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Ancient Moonlight is lucky to be alive let alone winning races. The Juanita McKenzie-trained gelded son of Live or Die dodged death about a year ago but thanks to luck being on his side and some tender loving care from his owners and trainer the harness racing gelding looks set to realise the potential he showed when he first arrived in Tasmania. Ancient Moonlight was having his first start for a year when he came from last turning for home to score a runaway victory in the Talbot Hotel Pace for C3-C4 performers over 2090m metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. One of his part-owners Barry Cooper said the gelding virtually died on the operating table but somehow managed to survive the ordeal. "The horse's heart stopped and he was gone but he is a fighter and came back to us and here he is winning at his first start since the ordeal. It's quite amazing," an motional Cooper said after the win. Duggan was full of praise for the gelding that was purchased for an undisclosed sum in New Zealand as a four-year-old. He had only three starts in Tasmania as a four-year-old winning two after a debut second. The gelding resumed as a five-year-old with a win at Carrick in a heat of the Northern Tasmanian Light Harness Association Cup but he suffered an injury in the final and that was his last start before emerging triumphant last night. Duggan said the horse is bound for bigger and better things. "To come from where he was tonight and win is an amazing effort and I'm sure there are plenty more wins in store for him," Duggan said. Peter Staples

Marvilloso promised a lot as a young horse but couldn't quite make the grade but perseverance has paid dividends for his harness racing trainer and part-owner Adrian Duggan. The five-year-old powered home after enjoying a gun run to score comfortably from Marnu The Beast and Gaggle Coordinator in the CUB Pace over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night. He had a bunch of minor placings in his first preparation for Duggan before being sent to Victoria where he was bred with the hope of picking up some of the big prizemoney up for grabs through the Vicbred bonus scheme. "We bought this horse for $7000 and even though he hadn't won as a two or three-year-old we thought he might as well have a crack in Victoria so we sent the horse to Scott Dyer but we had no luck from three tries and brought him back home," Duggan said. Marvilloso developed a few issues that needed to be addressed but it was only when Duggan decided it was time to geld the horse that the improvement started. "We kept him an entire because he is such a lovely natured horse but in the end his manhood was presenting a few issues with his gait so we gelded him and it's made a big difference. "This is his first preparation as a gelding and he's been very competitive and this win will help his confidence." The Village Jasper gelding has started 27 times for this win and eight minor placings and while a lot of horses with such modest form might have been dispatched to a life at pony clubs or farm horse he has remained with Duggan for one prime season. "My wife Amanda absolutely loves the horse so we kept him going and that's why it's so great that he's finally won a race and I'm sure there are more wins left in him." Peter Staples

Major Callum came of age at Luxbet Park Hobart last night when the modestly-performed harness racing six-year-old delivered a career-best effort to win the Shadforths Financial Group Pace over 2579 metres. The Juanita McKenzie-trained gelding stepped well from the standing start but was forced to work hard to eventually find the lead while the odds-on favourite Resurgent Spirit also had to work three-wide for 500 metres before eventually finding a spot at the leader's wheel. Major Callum ($16) looked to be struggling 500 metres out when Resurgent Spirit applied the pressure but the gelded son of Art Major refused to wilt and fought back to edge out the favourite on the line with Macho Comacho ($35) working home well to grab third. It was Major Callum's 11th but clearly his best and McKenzie said the gelding had always had above average ability but too often had been the victim of bad luck in his races. "This horse tries so hard every time he goes around and had it not been for rotten luck in a lot of his races he would be a much higher rated horse," McKenzie said. "He is very good from a standing start so this type of racing suits him but at the end of the day he is my favourite horse and has been ever since he was a two-year-old. Duggan had not been a fan of Major Callum but he said after this win his opinion might change. "Let's say I'm starting to warm to the horse," Duggan said. "He is such hard work because you've got to be at him the whole time but tonight I wanted to make sure we had something outside of him because he tries so hard and goes best when he's tested. "He's done a good job to beat the favourite so I reckon he's going to be very competitive in these type of races looking forward." The connections of Resurgent Spirit ($1.60) weren't fazed by the loss. "My horse had to do a lot of work too so he's stuck to his guns well and I have no doubt he will be competitive in whatever he tackles next," said driver James Austin. Peter Staples

The Ben Richardson-trained Wasonie Snake delivered a workmanlike performance to score a harness racing career best win in the Matilda Rawlings Pace over 1609 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. Wasonie Snake travelled well in the one-out line while Thatswhatshesaid set a solid pace but when driver Ricky Duggan eased Wasonie Snake three-wide to challenge the gelded six-year-old swept to the lead and hit the line a comfortable margin ahead of Thatswhatshesaid and Me Mate Les. It was Wasonie Snake's second win of the season but given the way the gelding hit the line it won't be his last this preparation. Wasonie Snake delivered a mile rate of 1.58.07 which was the first time he had produced a sub two-minute rate. The gelding has had 38 starts for four wins and eight minor lacings for over $24,000 in stakes but his form this time in has been the best since he started racing in Victoria in January 2014. It was a solid performance and not dissimilar to the one that earned him his previous win in Hobart in September. There was a lot to like about the effort of Thatswhatshesaid as this six-year-old stuck tom his guns after setting a solid tempo and he won't be far away from winning again. Peter Staples

Quality pacer Finn Mac Kee returned to harness racing in the best possible way with an outstanding win at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night. The Tommy Jackson-trained five-year-old had not started since early July but he made light of his task despite having to face the breeze for the entire journey outside of the well-backed These Days that showed good speed to lead from the pole position. Finn Mac Kee started on the second row but driver Paul Hill was quick to weave his way through the field to land in the "death". The leader looked to be travelling as well as Finn Mac Kee turning for home but when Hill released the reins and called on the son of Stonebridge Regal to sprint he forged clear and then held all challengers at bay to score by 2.4 metres from Moto Kenny with Lord Jones storming home late to grab third a metre astern. Jackson has always rated the gelding highly and has been intent on allowing the gelding time to fully mature and from what he showed first-up this could be his season to shine. Peter Staples  

Harness racing trainer Kent Rattray produced an incredible training feat to produce last season's Easter Cup winner Riverboat Jasper fit enough to take out the Doug Martin Danbury Park Cup over 2698 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. Riverboat Jasper ($15) started off a handicap of 20 metres and settled near the rear of the field as did the back marker and race favourite Resurgent Spirit that started off 40 metres. When James Austin sent Resurgent Spirit ($4) around the field at the bell, Riverboat Jasper's driver John Walters latched onto the second favourite's his back for a ride home. But just when it looked as if Resurgent Spirit would forge clear, Walters called on the son of Riverboat King for the big effort and the seven-year-old gelding responded magnificently and powered clear. Riverboat Jasper went on to defeat Victorian invader Im Barney Rubble ($5) that flashed home from well back in the field with Resurgent Spirit hanging on for a game third. All three placegetters are likely to contest the $40,000 Tasmania Cup to be run at Luxbet Park Hobart on December 18. Peter Staples

Consistent harness racing pacer Grinable opened his winning account for the season with a last-stride win in the Ella Coulson Pace for C3-C4 pacers over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. The Adrian Duggan trained and driven seven-year-old settled sixth and three-back the fence and that's where he remained until the field turned for home the last time. But when Duggan shouldered his way clear close to home the gelded son of Grinfromeartoear laid his ears back and charged home to grab Sir Dasher Dee right on the line with Zumba Bromac a close-up third. It was Grinable's fifth start this preparation but he had been unlucky at two previous outings, in particular a fourth behind Blackjackhanover in a C4-C5 in Hobart immediately prior to last night's assignment. "I've been very happy with the horse's progress this time in although we had a bit of a hiccup three starts back but I've sorted a little issue out and he's right back on track," Duggan said. "He is not an overly big horse but he's quite solid and he tries hard so we'll just plod along with him and aim him at a couple of the country cups. "The Carrick Cup would be a suitable race for him so that will be one of his targets in the New Year." Grinable was sent to Duggan as a two-year-old by his original owner Neale Donnelley and the gelding performed well but he lost his way so the owner opted to get out of the hor6se so Duggan put together a small syndicate that still races the gelding. Grinable has won nine and snared 18 minor placings from 59 starts for almost $64,000 so he has been a decent money spinner. Peter Staples

Well-bred harness racing gelding Roll West delivered a knockout blow to punters in the opening event in Hobart when he led throughout at big odds ($25) to win the CUB Pace over 2090 metres. Roll West had only two starts as a two-year-old for a minor placing before being spelled for seven months. He resumed with a game second in Hobart then blotted his copybook with a near-last effort in Launceston last week but once he found the lead last night he settled well and proved too strong for his rivals. Roll West (Roll With Joe-Western Cheater) was bred by Noel and Marlene Salter at their Brighton property and is trained by their son Christian Salter. He had to work hard early to find the lea from his near-outside front-row draw (6) but once he achieved the feat he settled well for his trainer who rated the gelding superbly. The favourite Buster Bruv ($1.60) was allowed to settle last but he looked good when his driver Dylan Ford let him slide around the field at the bell but when he looked likely to cross to face the breeze nearing the top turn the last time he went from cruising to being under pressure quickly. Goggo Gee Gee loomed to run down the eventual winner but he was unable to make an impression at the business end of the race but stayed strong to hold second spot ahead of the well-backed Shesastandout ($5.30). Peter Staples

Harness racing driver Wade Rattray has been selected to represent Tasmania at the Australasian Young Drivers' Championship in Western Australia next month. The series comprises representatives from all Australian states as well as the two islands of New Zealand. Rattray, 24, will be representing the state for the first time, although he is no stranger to success in these type of competitions having won the Tasmanian Youngbloods Challenge series this season after finishing runner-up in 2015. "I am thrilled to have been selected to represent my state. It is an absolute honour for any sportsmen," Rattray said. "There is always a fair amount of luck associated with this series because you need to get on the right horses in the heats but I'm hoping a bit of that luck falls my way." Rattray is the son of prominent harness trainer-driver Kent Rattray but surprisingly Wade was a late starter having not acquired his driver's licence until 2014. "I think I needed to make sure I wanted to follow in Dad's footsteps but once I did there was no turning back." Rattray was an automatic selection for the series after being the equal second-best performed young driver during the 2014-15 season behind Dylan Ford who was ineligible because he has already represented the state twice. The series will be held during the Inter Dominion series in December with the first of 10 heats to be held at Gloucester Park on December 2 followed by two heats at Bunbury the following night. The series moves to the country circuits of Pinjarra, Northam and Narrogin where two heats will be held at each venue with the final and deciding heat to form part of the Inter Dominion final night program at Gloucester Park on 9 December. Peter Staples

An inspection of the harness racing track in Launceston in Tasmania will be made at noon today (AEST) to determine whether or not the 10-race twilight harness meeting scheduled at the Luxbet Racing Centre can proceed as planned. A similar amount of rain to that which has covered the Hobart track in the south of the state that forced the postponement of that meeting, has fallen on the Launceston circuit in the past 12 hours. Leading harness trainer Ben Yole expects to take a team of 35 horses to the Launceston meeting which is a modern day record for any one trainer. Yole's team will be transported in four trucks and two double horse floats. "We will start preparing for the meeting around noon and it will take a full team of seven people to make it all work," Yole said. "This is the most we've taken to the races so we are hoping everything goes smoothly." Yole has multiple runners in each of the 10 races and in a couple of races he has more than half the field. Yole says Ebonyallstarzzz looms as one of his best bets on the program as she has drawn the pole in race four and he also has a high regard for Regmondo (11) that will start from the second line in race seven. Peter Staples

Talented pacer Buster Bruv again showed why he will be heading to some of the state's feature harness racing three-year-old events with an impressive win in the CUB Pace over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday. The Dylan Ford-trained gelding showed good early speed to lead from a wide front-row gate (6) and while his trainer-driver slowed the tempo for a pedestrian first quarter of 34 seconds it was the way he toyed with his rivals at the business end that impressed most. When Ford allowed the gelded son of Santastics Pan more rein in the home straight he burst clear and went on to score by almost 17 metres from Roll West that faced the breeze for the last lap with Really Frank third but eight metres astern. Buster Bruv ($1.20 fav) covered the journey in 2.41.1 for a mile rate of 2.04 but ran home his last half (800m) in 57.5 but his last 400m was covered in 27.9 and without being fully extended. "I've had this horse since he was a yearling and while he didn't show me a lot early on he has grown into a very nice horse and he keeps improving which is a good sign," Ford said. Buster Bruv has had only six starts for three wins and two minor placings. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing trainer Kate MacLeod landed one of the bargain buys of the year when she secured former NSW pacer Rattlenhum for a modest sum earlier this year. The gelded son of Riverboat King had won only one race from 50 starts for Broken Hill owner-trainer Tony Camilleri when he was advertised the gelding for sale on the Internet for $1500. In Launceston on Sunday Rattlenhum made it two wins from only three starts for MacLeod, leading throughout with ace reinsman Troy Hillier in the sulky. In blustery conditions Rattlenhum ($2.80) forged to the lead soon after the start and when seriously challenged in the home straight the last time he refused to wilt and forged clear close to home to score from Olivers Mate ($5) with the favourite Regmondo ($2.60) third. "I was looking to buy a horse for my Mum (Ruth) to race and came across Rattlenhum on the Internet," MacLeod said. "I spoke to the owner Tony Camilleri for a while and he explained the horse had just gone a bit sour but for $1500 I thought he was worth a punt. "He had a win and a third at Broken Hill before I bought him in April and he won at his first start for me in Launceston a month later. "I tipped him out for a spell and he was a bit unlucky when fourth first-up two weeks ago. "But today once he got the front I knew he'd be very hard to run down. "He can be a bit moody and is a bit of a pig at times but overall he's doing a good job and Mum's happy." Peter Staples

When The Bettormack first burst onto the scene he was being touted as a potential harness racing star but sometimes very good horses lose their way. But at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday the Todd Rattray-trained gelding rediscovered his best form to score an emphatic win in the Get Well Greg Mansfield Stakes over 2200 metres. The Bettormack began well from gate three but not as quickly as Aninchofhislife that retained the lead from the pole position but when that horse's driver appeared keen to hand-up driver Todd Rattray urged The Bettormack forward to assume control. It played into the hands of Rattray who set a modest tempo but when the serious pressure was applied in the home straight the last time The Bettormack responded magnificently. The Bettormack ($2.90) went on to score by almost three metres from the $2.40 favourite Chopstix Boris with Something Eyre ($6.10) four metres away third. "I've had to sort out a couple of little issues the horse had but two weeks off also helped to freshen him up and I thought he did a good job to win like he did," Rattray said. It was the five-year-old's 10th win from 30 starts and provided he stays in that sort of form there are definitely more wins in store in the coming weeks. In extremely blustery conditions he recorded a mile rate of 2.01.9. Peter Staples

Reigning premier harness racing trainer Ben Yole will travel another big team to the races in Launceston today with multiple runners in all but two on the nine-event program. In the eighth race, a claiming event over 2200 metres, he will hitch up half the field of 10, although it will be the Craig Hayes-trained Mister Sumna that is likely to start favourite. Yole has two runners in race two that should battle it out for favouritism in the lightly raced Regmondo (7) and Roxburgh Way (6) who were both winners in Launceston two starts back on October 16. Roxburgh Way emerged triumphant in a C1 over 1680 metres defeating Su You Too and Aitutaki with James Austin in the cart, although today Austin was committed to Safari Sunshine so Yole has booked 10-time premiership winning driver Gareth Rattray. The Artistic Fella gelding enjoyed the one-out-two-back trail that night but today he must contend with an outside front-row draw in a small field of seven, but if Rattray can find a spot with cover the six-year-old could win again. Regmondo won on debut two weeks ago in Launceston at the same meeting Roxburgh Way emerged triumphant, also over 1680 metres. Regmondo has drawn the outside of the front line but he has good early speed so his driver Mark Yole could opt to use him up early to try and find the front and if that eventuates he could be very hard to run down. Safari Sunshine has been placed at his past four starts and gets his chance to break through from a good barrier (2) while Rattlenhum won two of his last three starts before being sent for a spell and his first-up effort in Launceston two weeks ago was full of merit. The best race on the card is clearly race five, the Get Well Greg Mansfield Stakes over 2200m for C5-C9 performers. Last-start winners Mavis Merle and Chopstix Boris are the in-form runners with Chopstix Boris likely to start favourite on the strength of his last-start win and given Mavis Merle has no early speed and from the pole position she might end up behind the leader or three-back the fence. The Bettormack (3) has the chance to prove he could be up to tackling the better races over the Christmas-New Year period and Macho Comancho could go well fresh as he will be first-up since winning a C5-C9 in Hobart at the end of June. Peter Staples

Talented pacer I Am Camelot returned to harness racing with a brilliant all-the-way win in a C1 event over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night. The Deborah Williams-trained gelding made the most of a front-row draw to lead from gate three and once in front the six-year-old was rated superbly by Gareth Rattray. I Am Camelot had not started since December last year but a good performance in a recent trial was enough to give punters confidence to back the gelded son of Safari in to start the $3.80 favourite. "This horse has loads of ability and I think the long break has been good for him," Williams said. "He has always been a horse that gets all worked up at the races and tonight was no exception but overall it was a good result. "We will continue to run him in Hobart because he races well here." Rattray said the horse raced fiercely early but ha d settled well enough under restraint to win the race. "I'll just keep working him through the classes but we are hoping this will be his best season. "We could have brought him back to racing sooner but we opted to concentrate on a few other younger horses and I think the extra time away from racing as done him the world of good." Peter Staples

Star Tasmania harness racing pacer Resurgent Spirit delivered a sensational performance to win an open discretionary handicap over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding started off the sole back mark of 30 metres and while he settled last and was still in that spot when the field entered the home straight the last time he somehow found a way to win. When driver James Austin called on Resurgent Spirit for the supreme effort in the home straight the six-year-old gelding laid his ears back and charged home to win narrowly from dead-heaters Major Callum and Chief Destroyer. "The way he had been working at home on the training track I knew he'd be able to deliver that sort of performance," Whitmore said. Resurgent Spirit (American Ideal-Resurgent Star) will be aimed at the $40,000 Tasmania Cup to be run in Hobart in late December. Peter Staples

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