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When a harness racing trainer takes a horse to the races thinking it probably can’t win, and then when the same thought is reaffirmed during the race, it usually means the horse will be unplaced. But a horse named My Mate Tyson defied the rule to emerge triumphant in Launceston last Sunday night. Carrick trainer-driver Ross Freemen didn’t think My Mate Tyson was a winning chance in the Economy Warehouse Stakes over 2200 metres, primarily because of his back row draw and his recent efforts had been slightly below par. But the gelding surprised Freemen when he emerged from the pack in the home straight and powered home to score a last-stride win over Baldock, with Orial three metres away third. “I didn’t give him much of a chance before the race, and, from where he was turning for home, I thought he had no hope,” Freeman said. “He was making up good ground and with the leaders paddling a bit, but he rattled home the last 50 metres to get up.” My Mate Tyson was bred and is owned by Freeman in partnership with his wife Cheryl, with the son of Town Champion breaking his maiden status as his sixth start. PETER STAPLES

Burnie harness racing trainer Robert Gillies will target his home town cup with Willbe Doc following the gelding’s impressive win in Launceston last night. Returning from a short spell in the Mustad Australia Stakes over 1680 metres, and while almost friendless in the betting at $16, Willbe Doc powered home to defeat the leader Original Art and Notimetothink. Willbe Doc was well driven by Troy Hillier who sat back and waited until the right time to release the reins, with the gelding responded magnificently. Breaking an 11-month drought from the winners’ circle, the six-year-old rated 1:58.9, which pleased his trainer. “He’s gone really well tonight and that’s the first time he’s broken two minutes,” said Gillies, who part-owns the son of Peace Of Art. “He’s always been a consistent horse – not quite top class, but a good money-spinner. “He is a class four horse now and that qualifies him to run in the Burnie Cup which is a race I’ve always wanted to win.” Willbe Doc has recorded eight wins and 23 placings from his 49 starts, which is testament to his consistency. PETER STAPLES

PROMINENT Tasmanian harness trainer-driver Christian Salter will aim underrated pacer Aninchofhislife towards the Hobart Pacing Cup following the gelding’s impressive win in Launceston last night. Aninchofhislife still needs to improve his class rating to qualify for the Cup, but Salter is supremely confident the son of Red River Hanover is capable of reaching the goal. “This horse has been very consistent and has been a good money-spinner, so he deserves his chance at a feature race,” Salter said. “He still needs to win another race to qualify for the Hobart Cup, but I have no doubts he can win again and it will be sooner than later. “He’s been a consistent horse, but he also been a bit unlucky at times.” Aninchofhislife was urged to make the most of his pole draw and it was the Salter’s intent to go all out for the lead. “I’ve been handing up on him, but I thought if I led in this race he might get an easy time in front,” Salter explained. “There was no standout in the field – they were just an even lot. “He got an easy quarter, but when he needed to be strong he delivered and in the end it was quite a convincing win.” Aninchofhislife’s half-brother, Drifting West, ran second in the 2013 Hobart Cup. “Drifting West got better with age and it’s been much the same with this horse,” Salter said. By Red River Hanover from Ark Drifter, Aninchofhislife is owned by the trainer’s partner Sally McCoull. The six-year-old’s success was part of a double for Salter, who also scored with Miss Lively in the Roberts Equine Services Pace over 1680 metres. PETER STAPLES

Harness racing trainer-driver Nathan Ford says Original Art has the potential to win more races following his last-stride victory in Hobart last Sunday night. Original Art arrived in Ford’s Brighton stable about four weeks ago with modest form to his credit. The son of Art Mark took a step towards changing that with his latest performance. With Faithful Jet leading from the pole and the favourite Rusty Red Comet working in the breeze, Original Art enjoyed the run of the race behind the pacemaker. When the favourite shifted up the track on the home turn, Ford quickly eased Original Art off the pegs before the gelding powered through the gap and set sail after the front runner. Original Art hit the line with a neck to spare over Faithful Jet, with Vander Jenkins the same margin away third. The winner rated 2.02.8 for the 2090 metres, with the last half in 58.9 seconds. “I am very happy with this horse tonight because he really wanted to find the line,” Ford said. “The owners came to me early last month and asked if I would take him on and I think he has the potential to win a few. “I changed a bit of gear with him and we took him to Launceston last week, but it looked as if he didn’t really try a lot. So I changed some more gear and tonight I thought he travelled a lot better and finished the race off well.” PETER STAPLES

Multiple harness racing premiership winning reinsman Gareth Rattray missed the last two months of the 2013-14 season due to illness, but he has been making up for lost time of late. Rattray registered a treble at Devonport last Thursday night to take his tally to seven wins from three meetings in the space of 10 days. While he was winless in Hobart on Sunday night he managed two minor placings. At Devonport his drive behind Hello Good Shanks for his partner-trainer Melissa Maine was outstanding and testament to why he has won the past eight Tasmanian drivers' premierships. Rattray had Hello Good Shanks settled near the rear of the field from his wide second-row draw and waited for the perfect time to send his charge around the field. Hello Good Shanks rounded up the leaders and burst clear close to home to score impressively from Carly Seelster, while race leader Aventador tired over the concluding stages to finish third. It was a race-to-race double for Rattray who also scored with Jazzy Jane for his uncle Kent Rattray Jazzy Jane showed early brilliance to cross to the front from barrier five, and once in the lead, Rattray dictated the pace to suit and she went on to win convincingly. The trainer was delighted with the win and suggested he might target races at Devonport for the mare in the immediate future. “This mare has been struggling in races in Launceston and Hobart, so we'll probably poke around down here from now on,” Rattray said. “We’ll also look at races on the country circuit over Christmas - New Year.” Jazzy Jane is raced by the trainer’s children Wade (22) and Tori (21). PETER STAPLES

A decision by harness racing trainer Melissa Maine to book claiming driver Matthew Howlett to partner her five-year-old Notimetothink in Hobart last night paid big dividends. Howlett urged Notimetothink from the gates to eventually find the lead from barrier two and then the talented young reinsman rated the son of Metropolitan superbly to score by nine metres from Deejay Bromac, with Bone Fide Hustler a neck away third. It made it back-to-back wins for Notimetothink which delivered a similar performance at his previous start and it was a race-to-race double for Howlett, who also guided Frankie Falzoni to victory in the opening race on the seven-event card. Punters were relentless in their pursuit to back Notimetothink, forcing his price in from $2.50 to start $1.80 favourite. Notimetothink arrived in Maine’s stables at Latrobe about seven weeks ago and this was only his second start for the talented mentor, whose partner is star reinsman Gareth Rattray. Putting Howlett on with a novice driver claim enabled the gelding to line up in another C1 and another good draw also played into their hands. The old trainer’s adage of keeping themselves in the best company and their horse in the worst was definitely played out with Notimetothink at his past two starts. The trick for Maine will be to find a C2 that doesn’t boast too many entries that have above average ability. Notimetothink had won once and been placed from 19 starts before joining Maine’s stable, so he is obviously settled in his new environment. Maine and Rattray have been developing their property at Latrobe, about 10 minutes East of Devonport and once finished it should be one of the best in the region. PETER STAPLES

When talented harness racing trainer Chris Howlett purchased Frankie Falzoni as a yearling he was prepared to bide his time with the colt which was passed in at the 2012 Tasmanian Yearling Sale. Howlett bought the youngster after the sales for $9000, but it took a while to see some return. Frankie Falzoni won a race at Carrick last season with some sizeable bets enabling the owners to recoup a chunk the purchase price. In Hobart last tonight Frankie Falzoni delivered a brilliant first-up effort to score a last-stride win in a C0 over 2090 metres. With the trainer’s son Matthew in the sulky, Frankie Falzoni was urged forward from gate three, but was forced to face the breeze before gaining cover as the favourite Who Is Hardeen was sent to the ‘death seat’. When Frankie Falzoni was eased three-wide to improve he gradually made his way to the leaders, but when Howlett called on him for the supreme effort 200 metres out, the son of Chief Marty dug deep to score by a half-neck from Who Is Hardeen, with Tizyalater flashing home from well back to finish third. Howlett explained Frankie Falzoni had a few issues that needed to be sorted out, and given the way he performed at his first start for five months, the gear changes have been successful. PETER STAPLES

A new chapter of one of the great Tasmanian harness racing stories was written in Launceston last night when Cranbre kept his unbeaten record intact at his third start. Cranbre didn’t start racing until four weeks ago in Launceston where he debuted in a three-year-old and upwards non-winners’ event over 2200 metres, in which he led throughout to score a convincing victory. A spate of injuries and other factors prevented the gelding from getting to the races, but in the care of underrated Scottsdale-based trainer Julie Johnson the son of Life Sign has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. At his second race start Cranbre came from beyond midfield to get up in the last few strides but during his latest win he had to do all the hard work early to get the desired result. Cranbre faced the breeze but made light of the task to score from Karalta Dazzler and Good Beginnings in a C2-C3 event over 2200 metres. Todd Rattray took the sit and it was the middle leg of a winning treble for last season’s premier novice reinsman. Rattray also scored with Kyleasha and Rykov Leis, which are both trainer by his father Barrie for whom he is number one stable driver. Rattray has been involved with Cranbre’s racing career since Johnson took him to Carrick for his first trial. “Cranbre arrived at my stables at the end of April and I started working him on May 1,” Johnson said. “He was progressing well, so I decided to take him to the Carrick trial. “I rang five drivers before he went for that first trial, but none of them were going to be available, so I still took him with the hope of getting someone on the day to guide him around. “As it turned out Todd didn’t have a drive so I asked him and after the horse won his trial Todd said he would drive him in a race. “He wasn’t available at the horse’s next start, but we managed to get Todd’s cousin Wade Rattray to drive him and he did a good job because he won again. “But I think this latest win was the horse’s best.” Cranbre is owned by the Johnson and her husband Daryl in partnership with the trainer’s best friend Jan Bolton. “My husband does a lot with the horse. He massages his back and legs every day, so I’m sure that is a factor in the horse staying sound,” the trainer said. It appears Cranbre just loves racing and Johnson says she has only ever had one other horse with Cranbre’s conviction. “I had a horse called Ray Duane that couldn’t get enough of racing. He had a great will to win and Cranbre is the same,” Johnson said.  Johnson is likely to send Cranbre around next in a C2-C3 over 2200m in Launceston in a fortnight. PETER STAPLES

PROMISING four-year-old pacer Major Callum will be aimed at some of the country cups around Christmas-New Year following his impressive win at his first attempt at a standing start in Launceston last night. Major Callum only qualified to run in stands last week, but he stepped cleanly from his front row draw and after trailing the leader and favourite Heza Prospect to the final turn, he powered home to score impressively from Heza Prospect and Mighty Jasper. The gelding’s trainer Juanita McKenzie has always believed Major Callum had untapped ability, but it has been his racing manners that so prevented him from realising his full potential. “He's a frustrating horse because he has ability but won't go to the line,” McKenzie said. “But now that he's shown he can handle standing starts, we’ll have a look at the country cups with him.” Driver Ricky Duggan has partnered Major Callum at all of his starts this season and believes he needs to change his ways. “The horse simply pulls up when he gets to the front,” Duggan said. “Some horses tend to do it more than others, but he does it more than any other horse I’ve driven. “He just puts the brakes on when left alone. You can flick him up but it makes no difference.” Connections are keen to pursue a path to the country cups now that he has won from a stand. “He baulked a bit when the tapes hit the ground next to him but then he stepped ok,” Duggan said. McKenzie said being competitive from standing starts is going to open up more options for Major Callum. PETER STAPLES

WESTBURY harness racing trainer Dick Foley wasn’t surprised with Oscar Blakendon’s win despite the gelding starting as one of the rank outsiders in Launceston last night. Foley was confident enough to have “something each-way” on the five-year-old despite Oscar Blakendon’s modest form during his past four starts. The son of Jr Mint won in Hobart last August, but his form since has been modest, to say the least. But Foley had faith in Oscar Blakendon and parted with some of his hard-earned at the lucrative price of $41 at fixed odds. With Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Oscar Blakendon produced a powerful finish, coming from back in the field to score from Cooked Books and Original Art. A solid pace was set by Bucksaroo, which led into the home straight before being swamped 200 metres out. “I don’t think he was entitled to be such a long price,” Foley said. “I had something on him each-way, but I must admit the barrier draw (12) worried me. “He’s a horse that always seems to find trouble in his races and he keeps drawing bad barriers. “I thought if things went his way he could be in the finish and that’s why I put Gareth on him.” Oscar Blakendon has won twice from 22 starts, with two placings to his credit for just under $13,000 in prize money. PETER STAPLES

Cranbre might have started his harness racing career late in life, but the Julie Johnson-trained pacer has a top chance of extending his unbeaten record to three when he steps out at Launceston tonight. Cranbre had been prepared by two other trainers and suffered injuries which prevented him from racing as a youngster, but since landing in Johnson’s care the gelding has thrived and produced the goods on the track. His debut win in Launceston earlier this month was full of merit when leading throughout to win comfortably, while his second outing produced an even more impressive victory, coming from midfield in the one-out line to get up in the last few strides against decent opposition at the same venue two weeks later. This time around the son of Life Sign has drawn favourably in gate four, with his main danger Karalta Dazzler directly on his outside. Karalta Dazzler has good early speed and is likely to cross to the front, meaning Cranbre’s driver, Todd Rattray, will have to make a decision whether to go forward and face the breeze or slide back through the field in search a handy position in the running line. If there is to be a surprise result it could come from Jodila, which has drawn the outside of the second row. Jodila returned from a two-month break with an eye-catching fifth behind Play Apple Tree in Hobart last Sunday night when only beaten just over five metres. PETER STAPLES

TALENTED harness racing trainer Melissa Maine and her partner, reinsman Gareth Rattray, celebrated a double in Hobart last Sunday night. The duo’s moment came courtesy of impressive wins by Faithful Jet and a first-starter for the stable Notimetothink. The lightly-raced gelding arrived at Maine’s Latrobe stables about five weeks ago having had 19 starts for a win and two placings. But the change of environment and a different training regime appears to have worked wonders for the son of Metropolitan. Rattray urged Notimetothink forward at the start and he had no trouble finding the lead in a C1 Pace over 2090 metres. When Rattray called on Notimetothink to extend in the back straight the last time he forged clear and went on to defeat Angkristy by over 12 metres, with Sir Yoie a close-up third. “The owners that I train for had this horse and he wasn’t getting very good draws or having much luck in his races, so they decided to give him a go with us and we’ve been able to win first-up,” Maine said. “I picked this race out for him knowing that he didn’t have many points and then a good draw (gate three) also helped. “I think he can improve on this run, but how far he can go I’m not quite sure. “We'll play around with him for a bit longer and see what happens.” Faithful Jet produced a strong effort after he was forced to face the breeze outside of the heavily backed favourite Im Dens Boy. Im Dens Boy looked to be travelling well at the bell, but when Rattray applied the pressure nearing the home turn it was obvious those who took the short price about the favourite were about to turn their betting tickets into confetti. “This horse went really well tonight and I'm sure he has turned the corner,” Rattray said. “They thought the leader was a pretty good chance, but my horse sat outside of him and proved to be too good on the night. “We have had a few little problems with him and he’s taken a while to come to hand. “We were hoping he would mature as he got older and that seems to be the case, so he might realise his potential.” Maine and Rattray have spent the last year establishing a training complex at Latrobe that boasts an 800-metre training track and refurbished stabling facilities. PETER STAPLES

When prominent harness racing trainer Christian Salter attended the Tasmanian Sytandardbred Yearling Sale two years ago he hadn’t purchased a horse by the time the last lot entered the ring. Armed with a desire to take a horse home, but accompanied by maybe one too many glasses of amber fluid, he ended up buying the last lot for $8000 - about twice the amount he intended to pay. “I went to the sale to buy a horse so I just had to bring one home,” Salter said. At Hobart last night the now four-year-old – racing as Pharoahs Wrath - scored an impressive win in over 2090 metres, much to the delight of the her owners – Sally McCoull, Tania Heenan, Toni Cowle, Stephanie French and Marlene Salter. With Salter in the cart, Pharoahs Wrath settled midfield in the one-out line, but sprinted quickly when eased three-wide to make her move heading down the back straight the last time. With the leader Territorial started to feel the pinch 200 metres out, Blitzemgamble, which faced the breeze, loomed as the winner. But Pharoahs Wrath was too strong during the concluding stages to emerge triumphant from Fire Up Franco, with Blitzemgamble hanging on for third. “When we arrived home from the yearling sale I thought the best thing was to give the filly to my partner (Sally McCoull) and a couple of her workmates and friends and a share for my Mum (Marlene Salter),” Satler said. “She wasn’t very big and she hasn’t grown much since, but she does have ability.” Pharoahs Wrath raced as a two-year-old and on debut finished fourth in the Hobart Belmont, beaten just over four metres. Only a metre ahead of her that night was Barynya, which went on to be Australian Three-Year-Old of the Year last season courtesy of her wins in the Tasmania and Victoria Oaks. “That she was close to Barynya on debut gave us some confidence, but at her next start I got tipped out of the cart and for the rest of her preparation she was field shy,” Salter said. “I tipped her out and we had almost forgotten about her. “We put her back in work and took her to the trials and she appeared to have forgotten about the incident that made her field shy. “She did well tonight and wasn’t afraid to work home between horses, so we are optimistic about her immediate future without having any great expectations.” PETER STAPLES

Tasmanian harness racing trainer-driver Justin Campbell likened Boltnmach to an Automatic Teller Machine after he scored his first win of the season in Hobart last night. “This horse is my bread and butter horse he just keeps paying for himself with placings and the odd win,” Campbell said. “He’s like an ATM – he just puts in every time he races and we keep getting a collect.” Boltnmach notched four consecutive placings before leading all the way to win the Take the Hassle out of Freight Pace. It was an awesome display of power pacing as the son of Mach Three-Fake Madam worked to find the lead from barrier four and then set a cracking tempo before leaving his rivals in his wake in the home straight. Boltnmach went on to score by over 10 metres from Rusty Red Comet, with Major Callum four metres away third. “This horse has been so consistent despite coming off bad draws and a couple of times recently he’s run second, but gone 1:59 facing the breeze, so he certainly deserved this win,” Campbell said. “Tonight the plan was to use the half decent gate and have a crack for the lead and we were lucky that they let him go to the front and I just let him roll.” Campbell is confident there are more wins in store for six-year-old. “I reckon this horse can win his way to C4 or C5 class because he can run time and he tries so hard,” Campbell said. PETER STAPLES

IT was a tough night at the office for Tasmanian reinsmen Gareth Rattray and Ricky Duggan who were in South Australia last Saturday night to compete in the inaugural Australian Drivers' Championship at Globe Derby. Duggan was unable to find his way to the podium from drives in each of the six championship races but his charges were all outsiders with all but one starting from the second row. The other drew near the outside of the front row (six). Rattray made the most of his one good draw (barrier one) when triumphant aboard race favourite Winterfeel ($2) but he also managed to snare a second placing aboard 100-1 chance Nothingmuch. The series was designed to give drivers the opportunity to compete with the view of being selected to represent Australia at the World Driving Championships in Sydney next year. Drivers from other states were Grant Dixon and Peter McMullen (Qld), Blake Fitzpatrick and Amanda Turnbull (NSW), Chris Alford and Greg Sugars (Vic), David Harding and Ryan Hryhorec (SA) and Gary Hall junior and Chris Voak (WA). The drivers accumulated points across the six race series with performances factored into the selection of the drivers to represent Australia next year. Duggan and Rattray also had drives in two races that were not a part of the championship series in which Rattray secured a second and a fourth while Duggan finished fourth in the race in which Rattray finished second. Harness Racing Australia will announce soon the names of the drivers to represent Australia. PETER STAPLES

IF three-year-old filly Kyleasha can live up to the efforts of her half-brother Hexus then she should go on to win better races than the Kohnke Own Products Pace she contested in Launceston last night. Hexus (Classic Garry-Magi Lune) won a heat of the 2006 Inter Dominion series in Tasmania when in the care of Max Hadley and he ended his racing career with stake earnings in excess of $500,000. Kyleasha (Bettors Delight-Magi Lune) was having he first start this preparation and showed all of her half-brother’s fighting spirit to win. The filly led from gate three and travelled comfortably with her trainer Barrie Rattray in the cart while the well backed Gottalovefridays (Michael Castles) worked around the field early to face the breeze. In the home straight Gottalovefridays drew about a half-length clear of Kyleasha but Rattray’s filly refused to wilt and fought back to go on and score by a head from Gottalovefridays with outsider Rainbow Phoenix flashing home from well back to grab third. Rattray was delighted with the first-up win as he admitted she was rushed into the assignment. “This filly was underdone for this race but it came up and it was very suitable so we pushed forward and got the desired result,” Rattray said. “I’ve always had a bit of time for this filly and I was very happy with how she did during her spell after her two-year-old campaign.” Kyleasha had four starts last season for a debut second at Burnie before winning at Devonport prior to tackling the Big Park Stud Sweepstakes series in Hobart. The filly finished second in her Sweepstakes heat behind Jokers Wild Card, beaten a head, before ending her campaign with a fifth to her stablemate Fawzia in the Sweepstakes final at the end of May. “She was good last season but not quite forward enough to win a feature,” Rattray said. “She spelled well but she never came to hand as quickly as we would have liked.” Rattray says the filly has a tendency to brush her knee and that might determine how far she progresses. “That she hits her knee is a bit of a problem but we are working on ways of removing that glitch and if we can, then I believe she can go to the next level,” Rattray said. Kyleasha, owned by log time stable client Barry Stewart, is likely to have her next start in Launceston in a fortnight. PETER STAPLES

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