods; 25 Jack Laugher; 21 Duncan Dornauf; 20 Sam Freeman. Photos courtesy of Greg Mansfield.   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

Little Jethro has been racing consistently in C4-C5 class races so from a good draw he gets his chance to break back into the harness racing winner's circle at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Friday night. The Rod Plunkett-trained gelding finished second to the in-form Williamlee in Launceston two starts back in a C4-C5 over 2200 metres and he lines up against slightly weaker opposition on Friday night from the coveted pole position. Provided driver Dylan Ford can execute a swift beginning the gelding could find the front or trail the lead and either way he would be in the race for a long way. Little Jethro goes around in race four at 8.06pm on the nine-event program that kicks off at 6.30pm and concludes with a C1 race over 2200 metres in which Cheshire Cat (5) could surprise at odds. Peter Staples

When Victorian reject Bisping arrived at Rohan Hillier's Beauty Point harness racing stables in the north of the state last year the expectations weren't great, after all the horse had been tried by his former owners who tired of his antics in races. But since arriving in Tasmania the gelding has been consistent and in Launceston last Sunday night he delivered a career best effort to win the Harry Holgate Memorial final over 2200 metres. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding did it tough facing the breeze but in the end he made light of the task and forged clear over the concluding stages to win comfortably from Olivers Mate and Sir Dasher Dee with race leader One Mans Pass hanging on for fourth. In Victoria, while in the care of top trainer Emma Stewart, Bisping had been breaking gait in his races and it looked as if he might be dispatched to a life of roaming the paddocks but in stepped prominent Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang. Bisping's part-owner Brett Collins said the back story to how they came by Bisping was interesting, to say the least. "Gavin (Lang) called Rohan about a year ago to suggest we try the horse because he had been driving him and said he wasn't hopeless." "We'd been looking to buy a horse from New Zealand but when he failed a vet test the sale fell through so we were looking for a replacement. Collins and Hiller took Lang's advice and the gelding has proven to be a very good money spinner. Bisping, who is also part-owned by the trainer's wife Katrina Hillier, has had 14 starts in Tasmania for four wins and eight minor placings and has finished no further back that fifth for stake earnings of about $28,000. "Rohan (Hillier) changed the length of his hopples when he first started racing here (Tasmania) and the horse hasn't looked back since," Collins said. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing pacer Mister Lennox delivered one of his best performances to take out the $10,000 Golden Mile over 1680 metres at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Despite being left parked to face the breeze for most of the race the Juanita McKenzie-trained Changeover gelding proved too strong for his rivals, powering clear in the home straight to hit the line two metres clear of Melolyn that came from well back with race leader Crusader Acey a close-up third. Driver Ricky Duggan was pleased with the effort and he was particularly impressed with the time recorded by the gelding given the heavy condition of the track. Mister Lennox clocked a mile rate of 1.56.53 over the 1680-metre trip which was close to the record of 1.55 set by his stablemate Queens Advocate in the Launceston Mile earlier this year. "To run that time in those conditions was exceptional, given the wet track," Duggan said. "He was always travelling well outside of the leader but I had to wait as long as I could before asking him for an effort because he hangs a bit and has trouble getting around the bottom turn. "I didn't want to go for him until we straightened. I was fairly confident he would run the leader down but I didn't know what was coming from behind." He said. Mister Lennox started at $3.10 but was second favourite behind Wingatui Dew ($2.70) that was expected to lead from the pole position but he couldn't match the speed shown by Crusader Acey that had no trouble crossing to the fence from a wide gate (6). Wingatui Dew trailed the leader but he had trouble gaining a clear run in the home straight. Peter Staples

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