Day At The Track

Ryley Major comes of age with Derby win

04:39 PM 12 Apr 2016 NZST
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Ryley Major (Rohan Hillier) after his last 2YO win in Launceston last season
Ryley Major (Rohan Hillier) after his last 2YO win in Launceston last season
Peter Staples Photo

After taking his time as a two-year-old to discover what harness racing was all about the now three-year-old Ryley Major has emerged as a star in his own right.

At UBET Park Hobart last Sunday night Ryley Major  gave his rivals a pacing lesson to score an impressive all-the-way win in the Tasmanian Derby over 2579 metres.

The Rohan Hillier-trained gelding made it look easy as he mustered speed to retain the front from the pole position.

Despite being pressured over the final lap the gelded son of Art Major forged clear over the concluding stages to score by over four metres from El Major with Code Black, that faced the breeze throughout, a head away third.

It was Ryley Major's firth win in succession this season and his sixth in a row if you carry over his win at his last start as a two-year-old in July last year.

While it was far from a career best effort it was clearly the gelding's biggest pay day with the winner's prize of $17,286 taking his career tally to almost $54,000.

"That might not be his best win but it is definitely the most prestigious," Hillier said.

The weather conditions made it tough for racing on Sunday with gale-force winds gusting up to 80 kph causing concern for many runners, especially down the back straight.

"The race was run in blustery conditions and he had to lead the charge into strong wind but he handled it well."

"The horse has come a long way this time in and I am confident he can continue to improve," he said.

Ryley Major was bred by Hillier who owned and raced the dam Shez Ryleymak who won 23 and placed 16 times from her 50 starts for over $270,000 in prizemoney.

Shez Ryleymak also was named Tasmanian Horse of the Year in her two and three-year-old seasons.

Ryley Major is likely to have his next start in the Tasmanian Yearling Sale Classic for 3YO colts and geldings in Launceston on Sunday night.

While Riley Major was impressive there was at least one hard-luck story from the race with talented gelding Hillview Jake unable to obtain a clear run at any stage after being hemmed in behind the leader for the duration.

Driver Ricky Duggan tried desperately to find a way off the fence but every time he shifted out to make a move the gap closed but he plugged away to finish fourth, beaten five metres.

Peter Staples

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