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Talented harness racing performer No Spring Secrets looms as one of the best bets on the eight-event card at Tattersall’s Park Hobart tomorrow tonight. No Spring Secrets will begin from the second line in the opening event, but assuming the race pans out as trainer Steve Lukac expects, it will enhance his gelding’s chances of winning. “My horse will follow out a fast beginner in Nobeer Nofear, which has drawn gate two, so provided that happens and my bloke doesn’t misbehave, we should get a charmed run in the race,” Lukac said. “It’s over a mile and that too is ideal for my horse because he’s been freshened up since his great run in the Tasmanian Derby.” No Spring Secrets finished fourth in the Tasmanian Derby after losing at least 60 metres at the start, but ran home to be beaten 20 metres. No Spring Secrets possess loads of speed and Lukac is expecting him to release his biggest asset when it’s needed. “I haven’t trained a horse with as much natural speed as this bloke, but early in his career he struggled to contain it and he would break gait too easily but he is getting better with age,’ Lukac said. No Spring Secrets is assessed as an odds-on favourite in all markets, with place chances given to the Eric Jacobson-trained My Mate Mick, which has drawn well in gate one, and Dancing Da Vinci from the Christian Salter stable, which will follow him out from inside the second line. PETER STAPLES

The Rattray name is synonymous with Tasmanian harness racing and rarely a meeting passes without a member of the clan training or driving a winner. Most of the domination comes from trainer Barrie and two of his sons Gareth and Todd, but there is little doubt the talent doesn’t stop there. Wade Rattray has been working his way through the driving ranks earning his stripes bit by bit, and last night at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston, he delivered a superb drive to secure victory with his grandparents’ - Wayne and Gaye Rattray - pacer Karalta Dazzler. Wade, who is the son of talented trainer Kent Rattray, had Karalta Dazzler settled the one-one and waited until the right moment to make his move at the 600-metre peg of the Sunrise Bakery Stakes. View Street led into the home straight, but when Rattray released the reins, Karalta Dazzler sprinted past the leader and safely held out a challenge from Helen Wheels to record an impressive win. Karalta Dazzler registered his seventh win from 51 starts, but he also has amassed 13 placings which have helped grow his earnings beyond $50,000. PETER STAPLES

Finding suitable races for talented eight-year-old pacer Saab Quality is no easy task for his trainer Marc Butler but he found an ideal event for the gelding at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight. Saab Quality was backed in to start the $2.60 favourite in the Chartley Estate Claimer over 2200 metres and he never let his supporters down by powering home to score an effortless win. With Mark Yole in the cart, Saab Quality stepped well from the inside if the second row but the driver snagged him back and eventually eased into the one-out line before sending him around the field to face the breeze Livin It Lovin It just over a lap from home. That pair settled down to a two-horse war from the home turn but when Yole called on Saab Quality for the supreme effort he forged clear and went on to score comfortably from the fast-finishing Family Guy with Livin It Lovin It third. "I've been struggling to find suitable races for him and that's why he hasn't raced for about a month," Butler said. "He is racing as well as ever and he is very suited to these claimers but sometimes they (races) don't stand up." "But there is another mobile claimer here in Launceston in a fortnight so that's where he'll race next," Butler said. This was Saab Quality's sixth win for the season but he also has notched four minor placings from 12 starts. Saab Quality is well travelled having spent seven months racing in Victoria during the 2013-14 season that produced five wins and multiple minor placings. He was claimed by Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper in a claimer at Maryborough at the end of that Victorian campaign after which he returned to Tasmania and has been very consistent in Butler's care. Peter Staples

Prominent harness racing breeders Lyndon and Gail Menegon will be hoping their recent success with a galloper Smoke ' Whisky will carry over to Launceston tonight. Bred by the Menegon, Isundula Artist is chasing his first win for the season. The son of Tiz A Masterpiece will line up in the opening race on the eight-event card in what appears to be a winnable assignment for the Barrie Rattray-trained gelding. Starting from barrier three with Todd Rattray in the sulky, the three-year-old gets his chance to return to the winners' circle. Isundula Artist registered his sole win in Hobart almost a year ago, when he showed good gate speed to lead throughout from the pole. His main dangers are pole marker Barooga Minnie, along with Cemento Rapido from barrier two and Acey Boy from gate nine. PETER STAPLES

Harness racing trainer Christian Salter was forced to make a couple of stops on the way home from the Devonport meeting last night to take a nap after what was a tiring day of preparing horses and heading off from Brighton to participate in the North-West Coast meeting. But the tiring exercise was well worth it given the performance of his talented four-year-old Vande Velde that won a heat of the Raider Stakes and will probably start favourite in the final in a fortnight if he draws the front line. "It was a long trip home that took about 4-1/2 hours after stopping twice to have a nap but it was a worthwhile trip," Salter said. Vande Velde had produced impressive efforts from time to time in two and three-year-old events but never quite measured up in feature races. But this time in the gelded son of Four Starzzz Shark has finally delivered the goods with his win at his start prior in Launceston a signal that the penny has finally dropped. "His win in Launceston was terrific but I wasn't totally convinced until this Raider Stakes heat win that he is finally doing what I always believed he was capable of as a younger horse," Salter said. "He is putting it all together now and when he has the opportunity to sit and sprint he really delivers at the business end of his races," Salter said. Vande Velde ($3.70) powered home after enjoying a sit in the one-out line to score from the fast-finishing Chirac that trailed three-back the fence with the winner clocking a mile rate of 1.59.9. The remaining heat was won by Le Premiere that led throughout with Gareth Rattray in the sulky. The odds-on favourite Resurgent Spirit moved from last to face the breeze two laps from home but when he put it to the leader in the back straight the last time Le Premiere dug deep and refused to wilt. Le Premier defeated Resurgent Spirit by a half-head with Last Guy Standing six metres astern. The winner returned a mile rate of 2.01.2 but he ran home his last half (800m) in 58.7 which was quicker than Vande Velde's last section. The $30,000 Raider Stakes final will be held at Devonport on April 26. Peter Staples  

Riverside harness racing trainer Chester Bullock doesn't often ignore advice of co-owners of his six-year-old Cardinal Art but he was glad he did in Launceston on Sunday night. Bullock said his partners in the horse weren't keen when he advised them he wanted to apply pull-down blinds to the gear of Cardinal Art but he put them on anyway and they proved the desired result. Cardinal Art settled last in the Longford Equine Clinic Stakes (2200m) before being sent three-wide around the field at the bell. When driver Ricky Duggan edged close to the leader 400 metres from home he released the blinds. The gelded son of Modern Art bounded clear and went on to defeat Butch And Clyde by over seven metres with I've Got Oomph just over a metre astern. "Ricky (Duggan) said the new gear did the trick - when he pulled the blinds down the horse just took off," Bullock said. "It was like he found another gear and why that happens I don't know - maybe it gives them an adrenalin rush," he said. Cardinal Art recorded a mile rate of 2.03.2. Bullock says he always holds off using the pull-down blinds until horses are mature. Cardinal Art has won five times but he also has notched 18 minor placings to easily pay his way. Peter Staples

THE win of debutante two-year-old pacer Ryley Major at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night came as no surprise to his harness racing owner-trainer Rohan Hillier. Ryley Major delivered a very impressive performance at his first race start to score almost three metres from his stablemate Soho Shanghai with Spot Eight 20 metres astern in the $10,000 Tasmanian Yearling Sale Classic. Ryley Major is the first foal of Hiller's former star two and three-year-old filly Shez Ryleymak that went on to win 23 races and almost $300,000 in prize money including a Tasmanian Oaks and a $100,000 Group 1 Vicbred 2YO fillies final Classic. Shez Ryleymak also was named Tasmanian horse of the year at two and three years of age. "This win certainly didn't surprise me because he's so well bred and I would have been disappointed had he turned out to be no good," Hillier said. The gelding by Art Major recorded a mile rate of 1.59.4 and he ran home his last 800 metres in a slick 59.5 seconds which was what the trainer was expecting. Ryley Major is being aimed at the $20,000 2YO Sweepstakes series of which the final will be held in Hobart on May 17 and he will then target the Dandy Patch (stallion stakes) in July. Hillier also has an opinion of the runner-up. Soho Shanghai is also a nice horse but he's more of a stayer and doesn't have the speed of Ryley Major," he said.   Peter Staples  

Well bred two-year-old pacer Hillview Jake gave New Norfolk harness racing trainer Paul Hill successive wins in the Island Block & Paving Golden Slipper (1680m) when he led throughout to take out the prestigious juvenile event at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight. With champion Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang in the Sulky, Hillview Jake ($3.50) showed good early speed to lead from gate three after a stoush with the odds-on favourite Soho Shanghai ($1.50) and they cleared out from the rest nearing the home turn the last time. The son of Cardmaster Hanover was always travelling like the winner and had no trouble holding the favourite at bay all the way up the home straight. The mile rate for the 1680 metres was a  good 2:00.1 Hill won the race last year with Jerrys Jet that he says is the best two-year-old he has ever trained. "Hillview Jake is not as good as Jerrys Jet was at this stage of his racing career but he's the next best I've ever trained," Hill said. "His work through the week was outstanding and I told Gavin (Lang) that if he led tonight they wouldn't beat him and that's how it panned out," he said. Lang was upbeat about the two-year-old's future. "He is quite a big horse that did what he had to do to win tonight," Lang said. "I had to burn him up early to lead but he came back to me quickly and was very strong on the line so I'd say he has a future," he said. Peter Staples    

Victorian harness racing raider Rule Like A King made a one-act affair of the $40,000 Group Three Lees Orchards Easter Cup in Launceston last night. Rule Like A King was having only his second start since a 16-month injury enforced lay-off, but delivered one of the most emphatic wins in the modern day history of the feature. With ace Tasmanian reinsman Rohan Hillier in the sulky, the son of Mach Three stepped brilliantly to lead from the front line, lead and after setting consistent sectionals, he burst clear to score by almost 22 metres from local outsider The Majority ($34). Fellow interstate invader Outrageous El ($4.50) was two metres away third. Rule Like A King was listed as being trained by Hillier, but he took no credit for the gelding’s Cup preparation, preferring to relay that honour to his Victorian trainer, Dean Braun. “The horse came to me a couple of days before his Easter Cup heat last week, so I really can't take credit for training the horse,” Hillier said. “But I will celebrate it as my first winning drive in an Easter Cup. “It’s an honour to be given the responsibility of caring for a horse for such a prestigious race and we delivered the desired result. “I’ll be taking the Cup on a pub crawl tomorrow and probably end up drinking bubbly from it at the Devonport gallops tomorrow.” Rule Like A King was diagnosed with a bone chip in a coffin bone after finishing unplaced at Melton in September 2013. Braun gave the gelding plenty of time to recover and is confident he can win more feature races. “I thought the horse did a good job in his Easter Cup heat and tonight I think he showed that he is an above average horse,” Braun said. “We targeted the Easter Cup as a first-up assignment for him and he hasn't let us down.” Rule Like A King rated 2.01.3 for the 2698-metre trip, with the last half covered in 59 seconds. Braun is undecided about whether to return Rule Like A King to Victoria or leave him Tassie for some free-for-all racing to get him even more conditioned before an assault on a couple of feature races in his home state. PETER STAPLES

Star Tasmanian-owned and bred pacer Beautide delivered an early message to his likely harness racing opponents in the upcoming Len Smith Mile when he powered his way to an impressive trial win over 1609 metres at Menangle yesterday. Beautide was having his first hit-out since winning his second Inter Dominion Championship at Menangle last month. With his trainer James Rattray in the sulky, Beautide began well from the outside gate (8) and settled second behind the leader. When Rattray eased his stable star off the fence to challenge he quickly drew alongside the leader and went on to easily win the trial by a metre. Beautide stopped the clock at 1.54.7 and ran home his last half mile (800m) in 55.3 seconds without being fully extended. He is likely to have another trial before trying to make it successive Len Smith Miles with that Group 1 race over 1609m to be run at Menangle on April 26. Watch trial: courtesy of TrotsTV Peter Staples

There is nothing better for a trainer or driver in harness racing to have a well laid out plan realised, especially if it is a feature race. That's how it panned out for trainer Paul Hill and driver Ricky Duggan who teamed up to win the $10,000 Launceston Pacing Club's Belmont event with smart two-year-old filly Chica Bella. "On paper we thought she could lead from the pole, get away with some soft sectionals midrace and then sprint home," Duggan said. "That's exactly how it panned out and the filly did exactly what we thought she was capable of doing," he said. In a small field of six Chica Bella had no trouble in retaining the lead from the inside spot after a short stoush with Twentythreered that ended up facing the breeze with the well-backed first starter Guesstamate trailing the leader with Scorchin Safari in the one-out-one-back position. When Twentythreered dropped off turning for home Duggan called on Chica Bella to sprint and she delivered the goods to score by 1.3 metres from Guesstamate that ran home along the rails with Scorchin Safari over three metres away third. Chica Bella is owned by the trainer's wife Julie Hill who bred the filly and races her with her brother-in-law Robert Hill and step-son Scott Hill. The trainer says the daughter of Cardmaster Hanover showed ability from day one. "She has been a nice, easy going filly from the outset and has never missed a beat since she's been in work," Hill said. "Other than stepping out of her gear for a few strides when off the second line on debut she has been faultless." "We targeted the Launceston Belmont and now that she has learned how to win she will be competitive when we step her out in a heat of the Sweepstakes in Hobart next month," Hill said. Peter Staples

Gallant harness racing gelding Motu Crusader is on target to win consecutive Easter Cups following his impressive heat win at Launceston last Sunday night. Motu Crusader over came off a 40-metre handicap to score in style, suggesting he has lost none of the power he showed to win last year’s Easter Cup. With Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky, the eight-year-old stepped well and made up ground gradually before unleashing a powerful sprint to emerge triumphant over Riverboat Jasper and rising talent Ardlussa Express. Trainer Zeke Slater was thrilled with Motu Crusader’s effort. “If I had have been asked two weeks ago whether the horse was going as well as last year I would have said no, but in the past week he has come on really well and tonight he showed me he’s back to where he needs to be to win another Easter Cup,” Slater said. Motu Crusader dead-heated for second in his heat last year before going on to win the Final convincingly. The remaining Easter Cup heat was won by Victorian-owned gelding Rule Like A King, which is being prepared for the feature by Beauty Point trainer-driver Rohan Hillier. Driven by Hillier, Rule Like A King rolled to the front soon after the start, and when challenged along the home straight, he had no trouble fending off his rivals. The son of Mach Three scored comfortably from another Victorian, Outrageous El, with Tasmanian Cup winner Star Chamber third. PETER STAPLES

Star Tasmanian harness racing participant Gareth Rattray reached a great milestone in Launceston last night where he notched his 1000th win. Rattray ended the program with a double to expand to take his season total to 59 wins. It was Holme On The Bayou which provided Rattray with the magical milestone. Reaching such a mark at the age of 29 is quite a remarkable feat and it is clear Rattray is already is one of the greatest Tasmanian reinsmen. Last December, Queenslander Peter McMullen became the youngest Australian driver to record 1000 wins when successful behind Ezi Days at Albion Park. McMullen was 23 years, four months, and 18 days old. Popular reinswoman Amanda Turnbull set the previous mark when she partnered Forever Texas to glory at Peak Hill last June. Turnbull was 24 years and 4 months, which bettered Morgan Woodley 24 years and eight months. Others to reach 1000 wins at a young age include Luke McCarthy (25 years, one month and two days), Kerryn Manning (25 years, eight months and seven days), Gary Hall junior (26 years, seven months and 17 days) and Greg Sugars (26 years, eight months and seven days). As for Rattray, he is just the fifth Tasmanian to achieve the feat – the others being is father Barrie Rattray (1567 wins), Neville Webberley (1369), Ricky Duggan (1332) and the late Darrel Alexander (1315). Rattray is on target to win his 10th consecutive drivers’ premiership given he is 25 clear of his nearest rival Ricky Duggan. Rattray, twin to Inter Dominion winning horseman James, began driving in 2001, and after winning his first driver’s premiership in 2005/06, has dominated the state’s driving ranks. If he wins this season’s drivers’ title he will be only three premierships behind the great Jack Stamford. Gareth’s father Barrie won 11, while Neville Webberley and Bert Lewis each won seven. Along the way Rattray has represented Tasmania on numerous occasions, winning the Australasian Young Driver’s Championship twice. He also represented Australia at the World Driving Championships in Europe in 2009. Rattray is no stranger to winning feature races with the following just a few of his major successes:  •Tasmania Cup 2012 (Motu Crusader) and 2013 (Motu Crusader). •Tasmanian Derby 2015 (Mister Lennox). •Hobart Pacing Cup 2005 (The Grouse), 2009 (Yakuza), 2013 (Benediction) and 2014 (Spot Nine). •Evicus Stakes (2YO fillies) 2008 (Karalta Crown) and 2010 (Benediction). •Dandy Patch (2YO colts and geldings) 2008 (Cody Maverick). •Globe Derby (3YO) Stakes 2011 (Beautide). •Raider Stakes (4YO) 2010 (Babyitsu). •Granny Smith (4YO Mares) 2007 (Death and Taxes). •2YO Sweepstakes 2010  (Benediction), 2011 (Cloudy Delight) and 2012 (Pachacuti). PETER STAPLES

New Norfolk harness racing trainer Roger Whitmore has his eyes on the $30,000 Raider Stakes with his talented four-year-old Resurgent Spirit following the gelding's impressive win at Tattersall's Park Hobart last Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit resumed from a lengthy spell with a game win on his home track on Australia Day and followed up with a second at Devonport in a race that was expected to be a stroll in the park for the former Tasmanian two-year-old of the year. The loss encouraged speculation that all might not be as it should be with the gelding but this latest effort dispelled any suggestion that the gelding had lost his sparkle. With his regular driver James Austin aboard, Resurgent Spirit showed his customary early speed to easily hold the front from barrier two. He was taken on about 600m from home and at one stage it looked as if he might again succumb to the pressure. But when Austin asked him to find, the gelded son of American Ideal forged clear and went on to defeat Black Centurian by 2.3 metres with Punt Road Disco a similar margin away third in the C5-C6 event over 2090 metres. Austin was delighted with the win. "That was an awesome win because he felt good throughout the race and he never got onto his knee once in the run," Austin said. "He pretty much toyed with them tonight," he said. The Raider Stakes will be run at Devonport on April 26 with heats to be held at the same track on April 13. Peter Staples

Victorian harness racing trainer Maree Caldow will aim Macfire towards the Victoria Oaks following the filly’s impressive win at Tattersall’s Park Hobart last Sunday night. Macfire was taken to the Apple Isle for the Tasmania Oaks the previous week, but after finishing third to the Dean Braun-trained Sudden Change, connections opted to keep her in the state to try and win her second three-year-old race before home. Macfire (Mach Three-Sparks Under Fire) worked to the early lead from a wide front row draw, and when driver John Caldow slipped her more rein at the top of the home straight, she drew clear to score by 13 metres from Iden Makin Time. The daughter of Mach Three rated 2:01.5 for the 2090 metres, covering the last half in 58.6 seconds. Caldow said the filly, owned by stalwart stable client Tony Conte, had always shown above average ability and would continue to contest the better three-year-old races. PETER STAPLES

Talented youngster Mister Lennox capped a great week for prominent harness racing owner Barry Cooper when he stormed home to win the Tasmania Derby at Tattersall’s Park Hobart tonight. Cooper, who owns many pacers, also dabbles in thoroughbreds and last Wednesday two of his gallopers, Meconsul and Tycoon Navigator, won impressively for trainer Gary White in Launceston. But Mister Lennox’s brilliant Derby victory surpassed all the excitement as he provided Cooper with his biggest win. “This is the biggest win I’ve had in harness racing and he is a horse that I race with my children Shane, Stuart, Maree and Christopher and that’s what makes it so brilliant,” Cooper said. “I set out to pick what I hoped would be my best horse to race with the children and it looks like I succeeded.” Mister Lennox was bred in New Zealand and purchased by Cooper as a going two-year-old. The son of Changeover is trained by Juanita McKenzie, who has always believed the colt was capable of winning a feature race. Although successful at Hobart last week, McKenzie wasn’t completely satisfied with Mister Lennox’s performance, so she increase his training rate during the week and it worked wonders. With the $1.70 favourite Major Mojo leading from the pole, Gareth Rattray was content to trail the front runner as the small field of six raced in ‘Indian file’. Rohan Hillier, driving Four Ex Dan, was the first to leave the pegs with 700 metres to travel, which saw Rattray come out in front of the son of Four Starzzz Shark. Forging his way to the front at the top of the home straight, Mister Lennox completed a five-metre win from Major Mojo, with Four Ex Dan 12 metres away third. PETER STAPLES

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