Barastoc Grand Circuit Series
Stories:   Pacers 2007/2008 Season
Leg 4:  Wrest Point Tasmanian Pacing Championship   2007/2008 Results   Points
            23/12/2007  Hobart, Tas  2579m  Standing Start  $150,000
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Ballarat’s Manwarra Goforgold confirmed its much improved form in recent weeks to land some solid betting in winning the $150,000 Wrest Point Tasmanian Championship over Flaming Roadstar with the local Yakuza finishing a bold third. 

The win provided an automatic inclusion in a semi-final of the new-look Melbourne 2008 Watpac ID08 Inter Dominion Series at Moonee Valley on February 23. Connections after the race stated the pacer’s main mission will be the Hankook Tyres A.G. Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley on February 3. 

Trainer Emma Stewart and her partner Clayton Tonkin said after the Tassie victory  that as good as Manwarra Goforgold had become in recent weeks, the pacer was not in the class of their stable star Safari, scheduled to return to racing in Saturday night’s Bendigo Cup (December 29). 

There was spirited betting in the final minutes of the Hobart Group 1 event for both Manwarra Goforgold and the previous week’s SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup winner at Moonee Valley, Robin Hood, also trained from the same training track by Tonkin’s father Peter. 

Despite the re-handicapping of Robin Hood back to 20m for its brilliant win in the first of Moonee Valley’s two Group 1 races this summer, that pacer had its supporters who were confident Robin Hood at its best could still win for top reinsman Gavin Lang. 

But in the final minutes of betting it was the big money for Manwarra Goforgold that made it a clear favourite. Its driver Brian Gath was out to make it a winning treble at the meeting. 

There was little real money for anything else in the large field, apart from some each-way betting for Flaming Roadster, Dee Dees Dream and the locally owned Zonda NZ whose recent form in Victoria had been reasonably good. 


Flaming Roadstar (Daryl Douglas), from its second row draw, was responsible for the biggest run in the race having to do it hard for much of the journey. To finish such a close second to the winner suggested he will be competitive in the major races to be held in coming weeks. 

The scratchings from the field were the stablemates, the well performed Victorian Ultimate Mark and Dontfencemein NZ. The previous day trainer Andy Gath discovered both to have been a little sore after running around their paddock during an electrical storm in the Melton area. An X-ray indicated no serious damage had occurred to either pacer, with Gath opting to take no chances.  

Some minutes prior to the start of the race, well known form analyst Bill Hutchison told thousands watching an extended coverage from Hobart obartHobarton Sky Channel that Manwarra Goforgold was a ‘certainty’ if the horse could get the lead early in the race and then dictate its own terms. On Super Tab, its price in the last four minutes tumbled from $3.30 to be a clear favourite at $2.60, in spite of continued support for Robin Hood. 

When the tapes flew back, Zonda NZ began best to lead, with Chris Alford then prepared to allow the favourite to take up the running on the first turn rather than become involved in an early battle for that position when Brian Gath took Manwarra Goforgold in search of the front spot. 

Dee Dees Dream (Aaron Dunn) threw away its chances by galloping at the start, having then to bring up the rear for more than a lap. after one lap, the favourite led from Flaming Roadstar, which Douglas had taken forward in a hurry to lead the outside line. Zonda NZ was on the back of the leader; the rank outsider Trouble No More was fourth, while buried away on the pegs mid-field was Graeme Lang with Advance Attack NZ. 

With one lap to go, Daryl Douglas (Flaming Roadster) elected to pour the pressure on the favourite with his horse to ensure Manwarra Goforgold was not having things too easy in front. 

Meanwhile, Gavin Lang, who had been able to steer Robin Hood past two rivals early in the race, was biding his time back mid-field trying to give the backmarker a relatively easy run in the middle stages, just as he had done the previous week when winning in Melbourne. 

After passing the bell, Graeme Lang worked off the inside with Advance Attack NZ and for a moment seemed likely to be capable of staking a claim to finish in the prizemoney. But then, Trouble No More, under severe pressure to retain its position, broke into a wild gallop, dropping right into the lap of Advance Attack NZ and delivering a KO blow to that horse. 

Up the home straight, despite having a tough run, Flaming Roadster had the audacity to stick on well, making Gath pull out all stops to hang on and win with the favourite. The local Yakuza turned in a solid effort to finish third, just ahead of Zonda NZ and Fleet Express. 

At face value it might have seemed Robin Hood’s sixth was disappointing. However, such is the depth in Grand Circuit racing these days that a 20-metre back mark is tougher to cope with than many might realise.

The last half mile was low flying for Tasmania with Manwarra Goforgold forced to pace this in a fast 56.5 seconds; the final quarter in 28.4. The overall mile rate was 2:00.8.  

It is obvious Manwarra Goforgold has this season taken the next step, while Robin Hood has regained that great form it displayed two years ago before being plagued by nagging feet problems that led to extended spells in the paddock. It did not contest the Bendigo Cup, probably being saved for the PETstock Ballarat Cup on 26 January, a race it won two years ago.  

The forthcoming big race at Ballarat promises to attract all the major names in Australasian pacing as it is likely to include the northern stars restricted from racing by the recent outbreak of equine flu in Queensland and parts of NSW. 


All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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