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Maybe Rama continued to show why he could have been one of the best harness racing pacers to come out of Tasmania with another impressive performance at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart last Sunday night. Had it not been for tendon injuries the gelded son of Panorama may have even achieved great things like those achieved by Beautide in the past two years. While the now 10-year-old still has to be well managed to ensure he stays sound the gelding loves his racing and this most recent effort is testament to his ability. Maybe Rama led a handy field in the Lachlan Hotel Pace for C4-C6 performers over 2090 metres and he gave nothing else a chance as he powered home to score by over two metres from Ciskei with Vande Velde third but almost six metres astern. The gelding’s trainer-driver Sam Rawnsley was ecstatic after the race, declaring Maybe Rama a “Marvel”. Maybe Rama clocked a mile rate of 1.58 and ran home his last half (800m) in 58.1 which would have made him very competitive in free-for-all company. Listen to what Sam Rawnsley had to say about Maybe Rama after his most recent win. Peter Staples

Leading harness racing trainer Amanda Grieve is hoping for a pair of early Christmas presents at Hobart on Sunday. Grieve has made the trip across Bass Strait for two of the Apple Isle’s premier events – Tasmania Cup and The George Johnson. Talented pacer Im Corzin Terror will contest the Cup, with handy mare Tandias Bromac in the latter feature. “It would be nice if Christmas could come early,” Grieve said. “They are suitable targets and both runners will prove hard to beat. “With a bit of luck we Santa will smile upon us a few days in advance.” Despite his second row draw, Im Corzin Terror is the one to beat in the former Grand Circuit race. Fresh from his success in last weekend’s dismal Ballarat Cup, the son of Western Terror will thrive on the drop in class according to Grieve. “It is down on class on what he has been racing against,” Grieve said. “He’s good enough to overcome the draw and I expect him to be hard to beat. “He also likes the longer trip, so the 2579 metres will really suit him. “He’s come through Ballarat just fine as you would expect on the run he had.” Tandias Bromac will also begin from the second row, with Grieve stating the five-year-old’s run at Ballarat should be overlooked. On that occasion, the daughter of Art Major was unplaced in open company. “She just never got into it at Ballarat, so you may as well forget she went around,” Grieve said. “Before that she did well in Sydney despite the fact she didn’t travel as well as I would have liked. “She has settled in better in Tasmania and will be ready for this. “It’s also a drop in class for her and she will be right in the finish.” While a busy schedule has been mapped out for Im Corzin Terror, Tandias Bromac will enjoy a Christmas holiday. “Im Corzin Terror will race pretty much every week in January,” Grieve said. “He has his Bendigo Cup defence, the Shepparton, Victoria and Hunter Cups. “If we bypass any, it will be Shepparton. “At this stage, I will give Tandias Bromac a wee break and get her ready for the Ladyship Mile in Sydney in March on Inter Dominion day.” PAUL COURTS

Ballarat Cup winner Im Corzin Terror will head to Tasmania to contest Sunday’s $40,000 Tasmania Harness Racing Cup. Trainer Amanda Grieve said the seven-year-old’s Bray Raceway victory last Saturday night was “a surprise”, but added the geldings had been “going well”. “He had no luck at Cranbourne when he was making ground along inside,” Grieve said. “He was up to his right trip and he went really well on Saturday night.” With the Group One decimated by scratchings, Im Corzin Terror – driven by Chris Alford –worked to the lead early in the four-horse field. Given an easy time during the middle stages, the son of Western Terror sprinted home in a breathtaking 53.9 seconds, rating 1:59.7 for the 2710-metre trip. "It was a great drive," Greive declared. “We’ll go Tasmania at the weekend. Then he’ll defend his Bendigo Cup title before the Shepparton and Victoria Cups.” Thanks to his latest triumph, Im Corzin Terror is exempt from ballot in the Victoria Cup, which carries Grand Circuit status. “It just helps us plan his campaign out a bit and not worry about getting a start in the race,” Grieve said. HRV Media

TOP Tasmanian harness racing trainer Barrie Rattray had hopes for Blue Pointer last season and while he performed well he didn't quite live up to expectations. But at the TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night Blue Pointer finally delivered on the promise he showed early on by winning the $20,000 City of Launceston Cup over 2698 metres and in track record time. Blue Pointer recorded a mile rate of 1m.59.07 that smashed the previous best set by star New Zealand three-year-old Elect To Live that clocked a rate of 1m.59.7 seconds in the 2002 Australian Derby. Rattray said he was not surprised by the son of Four Starzzz Shark's win, despite starting at double figure odds, but the time was quite unexpected. "I was concerned that he might not have enough high speed but I knew that he'd stay the distance," Rattray said. "He's a horse that promised a lot as a three-year-old but didn't really deliver." "Now he's finally going like he should," the trainer said. Blue Pointer paid $12.50 but won like an odds-on chance. It was a perfect drive from the trainer's son Todd Rattray. "Todd made all the right moves at the right times - it was a great drive,' Rattray said. Todd had Blue Pointer settled three-back the fence but midrace he eased into the one-out line and made his move three-wide heading down the back straight and cruised to her front 400 metres from home. The five-year-old then staved off all challenges and went on to score by 3.9 metres from Outback Mach (Gavin Lang) with Riverboat Jasper three metres away third. The trainer is undecided as to whether he will back Blue Pointer up in next Sunday's $40,000 Tasmania Cup in Hobart. "I'm not sure about taking him to the Tasmania Cup - the horse has already come a long way in a short space of time (this preparation)," he said. Blue Pointer began his racing career as a three-year-old and won five times with three in successive wins coming at the end of the 2012-13 season. He won his next two starts as a four-year-old before being sent for a four-month spell. But after three starts he was dispatched to the spelling paddock in February and didn't return to the racetrack until October. This time in he has won five from seven and recorded sub two-minute mile rates four times with his best a 1.58.3 in winning a C5-C7 pace in Hobart over 2090 metres on November 09. Peter Staples

CARDINAL ART is no stranger to winning races but when he scored an impressive all-the-way victory at Carrick on the Northern region of Tasmania on Friday it may have marked the beginning of a best ever campaign. With Todd Rattray in the cart, the Chester Bullock-trained six-year-old showed plenty of early speed to rush across the field to lead. Once in front Rattray rated the gelded son of Modern Art superbly and when the more fancied runners made their charges in the home straight Cardinal Art was up to the task and went on to win convincingly from Baragoola and Santanna Night. It was a great result for Bullock who was keen to put Rattray aboard given his regard for the talented reinsman who spent a couple of years working for Bullock at his training and breeding complex at Riverside in the North of the state. "When this horse drew barrier one I was very keen to put Todd on because in my opinion there is no better front-running driver in the state," Bullock said. While the trainer was all smiles after the race he also was quick to remind Rattray of a comment he made about the horse five weeks earlier. "Five weeks ago Todd was at my place and he saw Cardinal Art and asked me when she was due"(thinking that he was a pregnant mare)." "That's how fat he was at the tome but I changed his work around since then and it had the desired effect," Bullock said. It was the Carrick club's first of three meetings for the season but heavy rain during the day ended up cutting the meeting short. While the racetrack was still safe after a couple of deluges it was water running off a side road leading to the track that led to the last three races being abandoned. Dirty water running off the nearby road flowed onto the track and because it was orange in colour horses were jumping it during their preliminaries prior to race seven. The meeting was delayed by stewards as attempts were made to rectify the problem but eventually chief steward Adrian Crowther had to abandon the rest of the program. Peter Staples  

TALENTED Tasmanian harness racing trainer Shelley Barnes celebrated a first at the meeting at Carrick in the North of the state on Friday. Barnes has trained hundreds of winners and driven probably twice as many but when Angel or Demon (Safari-Ima Merry Jasper) led throughout to win the Island Block & Paving pace on debut it gave Barnes her first winner that she bred herself. The four-year-old mare showed great gate speed to easily find the front and when driver Gareth Rattray called on her to extend in the home straight she powered clear and went on to score comfortably from Helenshall and Really Thirsty that flashed home from well back. "She's always shown a bit but has had problems and I was starting to worry that I'd never get her to the races," Barnes said. "They've only been minor injuries but they have meant that she has been in and out of work many times," she said. Barnes was confident the mare could win following an impressive trial win a week earlier and punters also were keen to get on, backing her in to start the $2.20 favourite. While Angel or Demon was impressive the minor placegetters also showed ability and it might not be long before Helenshall and Really Thirsty find their way into the winner's circle. Peter Staples

THE harness racing connections of talented pacer Star Chamber had a change of luck in Launceston last Sunday night when the gelding scored an emphatic win in the Doug Martin Danbury Park Cup. It was arguably Star Chamber's best win since arriving in Tasmania just over a year ago and it made up in some way for the horse's disqualification from winning a race at the same venue in October. Star Chamber was first past the post in the Show Cup but was disqualified when stewards deemed the horse had gone inside the marker pegs during the race that also constituted a four-meeting suspension for the horse's trainer-driver Nathan Ford who appealed the severity but lost the appeal. But on Sunday night the state's top reinsman Gareth Rattray was given the re sponsibility in the sulky and he never let connections down. Rattray had Star Chamber was able to enjoy a charmed run in the one-out-one-back position and when Rattray eased his charge three-wide to make his move turning for homer the gelding let down brilliantly to go on and defeat race leader Truly Blissfull with Shanghai Knight running on well to grab third and only a head astern. "Nathan has done a wonderful job with this horse to get him as far as he has," said part-owner Bianca Heenan. Star Chamber had won two races when he arrived in Tasmania but this latest victory was his ninth and Ford has high hopes he can pick up at least one of the country Cup s around Christmas-New Year. Peter Staples

THE optimistic people of this world have a way of putting a positive spin on even the most negatives situation and for harness racing breeders Lyndon and Gail Menegon that certainly was the case with a filly they took to the yearling sale four years ago. The Menegons offered a striking filly by J R Mint at the 2011 sale but she never drew a bid, much to the surprise of the filly's breeders. They took the filly home and decided to send her to a trainer for assessment. "We took her home from the sale thinking there must bee something wrong with her even though I was very confident there wasn't," Lyndon Menegon said. "A bit later on I asked trainer Grant Hodges to take her home and try her - and we haven't looked back since." In Launceston on Sunday night that now five-year-old mare El Jays Magic scored an emphatic win in the prestigious $10,000 Shirley Martin Mother of Pearl over 2200 metres. It was El Jay Magic's ninth win from 23 starts which is outstanding considering she never started racing until her late three-year-old season. She has also notched 10 minor placings, finishing out of the money only four times which includes one instance where she failed to finish. This latest win signaled her arrival as a serious contender for the state's best mares' race, the George Johnson, to be run in Hobart later this month. Hodges believes the mare's best is yet to come. "She is a strong and versatile mare that does extremely well for her size," Hodges said. "She is good when she leads but she also is a very capable sit and sprint horse." "When she's in front at home nothing else in the stable can get around her," he said. Peter Staples

Harness Racing Australia made presentations to the connections of Tasmania’s star pacers Beautide and Barynya in Launceston last Friday night. The Group One winners were recipients of awards for their efforts on the racetrack last season. Beautide was named Australian Horse of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Aged Stallion/Gelding of the Year for his outstanding feats, which include wins in the Group One Miracle Mile, Inter Dominion and Len Smith Mile. Exciting youngster Barynya won the Tasmania and Victoria Oaks, with those wins catalyst for her crown of Australian Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year. The Lloyd and Judy Whish-Wilson-owned Barynya was a deserving winner of the national title and she also was named Tasmanian Three-Year-Old of the Year. Beautide also was named Tasmanian Horse of the Year as well as New South Wales Horse of the Year. Beautide will line up as favourite as he chases consecutive Miracle Miles at Menangle on Saturday night, while Barynya is yet to resume racing. 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

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

Ricky Duggan needs no introduction in Tasmanian harness racing circles having been one of the state’s best reinsmen for the past two decades. Last season he was again dominant in the sulky, and while he finished second to Gareth Rattray in the drivers’ premiership, his term was capped by two honours that were bestowed upon him at the recent annual awards dinner. Duggan, 45, won the Halwes Medal which is awarded to an industry participant for his or her achievements throughout the season. But what really pleased Duggan was his induction into the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame…being included in the inaugural intake of the HOF was the icing on the cake for the popular reinsmen. Duggan has long been considered one of the finest Tasmanians to sit in a sulky, with his list of feature race wins clearly justifies his induction. Duggan’s achievements include: 1310 wins; Leading Driver four times - 1997/98 (68), 2002/03 (54), 2003/04 (59) and 2004/05 (78), seven Dandy Patch Finals, five Devonport Cups, four Raider Stakes, three Easter Cups, three Globe Derby, Granny Smith and Bandbos Finals, two Evicus Finals, Danbury Park Cups and Two-Year-Old Sweepstakes and a Metropolitan Cup. PETER STAPLES

TALENTED Tasmanian harness racing trainer Rodney Ashwood stated he got a “real buzz” out of preparing the winner of the David Medhurst Memorial Pace at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart last Sunday night. Ashwood was close friends with Medhurst, who sadly lost his life at a young age in a car accident last year at a time when he was making an impact as a trainer-driver. Ashwood’s mare Belliciouslips led throughout when rated perfectly by promising novice driver Wade Rattray, son of veteran trainer Kent Rattray. “Wade is a very good young driver and he did a great job rating the mare superbly,” Ashwood said. “I try and give the young drivers as many opportunities as I can because they are our future and I think we need to look closely at doing what we can to keep them in the game.” Belliciouslips showed good gate speed to lead from the front line, and when seriously challenged along the home straight, the daughter of Sutter Hanover responded like a good horse to draw clear for comfortable victory. It was only the mare’s 14th start, but it was her sixth win and Ashwood is confident she can add to her tally as the season progresses. Belliciouslips won twice at two, while last season she beat Australian and Tasmanian Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year, Barynya, in a $10,000 fillies’ event at Hobart. PETER STAPLES

TALENTED harness racing trainer Zeke Slater has built a reputation for rekindling the careers of horses which have lost form and at Hobart last Sunday night he was at it again. Mister Pinjarra made his debut for Slater in a C2 Pace over 2090 metres and delivered the goods with a powerful last 400 metres to score from Spot Nine and Maybe Doc. Mister Pinjarra was driven patiently by Nathan Ford, who waited until entering the back straight before calling on the son of P Forty Seven for the supreme effort. Slater purchased the five-year-old on the internet for $2500. “I had a few blokes from Victoria who were keen to get a horse and I found this one and we got him at the right price,” Slater said. “When he arrived at my stables he had lost form, but he had won seven and been placed 15 times from just over 40 starts in New South Wales, so I was quietly confident we would pick up a race or two with him here in Tassie. “He also had a recurrence of a minor tendon injury, but working on the beach has been good for him and he is a very happy horse at the moment and he raced accordingly on Sunday.” Slater doesn’t believe Mister Pinjarra will reach any great heights in Tasmania but says he will be very disappointed if he didn’t win more races. It was good night for Slater who landed a double after his former smart free-for-aller Greysteel scored an impressive win in the Wolfe Brothers Pace over 2090 metres. The 10-year-old powered home to score from Spot Nine and Maybe Doc to give Slater plenty of reasons to smile. “We all know that Greysteel was a very classy open class horse when at the top of his game, but he’s had plenty of problems since he was winning feature races during the Christmas Carnivals here in Tassie.” “He had an operation and that has helped overcome some issues, and if we can keep him sound, I’m sure he will be competitive in the better races later in the year.” PETER STAPLES

Star Tasmanian reinsman Ricky Duggan ended the 2013/14 harness racing season on a high when he drove five winners at the last meeting of the term in Hobart last Sunday night. It was a personal best for Duggan who has driven a quartet on numerous occasions, including three times last June. The haul took Duggan’s season’s tally to 83 wins, while not enough to overhaul Gareth Rattray (95) in the race for premiership honours, it should have earned him a bunch of points in the Halwes Medal count for which he is a top contender. At the end of June dual Halwes Medallist Rattray held a slender three-point lead over Duggan in the race for the 2014 medal. Rattray was sitting on 58 votes, with Todd Rattray third with 45 points when votes went ‘in camera’. Rounding off the top 10 were Barrie Rattray (34), Nathan Ford (32), Rohan Hillier (27), Juanita McKenzie (23), Dylan Ford (21), Craig Hayes (21) and Zeke Slater (21). Votes from the last two months of the term will be revealed at the annual awards night. With Rattray sidelined through illness during the past six weeks, the voting for the Halwes Medal promises to be very intriguing. Duggan’s winners were Cardinal Spec, Our Chain Of Command, Oscar Blakedon, Giuliani and Something Eyre, with the son of Ohoka Arizona completing a hat-trick in the process. Todd landed a double with Freyde and Tizsyalator as did top trainer Juanita McKenzie, who scored with Something Eyre and Our Chain of Command. - PETER STAPLES

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