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Veteran Tasmanian harness racing trainer Paul Hill celebrated one of his best nights at the races when his talented two-year-olds Hillview Jake and Chica Bella won their respective 2YO Sweepstakes finals over 1609 metres at UBET Park Hobart last night. Hillview Jake also set a new state mile rate record when he stopped the clock at 1.57.83 which carved six-tenths of a second off the previous best set by Make A Memory in April 2008. And to make it a perfect night Hill's smart filly Chica Bella demolished her opposition to win the Sweepstakes fillies division. "This is a night I'll remember for a long time," Hill said. While Chica Bella was impressive the night belonged to Hillview Jake that settled fourth off a hot pace set by Riley Major and Pockets of Courage with that pair relentless in their pursuit of the lead, clocking a sizzling 26.4 for the first quarter (400m). When the pace slackened at the half-way mark Hillview Jake's driver Gavin Lang seized the opportunity and urged Hillview Jake ($2.70) forward to face the breeze outside of the leader Riley Major ($2.40). Origin Cronk ($14) was poised behind the leader and when Hillview Jake lobbed outside the leader it gave Pockets of Courage ($6.50) much needed cover in the one-out line. Riley Major and Hillview Jake slipped clear nearing the home turn the last time while Duggan eased Origin Cronk off the fence and appeared to have plenty to offer. But when Lang asked Hillview Jake for the supreme effort the gelded son of Cardmaster Hanover dug deep and forged clear and go on and score comfortably from Origin Cronk with Riley Major tiring to finish third ahead of outsider Rockin An Runnin. "This win means a hell of a lot to me for so many reasons," Hill said. "He is such a lovely horse to work with and whatever I ask of him he delivers. He's just a treat to train," he said. Lang said Hillview Jake was the "real deal". "This horse is quite advanced for a two-year-old and he showed me a lot more about himself tonight. He is quite a talent," he said. Chica Bella raced outside of the leader Shadow Blue that set a modest tempo and they cleared out nearing the home turn. But when her driver Ricky Duggan asked for the big effort she responded brilliantly and burst clear to go on and win by seven metres from Shadow Blue with Angelina Rainbow third ahead of Twentythreered. Chica Bella is unbeaten from four starts this preparation and is likely to dominate the remaining fillies features. "The Cardmaster Hanover filly is very smart and while not in the same league as Hillview Jake she is all class," Hill said. Peter Staples

Improving three-year-old pacer No Spring Secrets gave his harness racing trainer Steve Lukac sleepless nights as a two-year-old owing to the gelding's race manners and hypertensive mannerisms. But Lukac's patience and astute training methods have ironed out the creases in the horse's make-up and in Hobart last night he delivered arguably his best win. However, with few suitable races left for him in Tasmania this season, Lukac confirmed negotiations were under way to send No Spring Secrets to the James Rattray stable in NSW. "He isn't eligible for the Globe Derby (Tasmania 3YO Sires Stakes) because he is Queensland bred so I have suggested to the owners that the horse be sent to James Rattray because he would be very competitive in that state and James is a very good horseman," Lukac said. On Sunday night No Spring Secrets (Nathan Ford) began well from gate two and while unable to go straight to the front he was content to settle second. But when Ford allowed him more rein he quickly strolled to the front entering the home straight the first time. The Tell All gelding reeled off a modest first half but Ford let him rip in the home straight the last time to record a mile rate of 1.57.91 with a last half (800m) in 57.29 seconds. No Spring Secrets has won half of his 10 career starts and four of his victories have come this season. Ford said No Spring Secrets was improving with each run. "The horse is still learning but he's definitely getting stronger and he improves with every run," Ford said. "He is still a bit of a work in progress but I like the horse and I think he has a really bright future," he said. Peter Staples  

Star Tasmanian pacer Jerrys Jet delivered another brilliant performance at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night to further tempt his harness racing owner into sending the three-year-old interstate. Jerrys Jet has won both of his starts this time in with this latest outing enough to encourage his owner Charlie Beadman to admit a trip to Sydney could be on the cards. His trainer Rohan Hillier is confident Jerrys Jet would be up to tackling three-year-old races at Menangle in NSW where he believes the Jeremes Jet gelding could run scintillating times. "We are happy with what the horse is doing but we won't be pushing him too hard at this stage," Beadman said. "I don't like to rush anything, especially my horses." "There are a few options to look at but right now we are happy to stay at home and tackle races here in Tasmania and we'll let the future look after itself," he said. Jerrys Jet is being aimed at the $30,000 Globe Derby (3YO sires stakes) next month but he will line up in a race in Launceston before tackling a Globe Derby heat on June 5. Peter Staples

Evergreen harness racing pacer Motu Crusader continued his winning streak by capturing his third win in succession in the $10,000 Plunkett Family Ascot Gold Cup over 2579 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Motu Crusader was the sole handicapper off 30 metres but the gallant eight-year-old made light of the task. With Gareth Rattray aboard he stepped brilliantly from the standing start and quickly made up ground to tack onto the main body of the field. When Rattray made his move down the back straight the last time he had the leaders in his sights turning for home and then powered up the home straight to score comfortably from Ardlussa Express and Outback Mach. The Zeke Slater-trained Courage Under Fire gelding won the $10,000 Elite in Hobart three starts back and followed up with an impressive win in the $10,000 Golden Mile in Launceston. "That's three feature race wins in a row for this horse so it proves he is definitely back to his best," Slater said. Motu Crusader will attempt to extend his winning sequence in the Brighton Cup in Hobart next Sunday night. Peter Staples

Evergreen pacer Motu Crusader delivered another stellar performance to win the $10,000 Golden Mile (1680m) at the harness racing meeting at the UBET Racing Centre Launceston on Sunday night.   With champion reinsman Gareth Rattray aboard, Motu Crusader enjoyed a cost run in the one-out-two back position while his main dander Something Eyre was forced to face the breeze outside of the leader Run Ripalong.   When Rattray eased Moto Crusader three-wide to start his run at the bell the eight-year-old edged his way to the leaders and when Rattray called on his horse for the big effort he stormed past Something Eyre and went on to defeat that horse comfortably.   “He was going to win the race a long way from home,” Rattray said.   “When he settled where he did and our only real danger was parked outside the leader, I couldn’t have been happier,” he said.   Moto Crusader went into the race on the back of another impressive win with this latest victory his fifth with Rattray in the sulky.   Rattray’s biggest win aboard Motu Crusader was in the 2013 Tasmania Cup in Hobart.   “At his best he’s just too good for the local horses here in Tassie.”   “And this win is what we should have expected because he is an M9 horse going around against M0 and M1s,” he said.   Motu Crusader has started 75 times for 25 wins and 21 minor placings for $344,273 in stakes.   Peter Staples

Dysart harness racing trainer Marc Butler has been producing his share of winners lately from just a small team and one of his newcomers delivered an impressive all-the-way win in Devonport last night. Smilin Geoff ($3.30) was having only his second race start but made it all look easy as he flew the gates from the outside barrier (6) to find the lead and when driver Nathan Ford released the reins turning for home the well-bred three-year-old colt bounded clear of his rivals. Smilin Geoff (It Is I-Printers Gold) hit the line 18 metres clear of Baldock ($5.10) that worked home well from beyond midfield with Miss Sharapova ($20) getting up for third over seven metres astern. Smilin Geoff debuted with an encouraging third in Launceston behind Barooga Minnie and Cemento Rapido after enjoying the one-out-one-back spot. This latest effort proved the colt has a future despite his mile rate being a pedestrian 2.06.9. He has been with Butler since he was a yearling and has been given plenty of time to mature. "There's plenty of upside with this horses and I think he has the ability to win more races," Butler said. Peter Staples

After Jerrys Jet stormed home to score an unbelievable win in the 2014 2YO Sweepstakes final on the Elwick track in Hobart his owners were excited about what the future might hold for the talented pacer. His Sweepstakes win was one of the most impressive performances seen by a juvenile pacer in a feature race final as he came from last on the home turn to win in a three-way photo finish. He was in the care of Paul Hill who at that stage had prepared the gelding to win four from as many starts. Jerrys Jet went on to win a Dandy Patch Prelude before being beaten by Boasson Hagen in the Dandy Patch final. He was sent for a spell and resumed with a win in January followed by a second to No Spring Secrets in Launceston. Jerrys Jet was subsequently sent to Rohan Hillier's stable by his owner Charlie Beadman. Hillier had open class horses with which Jerry Jet could work with and that was expected to help the owner determine whether or not Jerrys Jet would be up to tackling an interstate campaign. The son of Jeremes Jet had his first start for Hillier in the Sires Produce Stakes at Ubet Park Hobart last Sunday night and it was clear he is going to be up to the challenge when he leaves the state. With Hillier in the sulky, Jerrys Jet scorched to the front from a wide gate and after a modest first half (800m) he quickened the tempo and when asked for an effort by Hillier he reeled off a sizzling last quarter (400m) in 26.7 seconds. He defeated the highly promising filly Followthewind that went into the race on the back of a brilliant win in the Premier's Blue Bonnet Stakes clocking a mile rate of 1.59.5. Hillier was ecstatic after the win. "They wanted to find out if this horse was good enough to go interstate and in my opinion he will match whatever he goes up against when he gets there," Hillier said. "It's a shame he's not paid up for the Breeders Crown because he would have given that a shake but we'll stay here for the Tasmanian Guineas in a fortnight and then go to the Globe Derby ($30,000 sires stakes race)." "The owners will probably look at sending him interstate after the Globe Derby because he is still only a C0 rated horse." "If he can reel off a 26.7 last quarter on the Hobart track he can run a quarter at least two seconds better on the Menangle track and that would make him very competitive," he said. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing freshman Hillview Jake staked his claim on the Sweepstakes Final with an impressive heat win at Tattersall’s Park Hobart last night. Hillview Jake led throughout from the pole to score by a metre-and-a-half from Pockets of Courage, with the odds-on favourite Riley Major six metres away third. It was an impressive performance from the Paul Hill-trained youngster, which covered the 1609 metres in 1:58.4 – with his time only a half-second outside of Make a Memory’s age and sex record on the Hobart circuit. Hill was delighted with the performance and believes his well-bred two-year-old only needs a front-row draw to take out the decider in a fortnight. Hillview Jake has won three of his four starts, including an impressive victory in the Golden Mile in Launceston. “I couldn’t be happier with this horse and what he is showing at this stage is only a glimpse of what he might show when he fully grasps what this caper is all about,” Hill said. “If he gets a front row draw in the Final the others will definitely know they’ve been in a race.” The remaining heat was won by the Rohan Hillier-trained Soho Shanghai, which proved too strong for Timely Sovereign and Masters Ace in 2:05.6. PETER STAPLES

Old Beach harness racing trainer Paul Hill expects his talented two-year-old filly Chica Bella to make an impact in whatever she tackles for the remainder of the season following her impressive win the Light Harness Tasmania Pace (2C0-2C1) over 1609m at Tattersall's Park in Hobart last Monday night. Chica Bella (Cardmaster Hanover-Time Moves On) won at her first start this time in at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston late last month but this latest outing was even more impressive. With Ricky Duggan in the sulky, Chica Bella worked across from her wide front row draw (6) and eventually rolled to the front a lap from home ahead of her stablemate Scorchin Safari (Paul Hill) and she went on to score by almost 11 metres from her stablemate with Kwiatkowski a metre away third. "I have a good opinion of Chica Bella that I think has a very bright future," Hill said. "I had her in the early two-year-old races and she was placed twice but since her little spell she has come back a better racehorse and she is only going to get better." "She will tackle the fillies heat of the Sweepstakes in Hobart on Sunday but she has drawn poorly on the outside of the front line (7) buy Ricky (Duggan) will hopefully be able to muster up some magic and get her into a good spot early," he said. Hill also has Scorchin Safari engaged in the same race and she too has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the second row (8). However Hill's luck with the draws turned around in the first of the Sweepstakes heats for colts and geldings with his recent Golden Slipper winner Hillview Jake to start from the pole position (1). "Hillview Jake has done really well since his Golden Slipper win and drawing the pole gives him every chance to win again," he said. Peter Staples

The harness racing meeting in Hobart on Sunday night served up eight odds-on favourites on the eight-event card and had it not been for a bolter winning the fourth event it would have been a clean sweep for punters. The first three favourites saluted with all-the-way wins including the Nathan Ford-trained Supersub that made the most of the pole position to lead comfortably. It was a stroll in the park for the gelded son of Christian Cullen and it was a gun drive from novice driver Tayla Ford who has delivered some brilliant efforts in the sulky of late. Supersub was well placed in the C3-C4 event that offer a mare and novice driver concession. The gelding covered the 2090 metres in 2m.35s and clocked a mile rate of 1.59.4 and covered his last 800m in 59.3. Ford kept Supersub's mind on the job over the concluding stages because he had shown a tendency to let his mind wander in a couple of previous races. Supersub has won three and notched six second placings from his 13 starts in Tasmania with his overall record standing at nine wins and 20 minor placings from 65 starts for $62,528 in stakes. He arrived from NSW in September last year and after three unplaced efforts he has developed into a very handy pacer that has bright prospects. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing participant Dylan Ford has been selected to represent Tasmania at the upcoming Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship in New Zealand. The teenager will compete in the series for the second time against drivers from all Australian states and the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Ford, 19, was the automatic Tasmanian selection after being last season’s premier young driver. First licensed as a 16-year-old, Ford finished second in the 2011/12 Tasmanian junior driver award and ninth in the state’s leading driver award.  Ford has won the past two junior driver titles, and after four months of this season, leads the award while sitting sixth on the overall state premiership. Ford finished second in the 2014 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship in New South Wales after winning three of the 10 heats, including the $50,000 heat at Menangle.  Ford is thrilled to be selected again and is hoping to go one or two better than last year. “I’m thrilled to again be selected as Tasmania’s representative at these driving championships because it is an honor to represent your state in any sport,” Ford said. Ford was presented with the state set of colours in Hobart last night. “I was thrilled when first told of my selection a few weeks ago, but when you actually get the state colours and put them on it feels quite special,” Ford said. Ford also has taken to training and he was quite successful in his first year as a trainer. The Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship starts at Cambridge on May 7 in the North Island of New Zealand followed by Auckland the next day. The series continues on May 9 where the action moves south to Christchurch and concludes the next day at Timaru. PETER STAPLES

Tasmanian harness racing trainer Ben Yole unveiled a potential star filly at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night by the name of Last Flight In. The New Zealand-bred three-year-old drew the outside of the front line in the Stirling Stockfeed Pace (2090 metres) for 3C0-3C1 assessed pacers but made light work of the task to cross the field and lead. Once in front driver Mark Yole ensured a solid tempo and she went on to score by over 11 metres recording a mile rate of 2.00.02. It was the filly's first Australian start and one that trainer Yole was supremely confident she would win. "We've only had the filly for a week but in that time she showed me enough on the training track that she would win this race," Yole said. "I had clients who were keen to buy one in New Zealand so I contacted horse broker Mark McNamara and he put us onto a few to look at and it all came down to this filly or a colt and owner Warren Viney had the final say and he chose this filly." "They paid good money for her and from what she has shown me since arriving just over a week ago she should win her share of races here in Tasmania," he said. Last Flight In (Panspacificflight-Orse M Denario) had one start in New Zealand for a win on a rain affected track at Wyndham on the South Island and while her time was slow, the potential owners were not deterred. "There was a lot to like about the filly's win in New Zealand on a bog track and now that we've seen what she can do here there's no doubt in my mind she will well and truly pay her way," Yole said. The filly is expected to have her next start in the Max McCormack at Devonport next Sunday night. "She will head to the Max McCormack because it is a race for three-year-olds with lifetime earnings of less than $10,000 and she just falls into that category," Yole said. Peter Staples

The Rattray name is synonymous with Tasmanian harness racing and rarely a meeting passes without a member of the clan training or driving a winner. Most of the domination comes from trainer Barrie and two of his sons Gareth and Todd, but there is little doubt the talent doesn’t stop there. Wade Rattray has been working his way through the driving ranks earning his stripes bit by bit, and last night at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston, he delivered a superb drive to secure victory with his grandparents’ - Wayne and Gaye Rattray - pacer Karalta Dazzler. Wade, who is the son of talented trainer Kent Rattray, had Karalta Dazzler settled the one-one and waited until the right moment to make his move at the 600-metre peg of the Sunrise Bakery Stakes. View Street led into the home straight, but when Rattray released the reins, Karalta Dazzler sprinted past the leader and safely held out a challenge from Helen Wheels to record an impressive win. Karalta Dazzler registered his seventh win from 51 starts, but he also has amassed 13 placings which have helped grow his earnings beyond $50,000. PETER STAPLES

Finding suitable races for talented eight-year-old pacer Saab Quality is no easy task for his trainer Marc Butler but he found an ideal event for the gelding at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight. Saab Quality was backed in to start the $2.60 favourite in the Chartley Estate Claimer over 2200 metres and he never let his supporters down by powering home to score an effortless win. With Mark Yole in the cart, Saab Quality stepped well from the inside if the second row but the driver snagged him back and eventually eased into the one-out line before sending him around the field to face the breeze Livin It Lovin It just over a lap from home. That pair settled down to a two-horse war from the home turn but when Yole called on Saab Quality for the supreme effort he forged clear and went on to score comfortably from the fast-finishing Family Guy with Livin It Lovin It third. "I've been struggling to find suitable races for him and that's why he hasn't raced for about a month," Butler said. "He is racing as well as ever and he is very suited to these claimers but sometimes they (races) don't stand up." "But there is another mobile claimer here in Launceston in a fortnight so that's where he'll race next," Butler said. This was Saab Quality's sixth win for the season but he also has notched four minor placings from 12 starts. Saab Quality is well travelled having spent seven months racing in Victoria during the 2013-14 season that produced five wins and multiple minor placings. He was claimed by Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper in a claimer at Maryborough at the end of that Victorian campaign after which he returned to Tasmania and has been very consistent in Butler's care. Peter Staples

Latrobe harness racing trainer Melissa Maine has enjoyed a lot of success in recent timed and that continued in the opening race at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight. Young Bruiser, a horse that only arrived in Maine's stale three weeks ago, gained a needle-eye opening about 80 metres from home to get up in the past few strides to defeat race leader and favourite Barooga Minnie ($1.70) in a nail-biting finish. The Cardmaster Hanover three-year-old gelding was well away from the inside of the second row and driver Gareth Rattray had the gelding travelling sweetly on the back of the favourite that led from the pole position. It looked for certain that Young Bruiser would fail to get clear in the home straight but when the leader shifted up the track under pressure in the closing stages Rattray sooled his charge through the gap. "I was happy to be where we were behind the favourite and to be honest I would have been happy had he been able to run a place," Rattray said. "He was travelling keenly and he surprised me a bit the way he travelled in the race and when the gap came he really dashed up nice and hit the line strong." "On that run you would have to say he has improvement in him so I think his future looks bright," Rattray said. Young Bruiser was backed late in betting firming from $9 to $6.50 on fixed odds with Tattsbet and he also shortened considerably on the Tote into $7.80 while the favourite tumbled in from $2.10 just prior to race start time into $1.70. The winner ran the 2200 metres in 2.48.7 and recorded a mile rate of 2.03.1. Peter Staples

Harness racing trainer Christian Salter was forced to make a couple of stops on the way home from the Devonport meeting last night to take a nap after what was a tiring day of preparing horses and heading off from Brighton to participate in the North-West Coast meeting. But the tiring exercise was well worth it given the performance of his talented four-year-old Vande Velde that won a heat of the Raider Stakes and will probably start favourite in the final in a fortnight if he draws the front line. "It was a long trip home that took about 4-1/2 hours after stopping twice to have a nap but it was a worthwhile trip," Salter said. Vande Velde had produced impressive efforts from time to time in two and three-year-old events but never quite measured up in feature races. But this time in the gelded son of Four Starzzz Shark has finally delivered the goods with his win at his start prior in Launceston a signal that the penny has finally dropped. "His win in Launceston was terrific but I wasn't totally convinced until this Raider Stakes heat win that he is finally doing what I always believed he was capable of as a younger horse," Salter said. "He is putting it all together now and when he has the opportunity to sit and sprint he really delivers at the business end of his races," Salter said. Vande Velde ($3.70) powered home after enjoying a sit in the one-out line to score from the fast-finishing Chirac that trailed three-back the fence with the winner clocking a mile rate of 1.59.9. The remaining heat was won by Le Premiere that led throughout with Gareth Rattray in the sulky. The odds-on favourite Resurgent Spirit moved from last to face the breeze two laps from home but when he put it to the leader in the back straight the last time Le Premiere dug deep and refused to wilt. Le Premier defeated Resurgent Spirit by a half-head with Last Guy Standing six metres astern. The winner returned a mile rate of 2.01.2 but he ran home his last half (800m) in 58.7 which was quicker than Vande Velde's last section. The $30,000 Raider Stakes final will be held at Devonport on April 26. Peter Staples  

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