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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

Veteran harness racing pacer Motu Crusader captured another feature race in Tasmania when he scored a game win in the $10,000 Beautide Launceston Mile over 1680 metres last Sunday night. Motu Crusader has enjoyed a lot of success in Tasmania as he has won the past two Tasmania Cups and a bunch of other feature races over the past two years. At this most recent outing he was partnered by Victorian driver Grant Campbell who allowed the gelding to settle rearward and come with a late charge but he only just got there in the end. Motu Crusader, owned by Merv Butterworth, powered home to edge out Five Star Anvil in the shadows of the post. "We enjoyed a great run in the race but a slower than expected first half mile didn't help his cause," Campbell said. "I always thought that I was going to catch Five Star Anvil but we only just got there." "The fact that it's a long home straight certainly helped," he said. The driver was full of praise for trainer Zeke Slater who had not started the gelding since he contested the Hunter Cup in Victoria on February 1. Slater said Motu Crusader's next target will be the Easter Cup in Launceston on April 20. Peter Staples.

The $400,000 Group 1 A. G Hunter Cup is on the agenda for recent Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader that scored another effortless win in Launceston last Friday night. At this latest assignment Motu Crusader gave his rivals a 40-metre start but meted out a pacing lesson to his rivals as he powered home to score by over three metres from recent Hobart Pacing Cup winner Spot Nine in the McKillop Insurances Discretionary Handicap over 2200 metres. Motu Crusader's trainer Zeke Slater was delighted with the win and confirmed the A. G Hunter Cup as the likely next big-race target for the seven-year-old. "He meets most of the qualifications to run in the Hunter Cup so that's the race we're looking at," Slater said. "He ran a terrific time off his 40-metre handicap and he ran home his last half (800 metres) in 55.4 so you don't get much better than that on this track," he said. Motu Crusader stepped cleanly off his back mark and top reinsman Ricky Duggan had him pacing sweetly and in touch with the main body of the field after traveling 600 metres. It was obvious a long way from home that the Merv and Meg Butterworth-owned gelding had the field covered and when Duggan called on him to extend at the top of the home straight he powered home to win without being fully extended. The Hunter Cup will be run in Victoria at Tabcorp Park Melton on February 1. By Peter Staples

Recent Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader kept his winning streak intact when he powered his way to an effortless win in the Lees Orchard Free-For-All at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. With Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Motu Crusader began well from his near outside front-row draw (7) and when the field settled he was set alight and had the lead in no time. When Rattray gave him more rein turning for home the seven-year-old gelding forged clear and went on to score by nine metres from interstate invader Amadmancomesundone with Maybe Doc just over 10 metres astern. It was an awesome win and one that trainer Zeke Slater expected. Motu Crusader is owned and raced by Merv and Meg Butterworth who have been sending horses to Slater for a few years and with much success with other horses such as Greysteel and star mare Queen of Fire. Slater has emerged as a quality trainer-horseman and with an owner such as Butterworth behind him he should be able to look forward to a bright future. Moto Crusader is likely to stay in Tasmania and be aimed at the Easter Cup By Peter Staples    

THE Tony Petersen-trained Ransom Olds lost no admirers with a gallant fourth in the $40,000 Tasmania Cup at Tattersall's Park last Sunday so those who supported the gelding will no doubt be keen to rally for him in tonight's heat of the Hobart Pacing Cup at the same venue. Ransom Olds has started four times this preparation for two minor placings but his fourth last week was good enough to suggest he can be the testing material for his rivals in race seven tonight. The heat boasts only a small field of six with Ransom Olds, Greysteel and smart mare Laterron likely to do battle for favouritism. Greysteel has not started since mid July when third of seven in ka free-for-all over 2200 metres in Launceston. The Zeke Slater-trained nine-year-old has a terrific first-up record and from barrier five he could have enough speed to either lead or grab the one-one spot if Ransom Olds finds the front. Slater also has Laterron engaged and this talented mare comes off a game third in the George Johnson behind Delightful Christian and Arts Bliss last Sunday night. The interesting runner is the sole interstate invader Amadmancomesundone from the Craig Knowles stable at Mitchell Park. Amadmancomesundone hasn't won since March last year and the closet he has come to winning a race recently is a fifth at Swan Hill in a field of nine and seven metres from the winner. The Melissa Maine-trained Spot Nine (gate 2) and pole marker Udoit have only moderate form from recent outings and would need to improve significantly to cause an upset. Peter Staples  

TASMANIAN trainer Zeke Slater celebrated back-to-back wins in the prestigious $40,000 Tasmania Cup when his gallant seven-year-old pacer Moto Crusader stormed home to beat the favourite in a photo-finish at Tattersall's Park today. Dapper Dana showed great acceleration to lead from the pole position but a lap further out and the favourite Im Corzin Terror assumed that mantle and looked to be in control when the field wheeled for home the last time. But that's when ace driver Gareth Rattray called on Moto Crusader to unleash and the gelding quickly put himself in contention and powered home to grab victory in the last few strides. Moto Crusader scored by a head from the Dean Braun-trained Im Corzin Terror (Chris Alford) with Our Chain of Command motoring home to finish third but 7-1/2 metres from the runner-up. Moto Crusader has been back in the care of Slater for a while but the gelding's run in the City of Launceston Cup last week was too bad to be true. He finished fourth in a field of seven and beaten over 15 metres when sent out a long odds-on favourite. But Slater said he was confident before this latest assignment that the horse had improved enough to be at his best for today's race, although punters did not share his views as the horse was sent around a $22 outsider. Listen to what trainer Zeke Slater had to say about Moto Crusader's latest Tasmania Cup win. Peter Staples

Well bred pacer Giuliani delivered somewhat of a knockout blow to punters in Launceston on Sunday night even though he went onto the race on the back of successive wins. Giuliani had gone around a short-price favourite at his two previous outings for trainer Zeke Slater but he was the big drifter in the betting easing to start at the lucrative price of $7 in the Lees Orchard pace. All the educated money came for Mister Sumna that was heavily backed in to start the odds-on favourite. But punters were licking their wounds a long way from home after the favourite, when trying to hunt up along the rails to prevent The Majority from leading, jumped out of his gear and went into a wild break with his trainer-driver Craig Hayes unable to get him back into a pace. The Majority travelled well but with Giuliani having spent most of the race in the one-out-one-back position he w as poised to pounce. When driver Ricky Duggan finally decided to present Giuliani he quickly put the end result beyond doubt going on to score convincingly from Willbe Doc that came from beyond midfield leaving the back straight the last time with High Flyin Ruler a fast-finishing third just ahead of The Majority. Peter Staples  

HARNESS racing trainer Zeke Slater is confident that once the “penny drops” with his lightly raced four-year-old Giuliani the sky could be the limit. Giuliani contested a 3C0 or better for three-year-olds and older over 2090 metres at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart last night (Sunday) in which he emerged triumphant despite trying to throw the race away turning for home. Giuliani worked his way to the front early in the race but turning for home he broke gait and looked likely to miss a place but driver Ricky Duggan was able to get the gelding back in his gear and in the home straight he regained the lead and went on to score by seven metres from Podarkes with Smokin Mustard almost five metres away third. It was Giuliani’s second career win from only nine starts and he also has notched four minor placings of which most have come in the past two months. It was an impressive effort on Sunday night and one that pleased Slater but he also could not hide his frustration with the gelded son of Live Or Die that is owned by Merv Butterworth. Listen to what trainer Zeke Slater had to say about Giuliani after his win. Peter Staples  

Winning three feature races on the Launceston circuit was enough for talented free-for-aller Greysteel to win the Launceston Club’s Horse of the Year award. Greysteel emerged triumphant in the $20,000 City of Launceston Cup, $10,000 Golden Mile and the $10,000 Launceston Mile. The Zeke Slater-trained grey gelding had eight starts on the Mowbray track for three wins and two minor placings. The award, which is for performances on the Mowbray track only, is decided upon by an independent panel of judges. The Launceston Pacing Club’s other awards were decided by points accumulated throughout the season. Riverboat Jasper was named 3YO of the year courtesy of him winning six of his nine starts at The TOTE Racing Centre while Tessanzo was mare of the year winning four of her 16 starts. All of the above mentioned winners are likely to poll well in the statewide horse of the year awards that will be announced at the Tasmanian harness Racing Awards dinner at Wrest Point casino in Hobart on September 21. by Peter Staples

Talented harness racing trainer Zeke Slater continues to fill up his stable with tenants belonging to high-profile Melbourne based owner Merv Butterworth.

Talented harness racing trainer Zeke Slater continues to fill up his stable with tenants belonging to high-profile Melbourne based owner Merv Butterworth.

Greysteel made up for luckless results in a couple of recent feature races with a game win in the $10,000 Golden Mile in Launceston on Sunday night.

It has been a while since harness racing eight-year-old Boozy Rouge had been in the winner's circle but he bounced back in a big way at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight Sunday the 31st of March.

Harness racing trainer Zeke Slater is rapidly earning a reputation as the "Cups King" with the most recent addition to his stable Stone Skipper scoring an impressive all-the-way win in the Westbury Cup at Carrick yesterday.

Young Tasmanian harness racing trainer Zeke Slater celebrated his biggest win when Motu Crusader careered away from his rivals to take out the $40,000 Tasmania Cup at Tattersall's Park.

Greysteel confirmed his status as a genuine Tasmania Cup contender when he led all the way to take out the $20,000 City of Launceston Cup over 2200 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre last Sunday night (December 17). Greysteel gave a star-studded field a pacing lesson and convinced his trainer Zeke Slater that he was a live chance to win the coveted Tasmania Cup in Hobart next Sunday night.

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