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In-form three-year-old pacer Little Bit of Big delivered another stellar harness racing performance to score an impressive all-the-way win at the Luxbet Racing Centre over 1680 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. Little Bit of Big made it three wins for the season when she made the most of the pole position to lead throughout in a 3C0-C0 race that boasted a quality line-up. With Rohan Hadley in the sulky, the Shelley Barnes-trained filly by Mister Big from Vanstand stepped well from the mobile and despite being attacked early she withstood the challenge to lead comfortably and then had to call on her courage to fend off rivals in the home straight. Little Bit of Big joined Barnes' stable recently and she is hoping the owners will allow her to retain the filly beyond the winter months. Listen to what trainer Shelley Barnes had to say about Little Bit of Big's latest win. Peter Staples

After producing a driving treble in Hobart last Friday experienced harness racing reinsman John Walters continued his good form in Launceston last night with another outstanding drive to secure a last-stride win aboard Karalta Boomer in the Crown Lager Pace over 2200 metres. Walters, 53, had the Kent Rattray-trained three-year-old perfectly positioned in the one-out-one-back position after travelling 400 metres with the well-backed Dasher Hiouli setting a solid pace in front. Dasher Houli (Rohan Hillier) looked to be travelling like the winner when he slipped clear turning for home but when Walters allowed his charge more rein the gelded son of Major In Art ran to the leader and they settled down to a two-horse war all the way up the home straight with Walters able to get everything from his charge to win by a half-head. It was Karalta Boomer's seventh win of the season and coupled with his six minor placings he has career earnings of almost $30,000. Karalta Boomer was bred by his owners Lyndon and Gail Menagon who own and operate Big Park Stud that is one of the largest standardbred breeding operations in the state. Peter Staples

Lightly raced four-year-old pacer Demonstrative (Rod Ashwood) broke his maiden status at Luxbet Park Hobart yesterday with a game harness racing win in the Gerald Glover Pace over 2090 metres. Despite having to face the breeze in bleak conditions the Eric Jacobson-trained gelding forged to the lead in the home straight and went on to score by over a metre from the favourite Major Jamane ($2.10) with Never Unachievable ($8) a close-up third and just in advance of Bertils Bliss. Demonstrative (Western Ideal-Luvi Duvi Lombo) was having his third run back from a spell and he was well-backed to win the race. "The horse has been working well and we thought he could lead, in fact our confidence was based on him leading but when he was left facing the breeze I had some doubts he would stick it out," Jacobson said. "But to his credit he was strong over the final 200 metres when he was probably entitled to fade a bit, so all in all it was a very pleasing run." It was an overdue win for the stable but Jacobson, who in his heyday was vying for trainer's premierships, said the wins these days are just a bonus. "I'm pretty much retired these days with only four horses to work and that suits me. "Demonstrative is no world beater but he's improved to the point where he can probably win another couple but all four of the horses I have in the stable are in the same boat and all are pretty much paying their way." Demonstrative is owned and raced by Shane Hildebrand and Mick Jones who are two of his most loyal stable clients. Peter Staples  

Talented harness racing pacer Little Jethro is probably one of the best named horses going around in the Michal Smith Pace at Luxbet Park Hobart today. The pint-sized gelding from the Rod Plunkett stable is usually dwarfed by his opposition but when given the right run in a race his powerful finishing burst more than makes up for lack of height. Little Jethro scored his last win in Launceston in mid June when he proved too strong in a C2-C4 event over 2200 metres and today he meets slightly weaker company than he has been racing against of late. He followed his win in Launceston with a close-up fourth in a much stronger grad (C4-C6) and was unlucky not to have finished closer to the winner and he has been competitive from awkward draws at three subsequent starts. Today he starts from outside the second row in gate 10 but that should be a bonus as he follows out last-start winner Rockbank Dancer that led throughout when able to cross from the wide gate on the front row in Hobart last Sunday night. "It looks a nice race for him and if we get the luck he needs in the run then he's a good winning chance," Plunkett said. Little Jethro will be driven by John Walters who is having his best season in over a decade. He is a quality senior driver who has been given more opportunities since he won the Group 3 Easter Cup in Launceston aboard Riverboat Jasper in March. Walters partnered Rockbank Dancer to victory last Sunday night but he was already booked to drive Little Jethro when Rockbank Dancer's trainer Christian Salter decided to enter his horse for today's assignment. "My horse is on a five day back-up and I've never done that with him before but he is starting to mature and if he is to progress through the classes he's going to have to get used to this type of racing," Salter said. "He pulled up great from last Sunday night's race so from gate three we will be looking to find the front and if that happens I reckon he's the one to beat even though he's stepping up quite a bit in class." The Juanita McKenzie-trained Zumba Bromac should be improved by her first-up effort in Hobart last Sunday night to finish fifth to Rockbank Dancer. The four-year-old was held up when trying to improve but finished off well in the home straight. Other winning chances in the race are Alpinion, Future Promises and Origin Billy. The first race is scheduled to start at 2.08 pm (AEST) with the last of eight at 6.02 and all races will be broadcast on Sky 1. Peter Staples

Experienced Tasmanian reinsman John Walters celebrated a double at Luxbet Park Hobart last Sunday night to take his harness racing season tally to 34 which is the highest he has been on the premiership table in over a decade. He partnered outsider Rockbank Dancer ($22) to an all-the-way win in the Eddie Hook Pace for C1-C2 pacers over 2090 metres and Walters capped the night when he guided the $2.60 favourite Another Derek to an all-the-way win in the CUB Pace (2090m) after taking advantage of the pole position. While Walters has always been considered a quality reinsman he hasn't always been able to get behind the better quality horses but this season he has excelled and it probably has a bit to do with him winning the $40,000 Group 3 Easter Cup aboard Riverboat Jasper. Walters's father Harry won an Easter Cup aboard Andy Cast in 1976 so when John matched that feat it boosted his confidence to an all-time high. "There's no doubt winning the Easter up to accomplish something that my Dad did was a special moment for me and the records say we are only the second father and son to have won an Easter Cup so that's quite special," Walters said. "There's probably a few reasons why I am getting more drives these days and one is that there aren't as many senior experienced drivers around like there was a few years ago. "I am enjoying my driving more than ever and it would be fair to say that driving winners makes you keener and this is probably the most winners I have ever driven in a season," he said. Walters, 53, is a great judge of pace and when aboard a horse with stamina he is hard to beat if able to lead, although his drive to emulate his late father's feat in this year's Easter Cup was arguably his best in years. With 10 meetings remaining this season Walters is in sixth place on the premiership table courtesy of him having driven 34 winners but he also has finished second 29 times and snared 37 third placings for stake earnings of $226,728. Peter Staples  

Faithful Garby spent almost a year out of the harness racing winner's circle but at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night she bounced back with a vengeance. She scored an effortless win in the Mark Geeves Pace over 2579 metres scoring by almost 17 metres from Remember Joe with Sapphire Swayze a close-up third. The mare spent almost a year campaigning in Victoria and New South Wales producing a few minor placings before returning to Tasmania at the end of April. She spent just over four months in the care of James Rattray who campaigned the five-year-old at Menangle where she two minor placings and a couple of fourths from eight outings. Now back with Melissa Maine at Latrobe, Faithful Gabby has had four starts with two seconds leading up to this latest win suggesting she is on track to keep winning back in her home state. Faithful Gabby has won 10 and been placed as many times from only 30 starts for just over $90,000 in stakes with her biggest win the $30,000 Group 3 Granny Smith final in Devonport last year. Peter Staples

Harness racing owner Mick Maxfield has owned some handy two-year-olds over the years but the latest youngster to sport his colours could be his best. With Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Offthetopofmyhead scored an emphatic win in a 2C0-2C1 event over 1680 metres in Launceston on Sunday defeating recent Dandy patch Stakes winner Usain Jolt by a comfortable margin. But the most impressive part of the win was that he broke the state two-year-old mile rate record. The Paul Ashwood-trained colt rated 1:56.67 for to eclipse the previous best of 1:56.9 recorded by Williamtell earlier in the year. "He's the best horse I've trained for a while but the penny hasn't dropped yet," Ashwood said. "He still does a few things wrong like running up the track a bit but he is at least starting to think about what's going on." Offthetopofmyhead had an interstate trip to Melbourne in April but he failed to flatter. "He wasn't really ready for the trip or the opposition but I have no doubt he will get another chance. "The son of Western Ideal will run in a $10,000 race in Hobart next Sunday then in a heat of the Breeders Crown before going back to Victoria for the Breeders semi-finals." Stablemate Lynniemach, who ran third in Sunday's race, will follow a similar path. Ashwood also won with smart three-year-old El Major who isn't paid up for the coming feature races. Peter Staples

Harness racing driver Adrian Collins left it until the last minute to win his first BOTRA Novice Drivers Challenge series at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday. It was Collins' last chance to win a novice drivers series as he is only one win away from losing his claim. Collins, 39, won the fourth of the five-heat series aboard Little Bit Of Big and despite finishing last in the fifth and final heat he had done enough to score a one-point win over Matthew Howlett. "I'd like to thank all the trainers for giving me the opportunity to drive their horses," Collins said. "I've come close to winning a couple of novice driver series but fell short by a couple of points." It was a drama-packed series finale with the first of Sunday's two heats was marred by a nasty fall approaching the home turn. Series leader heading into the last two heats was Kristy Grant but she suffered facial lacerations and bruising when her charge Kamili raced roughly before crashing to the track and Heavenly Rock with Samantha Gangell aboard, was unable to avoid the fallen horse and crashed into the flaying sulky of the fallen horse. Gangell had a very heavy fall and was knocked unconscious. She lay motionless on the track for a long time before being taken to hospital with concussion and remained in hospital for x-rays on her shoulder. Grant was lucky to escape with only cuts and abrasions but she was more concerned about not winning the series because she was adamant her charge would have won the race. "I really thought my horse was going to win but I just couldn't steer her," Grant said. Two replacements were required for the fifth and final heat but only one claiming driver, Ken Hall, was on course and, after a ballot, it was determined that he would drive Olivers Mate while Christian Jaz had to be withdrawn.. Jack Laugher won the final heat on Frankie Falzoni who came from last at the bell to beat Fortino and Sign No More. The top six points scorers for the series were: 43 Adrian Collins, 42 Matthew Howlett, 38 Adam Woods, 33 Nicholas Brockman, 29 Kristy Grant, 28 Wade Rattray. Peter Staples

Multiple Tasmanian premiership-winning harness racing driver Ricky Duggan remains in the hunt to win another title after snaring a double at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night. Mark Yole leads in the race for the premiership with 70 winners while Dugan has accrued 61 including his double on Sunday night. Yole snared one winner, Remember Joe, in the Luxbet Pace over 1609m. Duggan delivered the drive of the night to secure victory aboard Glen Eyre in the Max Hall pace over 1609m but there were some who rated his drive aboard Followthewind just as impressive with both winners prepared at Brighton by Rodney Ashwood. Duggan has always been a fierce competitor so now that he has a sniff of another title he could make it a very interesting finish to the season. With 11 meetings remaining to the season's end Duggan would most probably need to drive at a few of the meetings scheduled in the north of the state which is something he, as a rile, steers clear of in the winter months. Yole's trump card is his alliance with his brother Ben who will win the trainer's premiership as he has prepared 87 winners to be over 50 clear of his nearest rival Todd Rattray (30). Mark is his brother's number one stable driver so it would be fair to assume Mark could secure at least a half-dozen more winners from the 11 meetings but Duggan has a an alliance with many top stables and he is no stranger to driving four or five winners at a meeting. Peter Staples

Tasmanian harness racing trainer Ben Yole edged closer to achieving a personal milestone that would also land him in elite company. No harness trainer in Tasmania has reached the milestone of training 100 winners for 20 years but Yole has it well within his sights. In Devonport yesterday victories to Lake Eyre, Philtra Phella and Sutter Man took his season tally to 87 so with 12 meetings to the end of the season he looms set to have his name etched into the record books alongside Hall of Famers Neville Webberley and Barrie Rattray. Lake Eyre was driven by Sam Gangell when he led all the way in the second heat of the BOTRA novice drivers' series and she shares the top of the points table with Matthew Howlett who also led throughout on first heat winner Art Of My Art. Yole said that Lake Eyre, runner-up in the 2014 Tasmanian Derby when trained in Victoria, was now back in the state to stay. "He has a few problem and he's a lot of hard work," Yole said. "But he's a strong horse and he can win more races but we've got to keep him sound." Yole's second winner, Philtra Phella, was claimed for $6000 by Barrie Rattray stable client Viv Clark. Although Yole will be sorry to see the six-year-old leave his stable he wasn't complaining. "We bought Philtra Phella as a C3 horse for $1500 in Victoria and this is his 11th win for us," Yole said. "I reckon he's earned close to $50,000 since we've had him." The stable treble was completed when Sutter Man led most of the way to make it a hat-trick of wins in the Collins Homes Pace. Peter Staples

Matthew Hoiwlett and Sam Gangell each drove a winner in their respective opening heats of the harness racing BOTRA Claiming Novice Driver Challenge at Devonport in Tasmania yesterday. Howlett partnered Art of my Art to an all-the-way win in the opening heat while Gangell adopted the same tactics aboard Lake Eyre. Art Of My Art was the second leg of a double for Wesley Vale trainer John Castles who also prepared Spot Eight to win the opening race on the six-event card. Castles was delighted with the win of Art of my Art as he has been cleverly placed having won three races without incurring any penalty as it was result of contesting novice driver series' events. The gelding was bred by his owner, former Devonport City Council boss David Sales, and is the only one of six foals produced by his mother to make it to the races. The BOTRA series continues with one heat in Hobart on Sunday and the last two heats in Launceston next Sunday night. BOTRA Novice Driver Challenge Points table 22 S Gangell, M Howlett; 19 A Collins; 17 A Woods; 13 N Brockman, K Grant; 8 W Rattray; 7 B Howlett; 5 T Ford; 4 S Freeman. Peter Staples

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

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