Day At The Track
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Pachacuti  confirmed his status as Tasmania's best harness racing pacer when he came of the back mark of 40 metres to win the $40,000 Ranvet Easter Cup over 2569 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. Despite starting off a back mark of 40 metres the gelded son of Bettor's Delight defied a tough run facing the breeze for the last 1500 metres to win and broke the track record for a standing start along the way. The Todd Rattray-trained gelding was forced to work hard early to tack onto the field but when his trainer-driver called on the gelding to improve he raced around the field to face the breeze outside of the leader Black Centurian. When Rattray called on his charge for supreme effort in the home straight he powered home to defeat outsiders Isaac ($51) and Remember Joe ($101). Pachacuti ($5.70) won seven races in succession before finishing fifth in his Easter Cup heat off 40 metres but armed with that run under his belt he delivered what Rattray described as a career-best effort. "This is the race I've always wanted to win and to do it with such a great horse is special," Rattray said. "I knew he was going really well and this week his trackwork was outstanding and he's taken that into the race tonight. "I'll wait a few days to see how he pulls up but I am confident I can take this horse away and win interstate." Pachacuti has won 32 of his 69 starts with 19 minor placings for over $300,000 in stakes. Isaac had a hard luck story as he was held up at a crucial stage over the final 300 metres and when he saw daylight half-way up the home straight he flashed home to be beaten two metres. Remember Joe ran the race of his life to grab third ahead of the race leader Black Centurian. Peter Staples

Talented two-year-old harness racing filly Vouvray Beach broke her maiden status in Launceston on Sunday night with an emphatic win in the $10,000 Premier's Blue Bonnet over 1680 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston. it was little more than a procession for the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere as she found the lead soon after the start with Ricky Duggan aboard and went on to score by15 metres from Invest with first-starter Modart Niadh over seven metres away third. It was only her second start but punters didn't miss the filly as she was backed in to start the $1.50 favourite and at no stage did she give her backers any cause for alarm. Trainer Rodney Ashwood said the filly was originally purchased at the Australian Pacing Gold yearling sale in Melbourne by his son Alex Ashwood who on-sold her within an hour to prominent Tasmanian standardbred owners Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt. "We'll try and win another race and then probably look towards the 2YO Sweepstakes in Hobart or go to Melbourne for the Australian Pacing Gold sales series," Ashwood said. Duggan described Vouvray Beach as a nice horse that just needs to learn to settle in her races and if she achieves that goal the future looks very bright. Duggan had no need to release the ear plugs in the home straight which magnified the ease of the win. Peter Staples

Hugo Play is again making an impact in open class harness racing in Tasmania with his effort to win the Launceston Mile (1680m) at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night one of his best efforts since joining the Shelley Barnes stable late last year. Hugo Play faced the breeze for most of the race and when driver Gareth Rattray called on the gelded son of Jr Mint for the supreme effort he forged clear and then staved off a determined challenge from eventual runner-up Riverboat Jasper that had enjoyed the run of the race in the one-out-one-back position. Blackjackhanover led and he traveled well to the home turn but he was unable to match it with Higo Play once the pressure was applied. Hugo Play has had seven starts for Barnes for two wins and four minor placings for almost $18,000 in stakes but that might soar if the gelding retains his good form. "I guess we'll have a look at the Easter Cup as his main goal and that will most likely include going in the Easter Cup heats but in the meantime I'll back him up in the Governor's Cup in Hobart this Sunday night," Barnes said. It was the first time Hugo Play has won over a mile (1680m) with his mile rate of 1:57.4 only 2.4 seconds outside the track record and just 0.9 off his personal best mile rate of 1:56.5 set in Melbourne three years ago over 2240 metres. "The horse is going better than I ever expected he would when I first took over his training and while he is in such good form we'll keep pushing on. "I have to manage his work and racing program because he has delicate feet but he seems to be responding to how I train him. "I work him on the grass at home and I swim him a lot to help with his fitness levels." Peter Staples

Former Sydneysider Roger Ramjet continued on his winning way in Launceston last night with an impressive all-the-way victory in a C6-C10 harness racing pace over 2200 metres. Roger Ramjet is prepared by Todd Rattray for whom the gelding has had four starts since arriving in the state from New South Wales where he was prepared by Rattray's older brother James Rattray. It was the gelding's second win from five starts in Tasmania and he could shape as an Easter Cup candidate. Todd Rattray is hoping the gelding stays in Tasmania at least until Easter. "I would like to keep this horse here for as long as possible and I really think he could be an Easter Cup contender," Rattray said. Roger Ramjet arrived at James Rattray's stables midway through 2014 and he won his first three starts in NSW before heading to Victoria where he had four starts for a win at Melton and two minor placings at Ballarat. He won three more at Menangle before heading to Queensland where he had two starts for a win and a second after which he was spelled for five months. James Rattray sent the gelding to his family's Tasmanian stable that is operated these days by Todd Rattray and at the gelding's second start in the state he was a luckless seventh in the Devonport Cup. The $40,000 Easter Cup will be run in Launceston on April 16. Peter Staples

I Am Camelot delivered a career-best effort to score an impressive harness racing win in a C4-C5 event over 2200 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. The Deborah Williams-trained gelding earned a reputation as a horse that only does his best when he leads but last night the six-year-old was able to settle back in the field from his outside second-row draw and rattle home to score an emphatic win. It was the gelding's fifth win from 10 starts this season and Gareth Rattray's fourth aboard the son of Safari from five drives. "The horse was travelling great on the back of the favourite No Spring Secrets and I was happy for that horse to take us into the race but he wasn't going well enough so we had to go six-wide on the home turn," Rattray said. "He's a horse that gets revved up and hard to handle but he settled tonight and he really finished the race off well." I Am Camelot is only lightly raced as he's only had 22 starts for five wins and as many minor placings for closing in on $30,000 in prizemoney.  

A promotion to raise money for women's cancer research through harness racing has gone national for the first time this season. The promotion involves all female drivers wearing teal coloured driving pants instead of the traditional white and in Launceston last Sunday night Natalee Emery got the promotion off to a flying start by winning the first race on the eight-event program aboard outsider Pushkin. Emery drove Pushkin straight to the front from gate three and she rated the gelding superbly to have enough in the tank to boot clear in the home straight and go on and score by 11.1 metres from Significance with Mersey Delight a close-up third. This is the first year that Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland have joined Victoria and New South Wales in the 'Team Teal' campaign that aims to raise money for women's cancer research. Tasmania boasts nine female drivers comprising; Maree Blake, Natalee Emery, Samantha Freeman, Taylor Ford, Samantha Gangell, Kristy Grant, Lyarna Graham, Lee Simmonds & Hannah Van Dongden. Tasmania's governing racing body Tasracing will donate $200 to the Women's Cancer Institute for every female driver that wins a race in Tasmania until March 12. All female race drivers, as well as the girls who contest pony trot races, will wear Teal driving pants in all of their race drives with all Clerk of the courses to wear Teal coloured shirts. The next chance for 'Team Teal' to add to the tally will be at Devonport on Friday night. To follow the nationwide tally follow @WomensCancerFdn on twitter. For more information about Women's Cancer Foundation go to: http://womenscancerfoundation.org.au/ Peter Staples

One of last season's top harness racing two-year-olds Usain Jolt returned to racing with a brilliant win in the Bevan Lee's Butchery Pace over 2200 metres in Launceston on Friday night. Usain Jolt won the Dandy Patch Stakes final in Hobart before ending his two-year-old campaign with a game second to Offthetopofmyhead in Launceston in early July last year. His trainer Tony Petersen gave the gelded son of Village Jolt plenty of time off and while his trial form leading up to his return wasn't flash the three-year-old relished being back in racing mode. Driver Ricky Duggan allowed Usain Jolt ($1.80) to settle midfield from his second-row draw but when the pace slackened over a lap from home Duggan sent his charge around the field to face the breeze outside of the leader Entreemaindesert ($10.50). The second elect Buster William ($4.30) had enjoyed a cosy run in the one-out line so when his driver Mark Yole eased out to make his charge and he joined Usain Jolt turning for home. The pair drew clear of the rest and for a fleeting moment it looked as if Buster William would have the edge but when Duggan called on Usain Jolt for the big effort he drew clear and went on to score by about eight metres from Buster William with near rank outsider Blues Ace ($81) a closing third. Peter Staples

Well-bred juvenile Semowillrev made an impressive harness racing debut in Launceston on Friday night to take out the Debutante Stakes over 1680 metres. The Craig Hayes-trained and driven two-year-old settled third while the favourite Feelin Dusty ($1.65) led and set a solid tempo but when another first-starter Invest cruised up to face the breeze, Hayes was quick to latch onto that horse's back to take cover from a strong headwind. Feelin Dusty kicked clear on the home turn and looked set to keep his unbeaten record intact but when Hayes released the brakes Semowillrev charged to the lead and went on to defeat Feel Dusty by a comfortable margin with Invest a distant third and just ahead of Maybe Jack. Semowillrev is by Sportswriter from the unraced mare Sur La Page (x Somebeachsomewhere) and he was knocked down to Hayes at the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling in Melbourne last year for $35,000. The gelding had trialled brilliantly on three occasions leading up to his debut, which is why punters backed him in to start the second-elect at $2.50. Last season Hayes had a lot of success with another two-year-old Scooterwillrev and if Semowillrev can match that horse's juvenile feats he is destined to win more races. Scooterwillrev was unbeaten from six starts in Tasmania last season but he failed to flatter in the Breeders Classic series in Victoria. Peter Staples

Underrated Falcon Seelster mare Zumba Bromac broke through or an overdue harness racing win when she emerged triumphant in a thrilling three-way photo-finish in C3-C4 pace over 1680 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. The Juanita McKenzie-trained mare was slotted into the one-out-two-back position by driver Ricky Duggan from a second-row draw and she travelled sweetly to the home turn where Duggan was the first to ease into the three-wide line. But Gareth Rattray aboard Jetcraft, that had enjoyed the one-out-one-back position for most of the race, went ahead of Duggan's charge forcing Zumba Bromac four-wide at the top of the home straight. Race leader Deploy surrendered when Jetcraft swept to the lead and while the Deborah Williams-trained gelding gave his all over the final 100 metres Zumba Bromac was able to find enough to make last-ditch lunge to win by a nose with Deploy fighting on gamely to grab third only a half-head away. It was Zumba Bromac's second win for the season from 10 starts but it was her eighth career win from 28 outings. Peter Staples

The return of the Mini-Trot series has been well received by harness racing industry participants and the general public, evidenced by the interest shown in a series of heats run at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Six youngsters contested the two heats last night and that has been common throughout the series that gives youngsters with an interest in harness racing an opportunity to get the feel of driving in races at the same venue as the professionals. In Launceston last night Makenna Hillier, daughter of popular trainer-driver Rohan Hillier and his wife Tanya, partnered Edie Bets to victory in both heats despite coming off a handicap mark of 360 metres. Also competing were Jackson Burke aboard Poppie; Matilda Rawlings with Rocka Fella; Sara Wilkin who drove Snapcracklepop; Brodie Davis who guided Sky Valley and Mitchell Ford replaced Gracie Jones who was unable to compete. Wayne Yole has taken on the Mini Trotting series as a project and he says sponsors are starting to come on board and he is excited about the Mini Trot heats in Hobart at Luxbet Park on Sunday night where the drivers will compete for the Hobart Cup with up to eight drivers likely to contest the two heats. Sunday night's meeting at Luxbet Park Hobart will boast the running of the $40,000 Group 3 Tasmania Cup. Heats of the Mini Trot series will be held at all venues around the state until mid-April. Peter Staples

Lightly raced five-year-old pacer Always A Show delivered a harness racing career-best effort to win the Maxfield Drilling Pty Ltd Pace over 2200 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. Always A Show stepped brilliantly from the pole position to hold the front and from there it was little more than a procession. The Craig Hayes-trained and driven gelding settled well and traveled comfortably to the home turn the last time where Hayes called on the son of Always A Virgin for the supreme effort and he responded magnificently booting 10 metres clear. Me Mate Les burst from the pack in a late bid to chase the leader down but he fell short by almost four metres with Boutique Art 20 metres away third. Peter Staples

Well-bred harness racing three-year-old pacer The Village Sneak broke through for her first win with an emphatic all-the-way victory in the Crown Lager Pace over 2200 metres at Luxbet Racing Centre in Tasmania. With leading reinsman Gareth Rattray aboard, the Michael Laugher-trained filly stepped straight to the front and when she was pressured by the favourite Sea Sky in the home straight she dug deep and refused to wilt and went on to score by 1.2 metres from the favourite with outsider Freds Under Fire a closing third 5.4 meres away. The Village Sneak is by Village Jolt from the Courage Under Fire mare Im Sneaky. She went into the race having been placed only once from five tries but this win will do her confidence the world of good and she can only improve as she goes forward. Outside of the winner the most encouraging run in the race belonged to third placed Freds Under Fire that dropped off when the leaders sprinted but under strong driving from his driver Craig Hayes he made up good ground over the concluding stages to place third. The gelded son of Courage Under Fire has his sire's conformation but he also might have inherited a bit of his heart and will to win. Freds Under Fire is definitely one to follow over the coming months. Peter Staples  

Harness racing trainer Kent Rattray produced an incredible training feat to produce last season's Easter Cup winner Riverboat Jasper fit enough to take out the Doug Martin Danbury Park Cup over 2698 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. Riverboat Jasper ($15) started off a handicap of 20 metres and settled near the rear of the field as did the back marker and race favourite Resurgent Spirit that started off 40 metres. When James Austin sent Resurgent Spirit ($4) around the field at the bell, Riverboat Jasper's driver John Walters latched onto the second favourite's his back for a ride home. But just when it looked as if Resurgent Spirit would forge clear, Walters called on the son of Riverboat King for the big effort and the seven-year-old gelding responded magnificently and powered clear. Riverboat Jasper went on to defeat Victorian invader Im Barney Rubble ($5) that flashed home from well back in the field with Resurgent Spirit hanging on for a game third. All three placegetters are likely to contest the $40,000 Tasmania Cup to be run at Luxbet Park Hobart on December 18. Peter Staples

Office Of Racing Integrity Stewards have conducted an Inquiry into the results of analysis on urine samples taken from GLAMOUR ART, following its second placing in Race 11- “ The Luxbet For Those That Know Racing Pace” at the Launceston Pacing Club race meeting on 28 August 2016. Analysis of the samples indicated the presence of the Prohibited Substance DEXAMETHASONE.  Evidence was heard from representatives of Racing Analytical Services Limited and The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory, Consultant Veterinarian Dr. Peter Horridge and from trainer Dylan Ford as well as veterinary evidence on behalf of Mr Ford. Mr Ford pleaded guilty to three charges as follows.  1. AHRR 190B(1) – A Trainer shall at all times keep and maintain a log book recording all details of treatment administered to any horse in his or her care. 2. AHRR 190(1) – A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. 3. AHRR 196A(1)- A person shall not administer or cause to be administered to a horse any prohibited substance (ii) which is detected in any sample taken from such horse prior to or following the running of any race. After hearing submissions on penalty and taking into account all relevant factors the following penalties were imposed.  Charge 1. A fine of $200 Charge 2. A disqualification for five months. Charge 3. A disqualification for five months. Stewards ordered that the two periods of disqualification be served concurrently, commencing immediately and expiring at midnight on 22 April 2017. Mr Ford was given until 5 p.m. on 25 November to remove from his training property any horses in his care. In accordance with AHRR 195 GLAMOUR ART was disqualified from its second placing with the race results to be amended accordingly. Mr Ford was advised of his rights of Appeal.  Adrian Crowther Chairman of Stewards (Harness) (03) 6777 1900

An inspection of the harness racing track in Launceston in Tasmania will be made at noon today (AEST) to determine whether or not the 10-race twilight harness meeting scheduled at the Luxbet Racing Centre can proceed as planned. A similar amount of rain to that which has covered the Hobart track in the south of the state that forced the postponement of that meeting, has fallen on the Launceston circuit in the past 12 hours. Leading harness trainer Ben Yole expects to take a team of 35 horses to the Launceston meeting which is a modern day record for any one trainer. Yole's team will be transported in four trucks and two double horse floats. "We will start preparing for the meeting around noon and it will take a full team of seven people to make it all work," Yole said. "This is the most we've taken to the races so we are hoping everything goes smoothly." Yole has multiple runners in each of the 10 races and in a couple of races he has more than half the field. Yole says Ebonyallstarzzz looms as one of his best bets on the program as she has drawn the pole in race four and he also has a high regard for Regmondo (11) that will start from the second line in race seven. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing trainer Kate MacLeod landed one of the bargain buys of the year when she secured former NSW pacer Rattlenhum for a modest sum earlier this year. The gelded son of Riverboat King had won only one race from 50 starts for Broken Hill owner-trainer Tony Camilleri when he was advertised the gelding for sale on the Internet for $1500. In Launceston on Sunday Rattlenhum made it two wins from only three starts for MacLeod, leading throughout with ace reinsman Troy Hillier in the sulky. In blustery conditions Rattlenhum ($2.80) forged to the lead soon after the start and when seriously challenged in the home straight the last time he refused to wilt and forged clear close to home to score from Olivers Mate ($5) with the favourite Regmondo ($2.60) third. "I was looking to buy a horse for my Mum (Ruth) to race and came across Rattlenhum on the Internet," MacLeod said. "I spoke to the owner Tony Camilleri for a while and he explained the horse had just gone a bit sour but for $1500 I thought he was worth a punt. "He had a win and a third at Broken Hill before I bought him in April and he won at his first start for me in Launceston a month later. "I tipped him out for a spell and he was a bit unlucky when fourth first-up two weeks ago. "But today once he got the front I knew he'd be very hard to run down. "He can be a bit moody and is a bit of a pig at times but overall he's doing a good job and Mum's happy." Peter Staples

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