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Harness racing trainer Paul Hill will be hoping history can repeat itself when his two smart youngsters Rocknroll Turbo and Playing Arkabella contest the Dandy Patch Stakes and the Evicus Stakes respectively at UBET Park Hobart tonight. Hill won the two features last season with Hillview Jake (Dandy Patch) and Chica Bella and tonight both of his two-year-olds are pre-race favourites. Rocknroll Turbo is owned and was bred by Charlie and Connie Beadman and while they have enjoyed enormous success with youngsters over the years Hill says this colt could be the best they have owned. "Charlie has bred some good ones but Rocknroll Turbo is just a freak," Hill said. "From the first day he came into work he's been a thorough professional and he does everything asked of him with so much ease it's ridiculous. "Charlie had Jerrys Jet as a two-year-old and he was very special and he was just as good at three but I think this colt is better." Rocknroll Turbo has had only two starts for as many wins. He debuted with an impressive win in the Debutante Stakes in Launceston after which Hill sent him for a spell prior to him winning his Dandy Patch Prelude. He meets the same opposition tonight and drawing gate seven on the outside of the front row should pose no problem. "Rocknroll Turbo was probably about 85 per cent right in the Dandy Patch Prelude but he will be spot on tomorrow night." Playing Arkabella also has drawn gate seven in the Evicus final but she too possesses enough early speed to overcome that if connections opt to try and lead but given his she was handled in the Evicus Prelude she will more than likely be driven cold. "Playing Arkabella has had no luck with barrier draws so this is no surprise to draw seven of seven but from there we might have a look for the front but she's probably better sat so the draw is of no great concern," Hill said. Playing Arkabella has won three of her seven starts and she was placed in the other four. The filly impressed with a tough win in the Sweepstakes final two starts back in Hobart last month and her win in the Evicus Prelude at her subsequent outing also was impressive defeating first-starter El Jays Mystery from the Dick Eaves stable. Peter Staples

In-form reins person Kristy Grant is one of 10 of Tasmania's talented group of young drivers to be selected to contest the 2016 BOTRA Claiming Novice Drivers' series. Grant is in career best form with 11 wins this season, five of those coming in the past two months and she completed her most successful day at a races with a winning treble in Hobart last Sunday week. The elite group of drivers selected to contest the series Grant, Nicholas Brockman, Adrian Collins, Taylor Ford, Samantha Freeman, Sam Gangell, Braden Howlett, Matthew Howlett, Wade Rattray and Allister Woods with Justin Howlett and Jack Laugher first and second emergencies respectively. The series, for drivers who are eligible to claim a concession, will be held on all three Tasmanian harness racing tracks starting with Devonport on July 1 followed by Hobart two days later and the series concludes at the Launceston meeting on July 10. The group of 10 comprises the top five concession drivers from last season's Junior Driver award and the best five performers this season according to their position on the state drivers' premiership table as at June 5. Three of the drivers to contest the series are on the verge of driving 50 career winners, after which the novice driver concession cannot be utilised. Collins and Matthew Howlett have driven 48 winners each while Brockman has notched 45 wins. Peter Staples

The horror stretch of wet weather that has bombarded Tasmania over the past fortnight has had a dramatic effect on the progress of some of the state's best pacers including Tasmanian Derby winner Ryley Major who was being aimed at the rich Vicbred series for harness racing three-year-olds. Ryley Major was to have had his final hit-out in Tasmania in a Globe Derby (Sires Stakes) Prelude in Launceston last Sunday night which was to serve as the first of two runs he would have needed to tackle a Vicbred Super Series heat at Kilmore (Victoria) next week. But when the Launceston meeting was abandoned because of rain and the state of the track it left the gelding's owner-trainer Rohan Hillier with no option but to scrap plans to head interstate. "My horse could not have gone to Melbourne for the Vicbred series heat without having that run (Globe Derby Prelude) and one other," Hillier said. "The weather has been so bad that I haven't been able to work my horse like he should have been because the tracks have been put out of play by the amount of rain we've had. "I had originally intended running him in the Globe Derby Prelude as a conditioning run before the Vicbred heats and had no intention of running in the Globe Derby final but mother nature changed everything. "When they rescheduled the Globe Derby Prelude to last night (Friday) in Launceston I had to run him. He was already getting fat because of the work he'd missed so now he will go into next Sunday night's Globe Derby final probably still a bit underdone but hopefully I can pour the work into him this week to have him good enough on the night. "We will then concentrate on having a crack at the Breeders Crown series in Victoria in July-August," he said. On Friday night in Launceston Ryley Major toyed with his rivals on his way an effortless win in the Globe Derby Prelude over 2200m. Outsider Spot Eight led from the pole position but he quickly handed up to the second favourite Hillview Jake when he was sent scurrying around the field from the rear to take up the front running while Hillier was content to allow Ryley Major to drop out to last from his outside front-row draw. Hillview Jake travelled well in the lead but when the pace slackened slightly Hillier sent his three-year-old around the field to face the breeze for the last lap. The Tasmanian Derby winner was under a stranglehold turning for home and when Hillier released the reins the gelded son of Art Major he sped clear and went on to record a convincing win over Spot Eight ($41) with Timely Sovereign ($41) a close-up third ahead of Kwiatkowski ($12) that missed the start by 20 metres and did a good job to finish as close as he did. Peter Staples

Improving harness racing pacer Im Full Tilt made a one act affair of the Hardings Hotmix Pace in Devonport on the North-West Coast last night to make it three wins in succession. The Paul Ashwood-trained gelding had been threatening to find is best form and ever since he broke through for an overdue win in Launceston late last month he has continued to improve. Driver Gareth Rattray had to use the five-year-old up early to make the most of the pole position but once in front he set a solid tempo and when the reins were released leaving the back stretch the last time the gelded son of Gotta Go Cullen left his rivals in his wake. Im Full Tilt ($1.60 fav) hit the line three metres clear of The Black Centurian ($11.80) that stormed home from near last to grab second with Little Jethro ($8.40) 13 metres astern. It was the second leg of a winning double for Ashwood who also prepared Weona Masterpiece to win the John McKenna Race Night Vet Pace over 2297m courtesy of a brilliant drive from Rohan Hillier. Weona Masterpiece ($2.80 fav) settled just worse than midfield but when Mark Yole sent Jimbaran to the front and set up a huge margin Hillier sensed the danger of being left to far back in the field so he sent Weona Masterpiece scorching around the field to slot in behind the leader. It proved to be the winning move as Weona Masterpiece (Tiz A Masterpiece-Dominion Lady) ranged alongside the leader tuning for home and went on to defeat Outlaw ($4.50) by 4-1/2 metres with Jimbaran ($5.50) a metre away third. Peter Staples

Talented pacer Resurgent Spirit added the Brighton Cup (2579m) to his long list of harness racing feature race wins with a game effort at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit, fresh from his Ascot Gold Cup win a week earlier, faced the breeze for the last 1000 metres but defied the tough task to emerge triumphant over the fast-finishing Remember Joe with race leader Macho Comacho hanging on or third ahead of the favourite Mister Lennox. The Roger Whitmore-trained five-year-old gelding by American Ideal has won six and notched five minor placings from 14 outings this season for about $45,000 with his overall statistics of 24 wins and 10 minor placings from 43 starts for over $175,000 in stakes more impressive. Connections are contemplating an interstate trip for the gelding as the number of suitable races in Tasmania at this time of the year are dwindling. The gelding set a modern day record of the most number of consecutive wins from debut by a juvenile when he accrued 13 wins in succession as a two and early three-year-old of which nine were at two and included the Sweepstakes and Dandy Patch heats and finals. He won at his first four three-year-old starts but fell short in the Tasmanian Derby in which he finished a game third behind New Zealand-bred gelding Outrageous El from the Victorian stable of Adam Kelly. Resurgent Spirit ventured interstate to Victoria for the Breeders Crown 3YO series but he didn't handle the boat trip and finished down the track in a semi-final and then was last of nine in the Consolation final. Whitmore nursed his stable star back to health and given the way he has won three of his last four starts the gelding could make an impact if connections do decide to give him another chance on the mainland. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing free-for-all pacer Resurgent Spirit would only need to mirror his effort to win the Ascot Gold Cup in Hobart last week to repeat the dose at UBET Park on Sunday night. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding led and gave his rivals a pacing lesson to score convincingly from Macho Comacho and this year's Easter Cup winner Riverboat Jasper and on Sunday night he meets a similar field in the Brighton Cup. However instead of drawing the pole position as was the case in the Ascot Gold Cup he has to contend with the outside gate seven. The in-form Mister Lennox has drawn gate three and he has enough early speed to find the front so it that eventuates Resurgent Spirit's driver James Austin would most likely wait the opportunity to circumnavigate the field and work to the breeze. Macho Comacho also has speed but from gate four he would most likely go back if Mister Lennox came out humming from the gate. There is no doubt Resurgent Spirit is the best stayer in the race so if it boiled down to a dogfight over the 2579-metre journey Whitmore's gelding would win nine out of 10 battles. Peter Staples

A split second decision to change driving tactics aboard promising three-year-old harness racing pacer Kwiatkowski paid big dividends at UBET Park Hobart Tasmania on Sunday night. Trainer-driver Christian Salter had notified stewards that he planned to ease Kwiatkowski ($8.30) back at the start from his outside front gate (7) in a 3C1-C0 event over 2090 metres. But when the horses he expected to begin quickly from inside front-row barriers showed no urgency he urged his charge forward and the gelding easily found the front. Once in the lead Salter allowed the gelded son of Tell All to bole along without any pressure being applied and that enabled him to sneak a couple of easy quarters which proved to be a telling factor over the concluding stages of the race. Kwiatkowski went on to score by almost seven metres from Ductape ($3.30) with Streetside Classic just over a metre away third and well clear of the favourite and stablemate of the winner Iden Amrak ($2.80). "I planned to go back from the wide draw but after we'd gone about 50 metres the two on the inside that I expected to vie for the lead were showing no real speed so I decided to have a crack myself and we crossed without spending too much energy," Salter said. "He is very well bred being out of a sister (Cheatin Heart) to a really good producing mare of Mum and Dad's in Alsorosie. "That was only his third win but I have said all along that he is going to be even better at four and five because he can stay and that's going to be a big asset further down the track." Peter Staples

Talented open class pacer Resurgent Spirit gave his harness racing rivals a pacing lesson at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday when he led all the way to win the $10,000 Ascot Gold Cup over 2579 metres. It was the American Ideal gelding's fourth win of the season from eight starts but it took his overall record to 24 wins from 47 outings with 10 minor placings thrown in for good measure. The former star juvenile stepped cleanly from the front line of the standing start to lead comfortably while one of the joint back markers Macho Comacho (Mark Yole) was sent around the field early to keep the leader company. But when driver James Austin released the reins on Resurgent Spirit ($2 fav) the Roger Whitmore-trained gelding forged clear and went on to score by almost three metres from Macho Comacho with Easter Cup winner Riverboat Jasper two metres away third. Resurgent Spirit was unbeaten as a two-year-old from nine starts and he won his first four starts as a three-year-old having his colours lowered for the first time in the 2014 Tasmanian Derby won by New Zealand gelding Outrageous El. Peter Staples

Veteran harness racing trainer Paul Hill has long been regarded as a dab hand with young horses so it came as no surprise that his two-year-old Playing Arkabella powered her way to an impressive win in the Elderslie Horse Care 2YO Sweepstakes final for fillies over 1609m at UBET Park Hobart yesterday. Playing Arkabella was forced to face the breeze outside of the leader Harshali for the entire race but she made light of the task to go on and score by 1-1/4 metres from Harshali with Volkova Leis over eight metres away third. Hill trained last year's fillies'' sweepstakes winner Chica Bella and he also prepared Almost Famous to win the race in 2001. The winner was well driven by Ricky Duggan who was content to allow the filly to race in the "death" but without putting too much pressure on the daughter of Shadow Play. "This filly has done everything I've asked of her since she came into work and today was her best effort because it was tough out there in those windy conditions but she showed her courage," Hill said. "She is going to be a better three-yea-old so everything she's done so far and is likely to do for the rest of her two-year-old season is a bonus." Playing Arkabella was bred by Kareena Blackwell who also owns the filly in partnership with Brad Jones and Ben Rossendell. "I am absolutely rapt because as a breeder you always hope you can get one that can win a feature race so this is the best feeling ever," Blackwell said. "I work at Roberts (rural trader) so I asked a couple of my work mates Brad Jones and Ben Rossendell to be part of a syndicate to race this filly so they'll both be thrilled." Peter Staples

Well bred two-year-old pacer Williamtell delivered a workmanlike harness racing performance to win the Elderslie Horse Care colts and geldings division of the 2YO Sweepstakes at UBET Park Hobart today. Williamtell had to pull out all stops to stave off a determined Usain Jolt to defeat that gelding by a neck with outsider Really Frank a distant third. The Paul Ashwood-trained Tell All gelding was taken straight to the front from gate two by Gareth Rattray and when he kicked clear turning for home he looked set to win easily. But the lightly raced Tony Petersen-trained Usain Jolt (James Austin) unleashed a powerful sprint over the final 100 metres to almost nab the leader on the line. Ashwood said Williamtell had been set for the race and he wasn't fussed by the narrow winning margin. "It was tough going out there today. He led and did all the tough work in front while the other horse (Usain Jolt) has come off his back and had cover for almost all of the race," Ashwood said. The conditions were made tough by the near gale-force winds that swept across the track during the race. "I couldn't have asked any more of this horse and he will now head to the Dandy Patch (2YO Sires Stakes series) and then have a spell," Ashwood said. Williamtell will now head to the Dandy Patch (sires stakes) series after which Ashwood said the gelding would be spelled. Peter Staples  

When well-bred two-year-old pacer Williamtell won the Golden Slipper in Launceston in late March it came as a surprise to most harness racing punters who invested heavily on his stablemate Offthetopofmyhead that was sent out the $1.15 favourite. But at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday Williamtell is likely to start favourite to win the colts and geldings division of the $20,000 Elderslie Horse Care 2YO Sweepstakes over 1609 metres. Williamtell won the Golden Slipper convincingly at only his second race start and he has since gone on to finish third to Swap Me at his first start on the Hobart track in a Sweepstakes Prelude before winning an open two-year-old event in Launceston last Sunday night. The Paul Ashwood-trained Tell All gelding has drawn barrier two and will be driven by Gareth Rattray who has been in the sulky for all four of the gelding's starts. "I am pleased with my horse's draw and while he hasn't had to be used up early at his four starts so far he has good natural gate speed and I would expect that to be called on for this race," Ashwood said. "I don't know that he can lead but he is the sort of horse that could face the breeze if he had to and still win. "He needed the run in Launceston last Sunday night to top him off for this race." The Rohan Hillier-trained Solid as a Rock has been placed second at all of his four starts but he still looms as Williamtell's main danger on the strength of his gallant second to Swap Me in the Sweepstakes Prelude in Hobart two weeks ago. Solid as a Rock has drawn gate five on the front row while Swap Me has drawn the outside of the back row (10) from where he will need to be driven for luck by Hall of Fame reinsman Ricky Duggan. The Tony Petersen-trained Usain Jolt has drawn the coveted pole position and should he show enough early speed to take advantage of the draw he could surprise at odds. The fillies division of the Sweepstakes boasts only five starters but all are capable of winning. All are winners with the exception of the Shelley Barnes-trained Volkova Leis that has had two starts for a debut third and a last-start fourth behind Resurgent Dream in the Sweepstakes Prelude two weeks ago. Playing Arkabella from the Paul Hill stable was second in the Sweepstakes Prelude (1609m), beaten almost five metres, while Harshali was third but about 12 metres astern and two metres ahead of Volkova Leis. Resurgent Dream, a full sister to former star juvenile Resurgent Spirit (American Ideal-Resurgent Star), is trained by Marc Butler but is owned by her breeder Roger Whitmore who still trains Resurgent Spirit that goes around in the Ascot Gold Cup on Sunday's 10-even program. Peter Staples

Little Jethro has been racing consistently in C4-C5 class races so from a good draw he gets his chance to break back into the harness racing winner's circle at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Friday night. The Rod Plunkett-trained gelding finished second to the in-form Williamlee in Launceston two starts back in a C4-C5 over 2200 metres and he lines up against slightly weaker opposition on Friday night from the coveted pole position. Provided driver Dylan Ford can execute a swift beginning the gelding could find the front or trail the lead and either way he would be in the race for a long way. Little Jethro goes around in race four at 8.06pm on the nine-event program that kicks off at 6.30pm and concludes with a C1 race over 2200 metres in which Cheshire Cat (5) could surprise at odds. Peter Staples

When Victorian reject Bisping arrived at Rohan Hillier's Beauty Point harness racing stables in the north of the state last year the expectations weren't great, after all the horse had been tried by his former owners who tired of his antics in races. But since arriving in Tasmania the gelding has been consistent and in Launceston last Sunday night he delivered a career best effort to win the Harry Holgate Memorial final over 2200 metres. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding did it tough facing the breeze but in the end he made light of the task and forged clear over the concluding stages to win comfortably from Olivers Mate and Sir Dasher Dee with race leader One Mans Pass hanging on for fourth. In Victoria, while in the care of top trainer Emma Stewart, Bisping had been breaking gait in his races and it looked as if he might be dispatched to a life of roaming the paddocks but in stepped prominent Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang. Bisping's part-owner Brett Collins said the back story to how they came by Bisping was interesting, to say the least. "Gavin (Lang) called Rohan about a year ago to suggest we try the horse because he had been driving him and said he wasn't hopeless." "We'd been looking to buy a horse from New Zealand but when he failed a vet test the sale fell through so we were looking for a replacement. Collins and Hiller took Lang's advice and the gelding has proven to be a very good money spinner. Bisping, who is also part-owned by the trainer's wife Katrina Hillier, has had 14 starts in Tasmania for four wins and eight minor placings and has finished no further back that fifth for stake earnings of about $28,000. "Rohan (Hillier) changed the length of his hopples when he first started racing here (Tasmania) and the horse hasn't looked back since," Collins said. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing pacer Mister Lennox delivered one of his best performances to take out the $10,000 Golden Mile over 1680 metres at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Despite being left parked to face the breeze for most of the race the Juanita McKenzie-trained Changeover gelding proved too strong for his rivals, powering clear in the home straight to hit the line two metres clear of Melolyn that came from well back with race leader Crusader Acey a close-up third. Driver Ricky Duggan was pleased with the effort and he was particularly impressed with the time recorded by the gelding given the heavy condition of the track. Mister Lennox clocked a mile rate of 1.56.53 over the 1680-metre trip which was close to the record of 1.55 set by his stablemate Queens Advocate in the Launceston Mile earlier this year. "To run that time in those conditions was exceptional, given the wet track," Duggan said. "He was always travelling well outside of the leader but I had to wait as long as I could before asking him for an effort because he hangs a bit and has trouble getting around the bottom turn. "I didn't want to go for him until we straightened. I was fairly confident he would run the leader down but I didn't know what was coming from behind." He said. Mister Lennox started at $3.10 but was second favourite behind Wingatui Dew ($2.70) that was expected to lead from the pole position but he couldn't match the speed shown by Crusader Acey that had no trouble crossing to the fence from a wide gate (6). Wingatui Dew trailed the leader but he had trouble gaining a clear run in the home straight. Peter Staples

Gareth Rattray's chances of winning an 11th successive Tasmanian driver's premiership are remote given he is 25 off the leader Mark Yole (57) with two thirds of the harness racing season done and dusted. But it won't stop the talented reinsman from delivering star efforts as was the case last weekend. Rattray, who spent two months sidelined with a hand injury, produced four sensational drives for as many wins of which three were in Launceston last Friday night and one on the seven-event card in Hobart last Sunday. Rattray's winners in Launceston were Im Full Tilt in a C2-C3 over 2200 metres for Devonport trainer Paul Ashwood; Parwill in a heat of the Harry Holgate Memorial series and he produced a masterly performance to guide Spot Eight to victory in a low grade race over 1680 metres. In Hobart he partnered the Christian Salter-trained Iden Amrak to victory in a 3YO and older event over 1609 metres after the gelding was backed in to start the $1.70 favourite. Yole notched one win at each meeting to maintain his edge over Ricky Duggan who resumed driving in Hobart last Sunday after spending three weeks on the sidelines as a result of a nasty fall in Hobart on April 10. Duggan saluted at his first drive back by guiding $8.70 chance Swap Me to a convincing win in a 2YO S0weepstakes Prelude over 1609 metres, defeating Solid As A Rock and Williamtell with first starter Usain Jolt a close-up fourth. Yole is the favourite to win the driver's title given he is the number one stable driver for his brother Ben Yole who is sure to take out the trainer's premiership as he sits on 67 wins to be 44 clear of his nearest rival Todd Rattray. Peter Staples

With 28 harness racing meetings remaining trainer Ben Yole only needs to retain his present strike rate to prepare 100 or more winners for the 2015-16 season. Yole has a stranglehold on the trainer's title having prepared 66 winners and in Launceston on Friday and Hobart on Sunday he has a number of genuine winning chances that could see him with 70 or more wins as at the end of April. He has notched an average of 8.25 wins per month since the season started in September last year so at the same rate he would reach the century. Yole also has prepared 66 seconds and as many third placegetters along with 75 fourths for total stake earnings of $376,462 which is well over double the next best ($168,534) delivered by Todd Rattray who has produced 23 winners and 52 minor placegetters. Yole made a decision last year to secure horses on a regular basis from interstate and turn them over quickly and so far the exercise has delivered the desired result. He will take a team of 13 to Hobart on Sunday night of which five are engaged in the penultimate race on the seven-event card and four in the last. Happy Schnapps is one of his three starters in race four, a C3-C4 over 2090 metres, and provided driver Adrian Collins can secure a one-out spot early with cover the gelding could make a welcome return to the winner's circle. In Launceston on Friday night Yole will take 18 to the meeting at the UBET Racing Centre and again he has multiple runners in many of the 10 races. Check out Jamie Cockshutt's tips at Punter's Corner. Peter Staples

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