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TO say Longford harness trainer Barrie Rattray was experiencing a hot streak would probably be the understatement of the century. His home-grown gelding Beautide captured the Miracle Mile-Inter-Dominion double to assume the mantle as Australasia’s best pacer but the juggernaut continued, albeit on a much lower scale, at Devonport on Sunday night. Devendra outgunned a strong field to win the Hardings Hotmix Devonport Cup to give the trainer back-to-back wins in the coastal club’s feature having won last year with Biggernbettermax. Devendra is quickly becoming the stable star with this his third Cup victory in succession having already been successful in the Burnie and Carrick cups and all in the space of seven weeks. With the trainer’s son Todd Rattray aboard, Devendra stepped brilliantly from the front row (4) and had no trouble leading. Once in front he was rated superbly and he had enough in reserve to hold out all challengers over the concluding stages. Devendra hit the line well clear of interstate invader Fine Star Anvil that faced the breeze after making up ground quickly from his 30-metre handicap while outsider Falco Peregrinis finished third. Rattray said the natural progression for Devendra would be to send him to his son James’ stable in NSW where Beautide resides these days. “The time is fast approaching to seriously consider sending Devendra to James in Sydney,” Rattray said. ‘This horse has been a bit of a slow developer but we’ve always liked him.” “He’s still lazy but there will come a time when he’ll realise what’s going on.” “Then he’ll be a very good horse – I don’t think he’s far off it now,” Rattray said. By Peter Staples

TASMANIAN harness trainer-driver James Rattray today revealed his secret weapon that helped take his stable star Beautide to victory in yesterday’s Group 1 $750,000 Inter Dominion final at Menangle in NSW. Less than 24 hours after claiming Australasian harness racing’s Holy Grail Rattray revealed that his life partner Sofia Svennson was Beautide’s secret weapon. Svennson is a talented reinswoman in her own right and has been involved in harness racing internationally for well over a decade. Rattray met Svennson while working at Noel Daly’s stables in New Jersey, North America, three years ago. Rattray and Svennson fell in love and they have been inseparable since they departed the US in October 2012. “Fia has done most of the work with Beautide and it is very clear that they have a special bond,” Rattray said. "Keeping a horse happy is one of the secrets to success and there is no doubt Fia spoils Beau and that keeps him very happy." “It is quite evident that there is a special affinity between them and while I do a fair bit of Beautide’s fast work he is very much her horse around the stables,” he said. Rattray and Svennson’s journey to Tasmania was planned but what has transpired in the past three months was beyond their wildest dreams. “I really love this horse because he has a wonderful character but most of all he is such a brilliant racehorse and he showed that the way he won the Inter Dominion,” she said. “This is still like a dream and I’m waiting to wake up,” she said. Svennson has been involved in harness racing since she was in her early teens in Sweden. “My older sister Lotta trained for many years and I was always with her so I guess getting involved in harness racing was inevitable.” “I travelled to France and Italy following the European circuit and then I made the move to America where I worked for about four and a half years with Jonas Czernyson and then for a year each with two other trainers and that’s when I met James,” she said. When asked if it was love at first sight they both laugh but deliver coy smiles and agree that their future is with each other. The couple landed in Tasmania after spending five weeks with Svennson’s family in Sweden in November-December 2012 with basic plans to travel to Tasmania and work at the Rattrays’ family stables at Longford in the north of the state. But when James’ twin brother Gareth, who has been Tasmania’s premier driver for the past seven years, got married and opted to branch out on his own, the door was opened for James to step in and become number one driver for his father’s stable. James quickly raced to the top end of the driver’s premiership table but after only a few months an opportunity arose to establish stables alongside John and Luke McCarthy’s stables at Cobbity, near Menangle. “One of the main reasons for moving up here (NSW) was that it gave us a chance to set something up for ourselves.” With Dad (Barrie) giving us a good batch of horses to train to get established we thought it might work out well but it has gone a lot better than we ever imagined,” he said. Barrie Rattray has long been regarded as one of Tasmania’s best trainer-driver-breeders so he was intent on doing everything he and wife Denise could do to kick-start James’ trainer career. “I owe a lot to my parents because they have been very supportive of me and to be given this opportunity is quite amazing,” James said. “You don’t get anything cheaply in this industry. You have to work hard for whatever you get but realistically this is a way better start than any young trainer would dare to dream.” “But I will never forget where I came from, that’s for sure,” he said. By Peter Staples  

"If this is not the best than I don't know what is . . . whatever it is, it's going to be hard to top." Those were the words of Barrie Rattray after he witnessed his son James drive their horse Beautide to victory in the $750,000 TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. Beautide defied all odds to take out the Grand circuit gem after doing plenty of work outside the leader in world record time of 3.36 for the 3009 meters race (a 1:55.5 mile rate). He is the first horse in more than 15 years to win the Miracle Mile and the Inter Dominion in the same season. The last horse to do so was Our Sir Vancelot, who won the three Inter Dominions from 1997 to 1999 and won the Miracle Mile in 1997. After settling mid-field early, James Rattray elected to angle Beautide three wide to the 'death seat' at the mile mark as Kiwi star Smolda worked to the lead. With the quarters of the last mile clocked in 26.5, 30.0, 28.6 and 27.1, Beautide cruised to the line with more than five metres to spare over Seel N Print with For A Reason a close third. "We were lucky to be here in November [for the Miracle Mile] and I didn't think it would happen again," Barrie said. Harness Racing NSW    

LONGFORD trainer Barrie Rattray celebrated his first Carrick Cup win in over 20 years when his consistent four-year-old Devendra powered home to win the Centenary Carrick Cup over 2650 metres yesterday. Devendra was allowed to settle at the rear of the field by the trainer’s son Todd Rattray but when he set the gelding alight in the back straight the last time he loomed as the winner turning for home and delivered the goods at the business end of the race. The trainer wasn’t at Carrick to see the race because he was busy at Menangle in Sydney waiting for Beautide to deliver a result in a heat of the 2014 Inter Dominion. About an hour after Devendra emerged triumphant, Beautide finished second in his heat to secure a berth in the Inter Dominion final. Devendra was well backed to start the $2.60 favourite with the four bookmakers who made the betting ring look something like the halcyon days. A huge crowd gathered at the Carrick Paceway for the club’s centenary meeting that boasted nine races with entertainment after the last race ensuring the celebrations carried on into the night. Peter Staples

A unique opportunity to buy into Tasmania’s fastest moving maternal family awaits prospective purchasers at the Tasmania Premier Yearling Sale to be held on Friday, February 14 at Inveresk Showground, Launceston. The filly, Lot 10 in the sale, is by Mister Big out of Atlarak, a daughter of the grand producing Holly Sand mare Barrington Lass, who traces back to a noted foundation mare in Black Annie. She is part of the two-strong draft being offered by Harford, near Devonport breeder Susan Maine, who keeps a small band of broodmares on the north-western Tasmanian property owned by her husband, Tim. Barrington Lass, the grand-dam of the filly, is the joint leading winner-producing mare of all-time with 15 individual winners including six ‘black type’ performers. Her stock has won 175 races and an amazing $950,000 in prizemoney to date and includes Alby Albert, Barrington Belle, Bar Ron and Barringtonboutique. Another of Barrington Lass’s offspring, Gorse Bush, one of her five winner-producing daughters, figures as the dam of last year’s Miracle Mile winner Beautide 1:50.2 ($803,437). Atlarak, who injured a fetlock and was not raced, is a half-sister to Gorse Bush and the Mister Big filly is her first offspring. “She’s a nice type, black in colour and good sized,” Susan Maine said. Other winners from the immediate family include Chip And Gale 1:52.6 ($517,000), Bar Ron Boy, Biggernbettermax, Laterron, Ashkalini and Death And Taxes. The filly is believed to the first of this wonderful family of champion horseman Barrie Rattray ever to be offered by public auction in Tasmania. She is one of only two lots represented by Mister Big 1:47.4, the winner of a record $4-million, at the sale. For a catalogue or further information contact Kevin Neilson on (03) 6212 9316 or email K. or the auctioneers Davidson Cameron and Co Dubbo on (02) 6884 8355. The online catalogue for the sale can be viewed at by Peter Wharton

THE Burnie Cup has never been on harness racing trainer Barrie Rattray's bucket list but the victory in the race by his handy pacer Devendra at the Wivenhoe Showground on Sunday night pleased him nonetheless. Despite having won just about every feature race on the Tasmanian calendar the Burnie Cup had eluded him. He won the race in 2002 with Barringtonboutique but she was later disqualified. But with his son Todd Rattray in the sulky, Devendra made amends despite sitting outside of the leader Grand Passion for almost the entire journey. Grand Passion looked under pressure in the back stretch the last time while Rattray sat quietly aboard Devendra just waiting for the turn into the home straight where he called on his charge for the big effort. Devendra (Doctors Delight-Queen Carey) was well backed to start the $3.70 second favourite behind Mister Sumna that galloped at the start and threw away any chance when he galloped midrace. Those that backed Devendra were queuing up to collect long before the gelding hit the line three metres clear of High Flying Ruler with Willie Winalot flashing home to edge out race leader Grand Passion in the last stride. Devendra is raced by the Rattray Family trust in partnership with long time stable client and family friend Viv Clark. "I am glad to have won this race for the first time and to win it with Viv (Clark) is something special," Barrie Rattray said. "This horse has promised plenty but up until now hasn't delivered a lot, although he has been placed behind some good horses," he said. Despite Devendra's lack of winning form leading up to this latest assignment Rattray believes he might still be good enough to warrant a trip to Sydney to spend some time in his son James Rattray's stables at Menangle. The Burnie Cup win gave the Rattrays the feature race double for the weekend having won the Harry Holgate Memorial with Divas Delight last Friday night in Launceston. Rattray said he was delighted to win a race named in honour of the former Premier and Racing Minister who he believes did a lot to support the racing industry when he was in office. Peter Staples  

Divas Delight secured a berth in the Eric Reece Memorial final by leading all-the-way win in a heat over 2090 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night. The Barrie Rattray-trained gelding has been a model of consistency without winning this season notching consecutive placings from his four outings this time in. But driver Todd Rattray used the four-year-old gelding's speed from the mobile to cross from gate five and from there on he led his rivals a merry chase. Divas Delight (Bettors Delight-Draw Card) cruised to the line to score by over six metres from Cardinal Dreamer that trained the leader throughout with Saloon In Sight almost three metres away third. "He got to the front tonight and that's made all the difference," said trainer Barrie Rattray. "You can't say he hasn't been consistent this time in but he has always been a very honest little fella," he said. The Eric Reece Memorial wasn't specifically targeted by the trainer. "This race just came along at the right time for him but it is definitely a race that every trainer and owner wants to win because it is named after a politician who was described as a person for the battlers." "It is definitely one race that everyone wants to win," Rattray said. Driver Todd Rattray said his charge was always travelling like a winner. "Once we led it was probably always going to be a matter of how far," the driver said. "He has been racing well and deserved to win," he said. The second heat was won by the Rod Burgess-trained Notimetothink that was resuming from a lengthy spell. The gelding was partnered by Rohan Hillier who allowed him to face the breeze throughout and he defied the tough run top hold on and score by metre from Reallyimaterminata with Podarkes a nose away third. It was a tough effort by the Rod Burgess-trained gelding that was having his first start since April. The third heat was taken out by Mighty Boy Coconut that also resuming from a lengthy spell. It was the Nathan Ford-trained five-year-old's first outing since June but he made the most of the inside draw (1) to lead and when Ford released the brakes at the top of the home straight he sped clear and hit the line about 20 metres clear of Gothic rage that trailed the winner throughout with Angkristy third just in advance of interstate invader me Mate Les that is prepared at Clyde by Jayne Davies. The final heat was won by Mes Elsu (Elsu-One For Me) that also led all the way although the margin was nowhere near as convincing at Mighty Boy Coconut's. Mes Elsu had a battle for the early lead with Little Miss Feral but when that mare broke stride it left Ricky Duggan's charge to stroll to the lead. Mes Elsu set a solid tempo and when challenged strongly in the home straight the Juanita McKenzie-trained six-year-old gelding found enough to hold out Rorybeebellows and Gun Filly. The Eric Reece Memorial final will be held in a fortnight at Tattersall's Park.  

WINNING the 2013 Miracle Mile with a horse that he bred was the ultimate reward for Tasmanian harness trainer-driver and breeder Barrie Rattray. That his son James Rattray drove and trained Beautide last Saturday night to win the equal richest race on the Australasian Grand Circuit calendar was the icing on the cake. Barrie Rattray is an icon of Tasmania's harness industry and while there has always been plenty of rivalry on the track from fellow trainers and drivers, the incredible number of text messages and emails sent to him pre and post race almost left him speechless. When James Rattray addressed the near capacity crowd at the presentation ceremony he made a point of telling all and sundry that it was a win for Tasmania as much as it was for the Rattray family. Barrie Rattray is basically a humble man who has always been a deep thinker who has often been misread by the media. When you are as passionate about an industry as he is then it is understandable that he wants to ensure that his and his family's success rubs off on all who are involved in the industry on our island state. James is of the same mould and that was clearly evidenced by his post-race speech. Beautide has taken all Tasmanians on a wonderful journey this season and it continues in a fortnight when the gelding tackles the Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton. James confirmed Beautide would most likely have a break after the Victoria Cup and be prepared for the 2014 Inter Dominion series to be run at Menangle in March. Listen to what Barrie Rattray had to say about Beautide's win and what it means to his family. Peter Staples  

He may have had to settle for second, but New Zealand superstar Christen Me didn’t lose anyway admirers in doing so. In fact, he may have gained some. After making a three-wide move early in proceedings, Christen Me was forced to do it tough, racing parked outside Smoken Up for the majority of the journey. The boom pacer then pounced to the lead on the bend before being dive-bombed by James Rattray and Beautide who took an inside split to win the race by five metres in a new race record of 1:50.2. For A Reason finished third after racing in tight quarters, while Im Victorious finished on well to grab fourth. Smoken Up could not replicate his performance in the Cordina Sprint last week and faded to finish in fifth, while Terror To Love’s Australian hoodoo continued with the three-time New Zealand Cup champion fading to finish a distant last after attempting to make a sweeping run on the bend. Christen Me’s run was described as “out of this world” but in the end it was a stunning drive from James Rattray that proved to be his decease. The 28-year-old, who yesterday became the youngest trainer to win a Miracle Mile, took a gamble and dropped Beautide three pegs rather than opting for the less risky one-one position. And In the end that was the winning of the race with the six-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight getting a glorious run up the inside. The win gave Tasmania, arguably the weakest harness racing state in Australia, their first win in the race since the great Halwes in 1968, which was just the second ever running of the great race. While Rattray, who is the son of Tasmanian training legend Barrie Rattray who shares in the ownership of Beautide, has been based in New South Wales for the past three months he claims that this win is definitely one for Tassie. "I might be based here now (New South Wales), but I will always be a Tasmanian and this is a Tasmanian win, make no mistake." Rattray, with the support of his father, moved to New South Wales as his saw their harness riches to good to ignore and that move has taken Beautide from $10,000 races at Hobart to Miracle Mile stardom, giving Rattray $750,000 reasons to smile. By Mitchell Robertson  

LEADING Tasmanian trainer Barrie Rattray admits that life at the moment could not be any better- as far as the horses are concerned. Rattray has been sidelined through injury after falling from the cart during trackwork with broken ribs the result but as always he was back directing traffic on the training track today. But if he needs sparking up he just has to think about his star pacer Beautide that guaranteed himself a start in the $750,000 Group 1 Miracle Mile at Menangle on Saturday fortnight by winning the Newcastle Mile last Saturday night. Beautide won the Newcastle Mile in track record time (1.52.6), eclipsing the previous best of 1.52.8 set by Pay Me Christian in 2006 and that horse went on to finish fourth in the Miracle Mile at his next start. Rattray has always had a huge opinion of Beautide. he told this writer after the gelding won his first 3YO race in Hobart that he could be the best he has ever trained. Beautide is now in the care of Rattray's son James who has established stables at Cobbitty near Menangle in NSW. In what is a sort of satellite stable arrangement Barrie send his elite horses to James with the plan to rotate them throughout the year. Sending Beautide to Sydney was one of the best decisions Barrie has ever made. "Since he has been in NW he has gone to a new level. "It is a combination of a few things but primarily he has never been more sound, he has thrived on the constant level of tough racing and James and Fia (James' partner Sofia Svensson) are doing a brilliant job with his training up there," Rattray said. "I have only ever been disappointed in Beautide's performances twice in his entire racing career and every other time he hasn't performed up to other's expectations there have been legitimate reasons." "What this horse has done in NSW is brilliant and we couldn't be more pleased with how everything has panned out so far," he said. Beautide is likely to have a trial a week before the Miracle Mile just to tune him up for the big race. "To be honest we are a bit disappointed there aren't any suitable races for him to contest between now and the Miracle Mile so we might have to settle for a trial," he said. Beautide was bred by Rattray at the family's Karalta Pacing Stables. he is by Bettors Delight from Rattray's star broodmare Gorse Bush (x Ticket To Heaven). The five-year-old gelding has won 34 of his 56 starts with 14 minor placings. Peter Staples

STAR Tasmanian pacer breezed his way into the Miracle Mile field with a track-record breaking win in the $75,000 Group 2 Newcastle Mile (1609m) last night. Beautide clocked a mile rate of 1m.52.6 seconds that bettered the previous best of 1.52.8 set by Pay Me Christian in November 2006. Despite having won five races in succession already this season he needed to win the race to be guaranteed a berth in the most prestigious Group 1 sprint race in Australasia to be run at Menangle on November 30 and carrying a purse of $750,000. Beautide went into last night's race having won his past five in succession and was backed in to start the $2.10 favourite. With his trainer James Rattray in the sulky, Beautide had a battle for the lead with the in-form mach Beauty but Rattray had to hand up and opted for the trail on the leader's back. They slipped along in quick time for the first half in 55.6 seconds and when Abettorpunt moved three-wide to improve Rattray eased his charge off the fence to go up and face the breeze to ensure he wasn't caught in a pocket. When the tempo lifter 400 metres out Rattray gave Beautide more rein and he sped clear and left his rivals in his wake. he hit the line 8-1/2 metres clear of Abettorpunt with Mach Beauty hanging on for third seven metres away and just in advance of Mister Presley. Beautide is owned by top Tasmanian trainer-breeder Barrie Rattray and the Rattray Family Trust. Beautide was trained for most of his racing career by Barrie but has recently been transferred into the care of his son James who has just set up stables at Cobbitty, near Menangle, where he will prepare a small team initially comprising of horse's from his father's stable in Tasmania. The intent is to expand the operation and given his success with Beautide and others he has sent to the races recently he is bound to secure outside drives from top stables as well as secure horses from prominent NSW owners. Peter Staples

STAR Tasmanian pacer Beautide confirmed his status as a genuine contender for w berth in the upcoming Group 1 Miracle Mile (1609m) at Menangle with a brilliant first-up victory last Saturday night. Sent out the odds-on favourite at $1.40, Beautide (James Rattray) had a duel at the start with the well backed Brave Wiggy ($6.00 into $4.60) with Brave Wiggy winning the battle. Driver James Rattray was content to settle behind the leader but when the pace slackened at the half-way mark Beautide started to tug a bit and was left slightly flat-footed when the leader sprinted clear at the top of the home straight. But the beauty of the long Menangle straight is that it enables really good horses to make up ground at the business end of proceedings and that’s exactly what Beautide did. Rattray called on his charge for the supreme effort 200 metres out and once the gelding had the leader in his sights he gunned him down and went on to score by over four metres from Brave Wiggy with My Dusky Sound seven metres away third. Beautide had not started for over a month but he was coming off a solid trial win. It was his fifth win in succession and while this latest win did not guarantee him a berth in the Miracle Mile field he only has to replicate that effort and win next Saturday night’s Newcastle Mile to clinch his place in the elite field. Beautide is now trained at Menangle by James Rattray who has established stables at John McCarthy’s property at Cobbitty near Menangle. His father Barrie Rattray, who was last season’s leading trainer and the winner of 13 trainer premierships, will send horses to James on a regular basis with another two expected to arrive this week to take the team’s tally to five. Peter Staples

THE Rattrays have long been one of Tasmania’s most dominant harness racing families with Barrie Rattray one of the most successful trainers and drivers over the past three decades. He followed in the footsteps of his father Wayne who, in his heyday, was one of the best trainers in the state. In Hobart last Sunday night Barrie trained a winner (Biggernbettermax) while his brother Kent trained a double and Barrie's sons Gareth and Todd drove three winners between them. In recent times Barrie Rattray has had a couple of his stable stars racing with success in New South Wales and in particular his classy free-for-aller Beautide that is a genuine candidate to grab a berth in next month’s Miracle Mile at Menangle. Rattray had a plan to establish a satellite stable interstate and the dream has finally been realised. His son James has taken out a trainer’s licence and along with his life partner Sofia Svennson they are preparing a small team of horses out of stables located alongside John McCarthy’s property at Cobbitty near Menangle. James spent about 3-1/2 years working in the USA for top trainer Noel Daly at New Jersey where he met Svennson who hails from Sweden. Svennson is a talented reinswoman in her own right and according to Barrie Rattray she is a “brilliant with horses”. James Rattray, 28, returned to Tasmania late last year with the view of assessing his future and hopefully relocating interstate to establish his own training enterprise. He believes having stables in NSW as an extension of the family business is a great way to ease his way into the national scene. Listen to what James Rattray had to say about the establishment of the Rattray satellite stable. Peter Staples  

Star Tasmanian pacer Beautide continued on his wining way at Menangle on Saturday night to take his win tally in NSW to six from 11 starts. Beautide scored comfortably from For A Reason and Avonnova, clocking a mile rate of 1m.52.4s over the 1609-metre trip which was the fastest mile rate of the night. Beautide is being aimed at the Miracle Mile and while he may have to win one of the three ballot-free entries into the race to gain start in the $750,000 Group 1 event at Menangle next month, with each win in free-for-all company he moves loser to an invitation from the NSW Harness Racing Club. His past four wins have all been over the mile trip and all have been in sub 1.53 times. Beautide is owned by the Rattray Family trust and up until last week was trained by Barrie Rattray. But his son James has taken over the training of the six-year-old gelded son of Bettors Delight. The Rattrays are in the process of building stables at Cobbitty, near Menangle, where James will prepare a team of about six horses from Barrie’s Longford-based stable. As well as Beautide, James’ stable tenants will include reigning Tasmanian 3yo and Horse of the Year, Pachacuti, smart four-year-old mare Delightful Christian, Jaruzelski Leis and Ciskei. Peter Staples

STAR three-year-old pacer Pachacuti was last night named Tasmanian Horse of the Year. Pachacuti was deemed Tasmania’s best by a panel of judges and his achievements were applauded by a packed house at the Tasmanian Harness Racing Awards night at Wrest Point Hotel Casino. The three-year-old also was a clear winner of the 3YO colts and geldings category, much to the delight of his owner Lyndon Dakin and trainer Barrie Rattray. Pachacuti capped his season in Tasmania with a brilliant victory in the $30,000 Globe Derby Strakes in Launceston before heading to Victoria where he made it to the 3YO colts and geldings final of the Breeders Crown by winning his heat and then finished a courageous second to star NZ colt Bit of a Legend in the Group 1 final. Pachacuti won the Horse of the Year crown ahead of his stablemate Beautide that was voted Tasmania’s best in the four-year-old and over category. Nola Mayhem was voted Tasmania’s best three-year-old filly with her two feature wins enough to give her the nod over an even bunch of fillies. Unbeaten juvenile Resurgent Spirit that won nine from nine was unrivaled to take out the top 2YO colt or gelding title while smart filly Sweet Pea Jasper was named 2YO filly of the year courtesy of her Sweepstakes triumph. Another of the Rattray stable Benediction was named Tasmania’s best race mare and The Fred and Pauline Barker-bred Amarillen was named Tasmania’s top broodmare just ahead of the Rattray-owned Gorse Bush Star Tasmanian reinsman Gareth Rattray won his eighth consecutive driver’s premiership while his father Barrie celebrated his 15th Tasmanian trainer’s title. The pair also battled it out for the honour of being named the 2013 winner of the Halwes Medal with Gareth emerging triumphant by a narrow margin. Gareth won the inaugural Halwes Medal last year. Talented young reinsman Dylan Ford won the Tasmanian Junior Driver title and he also received the Young Achiever Award as the highest polling junior driver in the Halwes Medal count. To cap the night, North-West Coast harness identity Rod Burgess was announced as the 2013 recipient of the Edgar Tatlow Medal. Burgess has been involved in the industry for over five decades as a trainer-driver, administrator and breeder. He has devoted a lifetime to the industry and the Edgar Tatlow Medal was just reward for his efforts. The participant awards also were presented at the function: The state's leading trainer was Barrie Rattray; Gareth Rattray leading driver; Kate McLeod leading female driver and Juanita McKenzie was the best female trainer in the state for season 2012-13. Dylan Ford won the junior driver title. Peter Staples

Talented teenage reinsman Dylan Ford held on to win his first Novice Driver’s premiership despite failing to drive a winner at the last meeting of the season in Launceston last Sunday night. Dylan took a three-win lead over archrival and reigning novice driver title holder Todd Rattray into last Sunday night’s meeting. Rattray drove two winners (Blue Pointer and Hesione) to edge closer but Ford’s lead proved too great a margin to overcome. Both of Todd’s winners were trained by his father Barrie Rattray who secured the trainer’s title with 73 Tasmanian winners but he also won seven races interstate. Ford drove 32 winners for the season and that included a four-win haul in Hobart last Sunday week (August 18). The 17-year-old from Hobart has gone from strength to strength this year with various trainers keen to secure his services late in the season despite him having out-driven his claim. Ford, who turns 18 next month, has only been driving for just under two years and earlier this year became the fastest to outdrive his claim. The battle for the leading female driver award also went down to the wire with Kate McLeod emerging triumphant over Erin Hollaway who both drove a winner at last Sunday night’s meeting. McLeod took the title with 14 winners, two clear of Hollaway. Peter Staples

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