Day At The Track

Two Devonport winner heading to Golden Apple

12:44 PM 29 Nov 2020 NZDT
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Rohan Hillier, harness racing
Rohan Hillier

A strong crowd was in attendance to celebrate Devonport Show Day at the combined harness racing and greyhound race meeting in Devonport, where two of the pacing winners will head to in next month’s Group 3 Golden Apple in Launceston.

The Rohan Hillier-trained and driven Lip Reader won a discretionary handicap over 2645 metres while Victoria Pass chalked up his fifth win in a row.

Lip Reader settled one-out and two-back before finding the spot outside the leader at the bell and proved too good for the leader Black Centurian by 3.1 metres with Perfect Mach a half head away third in a mile rate of 2m 4.1s.

“He had to be beating that field if he was going to be competitive in a race like the Golden Apple,” said Hillier after the race.

“I had probably been a bit easy on him over the last fortnight, and this race was only a spur of the moment decision to go this week,” added the trainer.

The heats of the Golden Apple are the next target for Lip Reader with the heats set to be staged in Launceston on 13 December before the $30,000 Final on 19 December.

The Devonport Cup in mid-January is also on the cards.

“He will miss the free-for-all in Hobart next and then go straight into the Golden Apple,” said the winning trainer-driver.

Some would suspect an issue with who would drive Lip Reader in the Golden Apple given Hillier trains and drives last year’s winner Ryley Major who produced a mammoth effort to win that event off a 30-metre handicap over the 2200 metres.

However, Hillier indicated the star pacer might not be there which is devastating to think that the connections of one of the best pacers in the state are happy to stay at home and miss one of the state’s significant races.

“Conor (Crook) will be offered the drive if Ryley Major is in it, I just know how much the run took out of Ryley Major last year and this year looks like it is going to be a better class of horse off the front mark,” said Hillier.

Later in the night on the Devonport card the Zeke Slater-trained Victoria Pass made it five wins in a row and the trainer indicated that the Golden Apple is on the raider as is the Devonport Pacing Cup.

Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing


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