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Improving three-year-old pacer No Spring Secrets gave his harness racing trainer Steve Lukac sleepless nights as a two-year-old owing to the gelding's race manners and hypertensive mannerisms. But Lukac's patience and astute training methods have ironed out the creases in the horse's make-up and in Hobart last night he delivered arguably his best win. However, with few suitable races left for him in Tasmania this season, Lukac confirmed negotiations were under way to send No Spring Secrets to the James Rattray stable in NSW. "He isn't eligible for the Globe Derby (Tasmania 3YO Sires Stakes) because he is Queensland bred so I have suggested to the owners that the horse be sent to James Rattray because he would be very competitive in that state and James is a very good horseman," Lukac said. On Sunday night No Spring Secrets (Nathan Ford) began well from gate two and while unable to go straight to the front he was content to settle second. But when Ford allowed him more rein he quickly strolled to the front entering the home straight the first time. The Tell All gelding reeled off a modest first half but Ford let him rip in the home straight the last time to record a mile rate of 1.57.91 with a last half (800m) in 57.29 seconds. No Spring Secrets has won half of his 10 career starts and four of his victories have come this season. Ford said No Spring Secrets was improving with each run. "The horse is still learning but he's definitely getting stronger and he improves with every run," Ford said. "He is still a bit of a work in progress but I like the horse and I think he has a really bright future," he said. Peter Staples  

Evergreen harness racing pacer Motu Crusader continued his winning streak by capturing his third win in succession in the $10,000 Plunkett Family Ascot Gold Cup over 2579 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Motu Crusader was the sole handicapper off 30 metres but the gallant eight-year-old made light of the task. With Gareth Rattray aboard he stepped brilliantly from the standing start and quickly made up ground to tack onto the main body of the field. When Rattray made his move down the back straight the last time he had the leaders in his sights turning for home and then powered up the home straight to score comfortably from Ardlussa Express and Outback Mach. The Zeke Slater-trained Courage Under Fire gelding won the $10,000 Elite in Hobart three starts back and followed up with an impressive win in the $10,000 Golden Mile in Launceston. "That's three feature race wins in a row for this horse so it proves he is definitely back to his best," Slater said. Motu Crusader will attempt to extend his winning sequence in the Brighton Cup in Hobart next Sunday night. Peter Staples

Evergreen pacer Motu Crusader delivered another stellar performance to win the $10,000 Golden Mile (1680m) at the harness racing meeting at the UBET Racing Centre Launceston on Sunday night.   With champion reinsman Gareth Rattray aboard, Motu Crusader enjoyed a cost run in the one-out-two back position while his main dander Something Eyre was forced to face the breeze outside of the leader Run Ripalong.   When Rattray eased Moto Crusader three-wide to start his run at the bell the eight-year-old edged his way to the leaders and when Rattray called on his horse for the big effort he stormed past Something Eyre and went on to defeat that horse comfortably.   “He was going to win the race a long way from home,” Rattray said.   “When he settled where he did and our only real danger was parked outside the leader, I couldn’t have been happier,” he said.   Moto Crusader went into the race on the back of another impressive win with this latest victory his fifth with Rattray in the sulky.   Rattray’s biggest win aboard Motu Crusader was in the 2013 Tasmania Cup in Hobart.   “At his best he’s just too good for the local horses here in Tassie.”   “And this win is what we should have expected because he is an M9 horse going around against M0 and M1s,” he said.   Motu Crusader has started 75 times for 25 wins and 21 minor placings for $344,273 in stakes.   Peter Staples

Dysart harness racing trainer Marc Butler has been producing his share of winners lately from just a small team and one of his newcomers delivered an impressive all-the-way win in Devonport last night. Smilin Geoff ($3.30) was having only his second race start but made it all look easy as he flew the gates from the outside barrier (6) to find the lead and when driver Nathan Ford released the reins turning for home the well-bred three-year-old colt bounded clear of his rivals. Smilin Geoff (It Is I-Printers Gold) hit the line 18 metres clear of Baldock ($5.10) that worked home well from beyond midfield with Miss Sharapova ($20) getting up for third over seven metres astern. Smilin Geoff debuted with an encouraging third in Launceston behind Barooga Minnie and Cemento Rapido after enjoying the one-out-one-back spot. This latest effort proved the colt has a future despite his mile rate being a pedestrian 2.06.9. He has been with Butler since he was a yearling and has been given plenty of time to mature. "There's plenty of upside with this horses and I think he has the ability to win more races," Butler said. Peter Staples

Brighton harness racing trainer Zane Medhurst has only a small team in work, but he has been peppering the winners’ circle at recent meetings, including Territorial’s win at Devonport last night. Beginning quickly to lead from barrier two, Territorial led throughout to score by two metres from Next Sound, with Touchwood Topsta a close-up third after trailing the leader. Territorial was driven by in-form novice reinsman Tim Yole, who picked up the drive courtesy of Tayla Ford suffering an injury as a result of parting company with her charge and favourite Johnnyart in the opening race on the card. Flash Desire, which was following Johnnyart, also tipped his driver Adrian Collins out of the sulky. Ford and Collins were taken to the Mersey General Hospital, with Ford suffering a suspected broken arm, while Collins was being checked due to back and hip soreness. As for the remainder of the program, Nathan Ford took the driving honours with four winners. He partnered Le Wi Bulent to victory in the C2 or better stand start event and then guided Smilin Geoff, with the youngster scoring at his second start. Ford then drove Pacific Soul and Master Paige to victory. The latter is trained by Geoff Madden who missed the drive after falling down stairs near the drivers’ room early in the night. PETER STAPLES

After Jerrys Jet stormed home to score an unbelievable win in the 2014 2YO Sweepstakes final on the Elwick track in Hobart his owners were excited about what the future might hold for the talented pacer. His Sweepstakes win was one of the most impressive performances seen by a juvenile pacer in a feature race final as he came from last on the home turn to win in a three-way photo finish. He was in the care of Paul Hill who at that stage had prepared the gelding to win four from as many starts. Jerrys Jet went on to win a Dandy Patch Prelude before being beaten by Boasson Hagen in the Dandy Patch final. He was sent for a spell and resumed with a win in January followed by a second to No Spring Secrets in Launceston. Jerrys Jet was subsequently sent to Rohan Hillier's stable by his owner Charlie Beadman. Hillier had open class horses with which Jerry Jet could work with and that was expected to help the owner determine whether or not Jerrys Jet would be up to tackling an interstate campaign. The son of Jeremes Jet had his first start for Hillier in the Sires Produce Stakes at Ubet Park Hobart last Sunday night and it was clear he is going to be up to the challenge when he leaves the state. With Hillier in the sulky, Jerrys Jet scorched to the front from a wide gate and after a modest first half (800m) he quickened the tempo and when asked for an effort by Hillier he reeled off a sizzling last quarter (400m) in 26.7 seconds. He defeated the highly promising filly Followthewind that went into the race on the back of a brilliant win in the Premier's Blue Bonnet Stakes clocking a mile rate of 1.59.5. Hillier was ecstatic after the win. "They wanted to find out if this horse was good enough to go interstate and in my opinion he will match whatever he goes up against when he gets there," Hillier said. "It's a shame he's not paid up for the Breeders Crown because he would have given that a shake but we'll stay here for the Tasmanian Guineas in a fortnight and then go to the Globe Derby ($30,000 sires stakes race)." "The owners will probably look at sending him interstate after the Globe Derby because he is still only a C0 rated horse." "If he can reel off a 26.7 last quarter on the Hobart track he can run a quarter at least two seconds better on the Menangle track and that would make him very competitive," he said. Peter Staples

Harness racing trainer Paul Hill is on the verge of making a clean sweep of the feature two-year-old races in Hobart on Sunday week. Hill will be represented by Hillview Jake in the colts’ and geldings’ division of the $20,000 Sweepstakes series, with the freshman likely to start favourite if he draws the front line. Hill will also have two genuine winning chances in the fillies’ Final in Chica Bella and Scorchin Safari. Chica Bella scored an effortless heat win last Sunday night, with Scorchin Safari finishing third behind her stablemate. “I am excited about both the Finals because Hillview Jake is going extra well and Chica Bella was also impressive in winning her past two starts,” Hill said. “Scorchin Safari is a big girl, and will obviously be better as a three-year-old, but depending on where she draws she is capable of winning the Final. “Chica Bela has improved at every start, and if she draws favourably then she is my best winning chance, but it will be an open race.” Chica Bella has started five times for three wins and two placings, while Scorchin Safari has four placings from her four starts. During her recent victory Chica Bella raced outside of leader Shesastandout, while Scorchin Safari settled three-back along the pegs. Responding to Ricky Duggan’s hard driving, Chica Bella completed a strong two-and-a-half metre win from Shadow Blue, with Scorchin Safari three metres away third. With the final 800 metres run in 61.5 seconds, the daughter of Cardmaster Hanover covered the mile in a modest 2:02.6. PETER STAPLES

Talented harness racing freshman Hillview Jake staked his claim on the Sweepstakes Final with an impressive heat win at Tattersall’s Park Hobart last night. Hillview Jake led throughout from the pole to score by a metre-and-a-half from Pockets of Courage, with the odds-on favourite Riley Major six metres away third. It was an impressive performance from the Paul Hill-trained youngster, which covered the 1609 metres in 1:58.4 – with his time only a half-second outside of Make a Memory’s age and sex record on the Hobart circuit. Hill was delighted with the performance and believes his well-bred two-year-old only needs a front-row draw to take out the decider in a fortnight. Hillview Jake has won three of his four starts, including an impressive victory in the Golden Mile in Launceston. “I couldn’t be happier with this horse and what he is showing at this stage is only a glimpse of what he might show when he fully grasps what this caper is all about,” Hill said. “If he gets a front row draw in the Final the others will definitely know they’ve been in a race.” The remaining heat was won by the Rohan Hillier-trained Soho Shanghai, which proved too strong for Timely Sovereign and Masters Ace in 2:05.6. PETER STAPLES

Old Beach harness racing trainer Paul Hill expects his talented two-year-old filly Chica Bella to make an impact in whatever she tackles for the remainder of the season following her impressive win the Light Harness Tasmania Pace (2C0-2C1) over 1609m at Tattersall's Park in Hobart last Monday night. Chica Bella (Cardmaster Hanover-Time Moves On) won at her first start this time in at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston late last month but this latest outing was even more impressive. With Ricky Duggan in the sulky, Chica Bella worked across from her wide front row draw (6) and eventually rolled to the front a lap from home ahead of her stablemate Scorchin Safari (Paul Hill) and she went on to score by almost 11 metres from her stablemate with Kwiatkowski a metre away third. "I have a good opinion of Chica Bella that I think has a very bright future," Hill said. "I had her in the early two-year-old races and she was placed twice but since her little spell she has come back a better racehorse and she is only going to get better." "She will tackle the fillies heat of the Sweepstakes in Hobart on Sunday but she has drawn poorly on the outside of the front line (7) buy Ricky (Duggan) will hopefully be able to muster up some magic and get her into a good spot early," he said. Hill also has Scorchin Safari engaged in the same race and she too has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the second row (8). However Hill's luck with the draws turned around in the first of the Sweepstakes heats for colts and geldings with his recent Golden Slipper winner Hillview Jake to start from the pole position (1). "Hillview Jake has done really well since his Golden Slipper win and drawing the pole gives him every chance to win again," he said. Peter Staples

Tasmanian harness racing trainer Marc Butler and driver Tim Yole have teamed up to win a few races lately, and at Tattersall’s Park Hobart last night, they did it again. This time the duo scored with a pacer which has been a great money spinner since arriving in Butler’s care. Western Karamea defied a tough run facing the breeze for the duration of the Stirling Stockfeed Pace over 2090 metres to emerge triumphant. With Gosh Heza Rebel leading from the pole, with Yole originally trying to slot Western Karamea into the trail behind the pacemaker. With the gap closing, however, the son of Western Terror was forced to race in the ‘death seat’. The pair sped clear of the field turning for home and settled down to a two-horse test of courage during the final 200 metres, with Western Karamea edging out the leader by a half-neck. Bertils Delight was two metres away third. In completing consecutive wins, Western Karamea rated 2:03.4 for the 2090 metres, with the last half covered in 58.6 seconds. Yole is thrilled with the gelding’s effort and believes the six-year-old can continue his winning form. PETER STAPLES

Lightly-raced harness racing performer Fletchers Knight delivered a message at Tattersall’s Park Hobart last night that delighted his trainer Zeke Slater. Despite having his first start for six months, Fletchers Knight showed brilliant speed to lead in the Ranvet Pace over 2090 metres and then had plenty in reserve at the business end to score by over 15 metres from Playstationking and Joe Cable. During his previous preparation Fletchers Knight only won once from seven starts before his form waned, with owners Paul and Meagan Carlson taking the son of Safe And Sound back to their property for a lengthy spell. Thrilled with the gelding’s first-up effort Slater believes Fletchers Knight can make steady progress through the grades this campaign. PETER STAPLES

Former exciting harness racing youngster Resurgent Spirit has taken a while to recapture his best form, but he did it in style at Devonport last night when leading throughout the $30,000 Raider Stakes final over 2665 metres. Resurgent Spirit equalled Halwes’ record for the most number of consecutive wins (13) as a two and three-year-old, but a trip to Victoria last year led to the gelding contracting a virus, which combined with a knee injury, all but ended the back end of his three-year-old campaign. His road to recovery has not been smooth either, but owner-trainer-breeder Roger Whitmore has left no stone unturned in his quest to rejuvenate his stable star’s career. The son of American Ideal had shown a glimpse of his best form leading up to the futurity, and despite finishing second to Le Premiere in their heat a week earlier, punters were keen to invest when the gelding drew the pole position in the Final. Driver James Austin urged Resurgent Spirit forward at the start to find the lead, and once settled, he was never in danger of defeat. Resurgent Spirit hit the line over 10 metres clear of Chirac, which had enjoyed the run of the race in the one-one, with outsider Le Wi Bulent third nine metres away. Covering the last half in 59.2 seconds, Resurgent Spirit rated 2:00.9, slicing two-tenths of a second off Devendra record established in last season’s edition of the feature. “He had a niggling knee injury and then he went to Melbourne and contracted a virus, so you pretty much have to write off his three-year-old season even though he won a few races,” Whitmore said. “I knew I had him right for this race because I took his heart rate after he came off the training track at New Norfolk through the week and it was only 66 and by the time I’d washed him down it had dropped to 45. “I knew then that I couldn’t have him any better, but I still thought he’d have to draw well to win the race because the draw is everything on the Devonport track.” Whitmore has no specific plans in mind Resurgent Spirit for the remainder of the season. “I haven’t looked beyond the Raider Stakes because this was his main mission this time in,” Whitmore said. PETER STAPLES

Faithful Gabby’s emphatic win in last night’s $30,000 Granny Smith Stakes was a gratifying result for multiple premiership-winning driver Gareth Rattray and his partner-trainer Melissa Maine. Faithful Gabby started a short-price favourite against top opposition, but once she rolled to the front early in the race, it was always going to be a matter of ‘how far’. The daughter of American Ideal scored by 23-and-a-half metres from Jane Grant, with Pharaohs Wrath a metre away third in 2:03.7 over 2665 metres. The mare has been dominant in everything she has tackled this season and it was just reward for the couple. A year ago Rattray and Maine made a decision to branch out on their own by buying a property at Latrobe and have developed it into a great training complex. “It’s been a long 12 months…for Melissa and I to do this by ourselves makes it very special,” Rattray said. “This is probably the best horse we’ve trained and we’ll now give her a break before we take her interstate. “We’re looking at either the Breeders Crown in Victoria or some mares’ races at Menangle.” Rattray has dominated Tasmania’s driving ranks for the past decade, winning the drivers’ premiership since the 2005-06 season and this year is on target to collect his 10th consecutive title. Maine sits second on the trainers’ premiership table with 25 wins courtesy of a double last night. She is only two behind Rattray’s father, Barrie. Rattray has 72 wins on the board, with his nearest rival Ricky Dugan sitting on 38. PETER STAPLES

Talented harness racing participant Dylan Ford has been selected to represent Tasmania at the upcoming Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship in New Zealand. The teenager will compete in the series for the second time against drivers from all Australian states and the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Ford, 19, was the automatic Tasmanian selection after being last season’s premier young driver. First licensed as a 16-year-old, Ford finished second in the 2011/12 Tasmanian junior driver award and ninth in the state’s leading driver award.  Ford has won the past two junior driver titles, and after four months of this season, leads the award while sitting sixth on the overall state premiership. Ford finished second in the 2014 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship in New South Wales after winning three of the 10 heats, including the $50,000 heat at Menangle.  Ford is thrilled to be selected again and is hoping to go one or two better than last year. “I’m thrilled to again be selected as Tasmania’s representative at these driving championships because it is an honor to represent your state in any sport,” Ford said. Ford was presented with the state set of colours in Hobart last night. “I was thrilled when first told of my selection a few weeks ago, but when you actually get the state colours and put them on it feels quite special,” Ford said. Ford also has taken to training and he was quite successful in his first year as a trainer. The Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship starts at Cambridge on May 7 in the North Island of New Zealand followed by Auckland the next day. The series continues on May 9 where the action moves south to Christchurch and concludes the next day at Timaru. PETER STAPLES

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

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