CLASS pacer Motu Crusader continued to plunder Tasmania's richest races when he overcame a tough 40-metre handicap to win the $40,000 Examiner Easter Cup at Mowbray last night.
Owned in Victoria by Merv and Meg Butterworth and trained at Seven Mile Beach by Zeke Slater, Moto Crusader has now added Northern Tasmania's biggest harness racing prize to his two wins in the Tasmania Cup in Hobart.
With the help of a copybook drive from Grant Campbell, Motu Crusader ran on strongly to nail leader Falco Peregrinus near the post, with last year's winner, Biggernbettermax, flashing home for a close third.
Campbell started a three-wide move around the field about 1sfr1/2 laps from home and got his wish when Call The Marshall pulled out in front of him to give him a perfect trail into the race.
``That was a bit lucky,'' Slater said.
``But that's why you put good drivers on them.
``Grant made the right move at the right time.''
Slater, who prepares Motu Crusader with the assistance of his partner Kymberley Barr, said he was grateful to the Butterworths, who were ``unbelievable clients''.
``They only send me horses that they know will be suited in Tasmania,'' he said.
``This horse is very honest and always gets to the line strongly.
``It's been a big effort to win off 40m in a 14-horse field.''
Slater said that he would have to try to find mobile races for Motu Crusader from now on, ``as he will be handicapped out of standing starts.''
``I even thought this race might have been a bit tough for him, and it wasn't really on our radar until a month ago,'' the trainer said.
``We'll just poke along with him now, and later in the year I'd really like to have a go at winning a third Tasmania Cup.
``I don't see why he can't. He's only seven years old, he's very sound and he loves being trained at the beach.''
Runner-up Falco Peregrinus ($11 to $9 fixed odds) gave his supporters a huge sight after working to the front not long after the start, while third placegetter Biggernbettermax ran on strongly after getting a three-wide trail into the race.
Honest mare Arts Bliss ran the race of her life to finish a close fourth.