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With the recent retirement of gun mares Mystic Journey and Still A Star, listing the best racehorses in Tasmania is now well and truly open for debate.
With an unbeaten three-year-old, a progressive four-year-old and a few older names still competing strongly in the 'Apple Isle', we've worked through the contenders and name our top five below.
The reigning Tasmanian racehorse of the year had a lot of expectations riding on him, but he surprisingly disappointed in two outings early in the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
However, his achievements over his prior campaign are hard to ignore.
Newhart ended the summer carnival of 2021 as the leading horse in the state when recording a winning hat-trick, showing his class and versatility after carrying weight to win the Devonport Cup.
Dropping from the 1880m of the synthetic feature, he put a big space on both Mystic Journey and Blaze Forth, who did quinella the Ladbrokes Stakes prior to that Thomas Lyons Stakes.
Backing that up with a comfortable win in the Mowbray Stakes, again at WFA level, this six-year-old is still very lightly raced and there's plenty of options, given he can figure over most distances.
2. The Inevitable
A winner of eight of his first ten starts which included group and feature victories in both Melbourne and Sydney, it's fair to say this Scott Brunton-trained galloper never went on with it in subsequent campaigns.
As still a lightly-raced six-year-old with 21 starts to his name, there's time on his side and with a confidence boosting Devonport winter win, followed by a strong Newmarket return and racing tipsters Bets.com.au believe he may be starting to find his best again.
It's been a wrestle trying to find the best trip for The Inevitable, with a mile likely the absolute limit, but over 1400m, where he just creeps past the genuine sprinters, looks to be his bread and butter.
The son of Dundeel will need to improve into the Conquering Stakes, a 1400m feature he'll arrive to second-up and via that December 15 feature, and we'll get a much stronger gauge on where he's truly at.
3. Turk Warrior
What a marvel Turk Warrior has been, going six from six in his two-year-old season and kept the unbeaten run intact first-up on December 1, where he landed big early bets with 60kg in that 3yo Cup from Launceston.
There are talks of an Australian Guineas tilt with Turk Warrior, who won over 1400m in soft fashion to round his last prep. With more stylish displays, the Melbourne calls will only get louder.
Mystic Journey completed that Guineas victory back in 2019 and had already succeeded in Melbourne over the spring, while she also defeated the older rivals at home before returning for the autumn.
Turk Warrior will still need to tick a few of those boxes in time, but with a racing pattern that takes luck out of the equation and a big heart to match his cruising speed, who's to say where his ceiling ends?
4. Mandela Effect
Although it's been a little while between drinks, Mandela Effect was still consistent throughout the last carnival, placing at 1200m, 1400m, 1600m and 2200m, with the only miss coming over the 2400m of the Hobart Cup.
A multiple stakes winner over the 2019/20 summer period and a runner that has tasted success in Melbourne, he is probably at his most effective over seven and eight furlongs.
Ability alone took him so far over the longer journeys and being a super genuine type has become so synonymous with the Turffontein breed, a still very underrated stallion in Australia.
On raw talent and if every galloper on this list was peaking at WFA level, class would still see us side with this gelding, although as a now seven-year-old, it remains to be seen what upside is still there.
5. Swoop Dog
Exposed sprinters in I'm Wesley, Deroche and to a lesser extent Gee Gee Secondover and Blaze Forth all have better credentials for this top five, however, this four-year-old could be the bolter.
A winner of the Tasmanian and Launceston Guineas last carnival, Swoop Dog started a $2 favourite in a Tasmanian Derby won by the dominant Explosive Jack, who subsequently won another two derbies.
First-up over 1200m and with much bigger fish to fry later in the campaign, he still put in an uncustomary shocker fresh, but bounced back with an easy second-up victory over the 1400m, despite carrying 61kg.
At the end of a long second prep, it takes a good one to drop to a mile and push Newhart and Mandela Effect at WFA, so while a cups campaign could be on the agenda, he has the class to figure over shorter trips.
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