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Star Tasmanian harness racing participant Gareth Rattray reached a great milestone in Launceston last night where he notched his 1000th win. Rattray ended the program with a double to expand to take his season total to 59 wins. It was Holme On The Bayou which provided Rattray with the magical milestone. Reaching such a mark at the age of 29 is quite a remarkable feat and it is clear Rattray is already is one of the greatest Tasmanian reinsmen. Last December, Queenslander Peter McMullen became the youngest Australian driver to record 1000 wins when successful behind Ezi Days at Albion Park. McMullen was 23 years, four months, and 18 days old. Popular reinswoman Amanda Turnbull set the previous mark when she partnered Forever Texas to glory at Peak Hill last June. Turnbull was 24 years and 4 months, which bettered Morgan Woodley 24 years and eight months. Others to reach 1000 wins at a young age include Luke McCarthy (25 years, one month and two days), Kerryn Manning (25 years, eight months and seven days), Gary Hall junior (26 years, seven months and 17 days) and Greg Sugars (26 years, eight months and seven days). As for Rattray, he is just the fifth Tasmanian to achieve the feat – the others being is father Barrie Rattray (1567 wins), Neville Webberley (1369), Ricky Duggan (1332) and the late Darrel Alexander (1315). Rattray is on target to win his 10th consecutive drivers’ premiership given he is 25 clear of his nearest rival Ricky Duggan. Rattray, twin to Inter Dominion winning horseman James, began driving in 2001, and after winning his first driver’s premiership in 2005/06, has dominated the state’s driving ranks. If he wins this season’s drivers’ title he will be only three premierships behind the great Jack Stamford. Gareth’s father Barrie won 11, while Neville Webberley and Bert Lewis each won seven. Along the way Rattray has represented Tasmania on numerous occasions, winning the Australasian Young Driver’s Championship twice. He also represented Australia at the World Driving Championships in Europe in 2009. Rattray is no stranger to winning feature races with the following just a few of his major successes:  •Tasmania Cup 2012 (Motu Crusader) and 2013 (Motu Crusader). •Tasmanian Derby 2015 (Mister Lennox). •Hobart Pacing Cup 2005 (The Grouse), 2009 (Yakuza), 2013 (Benediction) and 2014 (Spot Nine). •Evicus Stakes (2YO fillies) 2008 (Karalta Crown) and 2010 (Benediction). •Dandy Patch (2YO colts and geldings) 2008 (Cody Maverick). •Globe Derby (3YO) Stakes 2011 (Beautide). •Raider Stakes (4YO) 2010 (Babyitsu). •Granny Smith (4YO Mares) 2007 (Death and Taxes). •2YO Sweepstakes 2010  (Benediction), 2011 (Cloudy Delight) and 2012 (Pachacuti). PETER STAPLES

Twin brothers Rohan and Troy Hillier have always been competitive, especially when it comes to harness racing. So when Troy took over the training of Robyn Scherbotsky from his brother a short time ago it was going to come as no surprise if Troy fired a barb at Rohan about how he had improved the mare if she won a race. In Launceston last Sunday night Robyn Scherbotsky led throughout for an effortless win in a heat of the Harry Holgate Memorial over 2200 metres. With Troy in the sulky, the four-year-old had no trouble finding the front and was never seriously challenged on her way to a seven-metre victory from Frankie Falzoni and Ive Got Oomph. “She’s definitely improved since I took over the training of this mare,” Troy said with a wry smile. “She did it well and a front row draw would make her hard to beat in the Final.” Robyn Scherbotsky has been officially prepared by Troy for five starts, which have netted two wins, two seconds and a fifth. However, this latest win has caused a bit of friction in the family according to Rohan. “I don’t mind Troy having a bit of fun with his comments, but he’s been down at Bicheno sun bathing this past week, so I need a bit of credit for the mare’s latest win,” Rohan said. Robyn Scherbotsky was bred by the Nevele R Stud in New Zealand being by McArdle from the Holmes Hanover mare Reincarnation. She began her career in May 2013, but didn’t notch her first win until April this year at start number 11. The other Harry Holgate Memorial heat was won by the Barrie Rattray-trained Who Is Hardeen, which also led throughout. Who is Hardeen is a promising type which has seven wins and nine placings from 28 starts. PETER STAPLES

Tasmanian harness racing trainer Steve Lukac admitted to being surprised after Pockets of Courage won the first two-year-old race of the season in Launceston last night. Lukac was not surprised the gelding won, but taken aback at the odds offered about the youngster in the $10,000 Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes over 1680 metres. Pockets of Courage paid $11.80 on the Tote and much the same was offered by the fixed odds corporate bookies. “He finished first and second in the two trials and I was very confident he would run well, so yes, I was surprised he paid so well,” Lukac said. “His biggest asset is that he is a beautifully-gaited horse with good manners. There’s a lot of upside to this horse.” Lukac admitted the win also had a lot to do with a very good drive from Nathan Ford. Pockets of Courage was well away from the mobile, but despite beginning from the pole, he couldn’t match the speed of Goggo Gee Gee, which landed in front, with the favourite Sultan Fella facing the breeze. Ford was content to settle the son of Courage Under Fire and Rangiann behind the leader where he stayed until the home turn. When Ford called on Pockets of Courage for the supreme effort in the home straight the freshman responded magnificently to score by two metres from rank outsider Origin Cronk, with another outsider, Chica Bella, flashing home to be four-and-a-half metres away third. PETER STAPLES

Well-bred harness racing filly Fuscienne has a lot to live up to if she is to follow in the footsteps of some of her better performed relations, but in Launceston last night, she took the first step towards living up to expectations. Fuscienne won at her fourth outing, and while her trainer Barrie Rattray is not expecting her to achieve the feats of her half-brother Beautide, he does hope she can reach the heights of some of her other relations. By Major In Art, Fuscienne is also related to Death And Taxes (15 wins), Acutabovetherest (14 wins), Ashura (seven wins), I Pity The Fool (11 wins) and Ashkalina (14 wins). Fuscienne’s dam Gorse Bush boasts a perfect record from nine foals. Fuscienne performed well at her first three starts and had improved at each outing, but courtesy of a sensational drive from Todd Rattray, she was never going to be beaten. The three-year-old started at $1.70, which was risky given she was drawn in barrier 10, but after the field had travelled 50 metres the risk factor had been removed. Rattray was able to guide Fuscienne into the coveted one-out, one-back position where he stayed until 400 metres from home when he eased her three-wide and cruised to a four-metre win from Origin Billy, with the leader Lu Way Lord hanging on for third, a long neck away. “This filly is making good progress,” Todd said. “She’s by Major In Art and his progeny seem to get better with age, so we would expect her to improve with racing.” PETER STAPLES

Talented harness racing horseman Craig Hayes regards Mickwillrev one of the best he has in his stable, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, Hayes originally rejected the gelding when offered to him by prominent owner Mick Filleul. It was a great decision for Hayes to change his mind because Mickwillrev notched his 10th win when he powered his way to victory in the Northern Tasmanian Light Harness Association Cup in Launceston last Sunday night. With Hayes in the sulky, Mickwillrev showed brilliant early speed to lead and had no trouble staving off challengers in the home straight to score from Major Callum and Double Dee. Filleul bought the son of Live Or Die in Melbourne as a yearling, but it was always intended for him to race in Tasmania. “I paid $20,000 for him after David Miles picked him out for me at the Melbourne sale,” Filleul said. “When I rang Craig to tell him that the horse was coming he said he didn’t have any room for him as his stable was full. “He agreed to take him for a few days while I found somewhere else to send him. “But the horse had only been there a day when Craig rang to say he would make room for the horse and he even asked to take a share in him because he reckoned he was the best horse I’d bought. “I ended up selling three more shares to friends and ended up with only one share for myself.” Filleul revealed Mickwillrev’s main mission this preparation is his home town Burnie Cup in January. “He needs to win one more race to qualify for a start in the Burnie Cup, but there’s a C4-C5 in a fortnight and if he draws well enough to lead he could be very hard to beat,” Filleul said. 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

THE optimistic people of this world have a way of putting a positive spin on even the most negatives situation and for harness racing breeders Lyndon and Gail Menegon that certainly was the case with a filly they took to the yearling sale four years ago. The Menegons offered a striking filly by J R Mint at the 2011 sale but she never drew a bid, much to the surprise of the filly's breeders. They took the filly home and decided to send her to a trainer for assessment. "We took her home from the sale thinking there must bee something wrong with her even though I was very confident there wasn't," Lyndon Menegon said. "A bit later on I asked trainer Grant Hodges to take her home and try her - and we haven't looked back since." In Launceston on Sunday night that now five-year-old mare El Jays Magic scored an emphatic win in the prestigious $10,000 Shirley Martin Mother of Pearl over 2200 metres. It was El Jay Magic's ninth win from 23 starts which is outstanding considering she never started racing until her late three-year-old season. She has also notched 10 minor placings, finishing out of the money only four times which includes one instance where she failed to finish. This latest win signaled her arrival as a serious contender for the state's best mares' race, the George Johnson, to be run in Hobart later this month. Hodges believes the mare's best is yet to come. "She is a strong and versatile mare that does extremely well for her size," Hodges said. "She is good when she leads but she also is a very capable sit and sprint horse." "When she's in front at home nothing else in the stable can get around her," he said. Peter Staples

When a harness racing trainer takes a horse to the races thinking it probably can’t win, and then when the same thought is reaffirmed during the race, it usually means the horse will be unplaced. But a horse named My Mate Tyson defied the rule to emerge triumphant in Launceston last Sunday night. Carrick trainer-driver Ross Freemen didn’t think My Mate Tyson was a winning chance in the Economy Warehouse Stakes over 2200 metres, primarily because of his back row draw and his recent efforts had been slightly below par. But the gelding surprised Freemen when he emerged from the pack in the home straight and powered home to score a last-stride win over Baldock, with Orial three metres away third. “I didn’t give him much of a chance before the race, and, from where he was turning for home, I thought he had no hope,” Freeman said. “He was making up good ground and with the leaders paddling a bit, but he rattled home the last 50 metres to get up.” My Mate Tyson was bred and is owned by Freeman in partnership with his wife Cheryl, with the son of Town Champion breaking his maiden status as his sixth start. PETER STAPLES

Burnie harness racing trainer Robert Gillies will target his home town cup with Willbe Doc following the gelding’s impressive win in Launceston last night. Returning from a short spell in the Mustad Australia Stakes over 1680 metres, and while almost friendless in the betting at $16, Willbe Doc powered home to defeat the leader Original Art and Notimetothink. Willbe Doc was well driven by Troy Hillier who sat back and waited until the right time to release the reins, with the gelding responded magnificently. Breaking an 11-month drought from the winners’ circle, the six-year-old rated 1:58.9, which pleased his trainer. “He’s gone really well tonight and that’s the first time he’s broken two minutes,” said Gillies, who part-owns the son of Peace Of Art. “He’s always been a consistent horse – not quite top class, but a good money-spinner. “He is a class four horse now and that qualifies him to run in the Burnie Cup which is a race I’ve always wanted to win.” Willbe Doc has recorded eight wins and 23 placings from his 49 starts, which is testament to his consistency. PETER STAPLES

PROMINENT Tasmanian harness trainer-driver Christian Salter will aim underrated pacer Aninchofhislife towards the Hobart Pacing Cup following the gelding’s impressive win in Launceston last night. Aninchofhislife still needs to improve his class rating to qualify for the Cup, but Salter is supremely confident the son of Red River Hanover is capable of reaching the goal. “This horse has been very consistent and has been a good money-spinner, so he deserves his chance at a feature race,” Salter said. “He still needs to win another race to qualify for the Hobart Cup, but I have no doubts he can win again and it will be sooner than later. “He’s been a consistent horse, but he also been a bit unlucky at times.” Aninchofhislife was urged to make the most of his pole draw and it was the Salter’s intent to go all out for the lead. “I’ve been handing up on him, but I thought if I led in this race he might get an easy time in front,” Salter explained. “There was no standout in the field – they were just an even lot. “He got an easy quarter, but when he needed to be strong he delivered and in the end it was quite a convincing win.” Aninchofhislife’s half-brother, Drifting West, ran second in the 2013 Hobart Cup. “Drifting West got better with age and it’s been much the same with this horse,” Salter said. By Red River Hanover from Ark Drifter, Aninchofhislife is owned by the trainer’s partner Sally McCoull. The six-year-old’s success was part of a double for Salter, who also scored with Miss Lively in the Roberts Equine Services Pace over 1680 metres. PETER STAPLES

A new chapter of one of the great Tasmanian harness racing stories was written in Launceston last night when Cranbre kept his unbeaten record intact at his third start. Cranbre didn’t start racing until four weeks ago in Launceston where he debuted in a three-year-old and upwards non-winners’ event over 2200 metres, in which he led throughout to score a convincing victory. A spate of injuries and other factors prevented the gelding from getting to the races, but in the care of underrated Scottsdale-based trainer Julie Johnson the son of Life Sign has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. At his second race start Cranbre came from beyond midfield to get up in the last few strides but during his latest win he had to do all the hard work early to get the desired result. Cranbre faced the breeze but made light of the task to score from Karalta Dazzler and Good Beginnings in a C2-C3 event over 2200 metres. Todd Rattray took the sit and it was the middle leg of a winning treble for last season’s premier novice reinsman. Rattray also scored with Kyleasha and Rykov Leis, which are both trainer by his father Barrie for whom he is number one stable driver. Rattray has been involved with Cranbre’s racing career since Johnson took him to Carrick for his first trial. “Cranbre arrived at my stables at the end of April and I started working him on May 1,” Johnson said. “He was progressing well, so I decided to take him to the Carrick trial. “I rang five drivers before he went for that first trial, but none of them were going to be available, so I still took him with the hope of getting someone on the day to guide him around. “As it turned out Todd didn’t have a drive so I asked him and after the horse won his trial Todd said he would drive him in a race. “He wasn’t available at the horse’s next start, but we managed to get Todd’s cousin Wade Rattray to drive him and he did a good job because he won again. “But I think this latest win was the horse’s best.” Cranbre is owned by the Johnson and her husband Daryl in partnership with the trainer’s best friend Jan Bolton. “My husband does a lot with the horse. He massages his back and legs every day, so I’m sure that is a factor in the horse staying sound,” the trainer said. It appears Cranbre just loves racing and Johnson says she has only ever had one other horse with Cranbre’s conviction. “I had a horse called Ray Duane that couldn’t get enough of racing. He had a great will to win and Cranbre is the same,” Johnson said.  Johnson is likely to send Cranbre around next in a C2-C3 over 2200m in Launceston in a fortnight. PETER STAPLES

PROMISING four-year-old pacer Major Callum will be aimed at some of the country cups around Christmas-New Year following his impressive win at his first attempt at a standing start in Launceston last night. Major Callum only qualified to run in stands last week, but he stepped cleanly from his front row draw and after trailing the leader and favourite Heza Prospect to the final turn, he powered home to score impressively from Heza Prospect and Mighty Jasper. The gelding’s trainer Juanita McKenzie has always believed Major Callum had untapped ability, but it has been his racing manners that so prevented him from realising his full potential. “He's a frustrating horse because he has ability but won't go to the line,” McKenzie said. “But now that he's shown he can handle standing starts, we’ll have a look at the country cups with him.” Driver Ricky Duggan has partnered Major Callum at all of his starts this season and believes he needs to change his ways. “The horse simply pulls up when he gets to the front,” Duggan said. “Some horses tend to do it more than others, but he does it more than any other horse I’ve driven. “He just puts the brakes on when left alone. You can flick him up but it makes no difference.” Connections are keen to pursue a path to the country cups now that he has won from a stand. “He baulked a bit when the tapes hit the ground next to him but then he stepped ok,” Duggan said. McKenzie said being competitive from standing starts is going to open up more options for Major Callum. PETER STAPLES

Cranbre might have started his harness racing career late in life, but the Julie Johnson-trained pacer has a top chance of extending his unbeaten record to three when he steps out at Launceston tonight. Cranbre had been prepared by two other trainers and suffered injuries which prevented him from racing as a youngster, but since landing in Johnson’s care the gelding has thrived and produced the goods on the track. His debut win in Launceston earlier this month was full of merit when leading throughout to win comfortably, while his second outing produced an even more impressive victory, coming from midfield in the one-out line to get up in the last few strides against decent opposition at the same venue two weeks later. This time around the son of Life Sign has drawn favourably in gate four, with his main danger Karalta Dazzler directly on his outside. Karalta Dazzler has good early speed and is likely to cross to the front, meaning Cranbre’s driver, Todd Rattray, will have to make a decision whether to go forward and face the breeze or slide back through the field in search a handy position in the running line. If there is to be a surprise result it could come from Jodila, which has drawn the outside of the second row. Jodila returned from a two-month break with an eye-catching fifth behind Play Apple Tree in Hobart last Sunday night when only beaten just over five metres. PETER STAPLES

Talented harness racing trainer Brooke Hammond had almost conceded that her mare Sum One might never break her maiden status but the six-year-old finally delivered the goods in Launceston last night. Sum One made the most of her pole position to lead and once in front her driver Troy Hillier ensured a solid tempo but at the same time sneaking a modest second quarter. Sum One scored comfortably from Busted that faced the breeze for the last 1200m with Supa Sunshine third. Hammond has had Sum One in her care for about two years and her only racing was at her previous outing in Launceston when third to Play Apple Tree and Robyn Scherbotsky in a C0-C1 over 2200 metres. “Her last start was good and had either Play Apple Tree or Robyn Scherbotsky been in this race tonight they would have been $1.10 chances,” Hammond said. “I’d almost given up on this mare but she finally did the job.” The mare had six starts last season for no result so this was most likely going to be her last preparation. Sum One is well bred, being by Blissfull Hal from Dreams of Eedee by The Unicorn that was well performed on the racetrack. The Unicorn won a Mildura Pacing Cup with the late Vin Knight aboard and he ran fourth in the 1992 Australian Pacing Championship behind three star performers in Franco Tiger, Westburn Grant and Halyer. At stud The Unicorn produced 543 live foals for 171 winners of 272 that started in a race. Their combined stake earnings is just over $6.5million with the average earned by each starter $24,005. PETER STAPLES

Although second past the post, Spot Nine was declared the winner of the Show Cup at Launceston last Sunday night. Star Chamber, which was driven along the inside turning for home, scored by three-and-a-half metres from Spot Nine and Falco Peregrinus. But a stewards' inquiry revealed Nathan Ford had gone inside the pegs with Star Chamber and was subsequently disqualified for gaining an unfair advantage. The placings were amended with Spot Nine declared the winner from Falco Peregrinus and Tessanzo. It was a disaster race for punters with the favourite Riverboat Jasper ($2.90) tailed out to last after making a mess of the standing start, while the well-backed Divas Delight ($3.90) was unable to make any impression from his 10-metre handicap. Spot Nine is trained at Seven Mile Beach by Zeke Slater and driven by Christian Salter, who was also successful with Aninchofhislife, which he also trains. PETER STAPLES

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

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