JOHN Blacker signalled that he was ready to regain his mantle as one of Tasmania's top trainers by producing an impressive winner at Mowbray last night.
Blacker, who has returned to his old home base at Longford after two years in Victoria, has high hopes for Examiner Maiden winner Powercharged.
``I think he has the makings of a real good horse,'' Blacker said, after Brendon McCoull had ridden Powercharged to an effortless win over Lady Vee and Unparalleled.
``He won well - as I thought he would - and there is still a lot of improvement in him.
``He could go through the grades pretty quickly.''
Blacker said that Powercharged wasn't a big horse but was ``all heart'' and had performed well at three starts in Victoria, where he was placed at Wodonga and Echuca.
``He let down nicely tonight and, if he can get a couple of wins like that under his belt, it will do his confidence a lot of good,'' the trainer said.
Although Blacker enjoyed success while based at Seymour, he said it was always hard to win races in Victoria and he felt it was the right time to return home.
LIGHTLY raced filly At The Weekend was another impressive winner in the Southern Cross Maiden.
Having only her second start, the Adam Trinder-trained three-year-old scored easily from Moonless and Master Alfred.
``We think this filly has a really good future,'' Trinder said.
``This is only her first preparation but we are hoping to get her through to the good fillies races, including the Tasmanian Oaks.
``She's got the right attitude and a stout constitution.''
Trinder said he was particularly pleased with the manner of At The Weekend's win.
``They didn't make much ground from back in the field in the earlier races but she was able to sit back, race wide and still hit the line strongly,'' he said.
Some of At The Weekends owners also race the Trinder-trained California Wish, winner of the Magic Millions 3YO at Mowbray last season.
OWNER-TRAINER Shirley Berger described Red Eagle as ``a grumpy old man'' after his narrow win in the AWM Electrical (Bm68) Handicap.
But she softened the insult by adding that it was ``all bluff''.
``Really, he's just a big sook,'' Berger said after Red Eagle, ridden by apprentice Bulent Muhcu, had edged out Fashion Label, with Mega Excel showing improvement to finish third.
Berger bought the former Victorian five-year-old earlier this year after seeing him advertised on the internet.
``I liked the look of him and bought him on a whim,' she said.
``And he's more than paid for himself.''
Berger trains horses for a hobby and has only a small team based at Stowport.
She works them around the bush, in a neighbour's paddock and on the beach, and rides nearly all her own work.
TRAINER Bill Ryan has always known that three-year-old filly Must Be Mink was well above average but she didn't have a chance to prove it.
After 12 months of ill-health, Must Be Mink finally made her debut with a strong win in last night's Autobarn Maiden.
David Pires picked up the late ride after Brendon McCoull was unable to make the weight.
Ryan explained that Must Be Mink went shin-sore after winning a trial as a two-year-old.
She was then found to have pharyngitis - an inflammation of the pharynx - that took 12 months to improve.
``She still has it but it's dormant, so we decided to take our chances and give her a run,'' Ryan said.
``She is a lovely filly and is nicely bred.''
Ryan said it was a timely win, as part-owner Kelvin Wadley wasn't enjoying the best of health.
``And Ron Riley, who was responsible for me getting this horse, is at home nursing a broken leg,'' he said.