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Victorian trainer Dean Braun is no stranger to winning feature races in Tasmania and he is one step closer to claiming his second Tasmania Cup with lightly raced four-year-old gelding Willie Go West. The former Kiwi pacer demolished his rivals to score in the opening heat of the Group 2 Tasmania Cup at Ladbrokes Park Elwick in Hobart on Sunday night. It was only the 10th racetrack appearance for the four-year-old gelding who was able to step away brilliantly from the pole draw in the 2579-metre standing start event to lead all the way. Driver Chris Alford had no reason to panic, despite being kept honest in the early stages by Call Me Hector, who was inclined to over race, to record a 77.0s lead time before recording quarters of 29.4s, 33.0s, 29.1s and 28.4s for a mile rate of 2m 2.9s. The gelded son of Auckland Reactor wasn’t even out of second gear on his way to a 13.8-metre victory over The Shallows and Lip Reader, with the locals chasing well spread out over the concluding stages. “He was good, he is a pretty nice horse, and I have always liked him, I went and drove him in New Zealand, and he gave me a very nice feel and I have sort of kept him back and gave him a few looks at the tape to get him ready for this as we knew he would get the front,” said winning trainer Dean Braun after the race. “If I waited until next year, he would have been off 30 metres, so I had to come this year and give it a shot, I have thrown him in the deep end a little bit as he has only had 10-starts, but it is good money and hopefully we can get some of it,” added the trainer. The first seven placegetters all qualified for the Group 2 Final on Saturday 13 March, and they will be joined by the first seven placegetters of this Sunday’s heat, where Braun will be represented by Holy Basil, who has performed well in recent trials, while he is yet to decide if multiple Group 1 winner Our Princess Tiffany will contest the heat or wait and contest the states premier mares race, the George Johnson on 13 March, but she is likely to remain in the state for the Easter Cup in Launceston next month. Alford and Braun combined to win the Tasmania Cup with Our Chain Of Command in 2010, which was the last year the race held Group 1 status with prizemoney of $100,000, while Alford has also won the race with Talimade Lombo on two occasions, and Golden Reign during the ‘90s. While the Tasmania Cup with Willie Go West will be their main focus on 13 March, they look set to be adding the Eric Reece Memorial to there resume with six-year-old gelding Jaffa Josh who scored a 19-metre win in the second heat of the series. The six-year-old gelding settled one-out and three-back before the favourite swept to the lead down the back straight to go on and record an effortless 19-metre victory. “He is a pretty nice horse, he has good speed, and is good gaited and has plenty of bottom to him,” said Braun. “He has a few quirks but has come a long way in a short amount of time, and I think he is a handy horse,” added the winning trainer. Alford drove a treble on the card, winning the Aldebaran Park Hobart Trotting Cup with the Rodney Ashwood-trained Mascott, who led home a training quinella for Rodney Ashwood, with Beau Garcon finishing second   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

James Dean was an emergency for the New Zealand Cup just over two years ago and while a bit of water has gone under the bridge since then, on Monday night in Hobart the pacer was back in the winners list taking out the Pauly’s Pizza New Norfolk Pacing Cup. The recent Ben Yole stable addition was inclined to over race in fourth position in the early stages of the 3060-metre event before gaining a one-out one-back trail over the final stages. Driver Troy McDonald made his move at the 600-metre mark on the seven-year-old gelded son of Santanna Blue Chip who scored an easy 10.9 metres over Black Ops and last years winner Finn Mac Kee in 2m 4.1s. “Grant Dixon sent him down in good order, and I hadn’t had the horse long, so I have to thank him very much,” said trainer Ben Yole post race. “Troy gave him a fantastic drive, and it is good for him to get a feature win as he is a big part of my team,” added Yole. Driver Troy McDonald was impressed with the win. “That was an extremely impressive win, he over-raced a bit over the long distance, but he did enjoy a lovely trip,” said McDonald. Ignatius bounced back into the winner’s list in the Toreace Flying Mile. Trainer-driver Todd Rattray elected to restrain the gelding from his wide draw before racing three-wide over the final lap to score by 3.2 metres over Ryley Major in 1m 54.7s, just 0.4s outside the track record. “I didn’t pull the blinds or earplugs, but he was getting over Ryley which was handy as he is always hard to beat,” said Rattray on TasracingTV after the race. “He will probably have a stint in New South Wales or Victoria now, I’m just not sure, but we will see what happens,” added the trainer-driver. Rohan Hillier had a night out driving a treble on the six-race card. He combined with trainer Conor Crook to score in the Art Meeker Memorial Matron Stakes with Gone And Forgotten and then again in the E C Plunkett Memorial with Lord Stark. Hillier trained and drove the final race winner Heza Sport who won his second race in his last three outings.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Six meetings remain on mainland Tasmania, and many premierships are going down to the line with the battles continuing in Hobart on Friday night. Kardesler will be out to extend the lead of trainer Juanita McKenzie for the states female trainers title in race four. The American Ideal gelding is building up an impressive record on the Hobart track, winning four of his 11 starts and has been placed on a further four occasions. His most recent effort was on Sunday where he chased home Hez The One after racing three-wide over the final 1100 metres, and he finished off well out wide for second to record the quickest individual last half mile of the race in 57.01s. Kardesler will be driven by Hannah Van Dongen who is locked in a battle for the female driver’s title. Ford is suspended from driving until 27 December. McKenzie has a one-win lead over Taylor Ford on the female trainer’s title, and she has some chances to add to her title in Hobart. Ford prepares Say A Prayer who is having her first start in the state after winning one of 16 Victorian starts and Big Bang Raj who was a Hobart winner three starts ago and draws the second row in Friday’s race. The Drivers title is also a tightly contested affair. Gareth Rattray leads with 68 wins from Rohan Hillier and Conor Crook on 66. Ricky Duggan sits in fourth place on 64 wins with Mark Yole rounding out the top five on 62. Ben Yole has the trainers title in the bag with 176 wins while Taylor Ford leads the Junior Drivers premiership on 31 wins. Friday night’s Hobart card commences at 18:28 and will be shown on Sky Racing 2 and TasracingTV.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

New Zealand born driver Sam Clotworthy leads the six-race Youngbloods Challenge after the first three heats were held in Hobart on Sunday night. Clotworthy secured maximum points in heat two when scoring on the Ben Yole-trained Guys Bettor Bet at odds of $71. “He won really well tonight, I knew he would run a big race if he could find a spot close enough and I ended up following the favourite in the one-one,” said Clotworthy after the race. “He got me into the straight where I was able to get a split, and he was just super to the line from there, I like the horse, that’s my second win on him,” added the winning driver. Many expected Clotworthy to win the opening heat on the favourite Jakes A Joy, but they could only manage third placing behind the Matthew Howlett driven Metro Star, who also delivered a rough result at odds of $31. The seven-year-old gelding is trained by another former Kiwi, Ben Woodsford, with the win being his first as a trainer. Settling one-out and five-back, Howlett was able to lead up the three wide line from the 1100-metre mark and the gelded son of Metropolitan proved too tough late. Keeping with the theme of long price winners, it was a tough result in the last heat of the series with Ozzie Major scoring at odds of $31. Scottsdale based driver, Georgia Hayward, was able to quickly find the position three back the marker pegs from barrier six on the gelding. They were held up coming to the home corner before the five-year-old gelding found clear racing room at the 175-metre point to fly home and win in a slow last half mile. Youngbloods Point Table 33 Sam Clotworthy, 26 Georgia Hayward, 22 Matthew Howlett, Ben Woodsford and Samantha Gangell 21 Charlie Castles, 18 Malcom Jones, 14 Bronte Miller, 11 Lachlan Dakin and 9 Andrew Freeman. Clotworthy will be hoping for more luck in the final three heats in Launceston on Sunday night. “Hopefully next week I can draw a couple of nice horses and barriers to scoop up a couple more points,” said the driver. The open class race was won by Ignatius who had a soft run over the first lap, which played into his hands over the concluding stages to score by 14 metres over Ryley Major. Juanita McKenzie prepared a double on the card with two two-year-olds, Sharmey and Helikaon, with leading trainer Ben Yole preparing a training quartet.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Ignatius continued on his winning way in Hobart on Sunday night when he took out the open class event on the nine-race card. The Roll With Joe gelding sat outside the leader and second placegetter Ryley Major to defeat him by two-metres. After a slow lead time for an open class of 35.1s and a first quarter of 32.2s the pace quickened over the final 1200 metres in quarters of 30.0s, 28.2s and 27.7s for a mile rate of 1m 58.0s. Call Me Hector, who ended up behind the leader, was a further 7.4 metres away third. Watch the replay click here Ignatius was driven by Gareth Rattray who was replacing regular driver and trainer Todd Rattray who is currently serving a driving suspension. “He went terrific racing outside Ryley Major in what was a strong last half mile, and he ran through the line well,” said Todd Rattray about the win. “He has pulled up well and hasn’t stopped running around in his paddock this morning,” added the trainer. It was a great entree to a host of feature races over the upcoming months in Tasmania including the heats and final of the $30,000 Tassie Golden Apple in December. Then in January, the state has the $25,000 Hobart Pacing Cup and the $30,000 Devonport Pacing Cup, with some Victorian trainers indicating strong interest for these races. Todd indicated he might look at a regular free for all in Hobart in two weeks, before the heats of the Golden Apple in Launceston the following week. The win of Ignatius was a part of a driving double for Gareth Rattray who scored on Bonacci earlier on in the night. He now has a two-win lead for the state’s drivers title on 67 over Rohan Hillier and Conor Crook on 65, followed by Ricky Duggan 61 and Mark Yole 60. Earlier in the night, Jakes A Joy chalked up his second win of the weekend, after scoring in Burnie on Friday, winning a rating 50 to 54 event. It was the fourth win in a row for the Mister Big gelding who had a lovely three-wide cart into the race. Another pacer to make it four wins in a row was Victoria Pass who was too strong for his rivals after working forward to race outside the leader in the middle stages of the race.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

The Zeke Slater trained Victoria Pass completed a winning hat-trick in Hobart on Friday night when scoring in a rating 57 to 67 event. After leading the three-wide line for the final 1000 metres, the gelded son of Passmaster Hanover ran away for a 9.6-metre win in a mile rate 2m 0.0s for the 2090 metres. It was the pacers 11th career win at his 129th start. “He has obviously been around a while, but I always have had a nice enough opinion since I have had him,” said trainer Zeke Slater after the win. “His last three wins he has been well graded, but he had been racing well at this grade in the past he just slipped down the ratings a bit last preparation,” added the trainer. The pacer was driven by Sam Gangell with connections electing to use her concession claim. “He is no star but he is racing well and he can stick a bit, the quicker they go the better it is for him, The pacer is raced by a host of interstate owners including Queensland race caller Jarrod Wessel and former Alice Springs race caller, now Trackside TV presenter in New Zealand Pat Comerford. Slater indicated he would continue to look for suitable races in the future for the gelding. After many good performances in recent weeks, the Ben Yole-trained Jakes A Joy bounced back into the winner’s list with a decisive win in a rating 50 to 56 event. Ben’s brother Mark took the reins on the gelding who enjoyed a lovely run just off the speed before being too good late, with Ben putting the polish on the first four place getters. It was the first leg of a driving double for Mark who partnered Armchair Drive, who gave Yole precisely that in the trotter’s event. Reinsman Ricky Duggan also had a night out with a treble, winning on Tracer Bullet, North Star Lad and Helikaon. After two recent placings, Murry was able to bounce back into the winner’s list after working forward to find the lead in a slowly run affair of 2m 5.2s. Wandary Muscat was well driven by Todd Rattray to win a rating 30 to 49 event on the eight-race card.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Two-year-old Sunshine Beach colt, Iylac Beach opened his winning account on debut in Hobart on Friday night. Connections had no hesitation in racing the older horses first up in the rating 30 to 47 event, where another two-year-old, Demand Respect was sent out the $1.60 popular pick after being backed in from $2.30. Demand Respect took up the lead soon after which gave Iylac Beach ($2.60 out to $4.80) a lovely trail behind the leader. Driver Dylan Ford decided to use the Nutrien Sprint Lane in the home straight with the pacer going on to score by a head over Demand Respect with Oneofthelads a further 8.9 metres away third, in a mile rate of 2m 1.5s. Trainer, breeder and part-owner Bianca Heenan said she was confident going into the race despite chucking the pacer “in the deep end” for his debut run. “I have had big wraps on him from day one, he was a late foal so I took my time with him, he is still extremely green and has a lot to learn which is exciting for his future,” said Heenan after the race. “To breed him, raise him, and treat him as though he is one of my children and then to watch them win is a feeling like nothing else, a feeling there's no way to describe, he had been my golden child since he was born,” added Heenan, with the pacer picking up his $10,000 first win Tasbred bonus. Heenan indicated she would see how the colt pulls up in the next couple of days and then decide if she gives the pacer one more start before a spell. Iylac Beach is named after a combination of Heenan’s two kids Alec and Iylah. The win was the second leg of a driving double for Dylan Ford who caught his rivals napping at the bell when he made a lighting move on Victoria Pass in the second race of the night. The Passmaster Hanover gelding outstayed his rivals over the concluding stages to score in 1m 58.7s to give his trainer Zeke Slater his 150th career win. Reinsman Mark Yole was another to drive a double on the card, and the reinsman is still in contention for the states drivers title where he is now nine-wins off the lead. He drove the Geoff Smith trained North Star Lad to victory, before scoring with Nikks Pick, with the mare recording her first win since February 2019, the pacer was stepping out for the first time since joining the Kristy Butler stable. Boltnmach was another pacer to break a long drought when scoring in a rating 58 to 63 event, the 11-year-old gelding hadn’t won since July 2018. The pacer was having only his fourth start since joining the Ben Richardson stable and was driven by Hannah Van Dongen who now joins Taylor Ford at the top of the female driver's title. It was a rough start to the night with The Cobblers Piece ($13) scoring in the first race on the program in what was a stable quinella for trainer Ray Pullen with Gipsy Treasure finishing second. Navua Pixie’s win also ensured it was going to be a rough result in the quaddie when scoring at odds of $18 in a rating 30 to 47 event that was restricted to mares. She was driven by her trainer Sam Gangell.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

It was a night north-west coast participants won’t forget for some time in Hobart on Sunday. Agouda Ruler scored in the Dandy Patch and ended an eight-year drought for the north-west coast horses in Sires’ Stakes finals, in fact, you have to go back to the mid to late 90’s to find the last two-year-old Sires’ Stakes winner from the north-west coast. The north-west coast didn’t have to wait long for their next Sires’ Stakes winner when Melnrowley led all the way to score in the Evicus just over an hour later. The wins were a part of five winners for driver Gareth Rattray on the night, with Rattray and his fiancée Melissa Maine welcoming their new son Kayden into the world at 11am on Saturday. At 2am on Sunday morning Maine foaled down a half-sister to Agouda Ruler, part of a big weekend for the family. In other news, Kasey Kent, daughter of former north-west trainer Ian Kent, is the latest participant to join a long list of young Tasmanians in Victoria, and she prepared her first win as a trainer at only her second start in Shepparton on Monday afternoon with former New Zealand pacer Reckon Im Smart. The Stars Melnrowley – delivered the first sires’ stakes win for trainer, part-owner and breeder Craig Hayes when the daughter of Heston Blue Chip led all the way in the Group 2 Evicus. The filly was kept honest in the middle stages and proved too tough in a two-year-old fillies record in Hobart of 1m 57.5s when notching up her fifth career win at start six. Agouda Ruler – also delivered a first sires’ stakes win for his owner-breeders Larry and Liz Nichols and her trainer John Castles. The gelded son of Betterthancheddar settled on the back of the $1.28 favourite Rocknovertime before utilising the Nutrein Ag Sprint Lane to record the quickest last half-mile of the meeting in 56.40s. The win took the pacers prizemoney earnings pass $50,000. Gareth Rattray – not only did the master reinsman drive both Melnrowley and Agouda Ruler to victory but he also drove another three winners on the 10-race card. It was the third time Rattray has driven five winners on a single program after achieving the feat in Launceston on 29/11/09 and Burnie on 19/01/14. Racketters Boy – had won five of 53 starts in New Zealand before impressing at his Australian debut in Hobart on Sunday. He was driven by his trainer Troy Hillier, who has a good eye for a kiwi import. Hillier indicated that the horse had been working well before the win and that he is considering a start in Sunday week’s $12,000 Danbury Park Cup in Launceston. Nine Diamonds – was one of four winners on the Hobart card for trainer Ben Yole and the filly continued her progression through the national rating system with a dominant win in a race that was effectively a rating 42 to 61 event. It was the Auckland Reactor fillies fifth career win at start 20 and given her recent form there looks to be many wins left in her. Multiple Winners Hobart – Sunday evening Gareth Rattray – driving quintet; Baccarat, Agouda Ruler, Melnrowley, Bettabrown Tiger and Karalta Dazzler, Ben Yole – training quartet; Baccarat, Nine Diamonds, Got The Goods and Karalta Dazzler, Marc Butler – training double; Spooky Girl, Bettabrown Tiger, Troy McDonald – driving double; Nine Diamonds and Got The Goods. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Hobart – Sunday evening Agouda Ruler 56.40s, Racketters Boy 56.67s, Rocknovertime 56.86s, Taurisi 56.98s and Hez The One 57.03s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Hobart – Sunday evening Hit’s: Racketeers Boy $2.40 into $1.80 and Melnrowley $1.30 into $1.14. Defied the Drift: Baccarat $5.00 out to $5.50, Spooky Girl $7.00 out to $9.00, Agouda Ruler $4.00 out to $8.50, Kardesler $2.70 out to $3.20, Got The Goods $4.40 out to $4.80 and Karalta Dazzler $3.80 out to $4.80. Missed: Micton Aroha $2.90 into $2.60, Rocknovertime $1.35 into $1.28, Live For Peace $15 into $7.00, Betterbsweet $3.60 into $4.00, My Celebrity $3.20 into $2.60 and Jeans Mattjesty $12 into $6.00. Trial File Carrick Park – Monday evening Despite being a rating 71 to 89 trial staged at Carrick Park on Monday, star pacer Ryley Major somehow found himself in a trial where his three rivals were rated between 44 to 49. As you would expect the 120 rated pacer won the trial under a stronghold by his trainer-driver Rohan Hillier when coming from last at the 600-metre mark to defeat Queen Of Diamonds, who raced very erratically throughout, by a neck. The mile rate was 2m 2.0s, but this season’s Tasmania Cup winner did start several lengths out of position and his individual time would have been quicker. Other winners included his half-brother Tommy Hillfigure (2m 4.0s), Giftofjoy (2m 8.7s) and The Floyd (2m 3.5s). You can view the weekend’s replays by clicking here. Week Ahead The two-year-old Sires’ Stakes is done and dusted and now the series rolls on to the three-year-olds in Launceston on Sunday where two heats of the Bandbox and Globe Derby will be held. The second heat of the Bandbox looks to be a pre-final clash between Tasmanian Oaks winner A Spanish Dance, who is first-up with no recent trial, taking on in-form mare Blame It On Me who has won two starts back from injury. As for the Globe Derby, the second heat sees Tasmanian Derby winner Micton Mouse return to the state and the John Nicholson pacer has drawn well in barrier three, with Kivik the highest-rated pacer in the race by one-point drawing barrier seven. The first heat sees Watchmylips return from a spell after winning his previous three starts with the race featuring last year’s Dandy Patch winner Colby Sanz and second placegetter Kohanah with both horses out to recapture some of their best form ahead of the Group 2 Final next week. Race One is scheduled for 17:22 and will be on Sky Racing 2, with the final nine races on Sky Racing 1. Trainer Geoff Smith has sent recent Devonport winner Laid Back Kenny interstate this week, and he is one of two Tasmanian pacers doing battle over the next few days at metropolitan venues including; Melton – Saturday Night Race 4 Horse 4 Laid Back Kenny, Menangle – Saturday Night Race 2 Horse 1 Shelby Bromac (Emg)   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

It’s been a huge week for Hall of Fame reinsman Gareth Rattray who drove five winners including both Group 2 features in Hobart on Sunday, which came on the back of his fourth child arriving the day before. Jamie Cockshutt has the story on Gareth Rattray who always seemed destined for a career in racing but had to work hard to get there. In the first part of this two-part series, they take a look at Gareth’s introduction into racing and the biggest influences, his family. The racing bug Gareth Rattray’s parents Barrie and Denise recall that Gareth had the passion for racing from a very early age. “He just loved everything about racing and it even extended to bath time as he would get his toys to race around the bath and it got very serious between the boys as you could imagine,” laughed Barrie and Denise Rattray. “Gareth would use the rubber ducky as a microphone to commentate the race and he was quite good at it too so we are sure that if he didn’t become a driver then he definitely would have become a race caller. “Even when the boys were outside playing, it had to be a race of some description so Gareth could practice his race calling skills,” added the proud parents of four boys. What started as a bit of fun in the tub became something more serious later on for Gareth Rattray. “He would sit down and watch all the replays and would even commentate them over the top of the race caller and by doing that he started learning the form of most of the horses that were racing at the time,” said Barrie, joking that Gareth knew the form just as well as he did. “Even though he was only 10-12 years of age at this time, whenever we headed to the races I would ask Gareth about our runners and he would give me a full run down of the other runners which was just unbelievable for such a young boy,” Barrie recalled. In the late 1990’s Barrie remembers that Denise and himself were second guessing their future in the racing industry, a decision that wasn’t going to sit well with a young Gareth. “We had an industry meeting where we sat down and talked about what we would do,” Barrie recalled. “Gareth overheard us talking and he got up and said something along the lines of, I haven’t had my go yet dad so make sure you tell them what to do so they have to keep us all involved,” said Barrie, remembering that Gareth was pretty fired up at the time. Barrie and Denise pushed for Gareth to take up another profession or look at getting a trade after he left school, but that was never going to be the case. Gareth Rattray always wanted to be a professional reinsman, so the challenge then turned to giving him every opportunity to make it to the top. Gareth recalls his early years Listening to Gareth talk about his early years gives you a good understanding of how he became the champion reinsman he is today. “Mum and dad bought me a Shetland pony when I was about six years of age, he was my best mate and his name was Macko,” said Gareth. “I just adored him as he was my little racehorse and when dad and pop would be getting ready to work the team of horses, I would be gearing up Macko and getting him ready to take them on. “I would be waiting at the top of the back straight for them to come around and when they got close to me, I would click up Macko and I would take them on down the back straight. “This was about two hundred metres and we would go flat out, and it was clear to me then that all I ever wanted to be was a driver like dad and pop,” added Gareth who fulfilled a lifelong dream when he joined his dad and pop (Wayne) in the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame. To further outline his obsession with the industry at a tender age, Gareth collected the race books from every meeting for at least a 10-year period, in addition to all of the Harness Racing Weekly’s that Barrie had bought so he could study all the form and horses that were racing across Australia. “I started doing my own form on the local races that dad and pop were driving in as I used to love watching all of the replays after the meetings had concluded every week,” said Gareth alluding to his form study which has always been a great strength. Introduction to driving It was when Gareth was 11 that Barrie finally gave in and started teaching him how to drive, a moment that was pure joy for Gareth. Fortunate enough to have such great role models in his dad and pop, Gareth would spend every second he could with his grandparents. “I loved it when the school holidays came around as I was able to go and spend them at nan and pops on their property at Bangor, I was very fortunate to spend this time with pop as I just idolised him and he taught me so much in my time at the farm,” said Gareth. “Pop had a great team of horses at that time which included Admiral Karalta who won a Tasmanian Derby with Andrew Arnott in the gig and I got the chance as a youngster to drive him in track work which was a huge thrill,” said Gareth remembering the 1997 Derby winner. “The other horse of note from that time was Karalta Shine who I was also able to drive in track work out at pops and he later became a special horse to me.” Gareth was 15 when he had his first drive at the trials and it happened to be aboard a horse called Gorse Bush who is now better known as the dam of Beautide. Gareth remembers one of the first things he had to learn was how to rate a horse and use a stopwatch. “Dad would not let me drive in trials until I was comfortable in doing those things,” Gareth said. Gareth drove in 30 trials before getting his license. The day for his first race drive finally arrived when he was 16 on a mare owned by the family called Barringtonboutique. “It was on 4 November, 2001 at Devonport and it turned out nothing like I pictured my first drive would be as nothing went to plan and honestly it’s a day I prefer to forget,” explained Gareth on the pacer who would finish seventh in the race. “After the race, I was so upset with myself, I really took it to heart and from memory I slept in my driving pants that night. I wasn’t sure after that race if I was cut out for this caper.” It may not have felt like it at the time, but it wouldn’t take much convincing to keep Gareth in the sulky and just three weeks later he drove his first winner which was Karalta Shine in Launceston. “That is a date I will never forget as the monkey was off my back now,” said Gareth. The family Understandably Gareth’s family have played an enormous part in his career and still do to this day. Gareth reflects on the influence that the key figures in his life have had. Wayne Rattray “pop” Wayne Rattray had an illustrious career that resulted in his induction to the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2016. “My Pop is someone I have idolised since my very early years. He has taught me so much and all of the advice he has given me is something I will never forget as I still use it in my driving today. “We have always had a special bond of pop and grandson unlike most. Nan and pop have been a rock for me all the way through my life and I can’t thank them enough. “I always enjoyed Nan and Pop’s company throughout my life but another thing I really loved was nan’s cooking as she was a great cook, I will always be indebted to them.” Barrie Rattray “dad” Gareth followed his father’s footsteps into harness racing and their joint induction into the Hall of Fame in 2014 is something that neither of them will ever forget. “I simply would not be where I am today without dad’s support and encouragement as he has taught me so much in all facets of the Standardbred. “He sacrificed his own driving career as he wanted me to get every chance, so I did a lot of the stable driving when I first came on to the scene and I’m forever grateful for that. “Dad has been a tough task master to all of us which was great as it ensured that we took nothing for granted and he also gave me the determination to succeed after all of the work he put into me, and I like to think that I have made him proud with my achievements to date.” Mum and nan “I would like to give a special mention to both my mum and nan as they have done so much for me throughout my career. They would accompany me on my trips away being underage, especially my first trip abroad to New Zealand. “That was a great trip for all of us and the icing on the cake was that I was lucky enough to take out the title.” Melissa Maine Gareth and his partner Melissa have four children, with the newest arrival only joining them in the last week. Gareth describes Melissa as the rock behind their family. Melissa was an accomplished trainer/driver in her own right, having a very good grounding in the industry being the daughter of Tim and Susan Maine who have been involved in the industry for many years. Gareth and Melissa drove against each other when they were both coming through the ranks as juniors so had known each other for a long time. It was towards the end of 2012 they took their relationship to the next level by purchasing a property at Latrobe on about 60 acres. “We decided to set up our own training complex which took plenty of hard work and money, but we wouldn’t change it for anything as we both just love the horses,” explained Gareth. The arrival of Kayden on the weekend to join Jackson, Lauren and Kenzie means that Gareth and Melissa certainly have their hands full, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Gareth credits Melissa and the sacrifices that she has made for a great deal of his achievements. “Melissa has sacrificed a lot since we have been together to let me continue my driving career and is a major part of my success. “She is also one of the most professional and dedicated trainers I have ever had anything to do with and I’m not being biased because she is my partner,” said Gareth proudly.   Jamie Cockshutt for Tasracing

Last seasons Tasmanian two-year-old filly Blame It On Me made a winning return to the race track from a broken pastern bone in Hobart on Sunday night. From barrier four, driver Natalee Emery rolled forward to race outside the leader and proved too good for Better Amour by 2.3 metres with Iden Gorgeous finishing a further 18.6 metres away third in a mile rate of 2m 0.5s. “This was a starting for the Bandbox, and there were a lot of nice horses in the race, we went out with a plan to go forward early, and then there wasn’t one after that,” said winning driver Natalee Emery after the race. “We expected her to go well, but she exceeded expectations as we didn’t expect her to sit in the death and win like she did," explained Emery. "Better Amour came to her up the straight and worried me there for a stride, but once she got to her girth, she wasn’t going to let her run past, she was just doing what she had to do to the line,” added the driver. The filly hadn’t been seen since contesting a race in Launceston in early January which is a credit to her trainer Doug Nettlefold to get the filly back without a trial from the forced break. “I’m really relieved, more so for Doug and Ange (Nettlefold), they have had a torrid time the last 12 months, and for that filly to come back from a broken pastern and not having a trial it is all credit to Doug for doing a super job,” said Emery. “She was always a nice two-year-old, but I always said to Doug she would make a better three-year-old and she has matured a lot and developed, and going forward she will benefit from that run in leaps and bounds,” added the winning driver which is a huge warning to her rivals ahead of next months Group 2 Bandbox in Launceston. Two heats of the Evicus were staged on the program with Stepping Stones leading all the way to score by 11.9 metres in 1m 59.6s in heat one while $1.07 favourite Melnrowley handled her rivals with ease in the second heat by 10.2 metres in 2m 0.6s. The prelude of the Dandy Patch was taken out by Lancelot who raced up to his terrific second placing in the Sweepstakes final when he recorded a 13-metre win over the $1.30 favourite Rocknovertime in 2m 4.2s for the 2090 metre trip.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Two new names were not only added to an illustrious honour roll of the Hobart Sweepstakes, but two names were also written onto the two-year-old age track records. Rocknovertime produced a mammoth performance to score in the Colts and Geldings Final to give trainer Paul Hill his eighth win across both sex divisions of the Sweepstakes. Hill, who is dubbed “King of the Kids” given his terrific record in juvenile races in the Apple Isle said to before the race that he was concerned about drawing barrier five on the second row over the mile trip and that the pacer would have to go 1:57 to win. Well, the pacer had to go a fraction quicker and was forced to lead up the three-wide line from the 1100 metres to score in 1m 56.9s to record a 1.7 metre win over the early leader Lancelot with Stormy Sanz who raced outside the leader 13.8 metres away third, with both of those pacers involved in an early speed burn which saw the race ran in quarters of 28.5s, 30.7s, 28.8s and 28.8s. The time for the mile took 0.9s of the previous age record in Hobart, which was held by Hillview Jake, also trained by Hill, when winning the 2015 Sweepstakes Final. “If you said to me before the race that the leader would go 1:56 and he (Rocknovertime) has got come from barrier 13 and be three-wide most the of the race, then you wouldn’t think he would win,” Hillier said after the race. “He tries hard and has got plenty of ability,” added the reinsman who said he would be “bashing the door down” to drive the pacer in the Group 2 Dandy Patch with heats of that series in Hobart on Sunday week over the 2090-metre trip. It was Rohan Hillier’s first win in the race since 2008 when he trained and drove Shez Ryleymak to victory. He also trained Ticket Flow in 1998. In the Fillies Final, Melnrowley equalled the Two-year-old fillies track record when she led all the way in 1m 58.4s, equalling the Two-Year-Old Fillies Track Record with Karalta Moondance who recorded the same time in 2018. From barrier four, reinsman Gareth Rattray took the pacer to the lead in a 28.9s opening quarter and was kept honest during a 30.4s second quarter before running home in 30.5s and 28.5s for a time of 1m 58.4s to record a five-metre victory over Stepping Stones with Magic Pebbles a further 14 metres away third. It was the first Sweepstakes win for trainer Craig Hayes and he was pleased with the result. “I’m very happy with her, when they went quick early and then Ray Pullen (driver of Most Perfect Major) came just when Gareth (Rattray) was trying to get a breather down the straight I was a little bit concerned but she is a strong filly and that is her biggest asset,” Hayes said after the win. The Heston Blue Chip filly will have two more runs for this campaign in the heats and final of the $50,000 Group 2 Evicus, with the heats to be held in Hobart on Sunday week. Hayes is based at Stowport on the states north-west coast and the trip to Hobart generally takes 3 3/4 hours (one way), one of the longest commutes in Tasmanian harness racing. “It generally does take a bit out of the young ones but with this filly the travel doesn’t seem to affect her,” said Hayes. “We are lucky this season with these feature races being held later in the year, they are a little bit older and the weather is better and it all helps, the couple of months from June and July is a big difference,” Hayes said, with many trainers echoing those sentiments. The win was the fifth for driver Gareth Rattray across the two divisions.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Two-year-old filly Melnrowley is on track for the $20,000 Sweepstakes Fillies Final on 27 September after an all the way win in Sunday night’s prelude in Hobart. The Craig Hayes-trained pacer was taken straight to the lead from her outside of the front row draw by her driver Gareth Rattray where she dictated affairs to score untroubled. The winning margin was 7.9 metres over debutante Living On Prare with Magic Pebbles a further 1.2 metres away third with the fillies covering the mile trip 2m 2.2s with a slick last quarter of 27.7s, naturally, Hayes was wrapped with the win. “She is a strong filly and only does what she has to do,” he said. Hayes original plans for driver Gareth Rattray was to work forward and to see what happened but when the trainer arrived on track and felt the strong wind that had descended, he did have his slight reservations but his versatile filly was still able to burn the candle at both ends of the race. “She is a pretty good filly and I have had a fair opinion of her all along, she can sit up, she can do a bit of work and she has a bit of speed,” explained the trainer. As is the case in mile events, barrier draws are vital, particularly in juvenile racing and that will again be the case for the $20,000 final on 27 September. “If she gets a draw, she will be hard to beat but there is not much between three or four of them so whoever draws best will be hard to beat,” Hayes said. Melnrowley is by Heston Blue Chip and is out of one of Hayes former mares that he trained in Tania Maree who won nine of 16 starts. Two heats of the colts and gelding’s division of the Sweepstakes were also held on Sunday night, also over the mile trip. Like Melnrowley, Stormy Sanz burned the candle at both ends to lead all the way for driver John Walters and trainer Kent Rattray and score in the opening heat to defeat Lancelot and Agouda Ruler in 1m 59.4s. It wouldn’t be a two-year-old feature event without a strong presence from the Paul Hill stable and in this year’s colts and geldings final his stable will have two contenders including Rocknovertime who led all the way to win heat two by an impressive 17.7 metres in the quickest mile rate of the three two-year-old races of 1m 59.0s. Lets Go Bill and Longfellow filled the placings. In the David Medhurst Memorial, four-year-old mare Loch Ness Franco opened her winning account at her Australian debut leading for the final mile of the event to score untroubled by 20.1 metres in 2m 3.1s. Troy McDonald once again was the in-form driver of the meeting driving a treble on his birthday, scoring with Hezatoff, Punchinello and Tarleton Riley. Ben Yole prepared all three of those winners. McDonald was denied winning the Happy Birthday Troy McDonald Pace by the narrowest of margins when Kardesler scored a short-half head victory courtesy of a well-timed run by reinsman Charlie Castles. Castor Troy had to survive a protest to score in the Tasmanian Horse Transport Pace. It was the second win this week for the Ray Pullen-trained gelding who scored in Launceston on Wednesday night.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

It has been a busy week in Tasmania with harness racing held in Devonport on Sunday night before mid-week racing in Launceston on Wednesday night. Harness racing heads back to Hobart on Sunday night with the Sweepstakes series commencing. Two heats of the colts and geldings will be staged, while the fillies will contest a prelude ahead of the $20,000 finals on 27 September. The Stars Heath Szczypka – continued his good recent run when Reign Of Pain scored in the McKillop Insurance Brokers Discretionary on Wednesday night. The gelded son of Armbro Operative has now won 15-races and depending on his rating over the festive season he could be a contender for some country cups with his standing start manners. Kivik – won his second race at start five when he outstayed his rivals in the Find the LPC on Facebook Stakes. The gelded son of Courage Under Fire was well handled by Ben Parker who elected to lead up the three-wide line of the final lap to score in a last half mile of 57.1s. Rohan Hillier– walked away from Launceston with two winners. He put the polish on in-form pacer Lip Reader who was handled by stable foreman Conor Crook before Hillier provided a well-rated drive in front on the Michael Laugher-trained Christian Jaz. The Carrick Crew – the Mark Yole-trained and driven pacer Black Ops ended a run of placings when the eight-year-old entire won on Wednesday, coming from last. The next race was won by Carrick based driver Hannah Van Dongen on the Ray Pullen-trained Castor Troy and not to be outdone, Carrick based driver Adrian Collins rated Art Frenzy well in front to score for another Carrick local trainer, Craig Van Dongen. Ben Yole – trained six winners for the week, with four winners in Devonport and then a double in Launceston which was a relief for those that took the $1.12 to train two or more winners with an online bookmaker that offered a market on how many winners Yole would prepare on the card. Troy McDonald – teamed up with Ben Yole to drive a treble on Sunday in Devonport before winning the opening race on Wednesday aboard My Ultimate Romeo. Multiple Winners Devonport – Sunday evening Ben Yole – training quartet; Weerrook Harry, Amazing Daisy, Tarleton Riley and Proficient. Troy McDonald – driving treble; Weerrook Harry, Amazing Daisy and Tarleton Riley. Geoff Smith – training double; Aitutaki and Laid Back Kenny. Launceston – Wednesday evening Ben Yole – training double; My Ultimate Romeo and Island Rocknroll. Rohan Hillier – double; he trained Lip Reader and drove Christian Jazz. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Devonport – Sunday evening Agouda Ruler 58.32s, Proficient 58.64sm Longfellow 58.89s, Laid Back Kenny 59.14s and Lets Go Bill 59.17s. Launceston – Wednesday evening Feel The Burn 56.25s, Castor Troy 56.40s, Kivik 56.50s, Monarkmac 56.52s and Hezatoff 56.57s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Devonport – Sunday evening Hit’s: Amazing Daisy $5.00 into $4.60 and Tarleton Riley $9.50 into $4.80. Defied The Drift: Weerrook Harry $4.80 out to $6.50, Laid Back Kenny $9.00 out to $15, Proficient $4.00 out to $5.00 and Agouda Ruler $2.80 out to $3.20. Missed: My Ultimate Major $8.50 into $5.00, Jigamaroo $5.00 into $4.20, Ozzie Major $8.00 into $5.50, Pink Ponder $10 into $6.50 and Somedan $2.70 into $2.10. Launceston – Wednesday evening Hit’s: My Ultimate Romeo $7.00 into $4.60, Lip Reader $1.75 into $1.40, Reign Of Pain $9.00 into $5.50, Defied The Drift: Kivik $2.60 out to $3.40, Castor Troy $6.50 out to $7.50, Art Frenzy $21 out to $51 and Christian Jaz $3.00 out to $4.40. Missed: My Ultimate Major $17 into $8.00, Royal Reactor $12 into $9.00, Gauci $14 into $7.00, Lord Stark $8.00 into $5.50, Live For Peace $12 into $7.00, Bettabrown Tiger $4.20 into $3.40, My Girl Pearl $7.00 into $6.00 and Our Percius $10 into $5.50. Races three and nine have been excluded due to the late scratchings of the early favourites. Trial File Devonport – Sunday evening Trial 1: A rating 35-59 trial was held with a field of three facing the starter over 1930 metres where three-year-old gelding Kivik led all the way to score by 1.7 metres over Capitallee and Jimmy Mischief in 2m 3.5s. The form has been strengthened by Kivik winning in Launceston on Wednesday night. Hobart – Monday evening Trial 1: The Rodney Ashwood-trained Ninefortwentythree led all the way to take out the first trial over 2090 metres. Driver Ricky Duggan allowed the gelded son of Heston Blue Chip to do his own thing out in the lead where he proved too good by 3.1 metres over Most Perfect Major who stuck to her task well, with Wee Rosie a further 23 metres away third in 2m 5.8s. Trial 2: Trainer Rodney Ashwood was in the winners stall again when Four Starzz Shark gelding Hughie Playboy who sat three-back along the marker pegs before running to the lead at the 500 metres to go on and score by 24 metres over Maxi Jolt and Iden Delight in 2m 7.1s for the 2090 metre trip. Trial 3: Looked to be a one-sided affair on paper with Call Me Hector rated at 112 taking on rating 57 pacer Donny In Paris. Hector went straight to the lead and after a lead time of 36.7s trainer-driver Matthew Copper then allowed the pacer to run quarters of 31.8s 29.4s, 27.5s and 28.7s to score by 37.6 metres in 1m 58.6s. Trial Replays You can view most trials since the resuming from the COVID break by clicking here. Week Ahead Sunday in Hobart, we see the two-year-old’s step out as the delayed 2020 Sweepstakes series commences. Two heats will be held of the colts and geldings division with the first heat set to be a great clash between Stormy Sanz who has won his last three, Franko Joe who was an impressive winner on debut, Agouda Ruler who has already won five races and last start Hobart winner Rocknroll Nitro. Heat Two sees last start winners Rocknovertime and Impulsive George go head to head also with last start winner Rocknovertime, professional placegetter Longfellow and Ninefortwentythree who has won three of his four trials. A prelude will be staged of the fillies division where Blue Bonnet winner Written In Silk has drawn barrier four on the second row in the mile event where a couple of highly raced fillies draw well to add some interest. The two $20,000 finals will be held on 27 September. Also, Sunday night sees the running of the David Medhurst Memorial for the three-year-old and above maidens. Former kiwi Loch Ness Franco makes her Australian debut after being placed in two of three starts in New Zealand’s South Island, the Changeover mare impressed recently when winning a Carrick Park trial on 29 August. Some Tasmanian pacers doing battle over the next few days at metropolitan venues include; Menangle – Saturday night Race 2 Horse 8 No Apachemee. Terang (Metro meeting) – Saturday night Race 6 Horse 3 Terryrama.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Auckland Reactor sired a winning double in the first two races at the Hobart twilight meeting on Sunday (August 30). Nine Diamonds, a three-year-old filly, stormed home from midfield to win by 22 metres with a last 800 in 58.6. It was the filly's third harness racing success from her last four starts. Thirty minutes later Cinocal Jamane led from end to end to notch her maiden success. Another 'new' winner for Auckland Reactor was Mighty Reactor, who rallied strongly after being pocketed to win at the last Addington Winter meeting. In Western Australia, Nuclear Poker overcame a wide passage to complete back-to-back wins at Northam. He has now won four races. Auckland Reactor has sired 89 individual winners in Australia this season and progeny earnings of $1.3 million.   Peter Wharton

Leading Tasmanian harness racing trainer Ben Yole is often in the winner’s circle, he has trained 122 winners in Tasmania alone, but on Sunday he crossed codes to notch up a winning treble. Yole owns six-year-old gelding Irish Shotgun who won at Sunday’s Devonport gallops meeting before training a double on the Hobart harness card later in the evening. Irish Shotgun scored in the Goodstone Group Maiden/Class 1 by the narrowest of margins over 1880 metres. The gelding is trained by Chester Roach who resides next door to Yole’s training establishment at Sidmouth in the states north. “Chester (Roach) is my next-door neighbour, and he works his gallopers at my place, and I was having a chat with him and decided to go into a horse with him,” explained Yole. One of Yole’s junior drivers, Sam Clotworthy, also gives Roach help with his team as he has worked with many leading thoroughbred trainers including Gai Waterhouse, Anthony Cummings and Clinton McDonald. “Sam (Clotworthy) helps Chester with the gallops a bit too, he has a galloping background, which triggered my interest a bit,” explained Yole. Yole, who owns a couple of gallopers, is happy just to race a few as a hobby and currently has no intentions of training them. Yole then prepared a double on the Hobart harness card. His first win came in the way of Bettors Delight mare Indiana Dreaming who was well driven by Ricky Duggan who drove three winners on the card, including his 50th win of the season. From barrier five Duggan tried to lead on the mare, but when unsuccessful he was able to sit behind the leader before out sprinting his rivals late to score by 1.2 metres over the well-supported favourite Feel the Burn in 1m 59.4s. “When you put the best on you expect them to perform for you, and he certainly lifted her out of the gate to get behind the leader and got the sprint lane late to win for some great owners,” said Yole. “She is owned by Zanni Hayes whose husband Wayne is a truck driver for us and it was a big thrill for them to be on track for their first win,” added the winning trainer. The last leg of Yole’s Sunday treble came in the way of Coveffe Hustler who scored in a rating 30 to 50 event. “She just dropped back to that under 50 rating, and when they do that it is a big class drop,” said Yole who was full of praise for the drive from Gareth Rattray. “Gareth (Rattray) didn’t use her up out of the mobile last night, and he drove her a treat,” explained Yole about the win of the four-year-old mare who he also owns, and he expects her to be competitive in lower-rated races. “It is her class, she has won $30,000 now for us for a mare that I purchased relatively cheap, so I wish I had a stable full of them,” he said. Longford trainer-driver Todd Rattray landed a treble on the Hobart card. Mozasu registered back to back wins, and after doing plenty of work in a fast lead time the three-year-old gelded son of Bettors Delight still had plenty of speed late to score by 9.6 metres. After being placed in four of her last five outings, four-year-old mare Joogle was able to bounce back into the winner’s list, scoring by 3.4 metres after racing outside the leader to score. The last leg of Rattray’s treble came in the final race of the night with Hillbilly Band who settled behind the leader before outsprinting his rivals in the home straight. The Bettors Delight gelding was the sales topper at $24,000 at last year’s Carrick Park Yearling sale and is the third horse out of the 11 lots that went through the ring to have won a race in their first season of racing.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

N late 2007 Broadmarsh trainer-driver Heath Woods walked away from harness racing instead deciding to concentrate on his young family. A few years ago, his son Aaron showed interest in racing and Heath didn’t need much temptation to get back into the industry that he loved and what an enjoyable ride back it has been. Since his first start back with The Shallows on 26 January 2019, Heath has had 28 starters for 11 wins and eight placings with his latest winner being with the impressive four-year-old gelding The Shallows in Hobart on Sunday night. Settling one-out and six-back in the early stages Heath was able to gain a three-wide and two-back cart into the race from the bell before having to peel out four and five wide on the home corner to score by 1.2 metres over the well supported Resurgent Storm with Frostyflyer third. The mile rate for 2090 metres was 2m 0.0s with the last half-mile leader to winner recorded in a slick 56.7, and trainer-driver Heath Woods was impressed with the win. “He went really good, we knew he was pretty fit, but as he hadn’t raced for five months, we knew he would need the run,” said the winning trainer-driver. “I just had a little query that drawn so bad he would have to do a bit of work, but luckily we got a bit of a cart into it, he pulled up pretty well and no doubt he will take benefit from the run,” added Woods. “When he got to them on straightening up he just knocked off a little bit, so I had to keep him going up the straight,” explained Woods who said that he hadn’t looked too far ahead with the pacer who has now won 10 of his 21 starts to date. Pipers River trainer Marc Butler believes any pre-race media interviews are detrimental to his horses chances, but followers of Tasracing’s From the Stables Podcast would have been cashed up last night when the trainer increased his excellent strike rate. Butler was represented by four runners on the Hobart card across three races, and he won them all. Bettabrown Tiger was first-up for the Butler stable, and the gelded son of Betterthancheddar raced up to his terrific form on the Hobart track, winning his fifth race at the venue from seven starts and he has been runner-up at his other two starts on the track. Peaceful Thomas was well-graded when winning race seven, all the gelded son had to do was bring his racing manners after disappointing punters by galloping in his three starts prior. He was the 100th career win for reinsman Conor Crook. The victory of Armchair Drive in the trotters event rounded out Butler’s treble. One of Butler’s former pacers Full Speed Ahead was the winner of last night’s fast class event. The gelded son of Art Major was claimed by a client for the Zeke Slater stable after his last start third in Hobart on 24 July. From outside of the front row on Sunday he was able to ping straight to the early lead in the standing start event. Full Speed Ahead was rated a treat in front by last season’s leading driver Mark Yole, to lead all the way and score by 4.2 over Ryley Major and Sea Double Ugrant. The race favourite Scooterwillrev finished fifth. The mile rate for the 2090-metre trip was 1m 59.1s, just 0.4s outside the track record which is held by Resurgent Spirit who won off a 30-metre handicap in October 2016.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

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