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Harness racing trainer Kent Rattray celebrated his second Group 3 win in the space of 13 months when his talented four-year-old Timely Sovereign led throughout to win the $40,000 Raider Stakes final in Devonport last Friday night. Rattray prepared Riverboat Jasper to win the 2016 Group 3 Easter Cup and while that was a major achievement in his training career this latest win was more special from a family perspective. Rattray acquired Timely Sovereign from the gelding's former owner-trainer Ian Swain when he opted to leave the industry. "Ian (Swain) was at the trials and he was selling all of his gear so I asked him what about that two-year-old (Timely Sovereign) that you ran around last year and he never won a race," Rattray said. "He wanted $7,000 but said he'd take $5,000 and we had him bought by the end of the day. "We haven't looked back since and my wife Jodie owns him." Timely Sovereign ($12.30) made full use of the pole position and once in front the gelding was rated superbly by experienced reinsman John Walters. The gelded son of Lombo Pocket Watch showed great courage to fend off a serious challenge from odds-on favourite All Style Sammy ($1.30) to go on and defeat that horse by two metres with God Sake 10 metres astern. It was a masterful drive from John Walters who had to reassess his driving tactics when Hillview Jake, that was expected to lead, was the cause of two false starts that led to his withdrawal from the race. "When Hillview Jake came out John had to reevaluate his tactics and I was very happy that I had the best driver on my horse and he changed his tactics accordingly and we've won the race," Rattray said. "He (Walters) has to make decisions out there and he can't be ruled by what we tell him so he's done a great job." Walters said he had planned to hold the lead for a while with Hillview Jake in the race. "Once Hillview Jake came out I decided to try and keep the lead and the way the race panned out he just had to be strong to win it and he was (strong)," Walters said. "All Style Sammy put it to my horse but he refused to wilt but he does have a great record on this track and that also was in his favour." Peter Staples

Todd Rattray joined his brother Gareth at the top of the Tasmanian harness racing driver's premiership table courtesy of a four-win haul at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night. The brothers are level pegging with 60 wins apiece which sets up what should be an interesting battle with 26 meetings remaining of the 2016-17 season. Gareth is a 10-time winner of the driver's premiership with only injury preventing him from making it 11 in succession last season. Todd has notched his 60 winners from 329 starters while Gareth has needed 376 drives to achieve his tally with Ricky Duggan and Rohan Hillier lying third and fourth with 44 and 42 wins respectively. In Hobart Todd delivered super drives to secure his quartet of winners starting with Cardinal Spec in the first for Riverside trainer Chester Bullock. Young driver Duncan Dornauf gave Bullock a training double when he emerged aboard outsider $64 Cardinal Lane in the following race to defeat Todd Rattray's Hafter by a head in the most thrilling finish of the night. Rattray drive aboard Damitsam to secure victory for the Justin Campbell-trained gelding was like poetry in motion as he waited for the right moment to extricate his charge from behind the leader that had kicked clear and drove him with gusto without losing any momentum over the final 100 metres. Rattray delivered another top piece of reinsmanship to win aboard Roger Ramjet and he ended the night with by winning with his well-bred two-year-old Ignatius. From his six drives on the seven-event program Rattray produced four winners and two seconds which was clearly his best night at races. Peter Staples

When a horse broke in the path of the well-backed Adele Said ($10 into $5.70) soon after the start in Launceston on Friday night most harness racing punters who had invested on the filly were close to tearing up their tickets. But it's a good thing they didn't because despite losing about 50 metres in the scrimmage Adele Said recovered to go on and score a very impressive win. After the incident driver Todd Rattray had the three-year-old settled into a strong pace but he was forced to drive her for luck and as it happens the luck presented itself and the filly did the rest. Adele Said (Well Said-Catz N Ratz) burst clear of the pack in the home straight and went on to score by six metres from Only A Myth with Holly Halo almost three metres astern. Adele Said recorded a mile rate of 2.03.7 which was good given the circumstances and she ran home her last half-mile (800m) in 61 seconds. Butler, who spent the early days of his training career at Lachlan near New Norfolk in the Derwent Valley, south-west of Hobart, has long been considered one of Tasmania's most talented horsemen. He trained Joesashyguy to win the 1999 Tasmanian Derby to etch his names in the record books as one of the youngest to train a Group winner in the state at age 21. Butler recently relocated to the north of the state where he has set up a training operation at Pipers River about 50km north of Launceston and he plans to expand his training enterprise with the help of his life partner and talented driver Kristy Grant who is the granddaughter of veteran harness trainer Dick Eaves. Butler and Grant moved into their new residence, formerly owned by prominent harness racing breeders Lyndon and Gail Menegon, last month and he expects to quickly build up the number of stable tenants. "We've been on the property for about three weeks and Adele said was our first starter training from our new property and Jillibi Gigi ran second later in the night so it's a fairly good start," Butler said. "We have eight horses in work so hopefully in another month or so we'll be able to take a team of four or five to the races." Peter Staples

Top Tasmanian harness racing trainer-driver Rohan Hillier will be aiming to join an elite group if he can prepare and drive the winner of the upcoming $30,000 3YO Globe Derby final in Launceston next month. Hillier has trained and driven the past three Globe Derby winners in Ryley Major (2016), Jerrys Jet (2015) and Chopstix Boris (2015) and in just over a fortnight he will partner Rock N Roll Turbo in a Globe Derby heat in Launceston with the hope of progressing him to the final a fortnight later. Rock N Roll Turbo showed enormous potential as a two-year-old winning the Keith Stanley Debutante on debut and a heat of the Dandy Patch Stakes at his subsequent outing after which he was being touted as possibly the best horse bred by his owner Charlie Beadman. After finishing second in the $30,000 Dandy Patch final to Usain Jolt he was spelled and at his first start this time in he finished last of eight and beaten over 90 metres in a 3YO race in Launceston in the care of Paul Hill. Rock N Roll Turbo was again rested and when he was about to race again the owner opted to send the colt to Hillier who has won aboard the colt twice from as many outings this month with the latest in Devonport last Sunday night. "I am more than pleased with how Rock N Roll Turbo is going since he arrived and his win last Sunday night was effortless," Hillier said. "He's coming along nicely and I think the change in his attitude has come through working him with other horses which has got his mind on the job. "The penny seems to have dropped with him and if he continues to improve I expect him to be very competitive in the Globe Derby." Last Sunday night in Devonport Rock N Roll Turbo settled last from his outside second-row draw but when Hillier sent the three-year-old around the field to find a spot he had no trouble in cruising to the front. He hit the line 10 metres clear of his nearest rival without having to be fully extended. Peter Staples

There could be nothing worse than having your vision impaired when driving a pacer at a harness racing meeting which is what Tasmanian drivers had to deal with at the meeting in Devonport on Tasmania's North-West Coast on Sunday night. Constant rain throughout the day had turned the Devonport Showground circuit into a bog by race five on the 11-event card and all drivers were hoping to find the front. However the rain eased and while the track was extremely rain-affected, stewards deemed it safe for racing. Needless to say many of the winners led throughout on what was one of the wettest days in the region this year. Mark Yole steered Jane Grant to an all-the-way win in the $10,000 Sheffield Cup after which he declared it would be almost impossible for anything to win coming from behind. "They won't be making any ground here tonight,' Yole said after winning the Sheffield Cup. Even though Jane Grant led throughout, Yole still had to lift his mud-splattered visor during the race to see where he was going. As Yole where's spectacles when he drives he had the other problem of having his glasses speckled with grit from the track that further impaired his vision. However, it made no difference to the outcome as Jane Grant set a solid clip in front and was never seriously challenged on her way to a comfortable win over Red Sun Bliss and Lord Jones. 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  

Former harness racing champion Tasmanian pacer Halyer passed away of old age last month but his memory will live on through his owners' decision to provide a recognition award each year at the annual meeting at St Marys. Ana and Eric Hayes owned Halyer for the last 14 of his retirement years and before he died the family provided finding for a trophy to be presented to a novice driver at the St Marys annual meeting and this was the fifth time the award has been presented. Halyer was owned and raced by the father and son combination of Don and Dean Cooper who had the pleasure of watching their star win his way into the hearts of harness racing fans around Australia and in particular Tasmania. On Easter Saturday Dean Cooper, who is the chairman of the board of Tasracing, the state's governing body of all racing, travelled to St Marys to present the 2017 award to novice driver Brady Woods Tasracing. "It is an honour to receive the Halyer Award because from what I've been told he was a fantastic horse." "This is the third time I've been given this award and it is great that the connections of the great horse wanted to establish the award in is honour," Woods said. "Halyer was a great horse to my father and I and we thank the Hayes family for initiating this award," Cooper said. Halyer was a great racehorse who greeted the starter 70 times for 32 wins and 22 minor placings for over $340,000 in stakes. He broke two minutes every season he raced, notching a 1.59.7 rate as a two-year-old and at three he clocked 1.58.3 in an open class race over 1609 metres Launceston in February 1990. Peter Staples

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

Victorian harness racing pacer Mighty Flying Mac tuned up for this Sunday's $40,000 Easter Cup with an effortless all-the-way win in the Degree C Quality over 1930 metres at the Devonport Showground in Tasmania on Sunday night. The Brent Lilley-trained gelding started from the pole position and once he was able to hold the lead to the first turn the end result was never in doubt. It was an effortless win and one that his driver Adrian Duggan expected. "On his recent form and the class of horses he had been racing against he was always going to be hard to beat once he led around Devonport," Duggan said. Duggan is caretaker trainer of the Mighty Flying Mac while he is campaigning in Tasmania and he will no doubt be sorry to see the Mach Three gelding leave his Brighton stables. "It's good to have a horse of his caliber in the stable. He's not a hard horse to train and if he takes his present form into Sunday's race he'll be very competitive. "He had a good blow after his run in the Easter Cup heat last Friday week, and he wouldn't have blown a candle out after his Devonport win so he should be spot on for Sunday's Easter Cup Final." Duggan drove the Mighty Flying Mac in his two Tasmanian starts but he won't be able to take the sit in the Easter Cup because he has his own horse Poker Storm engaged. "I've got to driver Poker Storm so it will either be my brother Ricky Duggan who'll take the drive or if his son Josh (Duggan) isn't required for drives in Victoria that night he'll most likely make the trip to drive the horse." Peter Staples  

The St Marys Pacing Club on Tasmania's Central East Coast will stage its annual harness racing meeting on Saturday after stewards gave the track the all clear on Monday. Chief harness steward Adrian Crowther inspected the track on Monday following sold rain in the region last weekend but according to club secretary Craig Woods only a minimal amount of rain was recorded in the St Marys district. The St Marys annual harness meeting is usually held on New Year's Day but this year's meeting was cancelled after heavy rains caused the track to be unsafe for racing. "Having had the meeting washed out once this year it would have been devastating had we not been able to race on Easter Saturday," Woods said. "But thankfully the really heavy rain missed us and if anything what he had fall on the track only helped it because it was very firm and dry. "We lost our New Year's Day meeting in 2014 and that was transferred to Easter Saturday which was a very successful day so we are expecting the same this year if the weather gods are on our side and we get a fine day. The $10,000 Southern Cross St Marys Pacing Cup is the feature race on the seven-event card with the $8000 Country Guineas the major support event along with five lower class races. "We will have a fashions on the field events for adults with a $200 prize and we have organized a junior fashions on the field for various age groups with prizes for all entrants and we have booked a jumping castle for the day and that is always a winner with the children." Peter Staples

Star Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Scooterwillrev kept his unbeaten record in Tasmania intact when he led throughout to win the harness racing $30,000 Cascade Draught Tasmanian Derby over 2579 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart yesterday. Scooterwillrev ($2.20 into $1.95 favourite) went onto the race with 11 wins on home soil with his only two defeats coming in feature races in Victoria last season. It was his seventh outing this time in and the Craig Hayes-trained gelding saved his best for the feature event. Ace Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang took the drive and he made the winning move early in the race when he whipped around the field three-wide to momentarily sit outside of the leader before forging to the front. Once in the lead the gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere settled well for Lang while the other well-backed commodity Usain Jolt ($4) was left to face the breeze but he was never travelling comfortably. When Lang called on Scooterwillrev for the big effort in the home straight the gelding powered clear and went on to score by 11 metres from the Todd Rattray-trained Harjeet with Victorian Laredo Torpedo ($3.40) a half-head away third. "This is a very sweet win for me and all the owners who have been enjoying a good ride leading up to this race but the way he delivered today I am so proud of him," Hayes said. "I identified this horse as having above average ability early in his career but last season he was still very immature and even now he still has a lot to learn. "We took him to Victoria for the Breeders Crown series and he ran fourth in his semi-final and had no luck in the final but the trip did him the world of good. "He has come a long way this season and if everything pans out well then we might head back to Victoria for the 3YO Vicbred series." Lang was full of praise for the gelding and suggested he would be very competitive if he ventured back to Victoria, "This horse could run around in graded races and keep winning but he is god enough to go back to Victoria and mix it with the better ones in good races because he is an above average horse," Lang said. "He's did it easy today and good horses don't appear to be running good times but that's because the just lengthen stride and this horse is a class act." Peter Staples

Goggo Gee Gee has gone from paddock pet to harness racing star in the eyes of his owner Adam Rattray. When Goggo Gee Gee was a foal playing amongst many in a paddock on the Rattrays' Karalta Pacing Stables at Pateena Road Longford he took a shine to Adam Rattray and they formed a bond. It isn't an odd occurrence but one that ensured plenty of emotion when Goggo Gee Gee emerged triumphant in the Harry Holgate Memorial final at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night. With his trainer Todd Rattray in the sulky, the gelding worked home three-wide for the last lap with the favourite Courageous Jamane on his back. But when the driver released the deafeners and called on the Bettor's Delight gelding for the supreme effort he sprinted clear of the favourite and then outgunned race leader Christian Jaz over the final 100 metres to win narrowly with the favourite closing late to grab third. "I just sat there three wide and I knew the favourite was on my back and that he was the one to beat, so when he pulled out on the corner I went for home in an attempt to out sprint him," Todd Rattray said. It was Goggo Gee Gee's seventh win but clearly his best and his owner is hoping for more. "He came up to me in a paddock and we bonded and from then on he was pretty much a pet," Adam Rattray said. "He is a small horse with a big heart and I thought it was a tough win." Peter Staples

Talented three-year-old pacer Usain Jolt tuned up for this Sunday's harness racing Tasmanian Derby with an effortless win in a C2-C3 event over 2200 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. The Tony Petersen-trained gelding settled near the rear of the field in the one-out line before driver Ricky Duggan eased him out three-wide to make his move a lap from home. Usain Jolt crept into the race and when the leader Tiz A Jamane tried to kick clear at the top of the home straight Duggan released the reins and the three-year-old powered clear of the field and went on to score untouched by over 12 metres from Charlie James that tracked the winner all the way during the last lap. Usain Jolt and archrival Scooterwillrev will clash for the first time this season in next Sunday's $30,000 Tasmanian Derby and it would appear any interstate invader will have to be very good to deny either one of the Tasmanians the joy of victory. Usain Jolt has won six of his seven starts this season with an average winning margin of almost 19 metres with his only defeat coming in Launceston when beaten 1.8 metres by Buster William at what was his third start for the season. Scooterwillrev is unbeaten from five starts this season and overall he has an unblemished record from 13 starts in the state with his only defeats coming in Victoria while campaigning in the Breeders Crown 2YO series last year. The Craig Hayes-trained gelding's latest win was in a C2-C4 event in Hobart when driven by Gavin Lang who will make the trip from Melbourne to Hobart on Sunday to be reunited with the son of Somebeachsomewhere. 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

Pachacuti extended his winning steak with an effortless harness racing victory in the $10,000 Governor's Cup over 2090 metres in Hobart on Sunday night.. Pachacuti ($1.30 favourite) was unable to hold the lead from gate two and was crossed by Modern Ruler and heading down the back stretch the last time it looked for a moment that the favourite might not get out of the pocket. But the seven-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding's trainer-driver Todd Rattray somehow eased off the fence from behind the leader at the point of the home turn and once in the three-wide line the gelding powered home to score by over 10 metres from Hugo Play with Sapphire Swayze a closing third. Pachacuti is being aimed at the $40,000 Easter Cup on April 16 and his next outing will most likely be in an Easter Cup heat in Launceston on Friday week, March 31. Rattray was hauled into the stewards' room after the race and subsequently suspended for four race dates on a dangerous driving charge and it could mean missing out on driving Pachacuti in an Easter Cup heat. "I will be appealing the suspension and that's all I want to say about it," Rattray said. It was Pachacuti's sixth win in succession this year and given the way he toyed with his rivals at this latest outing he should be a major contender when he arrives at his grand final in the Easter Cup. "I am very happy with how he's going but I'm sure there is a fair bit of improvement in him between now and the Easter Cup. "He had a short let-up after his previous run so I reckon he definitely was in need of this run." Peter Staples

New Zealand bred three-year-old filly Shartin powered her way to an emphatic harness racing win in the Cripps Waratah Tasmanian Oaks over 2579 metres in Hobart last night. The Victorian filly settled last from her wide front-row draw but inside a lap her driver Chris Alford sent the daughter of Tintin In America around the field to find the lead. From there on it was a procession with the filly forging clear turning for home and she went on to score by almost 12 metres from El Jays Mystery that faced the breeze throughout with Playing Arkabella a half-head away third. It was Alford's third drive aboard the filly and he said she was always travelling like the winner. "I was mindful that this filly can do a few things wrong if she has to race wide so I dropped her out to last and then whipped around them early on and she was able to find the front without having to spend too much gas," Alford said. "Dean Braun paid about $50,000 for this filly in New Zealand but I'm sure she will pay her way. "She is still learning what it's all about but tonight she did everything right and she had the race won a long way from home. Shartin is owned by a syndicate that includes Tasmanian Dean Richards who is overseas on business. Alford said Shartin was likely to head to the heats of the Victorian Oaks next month. Shartin has won three of her five starts with this latest her most impressive and the $15,000 prizemoney took her career earnings to just beyond $25,000. It was Alford's fourth Tasmanian oaks having been successful on Concorde Lombo in 1997, Itz Nosurprisesthere (2013) and last year aboard Dancingwithsierra. Peter Staples

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