Day At The Track

Ryley Major ready for clash in Cup heat

04:03 PM 28 Mar 2021 NZDT
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Ryley Major, Harness racing Photo

In 2015 Rohan Hillier and Dean Braun teamed up to win the Easter Cup with Rule Like A King.

In this year series, the duo will be rivals in Northern Tasmania’s premier race, which kicks off with two heats in Launceston on Sunday night.

The Dean Braun-trained Our Princess Tiffany has been allocated a 30-metre handicap when she lines up in heat two, after toying with her rivals in the George Johnson in Hobart last time out.

She takes on Ryley Major, who has a 20-metre handicap in the heat, with the first seven placegetters qualifying for Saturday night’s Group 2 Final.

The gelded son of Art Major won the Devonport Cup in mid-January before chasing home Ignatius on 25 January in Hobart, which was his last start in the island state.

Connections of Ryley Major elected to send the pacer to Victoria where he had a five-start campaign, and although he didn’t find the winners circle, trainer-driver Rohan Hillier was pleased with the pacers efforts.

“He was very luckless. He kept drawing where he had to, which was the second-row, his only bad run I thought was the Ararat Cup. The rest of his runs, his sectionals were very good,” said Hillier about his stable star.

The 2019-2020 Tasmanian Horse Of The year has arrived back in Hillier’s barn, and he is happy with the pacer heading into Sunday’s heat.

“He has been back almost two-weeks, and he has been working good, and I am expecting a forward showing,” said the trainer-driver.

“He begins like a rocket, and he will make his 20-metre handicap 10-metres with his manners,” added Hillier.

If successful in Saturday’s final, the pacer will become the first horse ever to win the states three premier races after winning the 2019 Tasmania Cup and the Devonport Cup this year.

Hillier also plays a strong hand in the Easter Cup’s opening heat with Tasmanian Cup placegetter Lip Reader, who will be driven by Hillier’s stable foreman, Conor Crook.

“He was probably handicapped out of the Tasmania Cup, and for a horse that hasn’t won a race over $12,000, he was probably a bit stiff to get 10-metres here, but he is going good,” said Hillier.

“He will acquit himself well, and I’m sure he will make the final,” added the Beauty Point-based trainer.

His rivals in the opening heat include the Dean Braun-trained Willie Go West, who started favourite in the Tasmania Cup but ruined his chances when he galloped away, and The Shallows, who was defeated 4.6-metres by Bullys Delight in the Tasmania Cup Final.

The first heat of the Easter Cup is race four at 19:30, with the second heat set down as race six at 20:42.

Race one is scheduled for 18:07 and will be shown on Sky Racing 2, with the remainder of the card on Sky Racing 1, all races will be streamed on TasracingTV.


Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

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