TASMANIA'S leading thoroughbred owners, Paul and Elizabeth Geard, tasted dual code success yesterday when they won two races at Elwick and another at last night's Mowbray harness meeting.
Two very promising young gallopers, Geegees Doublejay and Geegees Velvet, started the ball rolling, then the oldest horse in their team, 12-year-old pacer Jilliby Rio, put the icing on the cake.
Jilliby Rio, part-owned by the Geards and trained by their son-in-law Chris Howlett, was driven to an all-the-way win in the Kohnke Products Claimer by their grandson Matthew Howlett.
Chris Howlett explained that Jilliby Rio was ``an old family favourite'' who was on the verge of retirement earlier in the year.
``I thought he was getting to the end of the road and suggested to Paul that we might have to retire him,'' Howlett said.
``But after I freshened him up for a couple of weeks, he came out and won his next start.
``And, he's won another three races since.
``He's got his issues but he tries very hard and that carries him a long way.''
Jilliby Rio has now had 182 starts for 27 wins, 46 placings and $213,000 in stake earnings.
TRAINER Marc Butler's eye for a good horse has netted him and his co-owners a quick return from their recent acquisition Doyouseewhatisee.
The four-year-old gelding was having only his second start for the Butler stable when driver Ricky Duggan brought him from midfield to score a strong win in the Bevan Lee's Butchery Stakes.
Butler said that Doyouseewhatisee caught his eye when he trialled well one night.
`I liked him a bit from then on,'' the trainer said,.
``He ran a place at his next start after that trial but then lost his way a bit so I asked Eric Jacobson, who was training him at the time, whether the owners would be interested in leasing him to me and they said yes.''
Butler said that Doyouseewhatisee was ``held up'' at his first run for his new connections in Hobart last week but Duggan made sure that didn't happen again last night.
After racing three back with cover, Duggan tracked up three wide from the bell and Doyouseewhatisee went on to score in a very respectable mile rate of 1:59.17.
FIVE-YEAR-OLD mare High Flying Ruler broke through for an overdue win in the Roberts Equine Stakes.
High Flying Ruler won six of her first seven starts as a two- and three-year-old, including the Tasmanian Oaks, but had been out of the winner's stall since May last year.
Trainer-driver Rohan Hillier said it was good to get the mare back on track but he doubted she would ever return to her juvenile form.
``We're getting there with her but I don't think she'll ever be the same,'' Hillier said.
After settling towards the rear of the field, Hillier took off three wide approaching the bell and was in front shortly after.
High Flying Ruler went on to score by 9m from New Interest and Coruba Run.
``It wasn't my plan to drive her like that but I thought I had to make an early move when the pace up front slackened right off,'' Hillier said.
High Flying Ruler is raced by her breeders Larry and Elizabeth Nichols and has now earned $55,000 in 17 starts.