Search Results
1 to 16 of 140
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

James Rattray, trainer of star Tasmanian-owned and bred pacer Beautide, yesterday confirmed the gelding has been passed fit to proceed with his campaign to defend the harness racing  Inter Dominion title he won at Menangle last year. Beautide was unplaced in last Saturday night's Victoria Cup at Melton after which stewards stood the pacer down while stating he was making a roaring noise which suggested he may have a respiratory problem. Beautide underwent a veterinarians examination yesterday and he was given a clean bill of health. "I thought the horse ran a great race, and to be honest, I was a little bemused as to why it was suggested he may have a respiratory problem, but I accepted what the stewards said and we had a vet go right over him today," Rattray said. "The vet couldn't find anything wrong with him and gave him the all clear so we are able to proceed with plans to run in a heat of the Inter Dominion at Menangle on Saturday week." Beautide had not started since finishing second to Christen Me in the Miracle Mile at Menangle last November. Rattray stated he is far from disappointed with Beautide's effort in the Victoria Cup. "He hadn't raced for over two months and he worked three-wide with no cover for some fair part of the race and he was coming again over the concluding stages," Rattray said. "He is a much better horse on the Menangle track, which is bigger and has a different surface to Melton, so back there I expect him to be spot on for his Inter heat." Peter Staples

Almost two years ago harness racing owner Malcolm Campbell and his son Justin's life partner Maree Fasoli attended the 2013 Tasmanian Standardbred yearling sale in Launceston with the hope of buying a pacer that would race at two. They ended up buying a filly for a modest $2000 and had no idea whether it would develop into the horse of their dreams. On the way home they stopped at Campbell Town because they were really thirsty and it was then that they agreed to name the filly Really Thirsty. With no transport arranged for the yearling to be taken fmro the sale yard they accepted an offer from Gareth Rattray to deliver the filly to the Hobart harness meeting the following night and it was there that Justin Campbell, the filly's designated trainer, caught first sight of her. He admits to not being pleased with what he saw and the first year of training resulted in multiple disappointments for both trainer and owners. But the perseverance factor kicked in and in Hobart last night Really Thirsty delivered a stellar performance to win a heat of the Allen Williams Memorial series at only her third start. She did enough at her first two starts for minor placings to suggest she had a future and punters were keen to back her into near favoritism ($4) on the strength of those two previous efforts. Campbell had Really Thirsty well placed in the one-out line but when he sent her three-wide to attack for the lead and found the front turning for home she tried to pull up. But under strong driving the now four-year-old mare regained the lead and powered clear of her rivals over the concluding stages to win comfortably from Kirbyelle and Acey Boy. "To say Really Thirsty is a work in progress would be an understatement," Campbell said. "If you rated a horse's ability based solely on endeavor on the training track she would never have made it to the racetrack." "I think she has just been a slow learner but on tonight's effort she has now shown some ability where it counts." "I'm not saying she will win a lot of races but she definitely has shown vast improvement since she started racing so we are optimistic about her immediate future," he said. Peter Staples

Underrated pacer Ciskei powered his way to an impressive win in the Carrick Cup on Saturday to make it back-to-back wins in the feature race for harness racing premier trainer Barrie Rattray. With trainer's son Todd in the sulky, the Bettors Delight gelding began brilliantly from the standing start to settle outside of the leader and when Gareth Rattray sent his charge Driller Mac around the field to attack for the lead about 1600m out, Todd Rattray urged Ciskei forward tom assume control in front and the pair matched motors to the home turn. Ciskei kicked clear and had enough in reserve to stave off a powerful finish from Whisper Jet (Zeke Slater) to defeat that horse by a nose with the well backed Vande Velde (Christian Salter) a head away third. It was a popular win as Ciskei was well backed to win the New Norfolk Cup on Australia Day but he broke gait at a crucial stage of the race that may have cost him victory. "He's racing very well and should have won the New Norfolk Cup," Rattray said. "He was jogging going down the back straight when I think he got onto his bumpers and broke." "But the Carrick Cup was always his main aim so it's mission accomplished," he said. It was the trainer second success in as many years having won the 2014 edition with Devendra that went on to win the Devonport Cup. Devendra eventually made his way to the James Rattray stable in NSW where he performed brilliantly winning multiple races at Menangle and while Barrie is hopeful that might happen with Ciskei, he isn't counting on it. Peter Staples

Stowport harness racing trainer Andrew Rawlings celebrated his biggest win this season when Musselroe Bay stormed home to capture the Norske Skog New Norfolk Cup over 2950 metres at Kensington Park yesterday. With premier reinsman Gareth Rattray in the cart, the son of Metropolitan settled worse than midfield despite stepping cleanly from his front two, while a hot pace was set by Put Mback, while The Dip faced the breeze ahead of Whisper Jet, which began brilliantly from his 20-metre handicap. It was Rattray’s second New Norfolk Cup win in succession having been successful with Put Mback the previous year. Put Mback started at $31, while Musselroe Bay was more fancied starting at $9. When the tempo quickened at the bell, the back markers struggled to get into the race down the back straight the last time, and turning for home it looked likely the leaders would fight out the finish. But Musselroe Bay emerged from the pack to set sail after the leaders, and once balance at the top of the straight, he powered home to overhaul the leaders close to home to score narrowly from Whisper Jet, Damitsam and The Dip. A big crowd ventured to New Norfolk for the club’s only meeting for the season that boasted seven races, with the Cup and the Ted Plunkett Memorial the features on the card. The Ted Plunkett was won by the David Pennicott-trained Strange Conduct which also was driven by Rattray. Strange Conduct powered home to score by 10 metres from Grinable, with Helen Wheels, which started off a 10-metre handicap, three-and-a-half metres away third. PETER STAPLES

TALENTED Tasmanian harness racing trainer Shelley Barnes celebrated a first at the meeting at Carrick in the North of the state on Friday. Barnes has trained hundreds of winners and driven probably twice as many but when Angel or Demon (Safari-Ima Merry Jasper) led throughout to win the Island Block & Paving pace on debut it gave Barnes her first winner that she bred herself. The four-year-old mare showed great gate speed to easily find the front and when driver Gareth Rattray called on her to extend in the home straight she powered clear and went on to score comfortably from Helenshall and Really Thirsty that flashed home from well back. "She's always shown a bit but has had problems and I was starting to worry that I'd never get her to the races," Barnes said. "They've only been minor injuries but they have meant that she has been in and out of work many times," she said. Barnes was confident the mare could win following an impressive trial win a week earlier and punters also were keen to get on, backing her in to start the $2.20 favourite. While Angel or Demon was impressive the minor placegetters also showed ability and it might not be long before Helenshall and Really Thirsty find their way into the winner's circle. Peter Staples

THE harness racing connections of talented pacer Star Chamber had a change of luck in Launceston last Sunday night when the gelding scored an emphatic win in the Doug Martin Danbury Park Cup. It was arguably Star Chamber's best win since arriving in Tasmania just over a year ago and it made up in some way for the horse's disqualification from winning a race at the same venue in October. Star Chamber was first past the post in the Show Cup but was disqualified when stewards deemed the horse had gone inside the marker pegs during the race that also constituted a four-meeting suspension for the horse's trainer-driver Nathan Ford who appealed the severity but lost the appeal. But on Sunday night the state's top reinsman Gareth Rattray was given the re sponsibility in the sulky and he never let connections down. Rattray had Star Chamber was able to enjoy a charmed run in the one-out-one-back position and when Rattray eased his charge three-wide to make his move turning for homer the gelding let down brilliantly to go on and defeat race leader Truly Blissfull with Shanghai Knight running on well to grab third and only a head astern. "Nathan has done a wonderful job with this horse to get him as far as he has," said part-owner Bianca Heenan. Star Chamber had won two races when he arrived in Tasmania but this latest victory was his ninth and Ford has high hopes he can pick up at least one of the country Cup s around Christmas-New Year. Peter Staples

Multiple harness racing premiership winning reinsman Gareth Rattray missed the last two months of the 2013-14 season due to illness, but he has been making up for lost time of late. Rattray registered a treble at Devonport last Thursday night to take his tally to seven wins from three meetings in the space of 10 days. While he was winless in Hobart on Sunday night he managed two minor placings. At Devonport his drive behind Hello Good Shanks for his partner-trainer Melissa Maine was outstanding and testament to why he has won the past eight Tasmanian drivers' premierships. Rattray had Hello Good Shanks settled near the rear of the field from his wide second-row draw and waited for the perfect time to send his charge around the field. Hello Good Shanks rounded up the leaders and burst clear close to home to score impressively from Carly Seelster, while race leader Aventador tired over the concluding stages to finish third. It was a race-to-race double for Rattray who also scored with Jazzy Jane for his uncle Kent Rattray Jazzy Jane showed early brilliance to cross to the front from barrier five, and once in the lead, Rattray dictated the pace to suit and she went on to win convincingly. The trainer was delighted with the win and suggested he might target races at Devonport for the mare in the immediate future. “This mare has been struggling in races in Launceston and Hobart, so we'll probably poke around down here from now on,” Rattray said. “We’ll also look at races on the country circuit over Christmas - New Year.” Jazzy Jane is raced by the trainer’s children Wade (22) and Tori (21). PETER STAPLES

WESTBURY harness racing trainer Dick Foley wasn’t surprised with Oscar Blakendon’s win despite the gelding starting as one of the rank outsiders in Launceston last night. Foley was confident enough to have “something each-way” on the five-year-old despite Oscar Blakendon’s modest form during his past four starts. The son of Jr Mint won in Hobart last August, but his form since has been modest, to say the least. But Foley had faith in Oscar Blakendon and parted with some of his hard-earned at the lucrative price of $41 at fixed odds. With Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Oscar Blakendon produced a powerful finish, coming from back in the field to score from Cooked Books and Original Art. A solid pace was set by Bucksaroo, which led into the home straight before being swamped 200 metres out. “I don’t think he was entitled to be such a long price,” Foley said. “I had something on him each-way, but I must admit the barrier draw (12) worried me. “He’s a horse that always seems to find trouble in his races and he keeps drawing bad barriers. “I thought if things went his way he could be in the finish and that’s why I put Gareth on him.” Oscar Blakendon has won twice from 22 starts, with two placings to his credit for just under $13,000 in prize money. PETER STAPLES

TALENTED harness racing trainer Melissa Maine and her partner, reinsman Gareth Rattray, celebrated a double in Hobart last Sunday night. The duo’s moment came courtesy of impressive wins by Faithful Jet and a first-starter for the stable Notimetothink. The lightly-raced gelding arrived at Maine’s Latrobe stables about five weeks ago having had 19 starts for a win and two placings. But the change of environment and a different training regime appears to have worked wonders for the son of Metropolitan. Rattray urged Notimetothink forward at the start and he had no trouble finding the lead in a C1 Pace over 2090 metres. When Rattray called on Notimetothink to extend in the back straight the last time he forged clear and went on to defeat Angkristy by over 12 metres, with Sir Yoie a close-up third. “The owners that I train for had this horse and he wasn’t getting very good draws or having much luck in his races, so they decided to give him a go with us and we’ve been able to win first-up,” Maine said. “I picked this race out for him knowing that he didn’t have many points and then a good draw (gate three) also helped. “I think he can improve on this run, but how far he can go I’m not quite sure. “We'll play around with him for a bit longer and see what happens.” Faithful Jet produced a strong effort after he was forced to face the breeze outside of the heavily backed favourite Im Dens Boy. Im Dens Boy looked to be travelling well at the bell, but when Rattray applied the pressure nearing the home turn it was obvious those who took the short price about the favourite were about to turn their betting tickets into confetti. “This horse went really well tonight and I'm sure he has turned the corner,” Rattray said. “They thought the leader was a pretty good chance, but my horse sat outside of him and proved to be too good on the night. “We have had a few little problems with him and he’s taken a while to come to hand. “We were hoping he would mature as he got older and that seems to be the case, so he might realise his potential.” Maine and Rattray have spent the last year establishing a training complex at Latrobe that boasts an 800-metre training track and refurbished stabling facilities. PETER STAPLES

IT was a tough night at the office for Tasmanian reinsmen Gareth Rattray and Ricky Duggan who were in South Australia last Saturday night to compete in the inaugural Australian Drivers' Championship at Globe Derby. Duggan was unable to find his way to the podium from drives in each of the six championship races but his charges were all outsiders with all but one starting from the second row. The other drew near the outside of the front row (six). Rattray made the most of his one good draw (barrier one) when triumphant aboard race favourite Winterfeel ($2) but he also managed to snare a second placing aboard 100-1 chance Nothingmuch. The series was designed to give drivers the opportunity to compete with the view of being selected to represent Australia at the World Driving Championships in Sydney next year. Drivers from other states were Grant Dixon and Peter McMullen (Qld), Blake Fitzpatrick and Amanda Turnbull (NSW), Chris Alford and Greg Sugars (Vic), David Harding and Ryan Hryhorec (SA) and Gary Hall junior and Chris Voak (WA). The drivers accumulated points across the six race series with performances factored into the selection of the drivers to represent Australia next year. Duggan and Rattray also had drives in two races that were not a part of the championship series in which Rattray secured a second and a fourth while Duggan finished fourth in the race in which Rattray finished second. Harness Racing Australia will announce soon the names of the drivers to represent Australia. PETER STAPLES

It is rare for star harness racing driver Gareth Rattray to salute as he scores with an outsider, but that’s how the Pack And Send Pace panned out at Hobart tonight. Rattray’s elated state was the result of La Ebony Kita’s success after the four-year-old finished stoutly to beat Blitzemgamble and Barooza over 2090 metres. The Ivan Belbin-trained mare has been plagued by injuries and illness almost from the day she came into work as a yearling. By Artistic Fella from La Nikita, La Ebony Kita’s problems began after she had a fall as a two-year-old and opened both knees in the training track mishap. “When she came into work as a two-year-old I was confident she would be very good against the best but everything went wrong,” Belbin said. “She opened both knees up twice in track accidents and then she got foot ulcers that took forever to heal.” Off the scene for 15 months, La Ebony Kita returned to racing last August with an inglorious tail of the field finish at Hobart. She then lifted her game at her subsequent outing when third at the same venue, with Belbin confident a win wasn’t far away. “I put Gareth on tonight and he drove her a treat,” Belbin said. “Gareth used to drive her mother and he says this mare has some of her mother’s old traits. “This mare hangs in when she gets tired just like her mum, but she also has her dam’s good turn of foot and I reckon that’s going to allow her to win more races.” La Ebony Kita’s maiden victory came at her fifth start, having made her debut in April 2013.          PETER STAPLES

Top Tasmanian harness racing drivers Ricky Duggan and Gareth Rattray will represent Tasmania in the inaugural Australian Driving Championship. The pair will be among 12 of the nation’s best drivers competing for the title of Australia’s Top Driver in South Australia on October 18. Each state will select two representatives. Just last weekend Duggan was announced the Halwes Medal winner – Tasmania’s highest individual honour. Duggan polled 66 votes – including five at the final meeting of the season - to edge out defending champion Rattray on 63. Rattray was also successful in 2012. Tasracing chief executive Eliot Forbes is confident Duggan and Rattray will perform on the other side of Bass Strait. “Gareth has won the past nine Tasmanian driving premierships, while Ricky has won more feature races than any current driver,” Forbes said. “Ricky also has 1303 wins and is fourth on the all-time list.” Rohan Hiller, who finished second in the driving premiership in 2011/12 and 2012/13, is the emergency. PAUL COURTS

At the end of June dual Halwes Medalist Gareth Rattray held a slender three point lead over Ricky Duggan in the race for the 2014 Halwes Medal. At the end of June, Rattray had 58 votes from Duggan on 55 with Todd Rattray in third place on 45. The top ten also includes Barrie Rattray (34), Nathan Ford (32), Rohan Hillier (27), Juanita McKenzie (23), Dylan Ford (21), Craig Hayes (21) and Zeke Slater (21). As Gareth Rattray has been sidelined for the past six weeks owing to a necessity to have major surgery, the voting for the Halwes Medal promises to be very interesting up to the final meeting of the season last Sunday night. The Halwes Medal is sponsored by BOTRA Tasmania and Jamie Cockshutt. The award recognises excellence in horsemanship and operates under the following format: A panel of nine members is rostered to vote throughout the harness season (September 2013 to August 2014). Panel members are Jamie Cockshutt, Peter Cooley, Greg Mansfield, Kevin Neilson, Matt Robertson, David Sales, Damien Seaton, Peter Staples and Shane Yates. A panel member votes on each meeting and has 10 votes to allocate. The 10 votes can be allocated at the panel member's discretion with a maximum of five votes for any trainer or driver. Only Tasmanian registered licensed persons are eligible to receive votes.   Halwes Medal votes for the last 13 meetings (July and August) will be announced at the Tasracing Harness Awards Dinner at Country Club Tasmania, Launceston on Saturday 13 September.   The BOTRA Young Achiever Award is run in conjunction with the Halwes Medal and is restricted to licensed persons aged 24 or under as at 1 September 2013. Dylan Ford leads with 21 votes followed by Nick Brockman (19), Duncan Dornauf (11), Lyarna Graham (11), Matthew Howlett (9), Tim Yole (6) and Brady Woods (5).   Halwes Medal votes to 1 July 2014 are: 58 Gareth Rattray 55 Ricky Duggan 45 Todd Rattray 34 Barrie Rattray 32 Nathan Ford 27 Rohan Hillier 23 Juanita McKenzie 21 Dylan Ford 21 Craig Hayes 21 Zeke Slater 19 Nick Brockman 16 Adrian Duggan, Dick Eaves, Grant Hodges 15 Troy Hillier 13 Steve Davis, Andrew Rawlings 11 Duncan Dornauf, Lyarna Graham 10 Paul Ashwood, John Walters, 9 Matthew Howlett 8 Kate Macleod 7 Justin Campbell, Erin Hollaway, Heath Szczypka, 6 Adrian Collins, Rohan Hadley, Brooke Hammond, Tim Maine, Zane Medhurst, Tim Yole 5 Chris Howlett, David Mace, Kent Rattray, Christian Salter, Andrew Thornton, Brady Woods, Ben Yole, Mark Yole 4 Rod Ashwood, Kevin Denny, Matthew Dwyer, Natalee Emery, Sam Freeman, Brian Mackrill, Paul Medhurst, Ben Rossendell, Wayne Watson, Roger Whitmore, Paul Williams 3 Shelley Barnes, Eric Blomquist, Mark Butler, Taylor Ford, Paul Hill, Braden Howlett, James Johnson, Geoff Smith, Keith Toulmin, Campbell Watt, Scott Woods 2 James Austin, Daryl Bates, Roger Brown, Rod Burgess, John Castles, Mike Castles, Michael Dornauf, Kevin Gillies, Kristy Grant, Eric Jacobson, Steve Lukac, Melissa Maine, Brent Parish, Greg Scott, Damien Spring, Chris Viney, Bradley Walters, Allister Woods, Clinton Woods, Robert Woods 1 Jim Allen, Andrew Arnott, Chris Aylett, Phillip Aylett, Barry Close, Bill Dornauf, Leigh Dornauf, David Dwyer, Robert Gillie, Max Hadley, Cleone Hill, Justin Howlett, Max Jacobson, Brett Jaffray, Geoff Madden, Clayton Miller, Ben Parker, Nick Perotti, Phil Rawnsley, Brian Stanley, Ian Swain, Lindsay Tatnell. Peter Staples

TALENTED harness racing trainer-driver Justin Campbell prepared his first treble on the Launceston circuit in 12 years when he dominated at yesterday's rescheduled Launceston Pacing Club meeting. Campbell won aboard John Snow and Damitsam that he also trains and he opened his account for the day aboard the Steve Lucak-trained Stoner Rainbow. It was almost 12 years to the day that Campbell prepared his first treble in Launceston with Really Mal, Itsalongwalkhome and General Kiev. However that trio gave Campbell a record that might never be equaled. The same three horses won at three consecutive meetings in Tasmania in August 2002. "Itsalongwalkhome, Really Mal and General Kiev won at two consecutive meetings at the old Hobart Showground and again at Mowbray so it was a fairly unique effort,' Campbell said. Campbell's treble on Tuesday also had an omen-like tint to it as one of the races he won 12 years ago was the Gareth Rattray Stakes and yesterday Damitsam won the Get Well Gareth Rattray Stakes. "Had we had the information before the meeting started we might have had a little something all-up especially on the Gareth Rattray Stakes won by Damitsam," Campbell said. Campbell said the circumstances surrounding yesterday's meeting - originally scheduled for last Sunday but postponed because of the state of the track caused by heavy rain, meant his horses hadn't been hoppled for eight days. "A lot can be said for not hoppling the horses for eight days because they all ran really well," he said. Campbell was full of praise for his two-year-old John Snow, named after a character from the pay TV show Game of Thrones, but he was particularly impressed with the win of Damitsam. "I just love this horse (Damitsam) because he tries his guts out every time he comes to the races," he said. Peter Staples

Champion Tasmanian reinsman Gareth Rattray  is expected to return to race driving next month following major surgery. Rattray has been sidelined for almost a month after having an operation to relieve recurring headaches. He was heading for a record season in the sulky notching 95 wins up until July 20 so he had his record of 115 wins that he recorded in 2009-10 well and truly in his sights. Rattray's other 100-plus season was in 2007-08 when he drove 113 winners. He left hospital last week and is taking it easy at home with partner Melissa Maine who said he was "getting better but still not doing a lot". "He might start driving trackwork again in a week or so and is aiming to be back driving at the first race meeting of the new season (September 7)," Maine said. Rattray will still win the driver's premiership which will give him his ninth title in succession. Peter Staples

TALENTED Tasmanian harness racing trainer Heath Szczypka pretty much heaved a sigh of relief when his eight-year-old gelding Rorybeebellows scored a game win in division one of the Iris Computing pace over 2090 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart tonight. With premier reinsman Gareth Rattray aboard, Rorybeebellows settled near the rear of the field from his inside second-row draw and had to be content to remain there until well into the back straight the last time. Blitzemgamble (Justin Campbell) led from gate two while the odds-on favourite Supa Sunshine ($1.90) was eased to take the trail from the pole position by driver Mark Yole. The driver of Billy Khan, James Austin, was caught three-wide at the back so instead of easing out he pushed forward to set his charge a task facing the breeze. Billy Khan edged clear of the leader 500 metres out but when they straightened for the run home Blitzemgamble (Partywiththebigdogs-Tuatahi Classic) regained the lead but he was unable to hold out Rorybeebellows. Listen to what trainer Heath Szczypka had to say about the win of Rorybeebellows. By Peter Staples

1 to 16 of 140
1 2 3 4 5 Next »