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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

Well bred three-year-old pacer Stonor Rainbow delivered a solid performance to score a narrow but decisive win in the Impress Print Pace at the harness racing meeting at the Tote Racing Centre in Launceston today. With Justin Campbell in the cart, Stonor Rainbow showed his customary early speed to easily cross to the front from gate four and proceeded to set a solid tempo with Vincent Can Go on his outside and the well-backed Cardinal Spec settled well back in the field from his wide second-row draw. When the back markers started their moves Campbell lifted the tempo to ensure his followers would have to work to make ground and the tactic worked perfectly. The Steve Lukac-trained gelding powered home and had enough in hand to score narrowly from Cardinal Spec that was the widest runner in the home straight with Vincent Can Go hanging on for third. The winner clocked a mile rate of 2m.02.25 with an overall time of 2m.47.12s. Peter Staples

STAR Tasmanian four-year-old pacer Pachacuti was far from disgraced when he powered home to finish a close-up fifth in the 4YO Australasian Breeders Crown final over 2240 metres at Melton today. Pachacuti was forced to tail out to last from his wide second-row draw while the Shane Triton-trained Marty Monkhouser began brilliantly from gate six to lead. The favourite Bit of a Legend spent some time in the three-wide line to eventually find his way to the "death" outside of the leader. Todd Rattray sent Pachacuti off three-wide at the bell and he enjoyed cover for 500 metres but he had to move four-wide to set sail after the leaders. The Barrie Rattray-trained gelding appeared to lose concentration nearing the home turn and lost ground but he picked up the bit in the home straight and powered home to finish fifth and only 2.6 metres from the winner Marty Monkhouser that held a 1.4 metre advantage over Bit of a Legend with Majestic Mach a close-up third. Late money for Pachacuti had him start at $10 at fixed odds with Tattsbet while the winner started at $18. Barynya just misses Breeders Crown glory Tasmania’s Victorian Oaks-winning filly Barynya went within just over a metre of taking out the 3YO Fillies final of the Australasian Breeders Crown at Melton today. With Rohan Hillier in the sulky, Barynya was smothered up three-back the fence while the heavily-backed Nike Franco rolled to the front after early leader Just Carla’s driver Amanda Turnbull handed up 1400m from home. When the leaders lifted the tempo Turnbull left the rails to challenge Nike Franco and that allowed Hillier to find the passing lane in the home straight but the game Tasmanian filly ran out of ground and was unable to run Just Carla down with Quick Draft a close-up third. The Dick Eaves-trained filly that is owned and raced by Lloyd Whish-Wilson and his wife Judy has had a brilliant season winning the Tasmanian and Victorian Oaks and was placed in a Breeders Crown final and heat to take her stake earnings to beyond $200,000. Peter Staples  

STAR Tasmanian reinsman Ricky Dugan is having on of his best seasons with his efforts at the past two Hobart harness racing meetings netting him six winners and multiple minor placings. Last Sunday night he partnered Angela De Marco and Giuliani to victory and both drivers were superb. He rated Angela De Marco to perfection in front and he made a midrace dash aboard Giuliani to find the front and that proved to be the winning move. He was quite upbeat about both hoses. "I thought Angela De Marco's win was full of merit because she stargazed a bit when she slipped clear in e straight but when she caught a glimpse of on coming she lifted," Dugan said. "I have no doubt that the filly will be even better after a spell so the owners should expect her to do some good things as a four-year-old," he said. Giuliani sowed courage in the home straight when at one stage it appeared that he might be swamped by the challengers. "Giuliani has developed into a very strong type and he has good high speed," Dugan said. Angela De Marco is owned by Barry Cooper and Jamie Cockshutt while Merv and Meg Butterworth pay up or Giuliani hat is prepared by Zeke Slater. Peter Staples

VETERAN Tasmanian harness racing trainer Brian Stanley knows a good two-year-old when he gets his hands on one and the latest to show promise in his care is his well bred filly Days Like This. Days Like This (Artistic Fella-Lucyna) notched her second win when she triumphed at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night in the Cliff Robins Memorial (2C0-2C1) over 1680 metres. The filly was well handled by experienced reinsman Rohan Hadley who allowed her to circumnavigate the field early in the race to roll to the front which negated her outside second-row draw. Once in front she travelled sweetly and then found when challenged seriously in the home straight to go on and score by 1-1/2 metres from Fundamentalist that trailed the winner with Tiz A Jamane over two metres away third ahead of Isthatyoujimmy that was doing his best work at the business end of the race. Stanley explained that he had to take his time with the filly owing to her being quite wayward when she first came into work. "She is a half-sister to Palmisano that was a very good two-year-old a couple of seasons back but she was not as switched on as him at this age," Stanley said. "I have no doubts that in time she will be a very nice horse," he said. Hadley also gave the filly a glowing report. "She does a few things wrong but she definitely has a bright future," Hadley said. Days Like This has started five times for two wins and as many minor placings, failing only on debut when fifth of six behind Blackjackhanover, beaten about 11 metres. Stanley's broodmare Lucyna has only produced the two foals to race with her first, by Art Major, failing to get to the track while her third foal by Artistic Fella died. She has a rising yearling full brother to Palmisano and Stanley is hoping he can emulate the feats of his now four-year-old brother. Peter Staples

Veteran harness racing trainer Neil Cameron was rewarded for his patience when Liberty Niadh scored a courageous win on debut a The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. With experienced reinsman Rohan Hillier in the sulky, the well bred juvenile proved too strong for race favourite House Haunter ($2.70) and his stablemate Feral Tracy in the Launceston Belmont (1680m), which was the feature race on the mammoth 11-race card. It was a game win as the filly faced the breeze for the last 600 metres but had the stamina and will to eventually forge to the lead and defeat the favourite by eight metres with Feral Tracy 1.8 metres away third and just in advance of her stablemate Freyde hat lost valuable ground when she galloped for a few strides nearing the home turn. Cameron had the filly ready to race early in the season but had to abort the campaign due to illness. "She was probably the first two-year-old to trial back in October last year but she developed a respiratory infection so I couldn't go on with her," Cameron said. Liberty Niadh trialed brilliantly a week prior to her first race assignment and that gave connections and punters cause to back her in from $4.50 to start the $3.20 second favourite "We just had to be patient and we have been rewarded." Cameron explained that Liberty Niadh is the result of a purchase he made about five years ago. "I bought this filly's mother Maggie Adreaming down from Queensland with the intention of racing her," he said. "But she'd had E I (Equine Influenza) and, when I got her stated, I could pick something was wrong." "So I had her checked out and discovered she had a problem with her heart that had been cause by the E I." "So I opted to breed wit her and Liberty Niadh is her first foal," he said. Cameron is unsure about her immediate future. "I've got nothing special planned for her but we might take her to Hobart next Sunday night." "I'll wait and see how she comes through this race and make a decision later in the week," he said. Peter Staples

Well bred three-year-old pacer Karalta Dazzler is starting to live up to his name with his latest harness racing win in Launceston tonight, the gelding's third in succession. With regular driver John Walters in the sulky, Karalta Dazzler stepped well from the standing start and gradually worked his way to the lead down the back straight clear of Prettyboytroy that was eased out of the speed battle. Walters ensured a solid tempo and when he asked the gelding for the big effort at the top of the home straight he quickly established an unbeatable led and went on to comfortably score from Margin Girl with Helen Wheels working home well for third ahead of On The Deuce. Karalta Dazzler is trained by Kent Rattray who prepares the gelding for his parents Wayne and Gaye who bred him from their broodmare Karalta Crown that produced the gelding from an AI mating with Stonebridge Regal. It was the second leg of an early double for Walters who also guided the Ian Abraham-trained Vincent Can Go to victory in the opening race on the 11-event card. Listen to what driver John Walters had to say about Karalta Dazzler's latest win. Peter Staples

Harness Racing trainer Geoff Smith has not been spending a lot of time in the winner's circle of late but his luck changed at the inaugural night meeting under lights at Burnie tonight. Smith prepared the first winner on the lit Wivenhoe Showground in the form of form of Buckingham Boy that had been in the racing wilderness for over a year before landing in Smith's care and the veteran trainer snared his double when Starsheer led throughout to win a standing start race over 2180 metres (race 4). It was an incredible win as the lightly raced six-year-old gelding was last entering the back stretch the last time but with Craig Hayes in the sulky he produced a scintillating finish to come wide on the home turn and rattled home to grab victory over race leader Odins Call Girl in the very last stride. Smith said the horse was owned by Eddie Murdoch but he had managed to negotiate the purchase of the horse on Thursday for $2000. Listen to what trainer Geoff Smith had to say about Buckingham Boy's win at Burnie. Peter Staples

Young Latrobe harness racing driver Ben Parker will have good reason to remember the first ever night meeting at Burnie after winning his first race for more than two years on his own horse Takeaway Koala. Despite having to work outside the leader, Takeaway Koala proved too strong for pacemaker Inner City and Bumble Don in the Bryan Green Pace over 2180 metres. Parker has been driving for four years but has had only limited opportunities and Takeaway Koala was just his third career winner. ``I usually only drive my own horses or others trained by Brett Jaffray,'' Parker explained. Coastal football legend Jaffray prepares Takeaway Koala for Parker, his mother Karen Parker and partner Kate Wilkinson. ``We bought the horse from Craig Hayes earlier in the year and this was his seventh start since we've had him,'' Parker said. ``I thought he could win tonight because I expected him to lead. ``It's the first time he's raced in the death for us but it's not a bad place to be on this track. ``You just have to be up the front,'' he said. Peter Staples

Harness racing three-year-old pacer Little Jethro found his way back into the winner's circle with an emphatic all-the-way win in the Hellyers Road Distillery Pace over 2180 metres under lights at Burnie last night (Friday). It was the pint-sized gelding's first win in seven starts this season but given the ease with which he dispensed with his rivals it won't be his last. Little Jethro's trainer Keith Toulmin also drove the gelded son of JR Mint and he believes he has the potential to win many more races. Little Jethro won three as a two-year-old along with five minor placings from 13 starts last season. He stepped cleanly from the standing start and mustered good speed to easily hold the lead and once in front Toulmin ensured just a modest tempo with nothing prepared to take the leader on. When the challengers began to emerge in the back stretch the last time Toulmin released the reins and the gelding sped clear and went n to score comfortable from Family Orphan that trailed the leader throughout. Listen to what trainer Keith Toulmin had to say about Little Jethro's win. Peter Staples

THE Burnie Harness Racing Club will host its first night meeting at Wivenhoe Showground on Tasmania's North-West Coast tomorrow night (Friday). The program boasts six races with the first scheduled to start at 6.25 pm and the last at 9.02 pm and all races will be broadcast nationally on Sky 2. The installation of lights at the Wivenhoe Showgrounds has not only enabled the BHRC to stage night racing but it also allows many other sports that utilise the venue to expand their rosters. A trial harness session was held at the venue last week and all went well. Finding winners tonight will be tough with most of the races containing multiple winning chances but the Andrew Rawlings-trained Buck Major looms as one of the best bets on the card in Race four. Buck Major has drawn the pole position and as a rule the grey gelding usually steps well from a stand and has good early speed so driver Rohan Hillier will no doubt be trying to utilise those traits and find the front. If that eventuates Buck Major should be able to lead throughout with Topnotch Sam (2), a winner two starts back and last start minor placegetter Joe Cable (3) the hardest to beat of the C0 performers on the front line. Peter Staples

TALENTED Tasmanian pacer Nola Mayhem could soon be heading interstate after her effortless all-the-way win in the $30,000 Granny Smith final for four-year-old mars at Devonport Paceway last Sunday night. The mare's trainer Rohan Hillier and Melbourne-based owner Mark Panton are looking at a Vicbred mares' series in Victoria in June and, longer term, may send the four-year-old to Western Australia. "A trip to Melbourne is a definite possibility and WA has always been on the horizon when she gets down in class because there are a lot of good mares' races over there," Panton said. The owner said that Nola Mayhem had done a good job to win the Granny Smith on a restricted preparation. "She missed a month's racing when she was stood down after returning a positive swab at the trials but the stewards have since been good enough to lift that ban,"Panton said. Hillier said that Nola Mayhem was advantaged by drawing the pole in this latest assignment as she had good gate speed and, with a short run to the first turn, it was unlikely that she would be headed. "And I don't think our main danger (El Jays Magic) handles this track," the trainer said. El Jays Magic raced in second place but broke and dropped out during the last lap. Nola Mayhem went on to score by seven metres from All About Mod with Family Guy over five metres astern. By Peter Staples

LONGFORD-based harness racing trainer Barrie Rattray would love to be at Menangle on Sunday night to watch his star five-year-old Beautide tackle the $100,000 Len Smith Mile but instead he will be toiling away at Devonport where he has a truck load of runners at the feature meeting. Rattray will hitch up four of the 10 runners in the $30,000 Raider Stakes for four-year-olds in Devendra, Divas Delight, Pachacuti and Rykov leis and they are rated amongst the top five chances to win the race. Pachacuti could not have been more impressive in wining his Raider Stakes heat in Launceston last Sunday week and he also was impressive in winning in Hobart at his previous outing that was his first run back in the state after a filed interstate campaign. Devendra has done nothing wrong this campaign and had it not been for a flat tyre endured during a race in Hobart two starts back his form has been outstanding. Rykov Leis has quietly gone about his business in recent months winning twice and placing second three times from his past five starts but his task won't be easy on Sunday night as he starts from the outside of the second row. Listen to shat trainer Barrie Rattray had to say about his Raider Stakes runners and his two-year-olds in earlier races. By Peter Staples  

LONGFORD harness trainer Barrie Rattray has what some might consider a stranglehold on the Raider Stakes final for home grown four-year-olds at Devonport next Sunday week. In Launceston last night two heats of the sires' stakes classic were run and won by Rattray-trained four-year-olds and he also snared the quinella in one of the heats and a minor placegetter in the other to give him four genuine winning chances in the final. Pachacuti delivered a message that he will be very hard to beat in the final by defying a tough run facing the breeze for the last lap to go on and score convincingly over Melolyn and another of Rattray's band of talented four-year-olds Diva's Delight. Pachacuti spent a couple of months at James Rattray's stables in NSW where he failed to flatter in three of his five starts at Menangle. The gelding won a heat of the 3YO Breeders Crown last season and finished a gallant second to super star Bit Of A Legend in the $175.000 final. He was then transferred to James Rattray's care at Cobbitty and was placed at his first two attempts but his form went south and after he galloped away in a 4YO feature race on Inter Dominion day he was sent home to Tasmania. His first-up win in Hobart was solid but he confirmed he was back to his best with this latest victory on Sunday night. Lickyalips led and looked to be travelling comfortably turning for home but when driver Todd Rattray called on Pachacuti to extend he delivered the goods and went on to score by almost five metres from Melolyn that ran home strongly with Divas Delight doing his best work late. Rykov Leis (Ricky Duggan) then led his rivals a merry chase to score a strong win over stablemate Devendra in the remaining heat. Duggan ensured a solid tempo while Todd Rattray was content to allow his charge to travel in the one-out-one-back spot to the 400-metre peg. He had to wait until straightening to get the run three-wide to challenge but when Duggan called on Rykov Leis to sprint he sped clear and had enough in reserve to stave off a late surge from his stablemate. By Peter Staples

LIGHTLY raced three-year-old pacer Metro Digby will progress to the Tasmanian Derby following his narrow but impressive win in the $10,000 Tastech Building Services Sires Produce Stakes final over 2090 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart last Sunday night. Metro Digby (Metropolitan-Jolopez) was sent out an odds-on favourite ($1.50) to win the feature and while he held out runner-up Rusty red Comet with ease in the end the gelding gave his backers some cause for concern over the final 200 metres. "He just switched off about 200 metres out and I really had to get into him to get him back concentrating," said trainer-driver Paul Williams. "He is a very good horse but he still has a few too tricks," he said. Metro Digby went into the race with a reasonably good record of two wins and three minor placings from seven starts but Williams admitted this latest effort was his best result despite the gelding doing a few things wrong. Listen to what trainer Paul Williams had to say about Metro Digby's Sires Produce win. Peter Staples

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