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CLASSY Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Resurgent Spirit returned to winning form in Hobart this week with an all-the-way victory in a Breeders Crown heat over 2090 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart. It was his first run since failing in the $30,000 Globe Derby final in Launceston at the end of last month but he did it with consummate ease. Resurgent Spirit was having his fourth start this time in and made every post a winner with an ell-the-way win over Animi Sub Ignis and Le Premiere. The Roger Whitmore-trained three-year-old equaled Halwes' record of the most number of consecutive wins (13) in Tasmania when he won a C1 in Hobart in March but his winning run came to an end when he resumed from a spell with a third to Estevao in a heat of the Globe Derby. With only that run under his belt he went into the Globe Derby final underdone and that showed when he was forced to work three-wide before being sent up to face the breeze for the last 1400 metres. The gelding understandably weakened to finish sixth but still only 4.1 metres from the winner Chopstix Boris that rattled home from last to win in the last few strides. "Had it not been a $30,000 race I probably wouldn't have contested the race (Globe Derby) but we did and the horse did an exceptional job under the circumstances. "We had a couple of little problems to iron out when he came back into work but the most pressing was him hitting his knee and it took us a while to finally sort it out." "The shoring was changed and when I changed his showed last week they were both worn down evenly on the front so that was pleasing." "He loafed a bit in front at this latest run but he worked home his last half in good time, in fact his last 1200 metres equated to a mile rate of 1.57.7 so I am happy with that effort," he said. Whitmore said a decision on whether or not he takes his stable star to Melbourne co contest the Breeders Crown 3YO colts and geldings semi-final will depend on how he gets through his assignment in a C3-4 in Hobart on Sunday night. By Peter Staples

CLASSY Tasmanian harness racing three-year-old filly Barynya qualified to contest a semi-final of the Breeders Crown series in Victoria next month with a win in a heat in Launceston on Sunday night. However, there was no competition for the filly as she was the sole runner in the race. Conditions allow for a horse to contest a race solo if it is a lead-up to an interstate series such as the Breeders Crown and trainer Dick Eaves took full advantage of the conditions. Barynya was driven by Rohan Hillier who ensured the effort was nothing more than a casual workout with the filly producing a mile rate of 2,10.1 over the 2200 metre trip. Barynya will head to Melbourne within a fortnight to prepare for her semi-final in which she will probably start favourite. The filly won the Tasmanian and Victorian Oaks before tackling the Vicbred Super Series in which she won a semi-final and started favourite in the final only to meet interference and finish out of a place. By Peter Staples

The 2014 Breeders Crown series heads to Cambridge and Addington this Thursday and Friday before Tasmanian tracks Launceston and Hobart take centre stage on Sunday and Monday. In the two-year-old fillies’ heat at Cambridge Dexter Dunn will drive highly rated Katy Perry, while Anthony Butt will partner with Harness Jewels placegetter Joanne’s A Delight. Cyclone Kate, which also contested the Jewels, rounds out the three-horse field. Despite just the three runners contesting the race, it promises to be an enthralling duel. Addington on Saturday will see Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained duo Linda Lovegrace and superstar Follow The Stars in action in Breeders Crown heats. On Sunday the spotlight turns to Launceston in Tasmania for the running of two two-year-old heats (one for the fillies and one for colts and geldings), while Hobart will host two three-year-old pacers’ heats on Monday night. Earlier this month Controversial made it three wins from three Australian starts when he won at Albion Park in his two-year-old colts and geldings Breeders Crown heat. Controversial, driven by Lauren Panella for Shane Tritton, led and ran a 1:57.1 mile rate (after a lead time of 39secs) to score by 6.1m over Major Coup. Only two fillies contested the two-year-old fillies’ heat at Albion Park on the same day, with Grant Dixon trained-and-driven Feel The Faith 11.4m too good for Acer Animus in a mile rate of 2:03.4 after a lead time of 40.5secs. By  Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

TOP class Tasmanian reinsman Rohan Hillier has been enjoying life in the fast lane of late with his association with the Dick Eaves-trained star filly Barynya that won her way onto the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series in Victoria last Friday night. Back home in Launceston two nights later he was back in the winner's circle, this time aboard his own three-year-old Chopstix Boris that caused a major upset to win the $30,000 Globe Derby Stakes. It was a hot field and one that would not be out of place in any feature three-year-old race around the country. Resurgent Spirit was sent out favourite ($3.80) but there was plenty of smart money for Estevao ($4), Rusty Red Comet ($4.60) and the in-form Vande Velde ($5.10) with Chopstix Boris getting into $11.80 after touching $16 midway through betting. Estevao (Gareth Rattray) was able to hold the lead but when Resurgent Spirit was unable to find a spot with cover from his outside front-row draw driver James Austin had no option but to go forward and park outside of the leader. Chopstix Boris settled near last in the one-out line with Vande Velde at the rear on his back. Estevao looked set to steal the race when Rattray urged him to extend turning for home but his lesser fancied stablemate Ektoras that had trailed the leader throughout, came off the fence to challenge and looked set to win. But that's when the tailenders started to swoop and so fast did Chopstix Boris finish he swamped the leaders close to home to score by almost a metre from Ektoras with Estevao a half-head away third. It was a masterful drive and a brilliant performance by the gelded son of Jeremes Jet from Flo Jo Fernandez that won the 2001 bandbox Stakes for 3YO fillies. Chopstix Boris is owned and raced by Hillier in partnership with his wife Katrina and two of the driver's mates Danny Bennett and Andrew Baxter. He was originally trained by Hillier who opted to send the gelding to Paul Ashwood to train. "He was working well for Rohan but not producing his best on race day and Rohan thought a change of environment would suit him so he sent him to me," Ashwood said. "Tonight he showed what he could do, although I wasn't that confident with the slow early pace," he said. Resurgent Spirit ($3.80) battled away in the home straight to finish sixth for what was his first time out of a place in 17 starts. By Peter Staples      

YOUNG Tasmanian harness racing reinsman Duncan Dornauf celebrated his biggest win in the sulky when he partnered talented three-year-old filly Miley Rose to victory in the $30,000 Bullock Consulting Bandbox Stakes over 2200 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Miley Rose ($5.80) proved too strong for odds-on favourite Faithful Gabby ($1.50) in a close finish and it gave prominent owner-breeder Doug McKillop another feature race win. Miley Rose was quick to leave the mobile and had no trouble leading but Dornauf was content to let Faithful Gabby (Gareth Rattray) roll to the front 1400m from home to give his charge a cushy run on the favourite's back. Faithful Gabby, that had won four of her previous five starts going into the bandbox final, travelled comfortably to the home turn but Dornauf always had his filly breathing down Rattray's neck. When Rattray released the deafeners at the top of the home straight his filly shot clear but Dornauf was able to get the most from Miley Rose and she gradually erased the margin and went on to grab victory in the last few strides. Itswhatilikeaboutu (Christian Salter) came from last to run third but 20 metres from the first two placegetters with the judge unable to separate Tania Maree and Jane Grant for fourth.  By Peter Staples    

RECORD breaking three-year-old Tasmanian pacer Resurgent Spirit had his colours lowered for only the second time when he had to settle for third in a heat of the Globe Derby Stakes over 2200 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston last Friday night. Resurgent Spirit won his first 13 starts to equal Halwes' record of the most number of consecutive wins in Tasmania before suffering his first loss in the Tasmanian Derby in April. Last Friday night the Roger Whitmore-trained gelding was forced to do a lot of work early to retain the lead but as it was his first start for almost two months and coming off a knew injury he was exposed at the business end of the race. Estevao came off a cozy run in the one-out-one-back position to finish powerfully to win by a long neck from Rusty Red Comet that faced the breeze for the duration with Resurgent Spirit weakening into third spot five metres away. Estevao (x Art Major) is a half-brother to this year's Devonport Cup winner Devendra (x Bettors Delight) with the only other of the mare Queen Carey's progeny being Benediction (a full sister to Devendra) that won 19 of her 56 starts including multiple features at two and three. Estevao is owned and raced in partnership by trainer Barrie Rattray and long-time stable client Ian Dunham who also raced last season's Easter Cup-Devonport Cup winner Biggernbettermax. By Peter Staples

SMART three-year-old Tasmanian pacer Vande Velde showed the courage of his namesake when he rallied after looking beaten to win a heat of the Globe Derby Stakes over 2200 metres in Launceston last Friday night. The Christian Salter-trained and driven pacer is named after former US cycling champion Christian Vande Velde who retired last year after a successful career as a professional road racer. The cyclist of Belgian descent was known for his courage and ability to overcome the greatest of obstacles in hotly contested road races. Salter was keen to lead the race so he set his charge a task to achieve that goal soon after the start. But about 500m from home he allowed the horse that was racing on his outside, Hustler Halo, to roll to the lead while the driver was content to take the sit on the leader's back. "It wasn't that we were going that fast - it was just that my horse wasn't comfortable," Salter said. "I felt that he wasn't going to win if I put the pressure on him at that stage of the race," he said. It proved to be the winning move. When the leader started to tire Salter simply eased his charge off the fence to challenge and went on to score by just over a metre from Karalta Dazzler with Chopstix Boris a close-up third. While Vande Velde's time was slower than that of the other heat winner Estevao Salter was more than pleased with his horse's effort. "He did a good job because he had to do a bit of work early to find the front so he'll be a chance in the final if he can get the right run," the trainer said. By Peter Staples  

STAR Tasmanian three-year-old Resurgent Spirit will make his ling awaited return to racing in a heat of the Globe Derby Stakes over 2200 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre (Race 5) in Launceston tomorrow night Friday). Resurgent Spirit won his first 13 starts to equal Halwes' record of the most number of consecutive wins in Tasmania and he then stepped out in the Tasmanian Derby and had his colours lowered for the first time when third to Outrageous El and Lake Eyre in Hobart. But he bounced straight back with a convincing win in Launceston three weeks later after which his trainer Roger Whitmore opted to freshen him up. Whitmore then admitted this stable star had encountered a problem with brushing his knee but the farrier came to the rescue and last season's two-year-old of the year is back on track. It would be hard to see any of the other six runners emerging triumphant if resurgent Spirit enjoys a trouble-free run in the race. The remaining heat (race 6) looks a match between the Christian Salter-trained Vande Velde and last-start winner Hustler Halo from the in-form Dick Eaves stable. There weren't enough nominations for heats of the Bandbox Stakes for three-year-old fillies but enough to program a Bandbox Prelude (race 2) that boasts a field of 10. It looks an open race on paper but if Tania Maree from the Craig Hayes stable can overcome her outside second-row draw she is the one to beat. Tania Maree has won seven of her 10 starts this season along with two seconds and a third. By Peter Staples

WELL bred two-year-old pacer Blackjackhanover finally broke his maiden status with an all-the-way win at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston last Friday night. The Campbell Watt-trained youngster had put together a string of minor placings, five in fact, from his previous seven starts. Being a prolific placegetter runs in the family as his now retired half-sister Vicki's Ticket that retired a maiden but had 12 minor placings from her 48 starts. With a win under his belt, Watt will proceed with plans to enter the gelding in the upcoming Dandy Patch series (Tasmanian sires stakes for colts and geldings) later this month. "He's a consistent little horse and he deserves his chance in a big race," Watt said. Blackjackhanover was bred by Watt from his former handy race mare Ticketoride that won on debut but had to be retired after 12 starts due to heart strain. "Blackjackhanover (x Cardmaster Hanover) is her fourth foal but the first to win," he said. Blackjackhanover's win at $5.70 came courtesy of a heady drive from Nat Emery who rated him well, got away with a pedestrian second quarter to ensure the gelding had enough in reserve to stave off a late and determined challenge from odds-on favourite ($1.20).   By Peter Staples                         

Tim Yole and Samantha Freeman ended up squaring the BOTRA Novice Driver Series in Launceston on Sunday night. Yole took a five-point lead into the final two heats of the series over Freeman and Lyarna Graham but the best Yole could manage from his only drive was a third aboard Helen Wheels in heat five and he was restricted to a mandatory six points in the final heat as he didn't have a drive. Freeman had to win the last heat to square the series and she had no trouble in guiding long odds-on favourite Mickwillrev to an effortless all-the-way win to earn maximum points (16). It was Freeman's second win in the six-race series. Matthew Howlett finished third with 53 points courtesy of a win aboard Robyn Scherbotsky in heat five that put him in a winning position going into the last heat but he could only guide Little Jethro into fifth place in a field of seven. Final standings after six heats: 56 - Samantha Freeman and Tim Yole. 53 - Matthew Howlett. 48 - Lyarna Graham and Kristy Grant. 44 - Duncan Dornauf. 41 - Braden Howlett. 36 - Shane Boon. 33 - Nicholas Brockman. 29 - Adrian Collins. By Peter Staples

Tim Yole retains a handy lead following another two heats of the BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers series at Devonport last night but two of the state's leading female drivers are hot on his heels. Despite not winning a heat Yole snared second in the fourth heat of the series aboard Animi Sub Ignis and as he did not have a drive in heat three earlier in the night he was allotted six points in accordance with the conditions of the series. Any driver who misses a drive through insufficient starters or through a scratching is awarded six points. Yole won a heat on the opening night of the series in Hobart last Sunday to earn 16 points and his other drive finished fourth to earn seven points to give him the lead with 23 points after the first two heats. He leads Lyarna Graham and Samantha Freeman who has accrued 34 points. Freeman won heat four with a clever front-running drive aboard Apple that she also owns and in heat three she drove Gottalovefridays into third place. Graham partnered Kinda Cute As into second lace in heat three last night and she didn't have a drive in heat four. Braden Howlett put himself into contention by winning heat three aboard Barrys Best to take his tally to 29. The winner of the series is determined on a points score basis with 16 points awarded for first; 12 for second; nine for third and seven for fourth reducing by one through to one point for last place (10th). The series concludes with two more heats in Launceston on Sunday night. Points tally after four heats:   41 - Tim Yole. 34 - Lyarna Graham, Samantha Freeman. 31 - Matthew Howlett. 29 - Braden Howlett. 27 - Krysty Grant. 26 - Duncan Dornauf. 24 - Shane Boon. 23 - Nicholas Brockman. 20 - Adrian Collins. By Peter Staples    

Tim Yole will take the lead into tonight's second round heats of the BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers Series at Devonport Showground.  Yole scored a great win aboard Aninchofhislife in them opening heat in Hobart on Sunday night, taking daring inside runs to secure victory aboard the Christian Salter-trained five-year-old. Aninchofhislife rattled home along the rails to score by 1-1/2 metres from Fletch Davis (Duncan Dornauf) with Krysty Grant's charge Tinkers Taxi a close-up third. All three placegetters were driven superbly along with four-placed Mes Elsu that was handled by Lyarna Graham who set a solid clip in front and was only overhauled in the closing stages. The second heat was won by the Brent Parish-trained The Family Guy that was driven by Matthew Howlett. The Family Guy started the $2.10 favourite but his backers had some anxious moments over the concluding stages with the favourite getting up by only a half-head from the Shane Boon-driven Island Disco for Brighton trainer Christian Salter. Scruffy Jake ran third in advance of Yole's charge Lucky Dave. The series continues at Devonport tonight with two more heats but unfortunately only six horses have accepted in each heat. This means that only two drivers will have had four drives from the four heats with all other drivers to have had only three drives. Those drivers who do not get a drive in either of the heats at Devonport tonight will be allocated six points. The winner is determined on a points score basis with 16 points awarded for first; 12 for second; nine for third and seven for fourth reducing by one through to one point for last place (10th). The series concludes at the Launceston meeting on Sunday night. Points score after two rounds: 23 - Tim Yole. 18 - Matthew Howlett. 16 - Lyarna Graham. 14 - Duncan Dornauf. 13 - Shane Boon. 12 - Krysty Grant. 10 - Nicholas Brockman. 9 - Samantha Freeman. 8 - Adrian Collins. 7 - Braden Howlett. Peter Staples Jamie Cockshutt's tips and form analysis on tonight's meeting at Devonport.  

QUALITY Tasmanian pacing mare Tessanzo made a huge impression at her interstate debut at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday night. Tessanzo lined up in a $16,000 heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship over 2240 metres and while she was without her regular driver Gareth Rattray the Melissa Maine-trained five-year-old toyed with her rivals scoring by over six metres and clocked a slick mile rate of 1.56.9, running home her last half mile (800m) in 56.6 sec. With the exception of a sixth at her start prior to leaving the state, Tessanzo went into the Melton race with good form comprising two wins and three seconds at her five previous outings. Rattray was meant to drive the mare but when his flight out of Launceston was delayed slightly and he encountered a traffic jam on the way to the track he had to be replaced in the sulky by Chris Alford. Rattray arrived at the track just in time to see the start of the race but the end result helped ease the pain of missing the drive. Tessanzo joined Maine's stable in November last year and has since won three and been placed six times from 13 starts. Tessanzo won the first race ever held on the synthetic surface at Spreyton Park in Devonport in July 2012 and soon after her then trainer Rod Burgess declared she had the ability to go right through t open class. Tessanzo will line up in the $30,000 final at Melton on Friday night and Rattray is expected to be reunited with the mare. By Peter Staples

THE confidence of talented young novice reinswoman Taylor Ford has grown enormously since she guided Devendra to victory in Hobart last Sunday week to register her first winning race drive. Ford, 16, is following in the footsteps of her older brother Dylan who is the leading novice driver this season and in only his second year as a licensed reinsman he represented Tasmania at the Australasian Young Drivers series in Sydney earlier this year. In Launceston tomorrow night (Friday May 23) Taylor will be trying to expand her winning tally. She will partner the Adrian Duggan-trained Topwestern in the first race on the eight-event card but from the outside gate (13) on the second row she would need luck to place. But in the second race, a C1 over 2200 metres, she is aboard last-start winner Cooked Books that is trained by her brother Dylan. Cooked Books led all the way to win in Hobart last Sunday week and while he defeated a very ordinary bunch he did it in style. If Taylor can find the front she would be hard to run down. Her only other drive is aboard the Zane Medhurst-trained Boozy Rouge in race seven, the C0-C1 over 1680m. Boozy Rouge has only modest form of late and he has drawn awkwardly one-off the onside of the second row but if he found anywhere near his best he would win without surprising. By Peter Staples

TALENTED young harness racing drivers Alex Ashwood and Dylan Ford produced only the second tie in the 28-year history of the Bullock Consulting Youngbloods Challenge series at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. The only other tie was shared by Tammy Mollross and Tamra Fawdry in 1998. It was a thrilling finish to the series with Ashwood holding a six-point lead going into the final heat. Ford partnered Livia Degerolstein into second place in the last heat to earn enough points to draw level with Ashwood who guided Elsudoku into fifth place. Ashwood is now domiciled in Victoria where he has driven 19 winners this season and is earning a reputation as one of the most promising young reinsmen in that state. Ford has gone from strength to strength since he acquired his driver's licence talking out the novice driver's premiership in Tasmania last season. He is on his way to achieving that feat again with 28 winners so far this season that also places him sixth on the overall drivers' premiership table. Ford also has just returned from NSW where he finished second in the 2014 Australasian Young Drivers' Series held in conjunction with the Inter Dominion. Justin Howlett ended the series by winning the final heat aboard Chopstix Boris for Beaconsfield trainer Rohan Hillier. Final points tally for the 2014 Youngbloods Challenge series: 46 - Dylan Ford, Alex Ashwood. 41 - Matthew Howlett. 39 - Duncan Dornauf. 35 - Nichols Brockman. 34 - Justin Howlett. 33 - Lyarna Graham. 32 - Samantha Freeman. 27 - Braden Howlett, Brady Woods. By Peter Staples

THE popular Bullock Consulting Tasmanian Youngbloods Challenge continues at Devonport tonight with the second round of heats of the six-race series to be staged on the seven-race card. Dylan Ford and Duncan Dornauf share the lead on 23 points going into the third and fourth heats tonight and Ford could hand rival driver Nichols Brockman a winner as Ford trains Cooked Books that has drawn gate three in the first of tonight's two heats while Ford will drive outsider Inner City for Northdown trainer Geoff Smith. There is not a lot of solid form around the eight runners but Cooked Books was an improved second at his most recent outing and would be hard to beat of Brockman can urge him to find the front. The second heat also comprises eight starters and it would be an ironic result of Dornauf can win on the Dylan Ford-trained Stareeshar that has drawn gate four on the front line. But the favourite should be the Scott Woods-trained Jane Grant (barrier three) that has won its past two and will be driven by Victorian-based Tasmanian reinsman Alex Ashwood. The Youngbloods Challenge series is open to all Tasmanian drivers who are aged under 23 years at the start of the 2013-14 season. Tasracing has selected 10 drivers to contest the series, Alex Ashwood, Nicholas Brockman, Duncan Dornauf, Dylan Ford, Samantha Freeman, Lyarna Graham, Braden Howlett, Justin Howlett, Matthew Howlett and Brady Woods with Taylor Ford the emergency. In races where there are less than 10 starters those drivers whop do not gain a drive will be awarded six points in accordance with the rules of the series. The final two heats will be run in Launceston on Sunday night. By Peter Staples

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