The Launceston Pacing Club could not have hoped for a better launch for its new race, the Tassie Golden Apple.
Harjeet and Scooterwillrev, arguably the two best pacers in the state, will clash in the second heat at Mowbray on Sunday night.
And, they won’t get things their own way, with the field also including rising star Illegal Immigrant and big-race specialist Riverboat Jasper.
The first heat brings together some more well-performed horses in Mister Lennox, Taurisi, Medal Of Honour and Offthetopofmyhead.
If they all get through to the $30,000 final five days later it promises to be one of the best races of the season.
The LPC is looking to build on the Golden Apple stake in future seasons to the point where it matches, or even surpasses, the time-honoured Easter Cup as its feature event.
The club will run a calcutta on the final at its annual awards presentation dinner at the Mowbray Racing Centre on Thursday night.
Guest speaker at the function will be former Tasmanian AFL great Matthew Richardson.
Bookings are essential and can be made through the LPC office.
GOLD UP IN VALUE
Doubling the stakemoney has worked wonders for the Golden Mile at Spreyton on Friday.
The Devonport Racing Club’s traditional pre-Christmas feature race attracted only six starters last year when it was worth $25,000.
But, with a lift in prizemoney to $50,000, this year’s Golden Mile has a capacity 14-horse field.
Geegees Goldengirl, a former Devonport Cup winner and Hobart Cup runner-up, shares topweight with Eastender who finished close up in both the Hobart and Launceston cups earlier this year.
Their rivals include several horses than could lay claim to being track specialists – Kool Kash has won 11 races on the synthetic surface, Willby Rules seven, Underplay six and Killin Falls five.
Lightly-raced mare Speedonova has been there only three times for two wins and a close third.
The Bill Ryan-trained five-year-old was an impressive first-up winner at Mowbray just over three weeks ago.
She settled on the speed before powering home in the fastest last 600m of the day.
The only negative this week is the barrier draw, with Jason Benbow faced with the task of steering a course from the extreme outside gate.
Ryan has always had a big opinion of the Tough Speed mare.
“She’s a really nice horse – athletic and intelligent,” the trainer said.
“She’s always shown ability but I think she’s gone to another level now.”