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Motu Crusader confirmed his harness racing status as one of the mot consistent pacers to race in Tasmania in many years when he powered home to win he 2014 Examiner Newspaper Easter Cup over 2698 metres in Launceston last night. The Zeke Slater-trained seven-year-old not only had to overcome a back mark of 40 metres but he also travelled three-wide for the last two laps. Motu Crusader has won the past two Group 3 Tasmania Cups along with other feature races in Tasmania since finding his way into Slater's Seven Mile Beach stables. The gelding is owned by Merv and Meg Butterworth who have invested heavily in standardbreds to become two of the biggest owners in the nation. Motu Crusader ($5) settled at the rear of the field while Dylan Ford took the Keith Toulmin-trained Falco Peregrinus ($10) to the lead and that gelding set a solid pace while the well-backed favourite Call The Marshall ($3.20) enjoyed the coveted one-out-one-back position. When driver Grant Campbell opted to set Motu Crusader on a forward move 1400 metres out he flushed out Cal The Marshall that led the three-wide brigade. Falco Peregrinus kicked clear turning for home but a wall of horses made a charge for the line with only four metres separating the first eight across the line. Motu Crusader hit the line less than a neck clear of Falco Peregrinus with last year's Easter Cup winner Biggernbettermax ($22.70) a close-up third. Listen to what trainer Zeke Slater had to say about Motu Crusader's brilliant Easter Cup win. Peter Staples

Motu Crusader confirmed his harness racing status as one of the mot consistent pacers to race in Tasmania in many years when he powered home to win he 2014 Examiner Newspaper Easter Cup over 2698 metres in Launceston last night. The Zeke Slater-trained seven-year-old not only had to overcome a back mark of 40 metres but he also travelled three-wide for the last two laps. Motu Crusader has won the past two Group 3 Tasmania Cups along with other feature races in Tasmania since finding his way into Slater's Seven Mile Beach stables. The gelding is owned by Merv and Meg Butterworth who have invested heavily in standardbreds to become two of the biggest owners in the nation. Motu Crusader ($5) settled at the rear of the field while Dylan Ford took the Keith Toulmin-trained Falco Peregrinus ($10) to the lead and that gelding set a solid pace while the well-backed favourite Call The Marshall ($3.20) enjoyed the coveted one-out-one-back position. When driver Grant Campbell opted to set Motu Crusader on a forward move 1400 metres out he flushed out Cal The Marshall that led the three-wide brigade. Falco Peregrinus kicked clear turning for home but a wall of horses made a charge for the line with only four metres separating the first eight across the line. Motu Crusader hit the line less than a neck clear of Falco Peregrinus with last year's Easter Cup winner Biggernbettermax ($22.70) a close-up third. Listen to what trainer Zeke Slater had to say about Motu Crusader's brilliant Easter Cup win. Peter Staples

LONGFORD trainer Barrie Rattray continued his dominance of country cup victories when his four-year-old gelding Divas Delight outgunned his rivals in the St Marys Cup over 2685 metres on the grass track at St Marys on Saturday. Divas Delight emerged triumphant with stable driver Todd Rattray aboard, hitting the line clear of the Zeke Slater-trained duo Class Above Lombo and Babes Boy Bob. It was the sixth win of the season for Divas delight and with six minor placings from the remaining seven starts this season he is proving to be one of Rattray's most consistent stable tenants. Divas Delight (Bettors Delight-Draw Card) is one Rattray's home-grown mob and he joins Devendra that has won the Devonport Cup, Carrick Cup and Burnie Cup this season and he too has an ou9tatanfing record of 12 starts for six wins and five minor placings. Divas Delight and Devendra form part of Rattray's four-pronged attack to tackle the Raider Stakes four-year-old sires stakes feature in Devonport next Sunday night. He also has likely favourite Pachacuti that won his Raider Stakes heat last week in Launceston and the other heat winner Rykov leis that led all the way to win his heat. By Peter Staples    

LONGFORD harness trainer Barrie Rattray has what some might consider a stranglehold on the Raider Stakes final for home grown four-year-olds at Devonport next Sunday week. In Launceston last night two heats of the sires' stakes classic were run and won by Rattray-trained four-year-olds and he also snared the quinella in one of the heats and a minor placegetter in the other to give him four genuine winning chances in the final. Pachacuti delivered a message that he will be very hard to beat in the final by defying a tough run facing the breeze for the last lap to go on and score convincingly over Melolyn and another of Rattray's band of talented four-year-olds Diva's Delight. Pachacuti spent a couple of months at James Rattray's stables in NSW where he failed to flatter in three of his five starts at Menangle. The gelding won a heat of the 3YO Breeders Crown last season and finished a gallant second to super star Bit Of A Legend in the $175.000 final. He was then transferred to James Rattray's care at Cobbitty and was placed at his first two attempts but his form went south and after he galloped away in a 4YO feature race on Inter Dominion day he was sent home to Tasmania. His first-up win in Hobart was solid but he confirmed he was back to his best with this latest victory on Sunday night. Lickyalips led and looked to be travelling comfortably turning for home but when driver Todd Rattray called on Pachacuti to extend he delivered the goods and went on to score by almost five metres from Melolyn that ran home strongly with Divas Delight doing his best work late. Rykov Leis (Ricky Duggan) then led his rivals a merry chase to score a strong win over stablemate Devendra in the remaining heat. Duggan ensured a solid tempo while Todd Rattray was content to allow his charge to travel in the one-out-one-back spot to the 400-metre peg. He had to wait until straightening to get the run three-wide to challenge but when Duggan called on Rykov Leis to sprint he sped clear and had enough in reserve to stave off a late surge from his stablemate. By Peter Staples

CALL THE MARSHALL gave an indication that he will be competitive in next Sunday's $40,000 Easter Cup final with an impressive all-the-way win in his heat over 2698 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight (Sunday). With leading reinsman Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Call The Marshall ($2.90) stepped brilliantly from gate four to find the lead and he was never headed on his way to a comfortable win over the heavily backed Dapper Dana ($2.05 fav) with Falco Peregrinus ($8.50) doing his best work over the concluding stages for a close-up third. Call The Marshall was coming off a win over last year's Easter Cup winner Biggernbettermax in a discretionary handicap in Launceston but this latest victory was even more impressive. The other heat was taken out by the Dick Eaves-trained mare Arts Bliss that also led all the way but at the sweet odds of $13. Arts Bliss has been a consistent mare in lower grades but eaves has said all along that he was keen to get her to the Easter Cup because she is tough and that she was just starting to deliver in her races. The mare by Blissfull Hall from Arts Darling (x Perfect Art) won the Scottsdale Cup in January and followed up with a game win in a discretionary handicap in Launceston about four weeks later. She went into this race on the back of a game second in the Sylvan Lass over 2090 metres in Hobart behind Dapper Dana. Arts Bliss held on to defeat dead-heaters Our Chain of Command and back marker (off 40m) Motu Crusader. But the biggest run in the race was that of fourth-placed Saab Quality that missed the start at least 60 metres. The Daryl Bates-trained gelding made up the lost ground and crept along the rails once he tacked on and when driver John Walters called on him for an effort in the home straight he flashed home along the rails to finish fourth. The $40,000 Examiner Easter Cup will be run over 2698 metres in Launceston next Sunday night (Easter Sunday). By Peter Staples

THE harness race meeting at the TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night boasts heats of the Easter Cup and the Raider Stakes for four-year-olds. The two Easter Cup heats (races 4 & 5) have produced fields of eight and seven respectively with last year's winner Biggernbettermax off the back mark of 20 metres in heat one while dual Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader will have to contend with a back mark of 40 metres in heat two with Our Chain Of Command off 30 metres. Biggernbettermax raced in New South Wales late last year and up to the end of January where he failed to win a race but he was sent back to trainer Barrie Rattray's property in February for another crack at the Easter Cup. The first heat boasts a handy line-up including the promising Dapper Dana that has drawn the pole position but this is his first test in the silk department. Zeke Slater's latest stable tenant The Adriatic has drawn gate two and he could be competitive along with the Keith Toulmin-trained Falco Peregrinus that could not have been more impressive in winning the Westbury Cup at Carrick last month. The second heat should be a battle between the back markers although the Melissa Maine-trained Spot Nine that won the Hobart Pacing Cup in January must be considered an each-way chance despite his poor performances in the Devonport Cup and at his subsequent outing in Launceston. His latest effort when second to Call The Marshall in a discretionary handicap in Launceston was full of merit. The David bates-trained Saab Quality hit the line hard in the Governor's Cup in Hobart last Sunday night so if he steps cleanly from his 10-metre handicap he must be considered a winning chance. Dual Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader probably deserves his 40-metre handicap but that mark might be a bit too much in a heat, while Our Chain Of Command has the early speed and then stamina to handle his 30-metre lift. The Raider Stakes heats (races 8 & 9) each boast six starters but the races are filled with talented four-year-olds. Heat one should be a match between Pachacuti that returned to wining form in Hobart last Sunday night and Melolyn that has always shown above average ability and will be fitter for two runs back from a spell for a first-up win and a second last time out. Heat two is a more open affair with Barrie Rattray holding the key with pole marker Rykov leis and Devendra that has drawn gate two and will improve on his eighth in Hobart last Sunday night in which he carried a flat tyre for almost the duration of the race. By Peter Staples

THE harness race meeting at the TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night boasts heats of the Easter Cup and the Raider Stakes for four-year-olds. The two Easter Cup heats (races 4 & 5) have produced fields of eight and seven respectively with last year's winner Biggernbettermax off the back mark of 20 metres in heat one while dual Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader will have to contend with a back mark of 40 metres in heat two with Our Chain Of Command off 30 metres. Biggernbettermax raced in New South Wales late last year and up to the end of January where he failed to win a race but he was sent back to trainer Barrie Rattray's property in February for another crack at the Easter Cup. The first heat boasts a handy line-up including the promising Dapper Dana that has drawn the pole position but this is his first test in the silk department. Zeke Slater's latest stable tenant The Adriatic has drawn gate two and he could be competitive along with the Keith Toulmin-trained Falco Peregrinus that could not have been more impressive in winning the Westbury Cup at Carrick last month. The second heat should be a battle between the back markers although the Melissa Maine-trained Spot Nine that won the Hobart Pacing Cup in January must be considered an each-way chance despite his poor performances in the Devonport Cup and at his subsequent outing in Launceston. His latest effort when second to Call The Marshall in a discretionary handicap in Launceston was full of merit. The David bates-trained Saab Quality hit the line hard in the Governor's Cup in Hobart last Sunday night so if he steps cleanly from his 10-metre handicap he must be considered a winning chance. Dual Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader probably deserves his 40-metre handicap but that mark might be a bit too much in a heat, while Our Chain Of Command has the early speed and then stamina to handle his 30-metre lift. The Raider Stakes heats (races 8 & 9) each boast six starters but the races are filled with talented four-year-olds. Heat one should be a match between Pachacuti that returned to wining form in Hobart last Sunday night and Melolyn that has always shown above average ability and will be fitter for two runs back from a spell for a first-up win and a second last time out. Heat two is a more open affair with Barrie Rattray holding the key with pole marker Rykov leis and Devendra that has drawn gate two and will improve on his eighth in Hobart last Sunday night in which he carried a flat tyre for almost the duration of the race. By Peter Staples

PROMINENT Tasmanian harness racing owners Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper have never been shy about spending a decent amount on horseflesh from New Zealand and it looks as if another of their purchases will at least pay his way. Something Eyre (Ohoka Arizona-Glentara) faced the breeze for most of the race in Hobart last Sunday night but made light of the task to go on and score a comfortable win in a 3C0-3C1 over 2090 metres. Lade Elaine made full use of the pole position to lead and with Gareth Rattray aboard she set a solid tempo in front while Ricky Duggan allowed Something Eyre to sit three-wide early as he gradually made his way to the spot outside of the leader. Duggan didn't allow his charge to eyeball the leader until he wanted to apply the pressure about 500 metres from home. By doing this he ensured the favourite Soho Wonder, that trailed the leader, was kept in a zip-fastener pocket until well into the home straight. It proved to be the winning move. Something Eyre forged clear 200 metres out and he had a big enough break to stave off Soho Wonder that flashed home late to go down by only a half-neck with the leader Lady Elaine clinging to third spot three metres away. It was Something Eyre's second win from only four starts in Tasmania but it was clearly his best effort. Duggan was impressed with the performance and believes the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona has a bright future. Listen to what driver Ricky Duggan had to say about Something Eyre's latest performance. By Peter Staples

AN effortless win by Victorian pacer Five Star Anvil in the Governor's Cup in Hobart on Sunday night has tempted trainer Adam Kelly to keep his stable star in Tasmania for one more assignment. Kelly had planned to take Five Star Anvil back to Victoria this week but he is toying with the idea of running him in the $40,000 Easter Cup in Launceston on April 20. Five Star Anvil powered home from the rear of the field to win the Governor's Cup over 2579 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night to defeat Saab Quality and Motu Crusader. It was the first leg of a feature race double for Kelly who also prepared the Tasmanian Derby winner Outrageous El. While the race was set up for a swooper owing to a solid tempo set in front by Our Chain of Command, Five Star Anvil still had to produce the goods when driver Gavin Lang asked for the supreme effort. But it was the ease with which the gelding delivered the knockout blow to his rivals that impressed his trainer. "The plan was always to run in this race (Governor's Cup) and head home but he was awesome tonight so I am now thinking about staying for the Easter Cup in a fortnight," Kelly said. "If I thought he would get a 30-metre handicap I probably wouldn't stay but he might be a chance off 20 metres, anyway that's something I'll have to weigh up in the next day or so," he said. The nominations for the Easter Cup close on Tuesday (April 8). Lang was delighted with the win. ''The race pretty much played into our hands with such a solid tempo but in saying that he still had to deliver and he did it well within himself," Lang said. Five Star Anvil is one of five horses Kelly brought to Tasmania for a month-long stay and they have all delivered multiple wins making it a very profitable exercise. By Peter Staples

AN effortless win by Victorian pacer Five Star Anvil in the Governor's Cup in Hobart on Sunday night has tempted trainer Adam Kelly to keep his stable star in Tasmania for one more assignment. Kelly had planned to take Five Star Anvil back to Victoria this week but he is toying with the idea of running him in the $40,000 Easter Cup in Launceston on April 20. Five Star Anvil powered home from the rear of the field to win the Governor's Cup over 2579 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night to defeat Saab Quality and Motu Crusader. It was the first leg of a feature race double for Kelly who also prepared the Tasmanian Derby winner Outrageous El. While the race was set up for a swooper owing to a solid tempo set in front by Our Chain of Command, Five Star Anvil still had to produce the goods when driver Gavin Lang asked for the supreme effort. But it was the ease with which the gelding delivered the knockout blow to his rivals that impressed his trainer. "The plan was always to run in this race (Governor's Cup) and head home but he was awesome tonight so I am now thinking about staying for the Easter Cup in a fortnight," Kelly said. "If I thought he would get a 30-metre handicap I probably wouldn't stay but he might be a chance off 20 metres, anyway that's something I'll have to weigh up in the next day or so," he said. The nominations for the Easter Cup close on Tuesday (April 8). Lang was delighted with the win. ''The race pretty much played into our hands with such a solid tempo but in saying that he still had to deliver and he did it well within himself," Lang said. Five Star Anvil is one of five horses Kelly brought to Tasmania for a month-long stay and they have all delivered multiple wins making it a very profitable exercise. By Peter Staples

VICTORIAN pacer Outrageous El extended the list of interstate horse to have won the Group 3 Tasmanian Derby in recent times when he led all the way to take out this year's edition of the classic event for three-year-olds. With experienced reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky, Outrageous El stepped straight to the front from the pole position (1) and he was never headed, going on to score comfortably from another interstate invader Lake Eyre with local hero Resurgent Spirit a close-up third. Resurgent Spirit was attempting to break the al-time record for the most number of consecutive wins in Tasmania but after facing the breeze for the duration he was unable to deal with the pressure in what was one of the best fields to contest the race in many years. Outrageous El delivered the goods and realised a dream for his owners and it also was an unexpected result for the gelding's trainer Adam Kelly who admitted connections had bought the horse in New Zealand for $30,000 without expectations of winning a Group race. It was the gelding's fifth win in succession and he was the best horse on form in the race and Lang rated the horse superbly in front. Lang, rated one of the nation's best reinsmen, has been a regular visitor to Tasmania over  the years and had driven in many Tasmanian Derbies but this was his first success. Listen to what trainer Adam Kelly had to say about Outrageous El's Tasmanian Derby win. By Peter Staples  

HARNESS racing trainer Zeke Slater has his eyes in the St Marys Cup with Class Above Lombo that scored an impressive win in Launceston last Sunday night. The St Marys annual meeting is traditionally run on New Year's Day but when the SMPC had to cancel this year's event because of the state of the grass track the meeting was set aside to be run in another timeslot Tasracing, in conjunction with the SMPC, settled on Easter Saturday and all is in readiness for what should be another brilliant day of harness racing at the East Coast venue. The rescheduled meeting features the St Marys Cup that boasts prizemoney of $10,000 and it is being targeted by many trainers, including Slater. Class Above Lombo is unbeaten from his three starts in Tasmania, the latest last Sunday night in Launceston in a C4 event over 2200m. But he needs one more win to take her to C5 class that is the benchmark for entry into the St Marys Cup, which is a standing start event. "The horse has not won from a standing start but he has very good manners so I don't think it (standing start) would present a problem," Slater said. "It looks an ideal race for him and it's worth $10,000 so I'll probably run him at Devonport next Monday night in a C5 or better race to try and get his qualified class wise," he said. By Peter Staples

Talented Victorian harness racing pacer Outrageous El confirmed his status as a genuine Tasmanian Derby prospect with an effortless win against the older horses in a class one over 2200 metres in Launceston on Sunday night. Driver Rohan Hadley was forced to make his charge work hard to find the lead but once in front the Adam Kelly-trained gelding travelled sweetly and when asked to extend at the top of the home straight he forged clear. Outrageous El went on to score by almost six metres from El Jays Magic with Another Jasper over two metres astern. It was the gelding's third win in success from his four lifetime starts and his second in Tasmania, having been successful in Devonport at his first try on foreign soil. Kelly was hoping the son of Elsu would measure up to Derby class when he travelled him across Bass Strait and so far the three-year-old has lived up to expectations. The Tasmanian Derby will be run over 2579 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night. Peter Staples  

Prominent Tasmanian harness racing owners Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper will be hoping their New Zealand-bred three-year-old Watch This Spot can produce his best to win Sunday night's SEW Eurodrive Tasmanian Derby over 2579 metres at Tattersall's Park. Cockshutt and Cooper purchased Watch This Spot in New Zealand last year for an undisclosed sum and immediately sent him to Dean Braun's stable. The gelding won a 2YO on debut at Cranbourne and after a minor placing at his subsequent outing at Terang he was dispatched to Tasmanian where he scored an emphatic win in Launceston. He was shipped straight back to Victoria where he placed at Kilmore before ending his 2YO season with a win at Bendigo,' Watch This Spot resumed in March with a win at Kilmore and after meting interference in the VHRSC 3YO Cup at Melton he went to Geelong where he finished a game second to Ideal Majority in a 3YO Pace over 2100m. Braun is quietly confident watch This Spot can emerge triumphant on Sunday. "This is a very nice horse that is more than capable of winning the Tasmanian Derby," Braun said from Melbourne today. "I wouldn't be sending him if I didn't think he could win." "It is likely to be a strong Derby from what I hear but I have a lot of confidence in this horse. He hasn't disappointed me at any stage and provided he travels well I expect him to be hard to beat," he said. The Derby promises to be one of the best in years with local star Resurgent Spirit aiming to notch his 14th consecutive win and steal the record for the most number of consecutive wins in Tasmania from the great Halwes. Local 3YO Rusty Red Comet also has been racing in career best form with his win last Sunday night in Launceston testament to his ability to warrant respect in next Sunday night's classic. Peter Staples

After failing to secure a winner owning thoroughbreds and greyhounds, Spreyton owner Warren Viney turned his attention to harness racing and to his delight he struck gold. Viney is paying up for three pacers of which two, Lake Eyre and Soho Wonder, are based in Victoria with Melton-based mentor Beau Tindale but went around in Launceston last night. Lake Eyre scored an emphatic win in a 3YO and older pace over 2200 metres. With top Victorian driver Lisa Miles in the cart, Lake Eyre faced the breeze for much of the race before powering clear in the home straight and went on to defeat Robyn Scherbotsky by almost 16 metres with Lady Elaine four metres away third. It was Viney's second winner in the space of a week as his Tasmanian-based 3YO Wasonic Snake successful in Launceston last week. The other horse in Tindale's care, Soho Wonder, raced in Launceston last night and finished a game second to quality Tasmania three-year-old Rusty Red Comet. Given the ease with which Lake Eyre dispensed with his rivals he would be more than competitive in next Sunday night's Tasmanian Derby but it will be touch and go as to whether he gains a start in what promises to be one of the best Tasmanian Derbies in ages. Peter Staples

WHEN prominent harness racing owners Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper bought Dapper Dana early last year as an unraced three-year-old in New Zealand they were hopeful of him reaching top grade. Dapper Dana hasn't disappointed and his latest win is testament to his ability and growth as a serious racehorse. In Launceston last Sunday night Dapper Dana (Rocky Duggan) powered home to defeat the highly ranked Melolyn and in-form Devendra in the $10,000 4YO Championship over 2200 metres. Dapper Dana has progressed through the classes with this latest victory his sixth this season and ninth career win. He won his first three races in Tasmania before finishing second in the St Leger to Victorian three-year-old Ginger Bliss. Trainer Juanita McKenzie aimed the gelded son of Bettors Delight at the Tasmania Derby in which he finished third to Ginger Bliss but after a failed interstate trip for a crack at a $20,000 3YO Classic at Ballarat he returned to Tasmania for a well earned spell. His form this time in has been outstanding winning six of his 10 starts that also includes two luckless seconds. Dapper Dana has been driven in most of his races by Ricky Duggan who was aboard last Sunday night. "He's very quick," Duggan said. "As he was going through the grades we'd let him run the gate and lead." "But now that he's up in class we tend to let him settle back in the field and use his sprint," he said. This was arguably Dapper Dana's best win as he had to come from behind and run down Melolyn that took control midrace and he has always been hard to run down while Devendra came from last with 500m to go to finish on the heels of the winner. By Peter Staples

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