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Pachacuti extended his winning steak with an effortless harness racing victory in the $10,000 Governor's Cup over 2090 metres in Hobart on Sunday night.. Pachacuti ($1.30 favourite) was unable to hold the lead from gate two and was crossed by Modern Ruler and heading down the back stretch the last time it looked for a moment that the favourite might not get out of the pocket. But the seven-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding's trainer-driver Todd Rattray somehow eased off the fence from behind the leader at the point of the home turn and once in the three-wide line the gelding powered home to score by over 10 metres from Hugo Play with Sapphire Swayze a closing third. Pachacuti is being aimed at the $40,000 Easter Cup on April 16 and his next outing will most likely be in an Easter Cup heat in Launceston on Friday week, March 31. Rattray was hauled into the stewards' room after the race and subsequently suspended for four race dates on a dangerous driving charge and it could mean missing out on driving Pachacuti in an Easter Cup heat. "I will be appealing the suspension and that's all I want to say about it," Rattray said. It was Pachacuti's sixth win in succession this year and given the way he toyed with his rivals at this latest outing he should be a major contender when he arrives at his grand final in the Easter Cup. "I am very happy with how he's going but I'm sure there is a fair bit of improvement in him between now and the Easter Cup. "He had a short let-up after his previous run so I reckon he definitely was in need of this run." Peter Staples

New Zealand bred three-year-old filly Shartin powered her way to an emphatic harness racing win in the Cripps Waratah Tasmanian Oaks over 2579 metres in Hobart last night. The Victorian filly settled last from her wide front-row draw but inside a lap her driver Chris Alford sent the daughter of Tintin In America around the field to find the lead. From there on it was a procession with the filly forging clear turning for home and she went on to score by almost 12 metres from El Jays Mystery that faced the breeze throughout with Playing Arkabella a half-head away third. It was Alford's third drive aboard the filly and he said she was always travelling like the winner. "I was mindful that this filly can do a few things wrong if she has to race wide so I dropped her out to last and then whipped around them early on and she was able to find the front without having to spend too much gas," Alford said. "Dean Braun paid about $50,000 for this filly in New Zealand but I'm sure she will pay her way. "She is still learning what it's all about but tonight she did everything right and she had the race won a long way from home. Shartin is owned by a syndicate that includes Tasmanian Dean Richards who is overseas on business. Alford said Shartin was likely to head to the heats of the Victorian Oaks next month. Shartin has won three of her five starts with this latest her most impressive and the $15,000 prizemoney took her career earnings to just beyond $25,000. It was Alford's fourth Tasmanian oaks having been successful on Concorde Lombo in 1997, Itz Nosurprisesthere (2013) and last year aboard Dancingwithsierra. Peter Staples

Hugo Play is again making an impact in open class harness racing in Tasmania with his effort to win the Launceston Mile (1680m) at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night one of his best efforts since joining the Shelley Barnes stable late last year. Hugo Play faced the breeze for most of the race and when driver Gareth Rattray called on the gelded son of Jr Mint for the supreme effort he forged clear and then staved off a determined challenge from eventual runner-up Riverboat Jasper that had enjoyed the run of the race in the one-out-one-back position. Blackjackhanover led and he traveled well to the home turn but he was unable to match it with Higo Play once the pressure was applied. Hugo Play has had seven starts for Barnes for two wins and four minor placings for almost $18,000 in stakes but that might soar if the gelding retains his good form. "I guess we'll have a look at the Easter Cup as his main goal and that will most likely include going in the Easter Cup heats but in the meantime I'll back him up in the Governor's Cup in Hobart this Sunday night," Barnes said. It was the first time Hugo Play has won over a mile (1680m) with his mile rate of 1:57.4 only 2.4 seconds outside the track record and just 0.9 off his personal best mile rate of 1:56.5 set in Melbourne three years ago over 2240 metres. "The horse is going better than I ever expected he would when I first took over his training and while he is in such good form we'll keep pushing on. "I have to manage his work and racing program because he has delicate feet but he seems to be responding to how I train him. "I work him on the grass at home and I swim him a lot to help with his fitness levels." Peter Staples

Tasmania lost one of its harness racing icons last week when champion pacer Halyer passed away peacefully of old age at Scamander on the North-East Coast. The former champion had been living the life of Riley on the property of Ana and Eric Hayes where he was treated like a member of the family for the past 12 years. Halyer became an integral part of the Hayes family that comprises Ana and Eric Hayes their son Saxon and daughter Lily-Mae. "Losing Halyer was like losing a family member because he meant so much to all of us," Ana Hayes said. At his previous two homes Halyer was used as a pony club hack and from all reports he thoroughly enjoyed being ridden but Ana's attempts to reignite that passion failed. "I took riding lessons using "Hals" as my mount but it wasn't really working and when he bucked me off a few times I decided to give riding a miss and just keep him as a pet. "We decided to call him Big Dog because he was fed twice a day and was treated just the same as any family pet. Halyer also became a good companion for Lily-Mae who was quite attached to the horse. She would often wander down to the back of the paddock and talk to Halyer and over time he became very affectionate towards her. When Halyer laid down to take his last few breaths Lily-Mae was with him and fell asleep by his side. "We are a very close-knit family and our animals are very much a part of the unit so to lose such a dominant force in our lives is heartbreaking," In his racing days Halyer was owned by Don Cooper and his son Dean and Halyer died on Don's 90th birthday last Sunday week. Don had not seen Halyer for about 14 years when he made a visit to the Hayes' property about six years ago and what transpired when he and the horse were reacquainted was quite moving. Almost from the moment Halyer caught sight of Don the gelding became more animated and when Don put his arm around the horse's neck the obvious affection they had for each other shone through. "This horse took us on a fantastic journey and for obvious reasons Bobby (Halyer) always will be very special to me and my family," Don Cooper said. Halyer was a great racehorse who greeted the starter 70 times for 32 wins and 22 minor placings for over $340,000 in stakes. He broke two minutes every season he raced, notching a 1.59.7 rate as a two-year-old and at three he clocked 1.58.3 in an open class race over 1609 metres Launceston in February 1990. Two months later he was mixing it with the best three-year-olds in the land winning a heat of the NSW Derby prior to finishing second in the Derby final, a race that even today Don Cooper finds had to believe he lost. "One thing you learn when you are involved in racing is that you have to take the bad with the good and the NSW Derby was one of those not so good experiences," Cooper said. Halyer finished second to Imprimartar, but only because Halyer struck interference, broke and galloped 100m from home and what led to him breaking resulted in the horse's trainer-driver Neville Webberley being suspended. But the horse made amends at his next start when, with John "Bulldog" Nicholson in the gig, he gave his rivals a pacing lesson in the Group 1 Australian Derby. "The Australian Derby win was enormous and definitely made up for the NSW Derby loss," Cooper said. After six months in the paddock Halyer returned to the racetrack and following his first win as a four-year-old Webberley predicted his stable star had the ability to reach great heights. His effort to finish second to Thorate in the 1990 Tasmanian Pacing Championship remains one of the most courageous efforts seen on a Tasmanian track. The then four-year-old was galloped on in the run and despite blood gushing from a gash in his hoof he finished at the rate of knots to edge Generator out of second spot and beat home some of the best horses of that era including Allan Grant that was driven and trained by the late Vin Knight. The hoof injury ensured Halyer would spend the next nine months in the paddock but he returned with a vengeance. He won the Easter Cup in 1992 which boasted a star-studded line-up including Inter-Dominion performers Franco Tiger and The Tower Of Strength who filled the minor placings. Despite having a few niggling injuries, Halyer was prepared for the 1994 Inter Dominion series in Sydney and he again made his mark at the highest level. He won his first heat of the series and placed third in two others to progress to the final in which he finished a luckless fourth to Weona Warrior. But days after the final he was stricken with a stomach illness that almost took his life. "We thought we lost him a couple of times but he was a real fighter and he lived to fight another day," Don Cooper said. Halyer returned to Tasmania when fully recovered and other than a four-start campaign in Victoria he spent the balance of his racing days in his home state. Webberley regards Halyer as the best he trained and after consultation with the horse's owners they agreed to retire the horse from racing after he won a free-for-all in Hobart in September 1995. Ana Hayes said Halyer is buried on the family property where he lay in a specially marked grave. "We buried Hals in a spot that gets the morning and afternoon sun and that's the way he would have liked it," Ana said. Peter Staples

IT came as no surprise to harness racing trainer Steve Davis when his well-bred five-year-old mare Ima Ginger Rogers delivered a career best performance to win the $10,000 Leigh Plunkett over 2297 metres in Devonport on Sunday night. Ima Ginger Rogers had good form leading up to the race but the weight of money that arrived for race favourite Little Bit of Big ($2 into $1.60) saw Davis' mare's price drift from $5 to start at $8.60. But when driver Ricky Duggan urged Ima Ginger Rogers forward at the start from gate three and found the lead it was obvious a long way from the finish that the mare was the one to beat. The favourite made a dash from the rear to sit at the leader's wheel but when her driver Rohan Hillier asked for the supreme effort she was unable to go on with it and the leader slipped clear and went on to score by 12 metres from Little Bit of Big with Reckless Abandon five metres away third. Ima Ginger Rogers covered the journey in 2m.55s for a mile rate of 2.02 but she scampered home her last half (800 metres) in a slick 57.9. "I was confident she could win because she had good recent form heading into the race," Davis said. "Her two previous runs were terrific without winning and her trackwork in the week leading up to the race was fantastic so I thought if she could lead then nothing would be able to run her down and I told Ricky (Duggan) that before the race. "When a horse can run home its last 800m in under 58 seconds on the Devonport track, and I knew this mare could do that, then she was always going to be extremely hard to beat," Davis said Davis became aware of the mare after her full sister Shezallapples (Sportswriter-Apple Sorbet) won a Group 1 2YO race at Menangle in NSW in June last year. "I knew this mare was for sale in Tasmania so when I heard that Shezallapples had won the Breeders Challenge I rang Chris Aylett, whose father Phil trained Ima Ginger Rogers as a young horse, and said we'd better buy her as a broodmare prospect. "So I rang Nick Perotti the owner of Ima Ginger Rogers and we ended up buying her in a package of four horses that included another broodmare, a yearling and an unbroken two-year-old. "This mare took a bit to get going after she injured a knee that later became infected and when she was over that she got a bad cold so we had to tip her out and start again. "But this time in she has been good and provided all that bad luck is behind her she might just win her way through the classes." Peter Staples

Last season's top two-year-old pacer Playing Arkabella began her three-year-old season with a win in Hobart last week so she should only need to mirror that form to win again at Luxbet Park tonight. The Paul Hill-trained filly won the two feature two-year-old events in Tasmania last season, the Sweepstakes final and the Evicus Stakes to finish the season with four wins and as many minor placings from eight starts to be named Tasmania's best 2YO filly. She spent eight months away from harness racing and Hill says the long break did her the world of good but she put on so much weight that it took a long time to get her to the racing stage. "The filly was in the paddock for a lengthy spell but she got away from me a bit because she was grazing as well as being hard fed twice a day at one stage," Hill said. "I think she had five trials before I took her to the races. She fit now but still took a lot of benefit from that first-up run last week." Playing Arkabella has drawn awkwardly in gate seven on the outside of the front row. "I don't think the outside front-row draw is going to be a concern because there are no plans to lead and Ricky (Duggan) will just let her ease off the gate and find a spot and if it's last then so be it. "There is a bit of speed in the race and the first-starter of Juanita McKenzie's, Jaks Teller, is a lovely horse that goes well and I know that because I drove him in a trial the other night. Jaks Teller is a three-year-old colt owned by Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper who have had a lot of success with horses they have purchased from New Zealand and this gelding could be another potential feature race winner. Swap Me is another in the race owned by Cockshutt and Cooper and he was an encouraging second to Playing Arkabella last week. The Rohan Hillier-trained Call Me Blondie has been placed three times since her first-up win at Scottsdale in early January so she must also rate an each-way chance in the field of seven. Hill said Playing Arkabella's main missions this time in are the Tasmanian Oaks and the Bandbox Stakes. Peter Staples

The long-awaited clash between Tasmania's most promising three-year-old harness racing pacers Scooterwillrev and Usain Jolt might not eventuate until they meet in the Tasmanian Derby in April. Both three-year-olds scored impressive wins in Launceston on Sunday night with Usain Jolt scoring by 30 metres despite having faced the breeze for the last lap in a C1 against older horses over 2200 metres. But not to be upstaged Scooterwillrev went around in a three-year-old and older event over 2200 metres to score by six metres in a small field of six but he clocked a mile rate of 2.02.5 and ran home his last half (800m) in 58.9 after galloping at the start which had him settled 20 metres off the second-last horse. However Usain Jolt recorded a mile rate of 1.59.5, running home his last half in 57.5 and his driver Ricky Duggan said the Tony Petersen-trained Village Jolt gelding could have gone quicker and won by further had he so desired. "This horse has gone to another level this time in and this win was terrific," Duggan said. "I'm mindful that he didn't defeat any top class horses but you can only beat what you're up against and he did it with ease. "Last time in he used to do a few things wrong and he was rough in his gait and he was still like it at his first start this season but Tony (Petersen) has changed a couple of things and he's been much better his past two starts. Usain Jolt won last season's $30,000 Dandy Patch Stakes and his main mission this season is the three-year-old version of that sires stakes event, the $30,000 Globe Derby, to be run in Launceston in May and Scooterwillrev (Somebeachsomewhere)  is ineligible because he is not Tasmanian bred. But given the gelding's recent efforts that produced winning margins of 33.7 metres and 30.4 metres there is no question the Tasmanian Derby is within his grasp. "I haven't let this horse rip yet so who knows what times he's capable of running. "He's done it tough the past two starts facing the breeze but I am pretty sure he could be even better sat up in a race." Scooterwillrev is unbeaten in Tasmania with only two unplaced starts in Victoria during the Breeders Crown series the only blemishes on his impeccable record from 11 lifetime starts. Duggan is keen to stick with Usain Jolt and says the gelded son of Village Jolt has a very bright future. "The improvement Usain Jolt is has shown this season suggests he will give Scooterwillrev a run for his money in the Derby provided his manners remain at least the same as his past two runs." Scooterwillrev and Usain Jolt are likely to have at least one more start each before progressing to the Derby with Scooterwillrev to back up in a race in Devonport on Sunday night. Peter Staples

Former Sydneysider Roger Ramjet continued on his winning way in Launceston last night with an impressive all-the-way victory in a C6-C10 harness racing pace over 2200 metres. Roger Ramjet is prepared by Todd Rattray for whom the gelding has had four starts since arriving in the state from New South Wales where he was prepared by Rattray's older brother James Rattray. It was the gelding's second win from five starts in Tasmania and he could shape as an Easter Cup candidate. Todd Rattray is hoping the gelding stays in Tasmania at least until Easter. "I would like to keep this horse here for as long as possible and I really think he could be an Easter Cup contender," Rattray said. Roger Ramjet arrived at James Rattray's stables midway through 2014 and he won his first three starts in NSW before heading to Victoria where he had four starts for a win at Melton and two minor placings at Ballarat. He won three more at Menangle before heading to Queensland where he had two starts for a win and a second after which he was spelled for five months. James Rattray sent the gelding to his family's Tasmanian stable that is operated these days by Todd Rattray and at the gelding's second start in the state he was a luckless seventh in the Devonport Cup. The $40,000 Easter Cup will be run in Launceston on April 16. Peter Staples

Warrior Mac produced a harness racing career best effort to score a last-stride win in a C1 Pace over 1609 metres in Hobart on Friday night. The Ben Rossendell-trained seven-year-old unleashed a powerful finishing burst from last to grab Frankie Falzoni right on the line. Warrior Mac was driven by Justin Howlett so it would have been an interesting conversation on the drive home as his younger brother Matthew Howlett was aboard the runner-up that looked home for all money 50 metres from the line To rub more salt into the wound, the runner-up is trained by their father Chris Howlett. Warrior Mac (McArdle-Lady Lisa) has been in great form this time in with this latest victory his third from his past five starts. The gelding notched his fist win of the season at Carrick on December 27 scoring narrowly in C1 event over 2150 metres and at his subsequent start he broke two minutes clocking a mile rate of 1,59.8 in winning a C2 in Hobart over 2090 metres But this latest win was clearly his most impressive as he led and shrugged off all challengers to go on and score by six metres and record a personal best mile rate of 1.58.7 over the 1609-metre trip. Peter Staples

Zhukov Leis is the latest in a string of harness racing pacers bred by Trevor and Marjorie Leis to make an impact on the racetrack. The Todd Rattray-trained and driven gelding made an impressive debut at Luxbet Park Hobart last night leading all the way to score impressively after being heavily backed in to start the $2. Zhukov Leis is by Somebeachsomewhere from the Leis' top-producing broodmare Kazakova Leis that also produced the half-brother Jaruzelski Leis (by Bettors Delight) that has so far won 20 with a best mile rate of 1.53.7. The three-year-old gelding stepped well from a wide gate (6) and after a stoush with Memory of Love, Rattray's gelding eventually found the lead and he settled well under a strong hold. Zhukov Leis was given no peace for the last 1200 metres with the second favourite Falcon Harry sitting at his wheel and waiting to pounce heading down the back stretch. But when Rattray called on Zhukov Leis for an effort he dug deep and shrugged off the challenge and forged clear to defeat Falcon Harry by about four metres with Striker Jim over 20 metres astern. "We have always believed this horse could run a bit and he showed us that at two but he developed a bad cough and we had to pull up and tip him out," Rattray said. "I've taken my time with this horse and I think the patience we've shown will pay off. "He takes a bit of work because he's a good doer and he got away from me a bit this time in which is why he will derive a lot of benefit from this run. "I have no doubt he has a bright future and he could have a good race in him this season." Peter Staples

It won't be long before Hannah Van dongen has to make a decision between becoming an apprentice jockey or grinding out a career in the harness racing industry. Van dongen has been riding trackwork in her home town of Longford for various trainers for a year but when her father Craig Van dongen decided to reacquaint himself with harness racing as a trainer his daughter was keen to help out. At Carrick last Saturday the father and daughter teamed up to produce their first win with Regal Idea and to make it a real family affair the horse is owned by Hannah's mother Carol Williscroft. Hannah Van dongen had Regal Idea settled in the one-out line and travelling sweetly to the bell and when she eased out three-wide to get a cart home the gelding was always likely to win. Van dongen had to get busy on her charge over the final 200 metres but he knuckled down to his task and grabbed race leader Thirlstane King close to home to score a narrow but impressive win. "It was great to get my first winner on a horse trained by Dad and owned by Mum," Hannah Van dongen said. Having spent many years honing her riding craft at pony club and equestrian events she decided to try her hand at trackwork riding and she took to it like a duck to water. She rides work for Longf0rd-based trainer Ken Hanson and she is used by other local trainers when available. "I have always enjoyed equestrian horses as a kid and a few years ago, Dad decided to get back involved in the industry. From there the opportunity arose to work for Barrie and Todd Rattray where I gained a lot of harness racing experience." She is kept very busy these days with trackwork at Longford starting at 5.30am and once her duties there are finished she heads out to harness trainer Chester Bullock's training complex at Riverside for the rest of the day. Peter Staples

South Australian pacer Capture Me produced a bold front-running harness racing performance to win a heat of the Allen Williams Memorial at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. The Ben Yole-trained mare began brilliantly from gate five to find the lead and once in front driver Mark Yole ensured a steady tempo while the well-backed favourite Falcon Harry ($2.20) settled worse than midfield from his second-row draw. Capture Me ($7) was allowed to stride along at her leisure without any pressure from Lockaway Kacie ($6.60) that faced the breeze but sat outside the second horse Hayleys Comet. In the back straight the last time Lockaway Kacie worked forward to challenge the leader but when they hit the home turn Capture had plenty in reserve and went on to score comfortably from Falcon Harry with Hayleys Comet battling on well for third. Capture Me was third at her Tasmania debut last week in Launceston behind Dasher Houli and it was on the strength of that effort that trainer Ben Yole thought the four-year-old mare could win. "Her first start in the state was more like a trial because she's only been with us for three weeks and I thought she did a good job," Yole said. "She's owned in SA by David Harding who thought she might be able to pick up a few wins over here so he sent her to me. "Because she has good gate speed and she's quite tough I'm sure there are more wins for her in the coming weeks." Peter Staples

Wesley Vale harness racing trainer John Castles teamed up with the state's leading driver Gareth Rattray to snare a double at the meeting on the North-West Coast in Devonport last Friday night. The pair combined to win the Harding Hotmix Mobile with Spot Eight to give that gelding his third win of the season and that followed an impressive performance from Dayraid to win a C1 or better handicap over 1286 metres. Dayraid, owned by staunch harness racing  stalwarts on King Island, was having his first start for Castles and he was given the run of the race behind the leader by Rattray. When the pace quickened about 600 metres from home Rattray was able to ease Dayraid off the fence to make his move and once in clear racing room the six-year-old gelded son of Dawn of a New Day ran on well to score by a neck from race leader Dellas Command with Sign No More 4-1/2 metres away third. Dayraid was well backed to start the $4.30 equal favourite with Dellas Command and given the way Castles' horse hit the line there should be more wins in store in the coming weeks. Spot Eight's win was arguably his best this season as he drew the outside of the second row and was forced to settle at the rear. Rattray made his move three-wide about 800m from home and he latched into the back of Timely Sovereign that went ahead of him. But he ended up three-back in the running line when Union Force barged out in front of Timely Sovereign. Union Force ended up in the breeze and when they turned for home Spot Eight was forced four-wide but he proved too strong for his rivals going in to score by 1-1/2 metres from Timely Sovereign with Union Force 2-1/2 metres away third. Rattray ended the night with a treble courtesy of Tisu Bombbelle winning the last race on the seven-event card. Peter Staples      

A promotion to raise money for women's cancer research through harness racing has gone national for the first time this season. The promotion involves all female drivers wearing teal coloured driving pants instead of the traditional white and in Launceston last Sunday night Natalee Emery got the promotion off to a flying start by winning the first race on the eight-event program aboard outsider Pushkin. Emery drove Pushkin straight to the front from gate three and she rated the gelding superbly to have enough in the tank to boot clear in the home straight and go on and score by 11.1 metres from Significance with Mersey Delight a close-up third. This is the first year that Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland have joined Victoria and New South Wales in the 'Team Teal' campaign that aims to raise money for women's cancer research. Tasmania boasts nine female drivers comprising; Maree Blake, Natalee Emery, Samantha Freeman, Taylor Ford, Samantha Gangell, Kristy Grant, Lyarna Graham, Lee Simmonds & Hannah Van Dongden. Tasmania's governing racing body Tasracing will donate $200 to the Women's Cancer Institute for every female driver that wins a race in Tasmania until March 12. All female race drivers, as well as the girls who contest pony trot races, will wear Teal driving pants in all of their race drives with all Clerk of the courses to wear Teal coloured shirts. The next chance for 'Team Teal' to add to the tally will be at Devonport on Friday night. To follow the nationwide tally follow @WomensCancerFdn on twitter. For more information about Women's Cancer Foundation go to: http://womenscancerfoundation.org.au/ Peter Staples

When the harness racing trainer of Followthewind, Rodney Ashwood, recommended to the owners of the horse that they should consider sending the five-year-old mare to Melbourne to try and win an M0 there was no hesitation. Owners Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt took the advice on board and soon after the mare was booked to travel interstate to be prepared by Kate Hargreaves. At Melton last Saturday night Followthewind delivered what her Tasmanian trainer had expected by winning an MO and on A. G. Hunter Cup night, one of the biggest meetings on the Victorian calendar. And it ended up being a boon for Tasmania with El Major, a Tasmanian-owned entire, running second to make it a Tasmanian quinella, although it was much to the chagrin of punters who went El Major around the $1.80 favourite while Followthewind paid $21.10. For Cockshutt and Cooper it was one of their most memorable moments since forming their business partnership six years ago. Followthewind drew gate eight on the inside of the second row which was a perfect draw given the logical leader El Major started from the pole position courtesy of a scratching. El major led easily but driver Alex Ashwood had Followthewind travelling sweetly on the leader's back throughout until they entered the home straight where the passing lane came into play. Followthewind sprinted quickly and went on to defeat El Major by 4.4 metres and she recorded a mile rate over the 1720-metre journey of 1.51.9 which is the fastest by a mare anywhere in Australia over the trip this season. The owners were unsuccessful in getting the mare in foal this season which has proven to be a blessing in disguise. The best mile rate she recorded in Tasmania was 1.59.5 as a two-year-old. Followthewind's owners will leave the mare with Hargreaves and her life partner, talented former Tasmanian reinsman Alex Ashwood, who is the mare's former trainer's son. Peter Staples  

Fortino is rapidly earning a reputation as the harness racing Country Cups king with his victory in the $10,000 New Norfolk Pacing Cup in Hobart last night his most emphatic win this season. Leading up to last night's triumph the gelding by Sutter Hanover had bagged the North-East pacing Cup at Scottsdale and the Burnie Cup. His trainer-driver Todd Rattray made the most of poor starts from his two main rivals Finn Mac Kee and Baldock were poorly away from the standing start which left a clear passage for Fortino to make his way to the lead without interruption. Fortino rallied in the home straight to score by 11 metres from Blackjackhanover that had to work three-wide for most of the last lap with Grinable a closing third about two metres away. Rattray ensured s solid tempo and allowed the winner to stroll home his last half (800m) in a handy 58.7 over the 3060-metre trip. Fortino's next start is expected to be in the Carrick Cup on February 18 in which he will have to give away a start of 10 metres owing to his improved class rating to C6. The New Norfolk Cup was run in Hobart last night owing to the Country Club failing to meet all the requirements (documentation) to have its license renewed. Peter Staples

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