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The state’s reigning leading female trainer titleholder Juanita McKenzie is still in search of her first winner for the 2018/19 season. Tonight in Launceston Juanita has two runners from her Magra stables Laredo Torpedo in race four the Elders Insurance Launceston Pace and The Aussie in race six the Great Northern Super Crisp Pace. “Laredo Torpedo is a work in progess, he galloped excessively on debut in the state and finished last but his effort to run fourth last week was solid, he worked home well down the outside and only beaten two to three metres (2.7-metres) in the race won by Pushkin,” said Juanita. “Ricky (Duggan) was happy with his run and said he felt good so I’m expecting further improvement from him tonight, he has always had a few issues but we will keep working on those as the season goes on and get him sorted out.” Juanita has slowly been cutting back her team over the past couple of years but one horse she won’t be parting ways with is the ever consistent The Aussie. “I’m trying to concentrate more on life-balance these days and so we don’t have as bigger stable as in the past and I’m happy with that, I can put more time into family and also focus more on the better performers,” said a contented Juanita. “The Aussie would have to be the most honest horse I’ve ever been associated with, he is Mister  100% every start, he won six races last season and flew home when third to Illegal Immigrant in Launceston a fortnight ago.” “We were very confident he would race well last week but he suffered broken gear at the start and was retired from the event but he looks well suited tonight in a small field on the second line as I believe he races better from behind.” Mark Yole comes off his first bag of four winners in Hobart and has another handy book of eight drives including two of his winners from last week and the popular pick Mornings in race one, The Ben Yole-trained Dawn Ofa New Day-Frans Jewel three-year-old has won its only two runs in the state with Mark in the gig on both occasions. Mark will also attempt to guide El Jays Monet to a winning hat-trick in race six and will again partner Im Barney Rubble in search of back-to-back wins in race seven the Impress Print Claimer. Mark’s other major hopes of repeating his sensational effort of a quartet of winners come in race five the Carlton Draught Stakes with Lake Eyre and in the last on the card the Chartley Estate Trotters Discretionary with the Adam Emery prepared Ten Caisses. Tonight’s eight event Launceston Pacing Club card, commencing at 17.00, may be viewed on the live stream service at Shane Yates

While we all celebrate Mother’s Day, Magra harness racing trainer Juanita McKenzie is also preparing for her 21st. “Oh heavens, if only,” laughed Juanita. With 20 wins for the season Juanita has worked herself into fourth place on the Tasmanian Trainers Premiership Table and is a runaway leader in the Leading Female Trainers Award. “It’s been a rewarding season for our stable, we have a strong little team that are all working well and racing consistently so I’m happy with the way the year is panning out.” Juanita’s winning percentage of 23 is second only to Rohan Hillier’s amazing 38 percent for trainers with 20 wins or more for the season. One pacer hugely responsible for the amazing strike rate is The Aussie, notching up six wins and seven placings from 15 starts for the stable. “The Aussie has been a real revelation, we got him from Victoria early last year but he had a few issues when he arrived and it took us a while to get him right, but once we did he has just been an incredible addition to our stable,” said Juanita, full of admiration. The Art Major-The Kindly One four-year-old will contest race four, the Sky Racing Pace over 2090 metres from the stand. “The Aussie loves stand starts, he’s won two and been placed three of his six starts from the tapes so I’m sure he will begin well and take a power of beating,” said the quietly confident trainer. “Rodney Ashwood will handle him tonight and he does a great job, not just as our stable driver along with Ricky Duggan but as our farrier as well, I call him our shoe-oligist as he does some sensational work.” Juanita’s current team includes Jaks Teller, the winner of eight of eleven starts, Mister Lennox, Remember Joe and Isaac. “We are looking at Victorian opportunities for Isaac and The Aussie in the coming weeks so it would be encouraging to see The Aussie go well tonight.” said the Magra mentor. Tonight’s seven-event Tasmanian Pacing Club card commences at 17.02 and may be viewed by the TasracingTV live stream service at Catch Duncan Dornauf's From The Stables interview with trainer Marc Butler about his runners' chances in the meeting: Shane Yates

Former Tasmanian Derby winner Mister Lennox returned to his brilliant best to win the Triple M Hobart Pacing Cup at the Elwick harness racing centre in Hobart last night. Mister Lennox ($7) came from well back with a lap remaining to score comfortably from outsider Call her Julie ($61) with Dapper Dana ($5.50) a close-up third and just ahead of Bayridge Bill ($31). The win gave Hall of Fame driver Ricky Duggan his first Hobart Cup and he heaped praise on the gelding that had been struggling to find the winner's circle in recent times. "This horse was a good run in the Tasmania Cup behind Master Secret two weeks ago and I thought all he would need to win tonight was a bit of luck to go his way," Duggan said. "He stepped away safely and we just took our time to find a spot and then I was able to latch onto the back of Remember Joe when that horse made his move a lap from home. "I just needed Remember Joe to take us far enough into the race and thankfully he did and when I pulled my horse out four-wide at the top of the straight he ran on strongly and won well." It was a fiercely contested race with The Majority stepping straight to the front while the favourite Taurisi ($2.50) galloped away and settled last of the field of 14. Mister Lennox, prepared by Juanita McKenzie, has notched 15 wins and nine minor placings from 49 starts for $126,461 in stakes. Peter Staples

One of Tasmania's most exciting harness racing  pacers Jaks Teller will line up in a race at Luxbet Park Hobart tomorrow night with bookmakers predicting the Juanita McKenzie-trained gelding will make it six wins in succession. Early markets have Jaks Teller at the prohibitive price of $1.30 but to some that represents luxury odds. At the four-year-old's most recent outing in Hobart two weeks ago he recorded a mile rate of 1.58.8 over 2090 metres and ran home his last half (800m) in a slick 56.3 seconds which was one of the fastest times recorded by a class three horse this season. While his trainer is trying to keep a lid on the son of Washinton VC's potential it is clear the New Zealand-bred entire has the potential to quickly win his way to open class. Jaks Teller has drawn gate three in a C3-C4 mobile event over 2090 metres and should he find the lead it is hard to see any of his rivals running him down. Even if the speedy Ebonyallstarzzz beats him to the front, Jaks Telller's driver Ricky Duggan can either race outside of the leader or push on for the lead, which would benefit Ebonyallstarzzz because she would then enjoy the run of the race on the leader's back which would enhance her chances of filling a place. Peter Staples  

Former Tasmanian Derby winner Mister Lennox broke the harness racing track record in Launceston on Sunday night when he flashed home to win the $10,000 Golden Mile over 1680 metres. The Juanita McKenzie-trained gelding emerged from the pack to chase down tear away leader I Am Camelot to score by two metres clocking a mile rate of 1.54.5 that set a new benchmark for open class pacers. It eclipsed the previous best of 1.55 set by Queens Advocate, also trained by McKenzie, in February last year. It made it back-to-back Golden Miles for the five-year-old gelding that was dispatched to top NSW trainer Paul Fitzpatrick after winning last year's Golden Mile however he was unplaced from five starts. McKenzie said Mister Lenox could soon head to Melbourne with the hope of winning an M0 event at Melton. It was one of five winners in succession for Hillier who captured races 5-9 for what was a personal best haul. Hillier has driven four winners on a program a few times, according to the popular reinsman, but this is his first quintet of winners. His winners were Mister Lennox, Chirac, Rocknroll Turbo, Chenin Valley and Lord Jones. Two of the wins were aboard horses he trains, Rocknroll Turbo and Chenin Valley, while the others were for individual trainers. To highlight his popularity, Hillier had a drive in every race on the 10-event card. Peter Staples

Underrated Falcon Seelster mare Zumba Bromac broke through or an overdue harness racing win when she emerged triumphant in a thrilling three-way photo-finish in C3-C4 pace over 1680 metres at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston last night. The Juanita McKenzie-trained mare was slotted into the one-out-two-back position by driver Ricky Duggan from a second-row draw and she travelled sweetly to the home turn where Duggan was the first to ease into the three-wide line. But Gareth Rattray aboard Jetcraft, that had enjoyed the one-out-one-back position for most of the race, went ahead of Duggan's charge forcing Zumba Bromac four-wide at the top of the home straight. Race leader Deploy surrendered when Jetcraft swept to the lead and while the Deborah Williams-trained gelding gave his all over the final 100 metres Zumba Bromac was able to find enough to make last-ditch lunge to win by a nose with Deploy fighting on gamely to grab third only a half-head away. It was Zumba Bromac's second win for the season from 10 starts but it was her eighth career win from 28 outings. Peter Staples

Ancient Moonlight is lucky to be alive let alone winning races. The Juanita McKenzie-trained gelded son of Live or Die dodged death about a year ago but thanks to luck being on his side and some tender loving care from his owners and trainer the harness racing gelding looks set to realise the potential he showed when he first arrived in Tasmania. Ancient Moonlight was having his first start for a year when he came from last turning for home to score a runaway victory in the Talbot Hotel Pace for C3-C4 performers over 2090m metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. One of his part-owners Barry Cooper said the gelding virtually died on the operating table but somehow managed to survive the ordeal. "The horse's heart stopped and he was gone but he is a fighter and came back to us and here he is winning at his first start since the ordeal. It's quite amazing," an motional Cooper said after the win. Duggan was full of praise for the gelding that was purchased for an undisclosed sum in New Zealand as a four-year-old. He had only three starts in Tasmania as a four-year-old winning two after a debut second. The gelding resumed as a five-year-old with a win at Carrick in a heat of the Northern Tasmanian Light Harness Association Cup but he suffered an injury in the final and that was his last start before emerging triumphant last night. Duggan said the horse is bound for bigger and better things. "To come from where he was tonight and win is an amazing effort and I'm sure there are plenty more wins in store for him," Duggan said. Peter Staples

Major Callum came of age at Luxbet Park Hobart last night when the modestly-performed harness racing six-year-old delivered a career-best effort to win the Shadforths Financial Group Pace over 2579 metres. The Juanita McKenzie-trained gelding stepped well from the standing start but was forced to work hard to eventually find the lead while the odds-on favourite Resurgent Spirit also had to work three-wide for 500 metres before eventually finding a spot at the leader's wheel. Major Callum ($16) looked to be struggling 500 metres out when Resurgent Spirit applied the pressure but the gelded son of Art Major refused to wilt and fought back to edge out the favourite on the line with Macho Comacho ($35) working home well to grab third. It was Major Callum's 11th but clearly his best and McKenzie said the gelding had always had above average ability but too often had been the victim of bad luck in his races. "This horse tries so hard every time he goes around and had it not been for rotten luck in a lot of his races he would be a much higher rated horse," McKenzie said. "He is very good from a standing start so this type of racing suits him but at the end of the day he is my favourite horse and has been ever since he was a two-year-old. Duggan had not been a fan of Major Callum but he said after this win his opinion might change. "Let's say I'm starting to warm to the horse," Duggan said. "He is such hard work because you've got to be at him the whole time but tonight I wanted to make sure we had something outside of him because he tries so hard and goes best when he's tested. "He's done a good job to beat the favourite so I reckon he's going to be very competitive in these type of races looking forward." The connections of Resurgent Spirit ($1.60) weren't fazed by the loss. "My horse had to do a lot of work too so he's stuck to his guns well and I have no doubt he will be competitive in whatever he tackles next," said driver James Austin. Peter Staples

Talented harness racing pacer Mister Lennox delivered one of his best performances to take out the $10,000 Golden Mile over 1680 metres at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Despite being left parked to face the breeze for most of the race the Juanita McKenzie-trained Changeover gelding proved too strong for his rivals, powering clear in the home straight to hit the line two metres clear of Melolyn that came from well back with race leader Crusader Acey a close-up third. Driver Ricky Duggan was pleased with the effort and he was particularly impressed with the time recorded by the gelding given the heavy condition of the track. Mister Lennox clocked a mile rate of 1.56.53 over the 1680-metre trip which was close to the record of 1.55 set by his stablemate Queens Advocate in the Launceston Mile earlier this year. "To run that time in those conditions was exceptional, given the wet track," Duggan said. "He was always travelling well outside of the leader but I had to wait as long as I could before asking him for an effort because he hangs a bit and has trouble getting around the bottom turn. "I didn't want to go for him until we straightened. I was fairly confident he would run the leader down but I didn't know what was coming from behind." He said. Mister Lennox started at $3.10 but was second favourite behind Wingatui Dew ($2.70) that was expected to lead from the pole position but he couldn't match the speed shown by Crusader Acey that had no trouble crossing to the fence from a wide gate (6). Wingatui Dew trailed the leader but he had trouble gaining a clear run in the home straight. Peter Staples

Last season's Tasmanian Derby winner Mister Lennox defied a run of outs for long odds-on favourites in Launceston last night to easily win the 6ty Pace over 2200 metres for C5 to C7 pacers. Two odds-on favourites were rolled earlier in the night leaving punters hesitant to invest on another short one at the end of the 10-race harness racing program. But with Ricky Duggan in the cart the four-year-old was backed to start the $1.50 favourite after easing from his opening quote of $1.20. Mister Lennox, prepared by Juanita McKenzie, began well from the pole position and after being taken on by Never Sighted early in the race Duggan was able to sneak a modest third quarter to ensure his charge had plenty in reserve at the business end of the race. When they came at Mister Lennox nearing the home turn Duggan released the brakes and the gelded son of Changeover sped clear and went on to score comfortably from Rajah Wealth with Never Sighted hanging on for third. Mister Lennox has won 11 of his 22 starts with three minor placings for $80,000 in stakes. Peter Staples

At the start of the harness racing season Major Callum was little more than a horse with some potential but five months on has developed into an open class pacer. Major Callum notched his seventh win of the season when he powered his way to an impressive win in the Carrick Cup on Saturday, much to the delight of his trainer Juanita McKenzie. Major Callum helped his trainer tick off a bucket list item when he gave her a first Tasmanian country cup by winning the Scottsdale Cup three weeks ago. He was a game second in the New Norfolk Cup last Tuesday but he was at his best winning the Carrick Cup. He will find it a bit harder now that he's into free-for-all class but he has done a great job and gone further than I thought he would," McKenzie said. Major Callum was partnered by Ricky Duggan who drove four winners at the meeting with his other winners, Master Paige, Little Jethro and Parwill. ;He probably lacks the high speed to be a successful free-for-all horse but he makes up for it with his toughness," Duggan said. Being tough is one of the traits that makes him one of McKenzie's favourite horses. A long time ago and after he won his first race I said I wouldn't care if he never won another race but thankfully he's won a lot more," McKenzie said. Peter Staples

Emotions ran high at UBET Park Hobart last night when Remember Joe powered home to score an impressive harness racing win in the Smithawards Hobart Pacing Cup. Remember Joe, a horse named in honour of the late Joe McKenzie who was one of the best and most colourful harness trainers of the modern era, delivered a career best performance to win a race that trainer Juanita McKenzie has longed to win. "The Hobart Pacing Cup is a race I have wanted to win as a trainer and to win it with a horse named after my Dad is just amazing," McKenzie said. McKenzie had three runners in the race with outsiders Something Eyre and veteran pacer Our Chain of Command sent around at big odds. "To be honest I wasn't confident about winning the race but I thought Remember Joe would be a chance if he could lead and when that didn't happen I thought it was all over." "But Rodney (Ashwood) drove a perfect race and when he got him to the outside in the home straight Joe just powered home." "I was also worried that Joe might not be able to get the trip (3060 metres) but he proved me wrong," she said. Outsider Truly Blissful ($51) began brilliantly to roll to the front but Ashwood was keen to take that spot and sent Remember Joe in pursuit of the lead. But when that failed he opted to take hold and settle behind the leader. The favourite Resurgent Spirit ($2.60) moved up to face the breeze while the rank outsider Dodgermemate ($81) settled in the one-out-one-back position with the well-backed Jukebox Music ($5.50) on his back in the one-out line. Turning for home it looked as if Remember Joe would fail to gain a clear run but Ashwood cleverly eased into the right spot at the right time. Once in the clear Remember Joe powered home to defeat Dodgermemate by 3-1/4 metres with his stablemate Truly Blissful almost three metres away third. McKenzie said there had been a temptation to take remember Joe back to Melbourne for another campaign but connections have agreed to keep the horse racing in Tasmania. "There are a couple of country cups we'll have a look at before we give him a spell," McKenzie said. Peter Staples  

Lightly raced harness racing mare Zumba Bromac was a very impressive winner of a heat of the Eric Reece memorial over 2090 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday. The Juanita McKenzie-trained four-year-old was resuming from a four-month spell but made light of the task. With Ricky Duggan in the cart the mare began well from her outside front-row draw to lead the one-out line and when the leader quickened noticeably in the back straight the last time Duggan allowed his charge to fall in behind and take a trail. When he eased her out to make a charge in the home straight she sprinted quickly and went on to score easily from Cardinal Finn and Thatswhatshesaid. The second heat was taken out by the Tommy Jackson-trained Finn Mac Kee that faced the breeze for much of the race before forging clear of race leader Young Bruiser close to home. The final heat was won by the Rodney Ashwood-trained Sparkling, another four-year-old mare that is only lightly raced with this latest outing her fourth but she has won three and been placed second in the other. The Reece Memorial final will be held in Hobart in a fortnight. Peter Staples

Lightly raced two-year-old filly Kalinda waited until the last meeting of the harness racing season to register her first win but given the way she dispensed with her rivals it won't be her last. The former Victorian filly was sent to Magra trainer Juanita McKenzie about six weeks ago with the hope of winning a race before the season ended. She had no luck from poor draws in two of her three previous outings with a fourth of eight in Hobart enough to suggest the trainer had something with which to work. But last night at UBET Park Hobart the filly gained a start as an emergency and from the pole position (gate one) she stepped straight to the front and was never headed on her way to an emphatic win in the UBET Pace over 20190 metres. Kalinda scored by 14 metres from Karalta Stardust with first-starter Metrosilk almost two metres astern. Kalinda (Jeremes Jet-De La Rosa) was partnered by Mark Yole who described the win as encouraging. "This is the first decent draw she has had and I was very pleased with what she had to offer tonight," Yole said. "She still has a bit to learn because she was hanging in on the corners but she has only had four starts and I reckon she has a future," he said. Peter Staples

Talented Tasmanian harness racing mare Queens Advocate could soon be making her way to Sydney as part of a preparation that will conclude in the George Johnson mares' classic during the Christmas carnival in Hobart. Queens Advocate kept her unbeaten record this season intact when she faced the breeze but still proved to be too good for quality four-year-old Palmisano at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night. Palmisano had run into star three-year-old Jerrys Jet at his two previous outings and wasn't beaten far, so his form without winning was outstanding going into Sunday night's assignment. The Brian Stanley-trained gelding led easily from the pole position while Queens Advocate's driver Ricky Duggan took his mare back at the start but when the pace slackened he was quick to send the mare around the field to face the breeze. When Duggan called on the Juanita McKenzie-trained mare for the supreme effort in the home straight she eventually ground down the leader but to his credit he fought back courageously to go down by a narrow margin. Queens Advocate has had eight starts in Tasmania for seven wins and a second since arriving from New Zealand earlier this year. She had 28 starts in NZ for two wins and seven minor placings. The mare was purchased by Terry Johnson who has longed to own a mare that has the potential to win the race named in his father's honour - The George Johnson. "We had a few mares to look at and this one seemed like an ideal type to achieve what we were after." "I am rapt that she has turned out to be a good one and capable of winning a George Johnson but a bit of water has to pass under the bridge before we can be certain she is going to be up to that standard," she said. Connections are expected to test the mare interstate soon. "We were thinking about heading to Melbourne and then off to Sydney but the way she has been going we will more than likely go direct to Sydney because I'm sure she'll appreciate the big track at Menangle," she said. A decision on when the mare embarks on an interstate mission will be made within a week. Peter Staples        

Talented Tasmanian-owned and trained harness racing mare Queens Advocate faces her toughest test since arriving from New Zealand when she lines up in the Hodiak Pace over 2200 metres at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Queens Advocate has won six of her seven starts since arriving from New Zealand earlier this year but her trainer Juanita McKenzie admits she will have to be at the top of her game to emerge triumphant on Sunday night. "I have no doubts this will be her toughest test since she arrived from New Zealand," McKenzie said. "She has delivered everything we have expected so far and her win last Sunday night in Hobart was great but she meets a very good one in Palmisano on Sunday night and she will have to deliver her best, at this stage of her preparation, to win." "The mare still has a bit of improvement in her and we fully expect her to measure up to some of the feature races over Christmas-New Year here in Tassie," she said. Palmisano won a C2-C3 three starts back in Hobart and at his past two outings he has finished a game second to the outstanding Jerrys Jet. McKenzie also will hitch up New Zealand-bred Comply Or Die in an open free-for-all over 1680 metres. Comply Or Die (Live or Die-Mood Indigo) has had three starts for me and his last-start third was probably good enough to suggest he is going to be competitive on Sunday night," McKenzie said.   Peter Staples

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