Trainer-driver Rohan Hillier believes an edge in fitness and growing confidence helped Im Barney Rubble upset the big guns in the $10,000 Tasmanian Horse Transport Show Cup at Mowbray on Sunday night.
Im Barney Rubble ran a track record 1:59.4 for the 2200-metre standing start race to score by a neck from Im Born To Rule with Fernco Bobby G almost three metres award third.
Favourite Destreos, who came off 30m, ran fourth and 40m backmarker Devendra was sixth.
Im Barney Rubble had won his previous five starts – all in claiming races – and Hillier said the rise in class was offset by the fact that he was race-fit.
“He’s been going around regularly whereas the free-for-all horses haven’t been able to get enough racing,” the driver said.
“I also think he’s gained confidence from his recent wins.”
Hillier said Im Barney Rubble, raced by his brother Troy, was back in the form that saw him win the $20,000 Hobart Pacing Cup in January.
The quick time for the race – 0.4 seconds inside Truly Blissfull’s record – was due in part to the strong pace set by Fernco Bobby G who held on bravely for his minor placing.
Im Born To Rule, a stablemate of Destreos, flashed home between horses to finish second in his best performance since coming to Tasmania.
COURAGEOUS KATEE lived up to her name with a tough win in the Sutter Hanover Pace.
After settling third-last from a second row draw, driver Adrian Collins started a three wide run nearing the bell and Courageous Katee quickly worked into the race.
She had loomed to second coming off the back straight and reached the lead turning for home.
Although she tired late as the effort started to tell, she held on to beat the fast-finishing Hayleys Comet by a short half head.
The mile rate was a smart 2:00.3 and the last 800m was run in 58.7 seconds.
The former Victorian mare has now won four races since joining Karoola trainer Dick Eaves.
TAURISI rated a slick 1:56.1 to easily win the Luxbet Pace.
The Todd Rattray-trained gelding led early but took a sit when Border Cross zoomed forward to head him off.
Taurisi quickly put paid to the leader when Rattray made his move but Border Cross battled on well to finish second, beaten 12m, at his Tasmanian debut.
Rattray made it a double two races later on another former New South Wales pacer Stryker who was a hot favourite.