Promising pacer Mister Gently is still in the infancy of his racing career but he can write his name alongside some proven stars if he wins Saturday's time-honoured Carrick Cup.
Although now relegated to a non-TAB, non-Sky meeting, the Carrick Cup has always been a highlight of the harness calendar and has been won by a long list of quality horses.
It's now almost 50 years since a new track was built at the popular country venue and since then the winners have included Paleface Tiki, Majority Rules, Lady Allora, Kotare Kiwi, Ricky Dean, What A Muck Up, Shiver Me Timbers and Devendra who have all left their mark at the elite level.
And, there are plenty of other past winners that were also among the best free-for-all horses of their time.
Mister Gently hasn't had the chance to scale those heights just yet but hasn't done much wrong in his 11-start career, netting six wins and five placings.
He scored his best win in the Burnie Cup a fortnight ago, rewarding the patience and planning of Stowport trainer Craig Hayes.
"I kept him for that race because I really wanted to win my home-town cup and it all worked out well," Hayes said.
"I'd always planned to give him a break after the Raider Stakes (when second to Pardoe Plugga at Devonport in mid-November).
"He's one of those little horses that always seems to find a niggle somewhere so the break between races was probably what he needed."
Mister Gently led all the way at Burnie and was relatively unchallenged during the race.
"He went to the line with his plugs in so there wasn't a lot of pressure," Hayes said.
Two of the beaten runners from the Burnie Cup front up again on Saturday and meet Mister Gently, who goes back 10m, on better terms.
Fourth-placed Tisu Spirit stays on 10m while Be Major Threat, who ran last after a hard run, comes forward from 20m to 10m.
Be Major Threat was to have been driven by claiming novice driver Hannah Van Dongen but she was taken off the horse on Thursday when it was discovered there had been a mistake on her eligibility.
Van Dongen was suspended for two meetings at Burnie a fortnight ago and, with no racing last Sunday, still has one meeting to serve.
3.00 Mister Gently; 4.00 Be Major Threat, Tisu Spirit; 5.00 James Dean; 7.00 Feel The Burn, Buster William
2020 Sunny Sanz, 2019 Inner Light, 2018 Call Her Julie, 2017 Black Centurian, 2016 Major Callum, 2015 Ciskei, 2014 Devenda, 2013 Friday Lunch, 2012 Camivell Rock, 2011 Touchwood Bucksta
The Tasmanian Harness Yearling Sale will be held between the last two races on Saturday, hence the 65-minute gap.
There are 11 yearlings on offer after three withdrawals from the original catalogue.
Stallions represented are Lincoln Royal, Sportswriter, Downbytheseaside, Sweet Lou, Hes Watching, A Rocknroll Dance and Betting Line.
Ryley Major will take the next step on an extended Victorian campaign in Friday night's $30,000 Ararat Cup.
He has draw barrier 7 in a seven-horse field for the 2195m mobile-start race and is $2.70 second favourite with tab.com.au.
Former New Zealander Im Anothermasterpiece heads the market at $1.65.
Beauty Point trainer Rohan Hillier took Ryley Major to Melton last week when he was an unlucky fourth in the $30,000 Pure Steel.
He was shuffled back to last on the turn before charging home late.
Hillier has since transferred Ryley Major to the Adam Kelly stable at Melton.
He said the plan was to leave the eight-year-old in Victoria for another four to six weeks.
"There'a few country cups coming up over there from the mobile, so he won't be chasing them from a handicap like he does in Tassie," Hillier said.
Ryley Major had to come off 30m when he won the Devonport Cup on Janaury 25.
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