Bradley Walters has always been regarded as a quality horseman but regular success has avoided him in recent times owing to modest numbers in his care. Despite having spent little time in the winner’s circle in recent months Walters was confident his luck would change and so it did in Launceston last Friday night. His promising three-year-old colt Le Premiere powered his way to an impressive win in the Spraygo Stakes to give Walters an emotional and overdue win. “This horse was the last winner driven by David Medhurst before he was tragically killed in a car accident, so it means a lot to us,” Walters said. That victory came in a two-year-old race in Hobart in April. “We haven’t had much luck with the horse since then,” Walters said. “He broke a hopple two starts back and he was poorly driven last start so I had to sack the driver – myself.” “But we’ve always known he has ability. He’s been immature and has had a few setbacks but he’s got a good turn of foot and that will help him win more races,” he said. Le Premiere was well driven by reigning premier driver Gareth Rattray who settled the colt midfield in the one-out line before sending him around the fields to challenge leaving the back straight the last time. He rattled home his last half (800m) in 58.2 seconds to hit the line well clear of Bumble Don and Legenda. He had performed well in a trial leading up to the race and punters put their faith in that effort by sending him around a $4.60 chance. It was the first leg of a winning double for Rattray who also scored aboard Brian Buster Brown in the Bullock Consulting Claimer. By Peter Staples
YOUNG novice reinsman Nicholas Brockman guided Terror Jones to an impressive win in Hobart on Sunday night carrying out his driving instructions to the letter. Terror Jones drew near the outside of the front row so he was instructed by trainer Eric Jacobson to let the mare trail out to last and then be left for one last sprint at them in the home straight. And that’s exactly how Brockman drove the mare. An honest pace was set by the favourite City babe with the state’s reigning premier driver Gareth Rattray aboard with Avens left to face the breeze and the well supported Helen Wheels tucked away on the leader’s back. Brockman had Terror Jones travelling smoothly at the rear and in the back straight the last time he eased his charge out three-wide to improve and the mare gradually worked her way into contention. Avens forged to the lead in the home straight with Helen Wheels off the fence and in hot pursuit but when Brockman called on his mare for the supreme effort she rattled home and went on to score by over three metres from Avens with Helen Wheels a half-metre astern. It was an overdue win for Terror Jones (Western Terrior-Bertie Jones) and one that made up for a string of minor placings at recent outings. Peter Staples
Talented four-year-old pacer Melolyn will be forced to take a short break owing to a problem with his teeth. Melolyn notched another impressive win last Sunday in Launceston, outgunning a quality line-up in the Launceston Veterinary Clinic Pace over 2200 metres. “He has got a bone growing near one of his front molars that causes him to be a bit touchy so we’ll give him a little break while we get that taken out,” Ashwood said. Melolyn (Ponder-My Shaette) has won seven from 14 starts and this latest victory was one of his best. With Gareth Rattray aboard, Melolyn led all the way and what impressed was the way he fended off a serious challenge from eventual runner-up Dapper Dana that had big raps on him when he first arrived in Tasmania from New Zealand late last season. Ashwood is unsure whether to keep the gelding racing in Tasmania and target the Raider Stakes at Devonport next year or test the water interstate with a stint of racing in Melbourne. “I’d like to take him somewhere to teach him to be a horse,” Ashwood said. “Whether that means taking him to Melbourne or staying here in Tasmania I’m not quite sure.” “He is still only four and lightly raced so I don’t really want to throw him in at the deep end,” he said. By 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
IT was a fitting end to the harness racing season for champion reinsman Gareth Rattray who landed a treble in Launceston last Sunday night to easily capture his eighth consecutive driver’s premiership. The three winners, Melolyn, Siduri and Call The Marshall, took his season’s tally to 86 which had him 32 clear of his nearest rival Ricky Duggan. Rattray fell well short of his record of 116 winners but it was a great win given he is no longer the number one driver for his father Barrie who captured his 15th trainer’s premiership. Gareth and his partner Melissa Maine celebrated the birth of their first child this year and that led to Rattray moving away from the family property at Longford, paving the way for his twin brother James to take over as number one stable driver. Last Sunday Rattray’s most satisfying win was aboard Siduri that is trained by his partner Maine. It was an effortless all-the-way win by the promising three-year-old filly that was sensationally backed in from $2.50 to start $1.80 in fixed odds markets. Siduri ( Live Or Die -Mardinova) scored her only other win about a year ago but she has only been with Maine for this latest preparation. Listen to what trainer Melissa Maine had to say about Siduri’s latest win. Peter Staples
PROMINENT harness racing owner-trainer-breeder Mick Maxfield usually ventures interstate to buy yearlings to race but in Launceston last Sunday night it was one of his home-grown pacers that stole the limelight for the stable. Melolyn led most of the way to score an impressive win in the Sara Redman & Associates Stakes (division two) over 2200 metres. The three-year-old gelding had to work hard early to eventually find the front but once there his driver Gareth Rattray rated him well and when he was called on for the big effort in the home straight he forged clear and went on to defeat Delmi by just over 12 metres with Howcomewhynot over eight metres away third. Melolyn is by Ponder USA from Maxfield’s mare My Shaette ( Presidential Ball-Juliet Castle) that he bought at the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale in 2005. My Shaette was placed at her first two two-year-old starts before winning and she went on to run in the $50,000 Sweepstakes final in which she was driven by to Victorian reinsman-trainer John Justice but the filly finished last of 10. She managed two more minor placings from seven subsequent starts before being retired to stud. Maxfield was pleased with the three-year-old’s latest win which was his fourth career victory. “He is definitely a work in progress,” Maxfield said. “We have had a bit of trouble with his mouth and he can get a bee in his bonnet at times and be a bit of a problem.” “I bought his mother in Melbourne and although she was well bred she could only win one race.” “Her filly foals haven’t been much good and Melolyn is her first colt,” he said. Peter Staples
A recent addition to the Paul Medhurst harness racing stable looks set to make his mark in the lower grades in Tasmania. Bona Fide Hustler was purchased by Medhurst for $14,000 from the same owners that sold him Lockdown that went on to win multiple races in Tasmania. The four-year-old gelding’s form in NSW was good without being overly impressive. He won three times at Menangle but at his second win he carved out a mile rate of 1.56.7 to suggest he was a more than capable pacer. At Tattersall’s Park in Hobart on Sunday night Bona Fide Hustler made his Tasmanian debut and he could not have been more impressive. He was forced to face the breeze for most of the race outside if Iden Princess that burned out of the gate to lead from a near outside barrier (6). But with leading reinsman Gareth Rattray aboard, Bona Fide Hustler forged clear turning for home and went on to defeat Dieberdevil by almost three metres with Terror Jones 1-3/4 metres away third. “I have only had him two weeks and we almost didn’t run him because he had a bit of a cold when he arrived but he recovered in time to start tonight and he did a great job,” Medhurst said. “His arrival in Tasmania was delayed because of that strike by the waterside workers in Melbourne that prevented him coming here on the Spirit of Tasmania.” “On what he showed tonight I would say he will definitely pay his way,” he said. The gelding had five starts as a two-year-old for three minor placings the he won first-up from a spell at his first start as a three-year-old clocking a rate of 1.58.9. From his 12 starts last season he won twice and was placed three times but other than two flops he finished no further back that fourth. He had almost a year away from the racetrack and returned in June this year and produced similar results from his five starts prior to arriving in Tasmania. “From what he’s shown us so far he is quite sound so his future looks bright here in Tassie,” Medhurst said. Driver Rattray also gave the gelding a glowing report. “He had to do it a bit tough facing the breeze tonight but we got away with a cheap quarter so that helped,” Rattray said. “He is a good pacer and doesn’t seem to have any vices so I’m sure there are more wins for him here in Tasmania,” he said. Peter Staples
Talented two-year-old pacer Mickwillrev stamped himself as a horse with a future following his game win in the $10,000 Tasmanian Premier’s Breeders Plate over 2090 metres at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart tonight (Sunday). Mickwillrev faced the breeze outside of the well-backed Victorian youngster Hand Of The King for almost the entire race but he made light of the task. Premier reinsman Gareth Rattray looked to be working overtime on Mickwillrev turning for home but the bay gelding dug deep at the business end of the race to go on and score by a metre from Rusty Red Comet that trailed the leader and had to be eased back to make his run three-wide. Hand Of The King hung on for third ahead of the fast-finishing Vande Velde and Who Is Hardeen. It was Mickwillrev’s third win from only five starts this season and he was second at his other two outings. The Craig Hayes-trained gelding is by Live Or Die from the Fake Left mare Midnight Sapphire that has had two foals to race and bother are winners with the other being Cantiscape that won eight and was placed 14 times from 60 starts in New South Wales. by Peter Staples
All conquering 27-year-old Latrobe harness racing reinsman Gareth Rattray has established a handy lead in the 2013 Halwes Medal.
In September 2011, Tasracing introduced changes designed to increase opportunities for claiming novice drivers, who are new drivers that can claim a concession on some horses allowing the horse to drop back in class or be advantaged in the barrier draw.
Prominent harness racing horse owners Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt appear to have struck gold with one of their latest New Zealand imports in the form of well bred three-year-old Dapper Dana.
The outcome of the Tattsbet 3YO Pace over 2090 metres in Hobart on Sunday night was one of the highlights on the 10-race harness racing card.
Classy harness racing mare Benediction will soon be retired to stud and if she never races again she will have left the scene on a winning note. Benediction scored a game win when she proved too string for her rivals in the $10,000 Doug Martin Danbury Park Cup at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston last Sunday night.
Prettyboytoby broke through for his first win of the harness racing season and in doing so gave driver Gareth Rattray a double. Rattray also partnered Benediction to victory in the standing start Sunrise Bakery Pace over 2200 metres. Prettyboytoby had not won since saluting in C1 mobile in Hobart in July where he scored impressively against strong opposition.
Top harness racing trainer Barrie Rattray has maintained his opinion of former smart filly Benediction throughout her racing career but some inferior efforts and flat spots in recent times had the potential to dampen his enthusiasm.
Star Tasmanian harnss racing driver Gareth Rattray has capped another great season by securing the inaugural Halwes Medal. Rattray won his seventh consecutive driver's premiership with 87 winners but taking out the Halwes Medal was the icing on the cake.