Day At The Track
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Illegal Immigrant produced one of the best efforts harness racing seen on the Hobart circuit this season when he powered his way to an impressive win in a C1 final over 2090 metres on Friday night. With his trainer-owner Troy Hillier in the sulky, the gelded son of American Ideal was set a task when Hillier eased him three-wide at the bell to make his run but he was left stranded and without cover to the homer straight. But the lightly raced five-year-old was up to the task and made it look easy as he cruised alongside the leaders The Aussie and Buster William and went on to defeat Buster William by over five metres with The Aussie seven metres astern. Hillier purchased the gelding from New Zealand for an undisclosed sum but he said the two recent wins had helped pay for well over half the outlay. "I haven't picked out any races in particular for this horse but I know one thing for sure, he's very good," Hillier said. Illegal Immigrant has had 22 starts for five wins and four minor placings but if Hillier's assessment is correct there are a lot more wins in store. Peter Staples

TASMANIAN harness racing trainer Troy Hillier has made some handy purchases over the years but his latest venture is his best. Hillier claimed nine-year-old pacer Im Barney Rubble in a claiming race at Melton in Victoria at the end of October last year for $10,000 and yesterday at Luxbet Park the gelding scored an emphatic win in the $20,000 Hobart Pacing Cup over 3060 metres. Im Barney Rubble ($4.80) started off the front row in the standing start event and stepped straight to the front with the trainer's twin brother Rohan Hillier in the sulky. The gelding set a solid pace and when he was asked to extend turning for home he careered away from his rivals to score by 27 metres from Major Callum ($3 favourite) with Just Knew $4.90) a half-head away third. "I had my eye on the horse for a while before I bought him because I thought he might be able to win a few races here in Tasmania," Troy Hiller said. "He was with trainer Lance Justice and the horse wasn't going all that well having not won for about 30 starts, which is why he was put in claiming races over there. "But I'd watched replays of a few of his runs earlier in the year and I thought a change of scenery and different training environment might rejuvenate the horse so I took a punt and claimed him. "He ran second at is first start for me in Launceston in the Danbury Park Cup but two starts later he won his Hobart Pacing Cup heat and that almost paid for him. "He's led today and in the end he's absolutely blitzed them so hopefully he can retain this form and go on and win more races." Im Barney Rubble (Life Sign-Pebbles) has had 120 starts for 19 wins and 13 minor placings form $171,000 in prizemoney and Hillier confirmed his next main mission will be the Devonport Cup.   Peter Staples

Talented harness racing trainer Kate MacLeod landed one of the bargain buys of the year when she secured former NSW pacer Rattlenhum for a modest sum earlier this year. The gelded son of Riverboat King had won only one race from 50 starts for Broken Hill owner-trainer Tony Camilleri when he was advertised the gelding for sale on the Internet for $1500. In Launceston on Sunday Rattlenhum made it two wins from only three starts for MacLeod, leading throughout with ace reinsman Troy Hillier in the sulky. In blustery conditions Rattlenhum ($2.80) forged to the lead soon after the start and when seriously challenged in the home straight the last time he refused to wilt and forged clear close to home to score from Olivers Mate ($5) with the favourite Regmondo ($2.60) third. "I was looking to buy a horse for my Mum (Ruth) to race and came across Rattlenhum on the Internet," MacLeod said. "I spoke to the owner Tony Camilleri for a while and he explained the horse had just gone a bit sour but for $1500 I thought he was worth a punt. "He had a win and a third at Broken Hill before I bought him in April and he won at his first start for me in Launceston a month later. "I tipped him out for a spell and he was a bit unlucky when fourth first-up two weeks ago. "But today once he got the front I knew he'd be very hard to run down. "He can be a bit moody and is a bit of a pig at times but overall he's doing a good job and Mum's happy." Peter Staples

Talented harness racing reinsman Troy Hillier had hoped to secure a cosy run in a race in Launceston last Sunday night that would have given his charge These Days every opportunity to emerge triumphant. These Days drew barrier eight which meant he started from the inside of the second row and even though he knew the horse that drew directly in front of him, Red Sun Bliss, had no genuine early speed he never expected to be shuffled back to near last and four-back the fence after the field had traveled 300 metres. These Days was still last leaving the back straight the last time with race leader Regal Idea travelling comfortably without having exhausted too much energy. But when Vander Jenkins eased out three-wide turning for home Hillier latched onto the back of that horse for a cart home. When Hillier eased These Days four-wide to challenge the six-year-old charged home and hit the line with a half-metre to spare over Vander Jenkins with Regal Idea a distant third. "At one stage I thought I might be in a bit of trouble because there was no way out and I really didn't want to ease right back to last," Hillier said. "But I was able to her hi off the fence turning for home and when he balanced up in the straight he worked home well." These Days is trained by Kate McLeod at Bridport and given how he gelding hit the line there should be more wins in store for the son of Blissfull Hall in the coming weeks. These Days has won five and been laced a dozen times from 28 starts for close to $33,000 in stakes. Peter Staples

Star Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Ryley Major will most likely head to Queensland next month to tackle that state's harness racing Derby following his impressive win in the $30,000 Globe Derby Stakes in Launceston on Sunday night. Ryley Major made it seven wins in succession when he led throughout to easily take out the prestigious sires stakes event over 2200 metres scoring comfortably from Hillview Jake and Spot Eight. The gelding's trainer-driver and part-owner Rohan Hillier said Ryley major had missed an opportunity to contest the rich Group 1 sires stakes series in Victoria for which he was qualified but that the $75,000 Queensland Derby has become a possible target. "There's no doubt this horse would be competitive against what is likely to go around in the Queensland Derby so I just have to wait and see how the horse is in the next week or so before I make a final decision on travelling him to Queensland," Hillier said. "He's unbeaten from eight starts this season so he's definitely earned enough to warrant making the trip and if I go I'll take the family and make a holiday of it. "If we go I'd also run him in the $25,000 Gold Coast Derby on July 9 which is a week before the Queensland Derby and they are both run at Albion Park. "He's won this race (Globe Derby) by leading but that's not his go. He has really learned how to race this time in but he is much better horse when he doesn't lead. This season's Tasmanian Derby winner was competitive against the best two-year-olds last season but he has gone to another level this season and Hillier is confident he will be even better as a four and five-year-old. Peter Staples

Twin brothers Rohan and Troy Hillier have always been competitive, especially when it comes to harness racing. So when Troy took over the training of Robyn Scherbotsky from his brother a short time ago it was going to come as no surprise if Troy fired a barb at Rohan about how he had improved the mare if she won a race. In Launceston last Sunday night Robyn Scherbotsky led throughout for an effortless win in a heat of the Harry Holgate Memorial over 2200 metres. With Troy in the sulky, the four-year-old had no trouble finding the front and was never seriously challenged on her way to a seven-metre victory from Frankie Falzoni and Ive Got Oomph. “She’s definitely improved since I took over the training of this mare,” Troy said with a wry smile. “She did it well and a front row draw would make her hard to beat in the Final.” Robyn Scherbotsky has been officially prepared by Troy for five starts, which have netted two wins, two seconds and a fifth. However, this latest win has caused a bit of friction in the family according to Rohan. “I don’t mind Troy having a bit of fun with his comments, but he’s been down at Bicheno sun bathing this past week, so I need a bit of credit for the mare’s latest win,” Rohan said. Robyn Scherbotsky was bred by the Nevele R Stud in New Zealand being by McArdle from the Holmes Hanover mare Reincarnation. She began her career in May 2013, but didn’t notch her first win until April this year at start number 11. The other Harry Holgate Memorial heat was won by the Barrie Rattray-trained Who Is Hardeen, which also led throughout. Who is Hardeen is a promising type which has seven wins and nine placings from 28 starts. PETER STAPLES

THE outcome of The Examiner Stakes for C1 class pacers in Launceston today was always going to be determined by the caliber of reinsmanship. And so it was with underrated driver Samantha Freeman guiding race favourite The Family Guy to victory in a keenly contested event over 2200 metres at The Tote Racing Centre. Robyn Scherbotsky showed god early speed to easily find the front and once settled driver Troy Hillier ensured a solid tempo while Freeman had The Family Guy settled near the rear of the field from his outside second-row draw. But it was a lightning-like move made by Freeman midrace hat saw The Family Guy rush around the field to sit at the leader's wheel. The leading pair settled down to a two-horse war in the home straight but when Freeman called on her charge for the supreme effort the gelded son of Union Guy forged clear and went on to defeat Robyn Scherbotsky by almost two metres with Lovethelifeyoulive almost six metres away third after trailing the leader throughout. The Family Guy's trainer Brent Parish confirmed it was the drive that won the race. "Sam (Freeman) told me before the race that if she drove the horse well he should win and that's pretty much how it panned out" Parish said. Freeman was having her fourth drive aboard The Family Guy and had been placed at her three previous drives on the four-year-old. The Family Guy has now won nine and been placed 18 times from his 52 starts for over $54,000 in stakes. Peter Staples

KAROOLA trainer Dick Eaves has been enjoying his fair share of success lately and it continued at Devonport on Monday night. Eaves prepared Another Jasper to score a narrow but impressive win in the SEA FM Stakes for C1 pacers over 2297 metres. The pace was hot early with Peace Corps and Modern McKenzie both determined to lead with Peace Corps eventually securing the front position while Another Jasper's driver Troy Hillier was content to allow his charge to settle rearward and travel sweetly in his comfort zone. When Hillier called on Another Jasper to extend in the back straight the last time the gelding responded well and went on to score by a neck from Boutique Art with Bunjil Boy three metres away third. Another Jasper, owned and bred by Bill Fawdry and his daughter Tamra Fawdry, has won two and been placed three times from his 13 starts this season with both of his wins coming on the Devonport circuit. By Peter Staples

Brighton harness racing trainer Matthew Dwyer is confident he has found the key to former Victorian pacer Fictional Hero. When the five-year-old arrived in Tasmania he was a maiden that boasted 11 minor placings from 37 starts. Since joining Dwyer’s stable last month he has won at his only two outings for his mew mentor. This latest victory follows a first-up win for Dwyer in Hobart a week earlier. On Sunday night driver Troy Hillier was content to allow the gelding to face the breeze outside of the leader Hesione. Fictional Hero forged to the lead in the home straight and staved off determined challenges from runner-up Partyboy Glenwood with the heavily backed favourite Lonesome Kid a luckless third. Lonesome Kid was backed in to start the $1.70 favourite but had insufficient room to get through over the concluding stages with the driver Grant Hodges hitting the line with a lap full of horse. Dwyer is building a handy team and he could be a major player in some feature races over the December carnival. Peter Staples

In September 2011, Tasracing introduced changes designed to increase opportunities for claiming novice drivers, who are new drivers that can claim a concession on some horses allowing the horse to drop back in class or be advantaged in the barrier draw.

Tasmania's world champion middleweight boxer Daniel Geale made a special trip to Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday to be a part of the Tasmanian Pacing Club's Harness Racing Cup meeting.

Top Tasmanian harness racing trainer Tony Petersen erred on the side of caution when asked if there was plenty of scope about his latest stable acquisition Guvnor despite the gelding making it two wins in succession last Sunday night.

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