Former NSW pacer Lip Reader has been a bridesmaid in a lot of good races but his moment of glory finally came in Saturday night's $40,000 Devonport Cup.
The Rohan Hillier-trained gelding, driven by Conor Crook, overpowered his stablemate Ryley Major in a repeat of last year's cup quinella, only in the opposite order.
The $5.50 second favourite, Lip Reader beat Ryley Major ($3.00 fav) by 1-1/2m with the race leader Resurgent Storm ($23 to $9.50) holding on gamely to be 7m away third.
Lip Reader settled at the rear and followed his co-backmarker Ryley Major all the way.
Ryley Major looked like becoming the first back-to-back cup winner in history when he loomed to challenge Resurgent Storm in the back straight but he couldn't quite match Lip Reader's finishing burst.
"My horse got the right trip tonight," Crook said.
"You don't have to do much when you can drop onto Ryley Major's back - just follow him as long as you can."
Crook said Lip Reader, raced by former Tasmanian businessman Marc Panton, deserved a big win.
"He's been knocking on the door for probably a year trying to win one of these good ones and tonight was his night," Crook said.
"He's been a little bit hard done by under the new handicapping system ... under the old system he would have been an MO and started off the front but because he's won a lot of discretionary handicaps he cops 30m.
"He's probably been handicapped out of a lot of races so he's done well to run so many placings."
STAR MOVES FORD TO SINBAD FINAL
Sutter Star advanced to the $20,000 final of the Sinbad Bay series with a runaway heat win after a patient drive from Mitch Ford.
While the two favourites Maebee and Lets Go Bill were having their own personal battle up front, Ford was sitting back at the rear of the six-horse field.
He moved three wide at the 800m and Sutter Star sustained a strong run, dashing to the front off the back straight and going on to score by almost 20m.
"Once the speed went on mid-race I knew that would suit my horse to a T," Ford said.
"I had to get going at the bell and that's not really his go but, credit to him, he stuck to his guns."
The first heat of the Sinbad Bay was run in Hobart last week and there will be another heat on January 30 before the final at Mowbray on February 13.
The series was open to Tasbred colts and geldings that had not won more than two races.
The fillies and mares equivalent, the Jane Ellen, has the same format, with Cee Em Jamane winning the second heat after Mark Yole gave the Mark Reggett-trained mare a perfect run one-out and one-back.
There was an added bonus for her connections - she picked up an $8000 Tasbred bonus to go with the $7800 first prizemoney as it was her first career win.
TRACK SPECIALIST CLAIMS THOUSAND
A copybook drive by Rohan Hillier and the horse's affinity with the track helped Kuyomi score a comfortable win in the Coastal Pacing Thousand.
The former Kiwi won her first race for Beauty Point trainer Conor Crook at Devonport in May and it was one of the more impressive wins at the track all season.
She has been back three times since for two more wins and a second.
Hillier got a three-wide cart into the race from the 1200m behind Kuyomi's stablemate Bao Nien and the mare was able to outsprint her rivals over the last 400m to score by 4m in 1:59.9.
The win landed some good bets, with Kuyomi firming from $9.00 into $5.00.
The other feature races saw the Ben Yole-trained With Revenge make a winning local debut in the Mares Incentive and in-form novice driver Liam Older win the Dash For Cash on Kadar.
1- JANE ELLEN HT2, 2297m: 2.40 fav CEE EM JAMANE (M Reggett, M Yole) 1, 5.50 Indianna Sanz 2, 4.00 Szabolski Leis 3, 51.00 Seventhreeohseven 4. 1m, 2m. 2:03.8.
2- SINBAD BAY HT 2, 2297m: 9.50 SUTTER STAR (B Heenan, M Ford) 1, 2.25 Maebee 2, 16.00 Benjamin Niadh 3, 10.00 Bold Centurian 4. 17.6m, 1.7m. 2:04.2.
3- COASTAL THOUSAND, 2297m: 5.00 KUYOMI (C Crook, R Hillier) 1, 8.00 Agouda Ruler 2, 2.60 fav Bao Nien 3, 6.50 Where Ya Bin 4. 4m, 6.5m. 1:59.9.
4- NR 50-54, 1930m: 12.00 CHRIS BE QUICK (G Smith, H Van dongen) 1, 1.45 fav Bettorz Beach 2, 19.00 Devil Of Tyne 3, 4.80 Im Lady Madelaine 4. 6.5m, 1.5m. 2:02.2.
5- MARES INCENTIVE, 2297m: 2.00 fav WITH REVENGE (B Yole, C Crook) 1, 2.70 Kristal 2, 34.00 Cinocal Jamane 3, 26.00 La Toison Dor 4. 1m, 1/2 hd. 2:01.9.
6- DEVONPORT CUP, 3020m: 5.50 LIP READER 30m (R Hillier, C Crook) 1, 3.00 fav Ryley Major 30m (R Hillier) 2, 9.50 Resurgent Storm (N Ford) 3, 12.00 Izaha 10m (T Rattray) 4. 1.5m, 7m. 2:03.1.
7- NR 60-64, 2297m: 3.60 ROCKS ROY (B Yole, C Crook) 1, 7.00 Colby Sanz 2, 4.60 Major Lester 3, 10.00 The Black Assassin 4. 3.4m, 2.6m. 2:03.8.
8- DASH FOR CASH, 1930m: 10.00 KADAR (T Rattray, L Older) 1, 12.00 Offthetopofmyhead 2, 6.00 Gotta Good Reason 3, 11.00 Full Speed Ahead 4. 3m, 1m. 1:58.9.
9- NOVICE DRIVERS, 2297m: 7.00 TARLETON RILEY (B Yole, M Ford) 1, 10.00 Go In Style 2, 2.30 fav Kikkimi 3. 16m, 4m. 2:01.6.
10- NR 55-59, 2297m: 21.00 KICK IT TO JACK (R Pullen, H Van dongen) 1, 4.00 Hez Razor Sharp 2, 3.40 fav Captain Cosmonaut 3. 2.5m, 9m. 2:02.2.