Day At The Track
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Samantha Gangell and Conor Crook will make late bids for driving premiership honours in tonight’s penultimate harness racing meeting of the season in Hobart. Samantha currently sits second on the Leading Female Drivers table, level with Natalee Emery and two wins behind Hannah Van dongen, who currently has just the one drive Stylish Trend over the two meetings in Hobart in the next three days. Gangell has seven opportunities to close the gap, three drives tonight and another four chances on Friday. Young Bruiser kicks off Samantha’s night and despite being served up at odds of $26 he figures prominently in Tasracing harness live stream host Duncan Dornauf’s selections in tonight’s live stream coverage available from 17.00. Samantha’s second drive is Streetside Classic, trained by Mark Geeves, again highly rated by Duncan and has been tipped third by Tasracing form analyst Jamie Cockshutt. Streetside Classic has won two races this season and has been placed at three of its last five starts and comes off a last start fourth behind top-liner Similan Beach during the Botra Drivers Series in July. Hit The Lights (pictured), trained by Mark Geeves, is the top selection by Jamie Cockshutt and is the second tip in Duncan’s view and is currently quoted at $3.80. At first glance it would be hard to become enthused by the recent efforts of having finished last or send last at the five-year-old’s last four starts, however, Jamie is of the belief Samantha can either lead or settle third on the pegs and take advantage of the Roberts Sprint Lane. Conor Crook has enjoyed by far his best season to date, sitting ninth on the State Drivers Premiership table and he is currently level pegging with the sidelined Dylan Ford on 20 wins, five clear of third-placed Jack Laugher in the Junior Drivers Title. Conor has 12 drives over the two meetings in Hobart before the end of the season and will be in the gig on six occasions tonight, his best chance looking to appear in the last on the card with the Ben Yole-trained mare Ready to Fire at $ 6.50. Tonight’s seven-event Tasmanian Pacing Club card, commencing at 17.15, can be seen via the live stream service at tasracing.com.au. Shane Yates

Hit The Lights had 28 starts before he emerged triumphant but as often is the case with horses that take forever to win a race just two starts later the Mark Geeves-trained gelding was back in the harness racing winner's circle. The gelded son of Shadow Play registered his second win in a C1 over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last Sunday night. With Adrian Duggan in the cart, Hit The Lights settled near the rear of the field but when the pace slackened the driver made the race-winning move to allow his charge to roll around the field and face the breeze from where he could help dictate the pace of the race. Hit The Lights stormed to the lead in the home straight and went on to score comfortably from Last Guy Standing and Pop The Cork. Hit The Lights is owned by Geeves and his long-time friend and fellow hobby trainer Eric Blomquist. Geeves purchased the gelded son of Shadow Play from Queensland about 16 months ago and when he arrived at his stables he immediately showed promise but a back ailment prevented him from realising his potential. "Because he showed so much when he first arrived (in Tasmania) we pushed on to try and win a three-year-old event but I discovered the back problem so I tipped him out and gave him a decent spell," Geeves said. Now that Hit The Lights has found form Geeves expects the gelding to remain competitive as he makes his way through the lower classes. Peter Staples  

Hits the Lights finally delivered on the potential he showed when he first arrived in Tasmania by powering his way to an impressive harness racing win in the Green Electrical Pace over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. The Mark Geeves-trained four-year-old faced the breeze for over a lap but proved too strong for his rivals at the business end of the race to score by 5-1/2 metres from Peteri Mic with Really Frank a half-neck away third. Geeves purchased the gelded son of Shadow Play from Queensland about 16 months ago and when he arrived at his stables he immediately showed promise but a back ailment prevented him from realising his potential. "Because he showed so much when he first arrived (in Tasmania) we pushed on to try and win a three-year-old event but I discovered the back problem so I tipped him out and gave him a decent spell," Geeves said. "He's come back in good order and his runs leading up to this race were good but we had to drive him differently tonight to make sure it wasn't going to be a sit and sprint. "I'm not sure how many more wins he's got in him but we've got one at least." Geeves, who considers himself a boutique trainer these days with only one or two horses in work at any one time. Hit The Lights ($7.50) was well driven by Adrian Duggan who settled the gelding three-back in the one-out line but when the pace slackened 1200m from home he sent the gelding around the field to face the breeze. He forged to the lead leaving the back straight the last time and went on to score comfortably. "We wanted to make sure he was up on the speed so that we could play to his strength," Duggan said. "He's done a good job tonight and on that run he'll definitely win again." Peter Staples  

Veteran harness racing trainer-driver Mark Geeves doesn't frequent the winner's circle as much these days as he did in his heyday but his latest acquisition Rough And Reckless could have the potential to reverse that trend.

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