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33 to 48 of 1722

The Devonport Harness Racing Club hosts its richest meeting of the season on Sunday night with prizemoney totalling almost $150,000. For the second year in a row, trainer-driver Todd Rattray will have a short-priced favourite for the $50,000 Raider Stakes. However the $50,000 Granny Smith will be more open after last week's prelude produced an upset winner in Brystabella. The 2018 Raider Stakes saw the Rattray-trained Harjeet justify his $1.10 price when he led throughout to score by 26m. His stablemate Izaha was almost as dominant winning his heat last Friday night by 16m as 1.30 favourite. The Kate MacLeod-trained Shadow Ross was brave running down Tisu Spirit to win the other heat but his time was slower and, despite having won three of his past four starts, he won't be challenging Izaha for favouritism in the final. Brystabella won the Granny Smith prelude as a $29 outsider after a very aggressive drive by her trainer Ray Pullen and, on face value, she would seem to have the other prelude runners covered if the brings the same form to the final. Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Advocate  

Star pacer Ryley Major obliterated an 11-year-old track record in Hobart on Sunday when he spreadeagled his rivals over 1609 metres. The Rohan Hillier-trained and driven six-year-old (pictured) recorded a scintillating mile rate 0f 1:54.5, carving almost a full second off the record set by Richie Walton in May of 2008. Not only did Ryley Major smash the Hobart track record he matched the state record set in Launceston by Mister Lennox in the Golden Mile in 2017. Ryley Major speared across the face of the field from gate seven to find the front in the run to the first turn and from there it was a mere procession for the Art Major - Shez Ryleymak powerhouse on a lightning-fast surface. "He was very sharp tonight, he showed his normal high gate speed from seven and crossed them easily, Matty (Cooper) kept the pressure on in the middle stages with Call Me Hector which was good but 'Ryley' just rolled away at the top of the stretch for a convincing win," said Rohan. "Breaking such a long-standing record was a highlight, the scary part is he could have gone quicker but he is a real racehorse and when he clears out like last night he doesn't bother to overexert himself." Hillier is now looking to the mainland for Ryley Major's next mission. "We will race him at Melton on Saturday night and then bring him home and then I'd like to look at giving him a run at Menangle I think the track would suit him perfectly and he deserves his opportunity there." Todd Rattray's Sweet Lou - Benediction colt Kohanah was given a leisurely work out in the Two-Year-Olds Colts &  Geldings Division of the Sweepstakesaccounting for his only rival Bitoscotty by 15.8 metres, recording a last-half of 58.7 seconds. Doug Nettlefold's blazing run with his Big Jim - Shake Me Up two-year-old filly Blame It On Me continued when she strode home to her third victory from four starts in the second heat of the Fillies Division of the Sweepstakes. Blame It On Me sneaked under the radar in her two previous wins scoring at odds of $16.10 and $10.00, but punters clambered on the bandwagon this time around backing her into favouritism and with Natalee Emery in the gig she didn't disappoint. "She's a very nice filly, she still has a lot to learn but she has done a wonderful job in her four starts, Doug (Nettlefold) rang me right back at the start and said he thought he had something special and would I like to drive her at the trials and although she was soundly beaten in both she showed me there was something there," said Natalee. "I was quietly confident when she won the Launceston Belmont on debut and then she won impressively in Hobart so going into last night the confidence level was high and again she produced the goods with something in hand, she has speed and she's tough as well so I wouldn't be swapping her for anything else in the final on Friday."   Shane Yates

It was a night of upsets at Devonport on Friday with a boilover in the Granny Smith Prelude and a heat of the Raider Stakes. Izaha, was one of only two favourites to salute the judge on the eight-event card, the Todd Rattray-trained former Globe Derby winner strolled to a 16.8 metre victory in heat two of the Raider Series coming home in an effortless last-half of 57.3 seconds. The first heat saw Streitkid, Tisu Spirit, Dufrense and Yatsenyuk Leis the well supported top four fancies but it was to be the Kate MacLeod prepared Shadow Ross (pictured) that would emerge victorious sprinting from last at the bell. “He’s been in great form winning two of his last three starts going into last night and even when he ran sixth in Hobart he was trapped out three wide when fast splits were being recorded so he may have been flying under the radar going into the heat at double figure odds,” said Kate. “He’s a very big horse and is as green as grass with a lot to learn, when other drivers have driven him they have described him as dumb but he was switched on last night and when I asked him to go at the bell he worked into it strongly out three-wide and just powered his way to second on the home turn and then gunned down Tisu Spirit in the straight.” Ray Pullen’s aggressive tactics paid off when he set Brystabella alight from fifth at the mile to run to the front at the 1200-metres, before defying her rivals over the final lap and a half at bolters odds in race one, the Collins Homes Granny Smith Prelude. Olivia Weidenbach landed the first win of her career in the sulky when she guided Another Swinger to an all-the-way victory while Samantha Gangell chimed in with a winning double courtesy of Yellow Taxi and Heza Rummage. . Ben Yole continued his record-breaking season training four winners on the eight-event card with Northdown trainer Geoff Smith landing the quinella in race three with Victoria Pass and Midair Meltdown.   Shane Yates

Bagdad harness racing trainer Paul Williams has been fined $3000 over a positive swab returned by his horse Chasing Cheetahs at Devonport three months ago. A urine sample taken from Chasing Cheetahs, who finished fourth in the C2/C3 Pace on March 8, contained arsenic levels above the allowable threshold. Williams pleaded guilty to presenting the horse to race when not free of all prohibited substances. Stewards suspended half the fine on condition the trainer does not offend again in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, an unnamed harness racing participant has been fined $1500 over an incident at the Mowbray race meeting on May 3. The participant pleaded guilty to "acting in a manner detrimental to the industry" by deliberately causing damage to another participant's vehicle. Half the fine was suspended on condition there is no further offending in the next 12 months. Stewards refused to name the person involved as they said the incident was related to a on-going court case. Harness racing returns to Devonport on Friday night with two heats of the Raider Stakes and a prelude to the Granny Smith Stakes. Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Advocate

Launceston trainer Brian Stanley landed the first blow of the Elderslie Horse Care Two-Year-Old Fillies Sweepstakes Series with A Spanish Dance (pictured) taking out the opening heat in Hobart on Friday night. A Spanish Dance’s best performance going into the Sweepstakes was a third behind Brookwillrock in the Devonport Belmont, but she broke her maiden status with an impressive all-the-way win over 1609 metres. “She has always shown me she’s had her share of ability, she’s no superstar but she’s honest and when she found the early lead my confidence level grew,” said Brian. “The favourite Radiant Red ran the gate out wide and looked a chance of leading but Rod (Ashwood) is a naturally aggressive driver and was able to slip up underneath from gate three and find the pegs first, from there he rated her perfectly grabbing a cheap second section (33.2 seconds) which gave her plenty in reserve when the final challenges came.” Brian bred the A Rocknroll Dance – Guernica filly and is looking to press on through the Sweepstakes and onto the Sires Stakes. “There is another heat of the Sweepstakes next week but at this stage she will be staying at home as she has qualified for the final, she’s eligible for the Sires so she deserves her chance and I don’t want to overexert her as the two series are very close together,” said Brian. “It appears a very even season in the fillies division, in the main whoever has been able to find the lead has gone on to win the race, A Spanish Rose capitalised on it in Hobart, hopefully luck can go her way again this season.” The Robert Gillie prepared two-year-old Canbe Doc scored a promising debut victory in the Elderslie Horse Care Colts & Geldings Sweepstakes. The Caribbean Blaster – Little Miss Doc gelding was sent out the popular pick and led comfortably from the mobile but came under enormous pressure over the concluding stages when headed down the home running by Karalta Courage. Gareth Rattray got down to work with Canbe Doc and the youngster dug deep to regain the lead and score by 2 1/2-metres.   Shane Yates

The $50,000 Globe Derby Harness Racing Stakes final looks like going to the Rattray family for the fifth time in nine years at Mowbray on Sunday night. But, barring bad luck, it should be a different member of Tasmania's most successful harness racing dynasty lining up to collect the trophy. The Kent Rattray-trained Sunny Sanz will be at almost unbackable odds after his dominant win over a similar field in last week's prelude. Rattray's brother Barrie won the race in 2011 with Beautide and again in 2013 with Pachacuti while Barrie's son Todd has won the past two with Harjeet and Izaha. Todd's brothers Gareth (Beautide) and James (Pachacuti) also appear on the honour roll as winning drivers. Rattray family patriarch Wayne won the third running of the race back in 1985 with Napoleon Stone when it was open to fillies and also scored in 1991 with Karalta Jet. Sunny Sanz won his only three starts as a two-year-old before being sidelined by injury. He has won two of his three starts since returning, suffering his only defeat behind smart filly Spoilt Sport in Hobart when Rattray said he "got fired up." His prelude win was outstanding as he lost ground after locking wheels with a tiring runner in the back straight. He appears to be clearly the best horse in the final and it would be hard to begrudge him a win. "I feel like we left a lot of money on the table last season when he got injured and this is a good opportunity to make up for some of that," Rattray said. By Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission from The Examiner

The John Castles-trained filly Resolute Ruler caused a massive upset in the 60ty° Bandbox Prelude on Sunday night in Launceston. The Betterthancheddar-High Flying Ruler three-year-old (pictured-inside) has only been placed twice in 17 career starts but pulled out the race of her life to greet the judge at odds of $144.20. "She has always shown us something on the training track however with the exception of one or two runs she hasn't been able to show it on race night, but she has tonight it was a great win in trying conditions," said John. "It was a tough run for all the fillies in the race and the week of recovery ahead is going to be all important when assessing how the $50,000 Bandbox Final will pan out." Resolute Ruler scored by the barest possible margin of a short half-head over the fast-finishing Todd Rattray-trained and driven Joogle ($46.30) with the Rohan Hadley filly Our Wonder Woman ($39.30) storming home from a mile back with Barrie Rattray's drive Juniper ($54.) making up the first four. "Rohan (Hillier) drove Resolute Ruler a treat, easing out of the early speed battle to grab the one-one trail and when the Ashwood runners made their moves at the 1200-metre mark he just held his ground and then was in a position to ease out three wide on the home corner,"  said Castles. "She worked into it strongly and when the leaders Spoilt Sport and Still Hungover started to show signs of distress Barrie (Rattray) shot clear on Juniper but she was able to wear her down and then was strong enough to just hold Joogle late, so I'm hoping she can repeat her performance in the Final next week." Sunny Sanz made light work of the Roberts Rural Supplies Globe Derby Prelude, sprinting form last at the home turn to have his rivals covered at the 200-metre mark and will go into next week final as a red hot favourite for Kent Rattray and John Walters.   Shane Yates

Call Me Hector showed he's ready to take his career further with a super run in the Bevan Lee's Butchery Golden Mile in Launceston on Sunday night. Oatland's trainer-driver Matthew Cooper took the four-year-old Art Major - Lady Jillett Lombo gelding to the front at dispatch and was never headed. "I was delighted with his run, he showed gate speed to hold out the early challenges and then had plenty in reserve for the sprint up the straight," said Matthew. "His first split was 27.8 seconds and he finished off in 28.9 seconds which gave him a 1.57 rate for the mile so that gives us a good base to work with going forward." Call Me Hector's Golden Mile success took his career record to 10 wins from 27 starts, including two of three in Tasmania. "I'm looking to take him through his grades during the winter months and have him ready for the big races, he has gate speed which is handy and high speed, he can go form cruising to flat-out in a stride or two so that acceleration is a big gun to have in your arsenal," said Cooper. "I was disappointed Ryley Major was scratched as it would have been good to see where we sit among the top-shelf pacers, my next task is to get him to the trials and work on him getting away from the stand which is going to be vital if we get to take on the topliners which I'm confident he will." With Call Me Julie seeing out her racing days in Victoria, under the care of Justin Campbell, before heading to the breeding barn at the end of the season, Matthew's focus will be a recent addition to the stable. "Training and driving Call Me Julie has just been a fantastic experience, she won a string of races for us and finished up being awarded the honour of Tasmanian Mare Of The Year, but Hector has the extra ping and I'm looking forward to seeing him over more ground in the future."   Shane Yates

Young reinswoman Olivia Weidenbach (pictured) has made the move to Tasmania for a plum gig with the Ben Yole stable. With 65 horses in work, the Yole camp offers Weidenbach an enormous opportunity for hands-on experience at the stables and the races. Ben Yole’s stable foreman, and his dad, Wayne Yole said Weidenbach, 17, would “be a magnificent asset to the stable”. “She has a claim, which is great because we have a shortage of claim drivers,” he said. “She’ll come over here and be tutored by Mark (Yole) on the driving side of things and Ben about training. She is a very good horse person for someone so young at just 17. Of course she comes from such a strong harness racing family, with her mother being a Mifsud.” Weidenbach drove her first winner in February, when she piloted Smart Little Shard to victory at her maiden drive. Ben Yole is Tasmania’s leading trainer with 121 wins from 1789 starts so far this season. Weidenbach has four drives tomorrow night at Launceston – The Lemondrop Kid in Race 2, Give Me The Knight in Race 4, Guys Bettor Bet in Race 5 and Another Swinger in Race 8. Wayne Yole, a former Hamilton Harness Racing Club President, is now the Harness Racing and Special Projects Coordinator for Racing Tasmania.   Cody Winnell for Trots media

“I could stand on the side of the track and watch him go round all day.” The words of Sunny Sanz trainer Kent Rattray. “His action is super smooth and when he gets going he is poetry in motion.” The star juvenile (pictured) will make his much-anticipated return from injury in the aptly-named Longford Equine Clinic Pace this evening in Launceston. “It will be his first run for just on a year after a suspensory injury right in behind his knee, we’ve followed the vet’s advice to the letter, he spent plenty of time in the paddocks of Ringarooma with the cows and we brought him back in January and have eased him slowly into his work,” said Kent. “There is never a good time for an injury like that but it really couldn’t have come at a worse time last year, he was flying and had won the Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes by 30 metres, cruised home in Hobart, waltzed in at Launceston by 22 metres and then with the Sweepstakes and Dandy Patch just around the corner, bang he was gone.” The Sportswriter-Soho Summer gelding had an effortless hit-out in a trial three weeks ago in Launceston scoring by 80 metres. “It was a little difficult to assess the performance of the trial, Johnny (Walters) just let him slide home the last half in 59.3 seconds, I think we were just both happy to see him handle it and pull up like he did, we are certainly looking forward to his return to racing tonight,” said Kent. “Rod (Ashwood) has Spoilt Sport going well and looks the danger after drawing the one gate while we’ve drawn four after the scratchings so I’m comfortable with that, I’m just pleased to see him back, tonight is the first step in a long journey, the Globe Derby is his mission this season if everything goes to plan. This evening’s seven-event Launceston Pacing Club card, commencing at 17.05, may be seen via the live stream service at tasracing.com.au.   Shane Yates

Over the years the mare Gallavance has developed into the matriarch of the Stowport stable of Craig Hayes. The latest of her progeny to hit the track Brookwillrock (pictured – No 1 inside) won on debut at Devonport on Friday in the CUB Devonport Belmont. “I was happy with the effort any win is a good win, she still has a lot to learn about the caper, that’s why she had six trials before last night’s debut run, she is just running along in her races at the moment she’s not racing, she’s always shown us she has the ability but she still needs to learn to race and she appears to be a slow learner,” said Craig. “We are going to give her a little break and see how she comes through the run and if all goes well and she continues to work well at home we will consider giving her a hit out in the Sweepstakes and Evicus in Hobart.” Craig has a soft spot for his broodmare Gallavance and with good cause. “She has been awesome for us over the years, she helped establish the stable and has continued to produce for us year on year,” said Hayes. “Mister Tehaych was the best-performed of her progeny he won over $100,000 in prizemoney for us while Mister Sumna had the most ability but we never got to see the best of him due to a stifle injury he incurred as a two-year-old but he still won 11 races and $72,000, she has also thrown Tania Maree and Semose Twenty and both won over $40,000.” Ryley Major showed his undoubted ability to come from last over the 1930-metre in the Degree C Quality and storm to victory over Alta Surreal and Blackbird Power, notching up his 14th career win and his fourth from six starts since returning from injury.   Shane Yates  

I Wanna Rock is finally back in the winner's circle after a sensational victory in Hobart in Race 2 on Sunday night. Owner, trainer and driver Sam Rawnsley was rewarded for his hard work and persistence with his former star juvenile (pictured) coming back from a two-year injury lay-off to produce the goods when it mattered in the TAB Park Elwick over 2090 metres. "I'm rapt he's been able to come back from such a serious injury and perform the way he has, two years off is a long time, he has an x-ray file at the Longford Vet Clinic as thick as a log," said Sam. "We got away well from the second row and was able to find a spot two back in the running line, he travelled beautifully from there and I knew if he could get the run at the right time he had the finishing sprint to worry them." Moves came at the bell but Sam resisted the urge to go with them, electing to hold his place. "There was a chance to come out in front of Miracle Marcus at the bell but I knew they had been running along up front so I decided to bide my time and wait for the effort to take its toll on them," said Sam. "I eased out four-wide going to the 400-metre pole and he travelled up sweetly into the home turn, I never really asked him for much in the run to the post as he had the momentum up and had them covered, I loved the way he laid his head down and chased the leader, it was very rewarding to see and feel him so strong." Like Friday night the evening's honours were evenly shared, Christian Salter trained and drove the first winner Burningupthefloor while Shaun Kennedy and Justin Campbell joined forces to salute the judge with Delightful Junie. Matt Cooper's well-supported Call Me Hector clocked a mile rate of 1:57.6 to beat a smart field by 6.6 metres with the Todd Rattray and Lachlan Dakin combination putting a smile on punters faces with Izaha strolling home to victory. Blackbird Power made it back-to-back wins for Gavin Kelly and Ricky Duggan while Yatsenyuk Leis made it five wins from its last six starts for Shelley Barnes and Rohan Hadley.   Shane Yates for tasracing.com.au

There were seven races decided on Friday night in Launceston with training and driving honours shared with a multiple winner no where in sight. Ben Yole and Rohan Hillier were in action early, sharing success in the Chartley Estate Stakes with the consistent Punchinello. “We sat without cover early but weren’t forced to work and then when Troy (McDonald) came round us at the 1200-metres on the favourite Good Feeling we had cover right up until the home turn and Puncinello finished off strongly,” said Rohan. “He’s been consistent without winning out of turn so it was good to see him rewarded with a powerful victory.” Iden Forest (pictured) ran right up to his last start third to Drillittobits with a runaway 16.9-metre victory after leading all the  way over 2200-metres in the Crown Lager Pace for Christopher and Matty Howlett. The longer the race went the stronger Iden Forest travelled and when Matthew clicked up the four-year-old turning for home he dashed clear for an impressive win. Beam Me Up Chopper, trained and driven by Kate MacLeod, put punters back on track in race three the Carlton Draught Stakes. “We got away well from the second row and settled just worse than midfield, I found the back of Alaphilppe which is where I wanted to be,” said Kate. “Rohan (Hadley) made his move out three-wide at the 800-metre mark and we latched on until the 400-metre pole where I hooked him out four-wide and he was able to round them up comfortably for a soft win.” Real Diamond made it back-to-back wins for Rod Ashwood when steered to victory by Gareth Rattray in the Lees Orchard Stakes. “It was a top performance by Real Diamond, he showed good speed to hold the challenges out early and then when Rowley joined him at the 400-metre pole Gareth just sat there quietly and kept some in reserve for the late surge from Courageous Katee,” said Rod. “That’s his fourth win and his second straight for us in a fortnight, he’s by Western Ideal from Jadah Rose so there may be another win or two in him yet.” El Jays Monet put punters back on the ropes in the Nichols Sound & Communications Stakeswith a courageous all the way win for Sally Stingel and Ricky Duggan. The seven-year-old gelding crossed from the four gate heading in to first turn and fought on like a caged lion when the challenges came left right and centre in the home stretch. Bianca Heenan and Hannah VanDongen kept their successful season rolling with Jeans Mattjesty pulling out three-wide at the bell in the Roberts Equine Supplies Claimer before surging clear in the straight for a 4.5 metre win. The Todd Rattray trained and driven Kadar turned the tables on Watchmylips to take the prize at double figure odds in the Bevan Lee Butchery Two-Year-Old. Rattray rated Kadar to perfection on top and although Watchmylips rattled home coming from last into the stretch Kadar had a length up its sleeve on the post. Watch Beam Me Up Chopper score a powerful victory in the Carlton Draught Stakes over 2200-metres on Friday night in Launceston.   Shane Yates

For the second year Tasracing's Off the Track program will be presenting in the highlighted Equine area at Agfest from May 2 - 4.  Off the Track coordinator Fiona Dearing is delighted to be presenting an enlarged education program.  "This year we'll be showing horses, both standardbreds and thoroughbreds, as they present directly from racing and as seasoned performance horses across popular equine sports," she said.  This year we'll be showing horses, both standardbreds and thoroughbreds, as they present directly from racing and as seasoned performance horses across popular equine sports. Fiona Dearing "This highlights just how versatile both breeds of horses are and, of course, the assistance Tasracing can offer through their regular clinics in various disciplines across the state. "We'll be covering topics including transitioning a horse from racehorse to pleasure horse nutritionally, how to handle behaviours from a horse directly off the track, improving a standardbreds canter and more." The Tasracing Off the Track program welcomes two guest presenters for Agfest, Kathleen Mullan and Dr Tim Kempton. Kathleen Mullan is Harness Racing Australia's welfare officer. Kathleen comes from a strong harness racing family and has shown some truly beautiful standardbreds over the years. Recently she transformed the 113 start Savesometimetodream from racehorse to show horse.  Less than eight months from his last start 'Buck' won the HERO series final at the 2019 VAS Saddle Horse Championships.  Shortly after he also won Best on Show and Supreme Ridden Standardbred at the 2019 SPPHAV State Championships. As recently as this weekend Kathleen has had an incredibly successful EA Southern Cross Show Horse Spectacular in Sydney with her beautiful thoroughbred mare Divinity. Dr Tim Kempton is the founder of Stance Equitec. He has a Bachelor in Rural Science and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry. During his career as a research scientist, Dr Tim questioned the logic of feeding horses a high grain diet, particularly when seeing hot and fizzy behaviour in competition horses.  His research led him to investigate the effects of high starch diets on horse behaviour and performance and to evaluate other feeds including rice bran and coconut meal.  Dr Tim will be presenting on transferring an equine from a racehorse diet to a pleasure / competition horse diet and how to ensure your horse is getting the best nutrition it can for the work it does. When not presenting in the Tasracing round yard Dr Tim will be available for private consultations by appointment. Reprinted with permission of The Advocate

Ryley Major has opened harness racing favourite for the $75,000 Easter Cup final at Mowbray on Saturday night but the market suggests he is only one of many chances. When tab.com.au posted its first market on Wednesday afternoon, it had six horses at less than 10-1 but the early money came for one of the outsiders. Polemarker The Aussie opened at $34 before shortening to $16. Ryley Major ($3), Harjeet ($5) and War Dan ($7.50) remained firm while Franco Tristan ($4 to $4.20), Scooterwillrev ($5.50 to $6.50) and Illegal Immigrant ($10 to $11) were slight drifters. Leading reinsman Ricky Duggan has given punters a lead as he chases his fourth win in the race. Duggan is the regular driver of Inner Light but is sticking with the Craig Hayes-trained Scooterwillrev who he has driven only twice for two minor placings. He believes the horse was in need of the run when third in the Launceston Mile which preceded a strong second to Franco Tristan in his Easter Cup heat. "I know Craig is pretty happy with him and I think he's suited off 10m because he can follow out the front line," Duggan said. Scooterwillrev missed the start badly when he was off the front in the Tasmania Cup three starts ago but his overall standing-start record is very good. 22-YEAR LEASE ON DEVONPORT VENUE Tasracing has moved to reassure harness and greyhound participants following news that the Devonport Showgrounds will be sold. New chief executive Paul Eriksson said in a statement that "while Tasracing is keen to work with the new owners going forward, our position is that we hold the lease to the site for a further 22 years. "We note statements by the Devonport Agricultural and Pastoral Society that nothing will change in the first instance other than the ownership of the site and that consultation with stakeholders will commence regarding future use," he said. "The need to protect and support the interests of North West Coast racing participants is paramount. "Tasracing and the two Devonport race clubs hold 67 meetings annually at the showgrounds servicing more than 170 participants and generating about $1.85 million in race field fees that flow back to the racing industry. "Through its funding of racing in Devonport, Tasracing estimates that it is investing more than $550,000 into the Devonport community annually (excluding prizemoney payments). "We want to assure our industry participants that Tasracing will continue to support racing on the North West Coast and will work to ensure that it is not adversely impacted by this decision." By Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Examiner

Easter Cup heat night once again had plenty of action on and off the track in Launceston on Friday. A power issue off track caused a lengthy delay with credit to the Office of Racing Integrity stewards and participants for ensuring the meeting was able to proceed after a 90-minute delay. On the track, it was a great night of racing with Gavin Lang dominating the night in the sulky with a treble, including a heat of the Easter Cup with Franco Tristan. The other heat of the cup was won by Illegal Immigrant who came home well to win courtesy of a well-timed drive by Troy Hillier. Ben Yole extended his lead on the state’s trainers’ premierships with a treble in Devonport on Sunday. This week we see the first ever harness race meeting in Australia on Good Friday when the Tasmanian Trotting Club plays host to the tier two meeting of the week before the Launceston Pacing Club conduct their premier night of racing on Saturday, featuring the Group 2 Dakin Refrigeration Easter Cup. The Stars Gavin Lang - produced three excellent drives to put on the tape to be played at the junior driver's school when he won the first three races on the Launceston card. The main purpose of Lang’s Launceston mission was to qualify Franco Tristan for Saturday night’s Group 2 Easter Cup, and the six-year-old gelding was the first horse to qualify for the final with an effortless win in the opening heat when he scored by four-metres over Scooterwillrev and The Aussie. Lang also trained and drove Castle Retreat to victory as well as driving Art Frenzy to his third win of the season. Illegal Immigrant - caused a minor upset when he stormed home late to defeat Ryley Major by 1.9 metres in Heat Two of the Easter Cup. Trainer-driver Troy Hillier settled the American Ideal gelding three-back along with the marker pegs and was able to be driven conservatively off a solid tempo that saw the last three quarters all run in under 30 seconds, Illegal Immigrant had too much speed late to record his fifth win of the season. Kohanah - “I think he’s pretty good,” was the quote from his trainer-driver Todd Rattray after the son of Sweet Lou took out the Launceston Pacing Club Golden Slipper. Kohanah flew home in the final 100 metres to pick up the short-priced favourite Topzavski to record his second win at only his third race start. The colt is the first foal out of the Bettors Delight mare Benediction. War Dan Delight - Victorian-trained pacer who looked a class above his rivals on paper in the C0 Pace and he won accordingly. Driver Greg Sugars was forced to do a little bit of work when finding the spot outside the leader in the middle stages of the race, the Dean Braun-trained colt wasn’t out of second gear when winning by 9.8 metres. Black Ops - after finishing in the second spot of five consecutive occasions the Ben Yole-trained pacer is now finding the winning post first winning three of his last four outings, including wins in Launceston on Friday evening and again in Devonport on Sunday night. Multiple Winners Launceston – Friday evening Gavin Lang - driving treble; Art Frenzy, Franco Tristan and Castle Retreat, Gavin Lang - training double; Franco Tristan and Castle Retreat. Devonport – Sunday evening  Ben Yole - training treble; Black Ops, Ready To Fire and Blacklist. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Launceston – Friday evening Harjeet 55.49s, The Aussie 55.73s and All Style Sammy 55.79s. Outside of the Easter Cup heats; Castle Retreat 56.40s, Reign Of Pain 56.52s and El Jays Mystery 56.54s. Devonport – Sunday evening  Mostly Spirit 59.34s, Karalta Moondance 59.40s, Lille 59.45s, Navua Pixie 59.55 and My Girl Pearl 59.56s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Launceston – Friday evening  Hits: Nil Defied The Drift: Art Frenzy $3.70 out to $4.00, Franco Tristan $2.70 out to $3.60, Castle Retreat $2.40 out to $3.40, Illegal Immigrant $12 out to $21, Kohanah $3.70 out to $4.80 and Redason $3.70 out to $3.90. Missed: Maybe Jack $9.00 into $7.50, Mister Magic Man $3.70 into $3.30, War Dan $3.20 into $2.40 and Beam Me Up Chopper $3.20 into $2.35. Devonport – Sunday evening  Hits: Karalta Moondance $3.80 into $2.80, Ready To Fire $9.00 into $4.40, Blacklist $26 into $14 and Flashy Ruler $12 into $6.50. Defied The Drift: Black Ops $3.20 out to $3.60. Missed: Lille $4.60 into $3.60, The Lemondrop Kid $3.80 into $2.90, El Jays Monet $31 into $15, Jetcract $15 into $11 and The Diamond King $15 into $7.50. Trial File Carrick Park - Saturday morning The Melissa Maine trained two-year-old Better Amour recorded the quickest winning mile rate of the four trials conducted when she recorded 2m 7.0s for the 1670-metre distance. Driver Gareth Rattray positioned the daughter of Betterthancheddar behind the leader at the bell before defeating He Got Rocked by one metre with the early leader Badrick a further metre away in third position. Other winners at the trial session included; Its All Bliss (2m 21.1s), Sermac (2m 9.6s) and Levi Jimmy (2m 13.2s). Hobart - Monday evening Tasmanian Derby runner up, Resurgent Storm recorded the fastest winning mile rate of the session in Hobart when the Betterthancheddar colt ran a mile rate of 2m 1.6s. From barrier two driver Zeke Slater had the Roger Whitmore-trained pacer behind the leader at the bell and was able to hold off handy three-year-old filly Still Hungover by one metre, with the third place getter Dee Bee Bobby 99 metres away in third placing. The last two quarters were recorded in 30.8s and 28.5s. Remaining trials were won by; Finn Mac Kee (2m 3.9s), Sweetimnot (2m 3.6s), Brystabella (2m 6.2s) and Dasher Houli (2m 6.7s). Week Ahead Star Tasmanian Pacer Ignatius is back at the track on Thursday night when he lines up in the Group 2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith. The James Rattray-trained and driven pacer is first up since mid-February and was an impressive trial winner at Menangle on April 9 when recording a time of 1m 53.8s for 1609 metres. Ignatius will start from inside the second row over the 2525 metres event that is scheduled to start at 20:03. Friday afternoon the Tasmanian Trotting Club will stage the first-ever harness race meeting in Australia on Good Friday. The meeting will be telecast on Sky Racing 1 and Tasracing.com.au’s Live Stream. The Launceston Pacing Club will stage their premier night of racing on Saturday night, with the $75,000 Group 2 Dakin Refrigeration Easter Cup the main event of the 10-race card. You can make a strong case for almost half the field in the Cup including Victorian-trained runners Franco Tristan and War Dan who will take on Tasmania’s best headlined by Ryley Major, Harjeet, Scooterwillrev, The Aussie and Illegal Immigrant. The Cup is set down to commence at 20:10. Other highlights on Saturday night include the Kevin Gillies Memorial, where Izaha looks the one to beat, and the Elders Insurance Launceston Easter Plate, where the Gavin Lang trained and driven Castle Retreat will be chasing back to back wins on the Launceston track. The first of ten races in Launceston is scheduled for 18:17 and you can catch all the action on Tasracing’s Live Stream Service and Sky Racing who will televise races one and two on Sky Racing 2, with the remainder of the meeting on Sky Racing 1.   Duncan Dornauf

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