STOWPORT harness trainer Andrew Rawlings has always believed his five-year-old pacer Johnnyart had another win in him and at Carrick Paceway in the North of the state today the gelding celebrated his second career win. With experienced reinsman Rohan Hillier in the cart, Johnnyart showed good early speed to lead from barrier two and held the lead comfortably to the home turn. However, he was clearly headed by Im Shouting (Todd Rattray) in the home straight and that horse looked set to win the Trevor Mazzone Memorial over 1670 metres. But Johnnyart showed great courage to fight back, regain the lead and go on and score by a long neck from Im Shouting with Almondine Gem (Brent Parish) over three metres away third. Johnnyart had won only one race from 31 starts but he had notched seven minor placings that have at least helped pay the training fees. The Trevor Mazzone Memorial was the second race on card of what was the club’s centenary meeting. The Carrick club opted to forego staging the meeting on a Friday with Sky coverage instead opting to run the meeting on a Saturday with on-course Tote facilities only and with no statewide broadcast of the events. Peter Staples
While Bridport trainer-driver Rohan Hadley remains sidelined from the sulky due to injury his stable continues to produce winners with the help of some good contacts in Victoria. Hadley secured a double at The TOTE Racing centre in Launceston on Sunday night with two horses sent to him by the same owners. Recent stable additions Me Mate Les and the consistent mare Spitfire Rose delivered the goods in fine style. Me Mate Les, driven by James Johnson, having only his third start in Tasmania, ran home strongly to defeat race favourite Major Callum and I've Got Oomph that powered home along the rails in the Charltey Estate Pace over 2200 metres. Spitfire Rose, driven by Rohan Hillier, also put up a strong performance to hold out late challenges from Clamorous and My Greek Mate in the Tattsbet.com Stakes. It was Spitfire Rose's sixth win since she made her debut for the Hadley stable in July last year. The trainer has also won three races with another mare, Gorgeous An Divine that comes from the same source. Hadley broke his collarbone and a bone in his lower arm in a race fall in Launceston early last month and while the injuries are healing well he is still expected to be out of the sulky for a few more weeks. While waiting to jump back in the cart Hadley is hoping Me Mate Les can add to his winning tally in the coming weeks. “I think there are two or three more wins in him (Me Mate Les) yet,'' Hadley said. “He won only one race in Victoria (at Wangaratta in October 2012).” “Apparently he looked like winning a few more but was unable to go on with it.” “The owners thought he'd had his time over there (Victoria) and Graeme Lang, who trained him, suggested they try him over here.'' Hadley said that Me Mate Les got all the favours last night, enjoying a good run. ``James drove him very well,'' the trainer said. By Peter Staples
STAR Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Resurgent Spirit broke another record when he powered his way to victory in the 3YO Championship over 2200 metres at the TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit went into the race unbeaten from 11 starts that was equal to Dare We Dream's record of 11 consecutive wins from debut. The Roger Whitmore-trained gelding equalled that record by winning at New Norfolk on Australia Day in front of his home crowd for the first time. Dubbed the "Pride of the DerwentValley" after that win with local residents lining up to have their photograph taken with the gelded son of American Ideal. His effort to win at New Norfolk was outstanding but this latest effort superseded the New Norfolk win. Driver James Austin was content to allow Resurgent Spirit to ease to the rear of the field from his outside front row draw (7). Vande Velde began brilliantly from the gate to lead from barrier six but when Metro Digby (Paul Williams) appeared and looked for the lead the driver of Vander Velde, Rohan Hillier, was happy to hand up. But when the pace slackened slightly Austin set his charge alight and Resurgent Spirit crept around the field to eventually face the breeze. When Williams gave Metro Digby more rein his horse slipped clear and at one stage Resurgent Spirit looked to be struggling but star three-year-old was only kidding and when Austin pulled the ear lugs for the first time in the horse's racing career the gelding knuckled down to his task and swept to the lead close to home and won with authority. He ran the 2200-metre trip in 2m.46.7s for a mile rate of 2.01.9 but ran home his last half mile (800m) in 57.6s Resurgent Spirit is now set to chase down the great Halwes' record of 14 consecutive wins in Tasmania. By Peter Staples
TALENTED harness racing trainer Melissa Maine combined with her partner Gareth Rattray to win the Smithawards Hobart Pacing Cup final over 3060 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart with outsider Spot Nine on Sunday night. Spot Nine started at the lucrative price of $30 while punters pinned their faith in Ransom Olds that looked to have the race in his keeping a lap from home. Rattray had Spot Nine settled just beyond midfield early and he waited until the bell lap before making his move. Laterron made a lightning move during the first lap to take the lead from My Micky Blue Eyes (Ricky Duggan) while the $2.50 favourites Ransom Olds was set alight soon after by his driver Nathan Ford to go up and park facing the breeze. Rattray called on Spot Nine for the supreme effort in the back straight the last time and it was evident 400 metres from home that he had the leaders covered. Laterron forged clear of Ransom Olds that appeared to be floundering turning for home but they were both sitting ducks for the swoopers. Spot Nine stormed home to defeat Watchmefella (Rohan Hillier) with ransom Olds clinging to third ahead of Laterron. Spot Nine broke the track record mile rate clocking 2m.03.46 sec bettering the previous best set by Benediction (2.04.2) in this race last year. Maine has been training in her own right for about two years but this is not her biggest win as she won last season's $30,000 Granny Smith mares feature with Tisu Holly. Listen to what trainer Melissa Maine had to say about Spot Nine's Hobart Pacing Cup win. Peter Staples
ONE of Tasmania's top trainer-drivers Rohan Hillier had a four-meeting suspension overturned on appeal this week. The Tasmanian Racing Appeal Board has released its decision in relation to Hillier's appeal against a four race meeting suspension of his driver's licence under Rule 149(1) of the Rules of Harness Racing, "failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures". The offence occurred during Race 7 at the meeting held in Launceston on October 6. The penalty was imposed by stewards on October 20. The appeal was heard by the Board on Thursday December 5, 2013 but the decision was handed down today which read as follows. 1 - The appeal against conviction was upheld. 2 - The appeal against penalty was upheld. Peter Staples
Top Victorian harness trainer Dean Braun is no stranger to winning feature races in Tasmania and on Sunday night he looks like adding another cup to the burgeoning content in his trophy cabinet. Braun will hitch up the favourite Im Corzin Terror in the $40,000 Tasmania Cup over 2579 metres. Im Corzin Terror has been racing in the silk department in Victoria of late placing in the $100,000 Group 1 Cranbourne Cup behind The Gold Ace and Terrorway two starts back and he followed up last week with a second to Savesomtimetodream in the $25,000 Yarra Valley Cup over 2650 metres. Im Corzin Terror has drawn gate three on the front line on Sunday night so should his driver Chris Alford push forward and successfully find the lead the race could be all over bar the shouting. Braun also has entered Mustang Mach that finished seventh in the Yarra Valley Cup but only 3.2 metres behind his stablemate. The only other interstate invader in the Michael Stanley-trained Queenslander Western Mail that comes of a last-start fifth behind Slick Bromac in the City of Launceston Cup last Sunday night and prior to that he was ninth at Gunbower when first-up from a three-month spell. Ransom Olds led up from gate one last Sunday night in the City of Launceston Cup and from gate two he should have enough early speed to contend for that spot again but he has Dappa Dana on his inside and if this young gun can muster enough speed from the pole he could hold them all out. Dappa Dana loomed to win the City of Launceston Cup last Sunday night but just when it looked as if he would mow down his rivals he galloped for no apparent reason and driver Ricky Duggan had to take hold and he was retired from the race. Rohan Hillier will take the reins on Dappa Dana on Sunday night while Duggan will resume his association with the in-form stablemate Our Chan of Command that comes of a last-start win in a free-for-all over 2090 metres in Hobart two weeks ago that followed an emphatic win in the Cannonball Charge over 1609 metres at the same track on November 24. Our Chain of Command (barrier six) is a nine-year-old but he is racing like a much younger horse. Slick Bromac surprised everyone except his trainer last Sunday when he won the City of Launceston Cup and while he looks outclassed here he will be a chance if the race is sun to suit with a strong pace on and he can get cover. By Peter Staples
Divas Delight secured a berth in the Eric Reece Memorial final by leading all-the-way win in a heat over 2090 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night. The Barrie Rattray-trained gelding has been a model of consistency without winning this season notching consecutive placings from his four outings this time in. But driver Todd Rattray used the four-year-old gelding's speed from the mobile to cross from gate five and from there on he led his rivals a merry chase. Divas Delight (Bettors Delight-Draw Card) cruised to the line to score by over six metres from Cardinal Dreamer that trained the leader throughout with Saloon In Sight almost three metres away third. "He got to the front tonight and that's made all the difference," said trainer Barrie Rattray. "You can't say he hasn't been consistent this time in but he has always been a very honest little fella," he said. The Eric Reece Memorial wasn't specifically targeted by the trainer. "This race just came along at the right time for him but it is definitely a race that every trainer and owner wants to win because it is named after a politician who was described as a person for the battlers." "It is definitely one race that everyone wants to win," Rattray said. Driver Todd Rattray said his charge was always travelling like a winner. "Once we led it was probably always going to be a matter of how far," the driver said. "He has been racing well and deserved to win," he said. The second heat was won by the Rod Burgess-trained Notimetothink that was resuming from a lengthy spell. The gelding was partnered by Rohan Hillier who allowed him to face the breeze throughout and he defied the tough run top hold on and score by metre from Reallyimaterminata with Podarkes a nose away third. It was a tough effort by the Rod Burgess-trained gelding that was having his first start since April. The third heat was taken out by Mighty Boy Coconut that also resuming from a lengthy spell. It was the Nathan Ford-trained five-year-old's first outing since June but he made the most of the inside draw (1) to lead and when Ford released the brakes at the top of the home straight he sped clear and hit the line about 20 metres clear of Gothic rage that trailed the winner throughout with Angkristy third just in advance of interstate invader me Mate Les that is prepared at Clyde by Jayne Davies. The final heat was won by Mes Elsu (Elsu-One For Me) that also led all the way although the margin was nowhere near as convincing at Mighty Boy Coconut's. Mes Elsu had a battle for the early lead with Little Miss Feral but when that mare broke stride it left Ricky Duggan's charge to stroll to the lead. Mes Elsu set a solid tempo and when challenged strongly in the home straight the Juanita McKenzie-trained six-year-old gelding found enough to hold out Rorybeebellows and Gun Filly. The Eric Reece Memorial final will be held in a fortnight at Tattersall's Park.
Former star two and three-year-old harness racing filly High Flying Ruler spent over a year in the harness wilderness as far as good form is concerned but it looks as if she might be back on track following her impressive victory in Launceston last Sunday night. High Flying Ruler won six of her first seven starts and ended her three-year-old season by being named the state’s best in that age and sex category. She was prepared by Rohan Hillier at two and three but the filly was lost to his stable and only returned five months ago. To say this latest win was overdue would be an understatement but Hillier believes the now five-year-old mare is capable of more wins. “I’m not saying she can get back to the form that she had as a three-year-old but it was nice to see her deliver the gods like she did on Sunday night,” Hillier said. “We are getting there with her but I don’t think she will ever be the same.” Hillier had High Flying Ruler settled near the rear of the field in last Sunday night’s assignment but when the pace slackened noticeably he opted to send her around the field and found the front with a lap to go. “It wasn’t my plan to drive her like that but I thought I had to make an early move when the pace up front slackened right off,” he said. Once High Flying Ruler found the lead Hillier took hold but ensured as solid tempo and the mare had all the answers in the home straight going on to score by nine metres from New Interest and Coruba Run. High Flying Ruler is owned and raced by her breeders Larry and Elizabeth Nichols. She has won seven and been placed three times from only 17 starts for just over $55,000 in stakes. By Peter Staples
Talented harness racing trainer-driver Rohan Hillier almost heaved a sigh of relief when his handy six-year-old Sugastikysweetstuf was not claimed after he won the Impress Print Claimer over 2200 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night. Sugastikysweetstuf was expected to start a short-price favourite in a four-horse field of claimers but instead the money came for former Victorian Five Oclock Affair that was having its first start in the state for the Tony Petersen stable. Five Oclock Affair was backed in to start the $1.60 favourite but it was even shorter on the Tote until some late money arrived for Hillier’s six-year-old gelding that started the second elect at $2.20. Sugastikysweetstuf settled last in the small field but when Hillier peeled out four-wide to make his charge on the home turn the Modern Art gelding quickly hauled in his rivals and went on to score by over a metre from Five Oclock Affair with Will It Matter almost 12 metres away third. Sugastikysweetstuf could have been claimed for $10,000 but there were no bids entered “He certainly looked well placed in that grade and to be honest I was almost certain he would be claimed,” Hillier said after the win. “He should just keep winning these claimers but sooner or later he is going to be claimed,” he said. Sugastikysweetstuf has won 10 from 36 starts as well as a dozen minor placings for career stake earnings of just under $60,000. The gelding is owned by Hillier’s wife Katrina and this was the gelding’s first attempt in a claiming race. At $10,000 Sugastikysweetstuf (Modern Art-Late Arrival x What’s Next) would be an ideal horse for the Queensland market and possibly be capable of winning a couple of metropolitan class races. by Peter Staples
Talented filly Fourstarzzzgirl should make her presence felt in this season's harness racing Bandbox Stakes following her impressive win in a heat of the series at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight Sunday the 16th of June.
The harness racing spotlight in Tasmania turns to Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday where the Tasmanian Pacing Club hosts the two Big Park Stud Sweepstakes finals for two-year-olds as well as the Prince and Princess of Pace and the Brighton Cup for the open class horses.
Top harness racing trainer-driver has likened his smart filly Paris To Pisa to his former superstar juvenile Shez Ryleymak following her impressive debut win in a Big Park Stud Sweepstakes Prelude at Tattersall's Park in Hobart last night.
Talented Tasmanaian harness racing trainer Rohan Hillier has a knack of producing two-year-olds to win on debut especially if they are the offspring of one of his former star pacers Flo Jo Fernandez.
Beaconsfield harness racing trainer Rohan Hillier was far from surprised when Capricorn Cruiser scored an upset win over his stablemate and odds-on favourite Waiona in a handicap race at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Monday night.
Rohan Hillier has earned a reputation as a master horseman and some suggest he can even turn a horse's form around just by looking at it. At Carrick Paceway last Saturday (December 1) Hillier drove Chassys Best to nice harness racing victory in a C1 over 2150 metres.
Lightly raced three-year-old gelding Meet The Chief defied a tough run for most of the raced to score a narrow but impressive harness racing victory in The Adam Brooks Group Pace over 1700 metres on the synthetic at Tapeta Park Spreyton today (Wednesday November 14).