THE inaugural harness meeting on the synthetic Tapeta thoroughbred track at Spreyton Park Devonport on Wednesday (July 25) has been hailed a success.
The six-race meeting on the Tapeta surface proceeded without a hiccup and received only positive comments from industry participants from both harness and thoroughbred codes.
North-West Coast trainer-driver Shelley Barnes, who drove the first two winners on the track, believes the synthetic surface and the contours of the track layout have a sympathetic effect on pacers.
“I’ve been working horses on this track for a couple of months and I’ve found horses that lay in or lay out on normal harness tracks don’t do it on this (synthetic) track,” Barnes said.
“The track is very forgiving on horses’ legs and feet so if there was a vote to race here more regularly it would definitely get my vote,” she said.
Even thoroughbred trainers were praising the innovative project.
“This is good for racing in general,” said prominent thoroughbred trainer Michael Trinder.
“This track has been a revelation for the thoroughbred industry and I hope that harness racing can be a regular event here as well,” he said.
There were no sectional times taken at the meeting and in harness terms those times are often regarded as crucial when assessing form but that is one of the few things that will be addressed if a decision is made to have more harness meetings at the venue.
Visiting Victorian trainer Tony Pullicino said he believed there was still a place for harness racing on the small Devonport Showground circuit.
“The Devonport Showground track still has a bit to offer but I must admit racing on this track definitely gives every horse a chance if the horse is strong enough,” he said.
Stewards reported no incidents during the day and put that down to good planning and a solid working relationship between Tasracing and Racing Services Tasmania.