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Tasmania said goodbye to Beautide last month when the dual Inter Dominion winner bowed out through injury but at Menangle yesterday a new harness racing star emerged who could one day emulate the feats of the retired champion. The Todd Rattray-trained Ignatius ($3) powered his way to am emphatic win in the Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge final over 1609 metres defeating a star-studded line-up and he did in record time. Ignatius came off the back of the leaders in the home straight and unleashed a scintillating turn of foot to run down the favourite Sicario to record a winning mile rate of 1.51.3 that set an Australasian record. It was the trainer's first Group 1 win and one that he will never forget. "It hasn't sunk in yet but I'm sure it will in a day or so," Todd Rattray said. "We knew this colt had plenty of ability but you never know for sure until they get amongst the very best and today he showed us that he is special. "He had a good run in the race and James (Rattray) did a great job to put him in the right spot and when he let down in the straight he was explosive. "To win in record time is a bonus and now we have to consider where we go with him. "The Breeders Crown series is a possibility but we'll see how he pulls up from this run and make some decisions in the coming week." Ignatius is owned and raced by the trainer's life partner Lyrae Graham who picked the colt from a group of weanlings that were roaming a paddock at the Rattray family property at Longford. Ignatius had his first start at the end of April for a win in Hobart and he won his next two that included the Sweepstakes final before heading to Sydney for a heat of the Breeders Challenge in which he finished a game third. The colt didn't travel well to Sydney which contributed to his loss in a heat but he recovered quickly and that was reflected in his Breeders Challenge semi-final win. Ignatius' record stands at five wins and a third from six starts for stake earnings of $110,000. Peter Staples

Veteran harness racing trainer Paul Hill reaffirmed his status as the king of the kids when he snared the feature two-year-old double at Luxbet Park Hobart in Tasmania last night. Hill prepared star filly Ideal Bliss to win his third consecutive Group 3 Evicus Stakes final and his handy colt Feelin Dusty led throughout to give Hill his second Dandy Patch from the past three editions. "I've been very fortunate to have had some very talented young horses in my care in recent years and I'm hoping this isn't the end of my good run," Hill said. "Ideal Bliss is a very good filly and I have no doubt she will develop into a very good three-year-old." "I also have a decent opinion of Feelin Dusty and when he drew gate two I rated him a top chance of winning even though the raps were big on Todd Rattray's horse (Izaha). "When Ricky (Duggan) was able to lead and not spend too much early on Feelin Dusty I was confident my horse would be very hard to beat and that's how it panned out." Ideal Bliss, owned and bred by Charlie and Connie Beadman, was sent out the $1.40 favourite despite drawing the inside of the second row. However, her driver Rohan Hillier snagged her out the back at the start to ensure he could find a spot in the one-out line while Inwil ($8) showed good speed to lead. Hillier sent Ideal Bliss  (American Ideal-Blissfull Grace) around the field at the bell and when he moved alongside the leader at the top of the home straight she forged clear but had to pull out all stops to fend off Inwil that made a late charge with Jeanette Barry a close-up third. Feelin Dusty ($2.30fav) showed brilliantly gate speed to easily hold the front in the Dandy Patch while Run Wick ($11) faced the breeze with Izaha ($2.40) on its back enjoying the one-out-one-back position. But a lap out and unhappy with the modest tempo Rattray sent Izaha up to face the breeze and put some pressure on the leader and they singled out to fight out the finish. Feelin Dusty responded when Duggan called on the gelded son Mr Feelgood for the big effort and he went on to score by over 10 metres from Izaha with Pezzamystic over 15 metres away third. Peter Staples

Harness racing three-year-old pacer Johns Legacy delivered his best effort this season to break his maiden status in the Carlton Draught Stakes in Launceston last Sunday night. With talented young driver Jack Laugher in the cart Johns Legacy was able to lead but the driver cleverly opted to take a trail when the race favourite Williamtell ($2.50) scooted around the field to attack for the lead. Williamtell sped clear turning for home but when Laugher eased Johns Legacy ($16) out to challenge the gelding powered home to score by two metres from Chenin Valley that also sprouted wings in the straight with the favourite third. Johns Legacy's trainer Cleone Hill was thrilled with the result and praised the effort of Tasmania's leading junior driver. "That was a top drive from Jack (Laugher)," Hill said. Johns Legacy is a special horse to Hill as he was the last foal bred by her late father John Jetson. "He is a very special horse for us as he was the very first foal born after Dad (John Jetson) passed away. "My son Scott named him Johns Legacy, which was the perfect fit," Hill said. Jetson was a very successful owner-breeder. He owned popular sire JR Mint and he part-owned the highly rated sire Time Stands Still. Hill prepares a small team and operates an agistment farm on her late father's property Jetsonville Park situated on the North-East Coast near Scottsdale. Johns Legacy is expected to have his next start in Launceston on Sunday week. Peter Staples

Talented Tasmanian two-year-old harness racing pacer Ignatius powered his way into the rich New South Wales Breeders Challenge final with a resounding win in a semi-final over 1609 metres at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The Todd Rattray-trained youngster scraped into the semi-final and drew gate four from which he was able to find the front with the trainer's brother James Rattray in the sulky. The odds-on favourite Sicario ($1.40) from the Mark Purdon stable, drew the outside gate and was forced to work three-wide early but with cover before circumnavigating the field to eventually take control. Sicario sped clear and was being hailed the winner at the top of the home stretch but when Rattray eased Ignatius out of the slipstream to challenge the gelded son of Roll With Joe claimed the favourite and forged clear over the concluding stages to win by 2-1/2 metres with Squire a distant third. Ignatius clocked a mile rate of 1.52.6 and ran home his last 800 metres in 55.7 which were personal best times for the gelding. There are big raps on Sicario which added more credence to the Tasmanian's win. "I knew he would improve on his run in the heat because he didn't handle the trip from Tassie to NSW all that well," Todd Rattray said. "In this race latest race he showed good gate speed but James (Rattray) had to use him up early to find the front so he did the right thing by taking hold and handing up the lead to the favourite. "I was very impressed with how my horse finished the race off because he was really strong and was drawing away from the field on the line." Ignatius has drawn barrier three in the $125,000 final to be run at Menangle on June 25. "Drawing gate three in the final is a real bonus because he's probably got enough gate speed to lead and if that happens James can decide whether to hand up if the right horse lands outside him or keep the lead and make it staying test." "I am certain my horse will continue to improve with racing so he should be even better in the final." Ignatius is owned and raced by Todd Rattray's life partner Lyrae Graham who selected the horse from a group of weanlings in a paddock at the trainer's family property at Longford over a year ago. While Rattray is thrilled with the efforts of Ignatius in Sydney he also was impressed with the performance of Izaha that won his heat of the Dandy Patch Stakes in Hobart last Sunday night. Izaha could not have made a more impressive debut coming from last in the small field of seven to win easily to suggest he will be the testing material in the $40,000 final on Friday week. "I expected Izaha to do what he did in the Dandy Patch heat because he's been a very promising pacer from day one and I don't think there is much between him and Ignatius." Peter Staples

Star Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Scooterwillrev will embark on his next interstate sojourn in top form following the harness racing gelding's impressive win on Sunday night. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere raced with cover in the one-out line before latching onto the back of Call Her Julie for a ride home three-wide. When trainer-driver Craig Hayes eased his stable star four-wide to challenge nearing the top of the home straight the gelding quickly put the end result beyond doubt and went on to defeat Another Swinger by almost 121 metres with Modern Chic about two metres away third. "I couldn't be happier with the horse's effort on Sunday and he's pulled up great from his run," Hayes said. "He ate everything in his feed bin when he got home and he's right where I want him to be, fitness wise, at this stage of his preparation. "He will head to Melbourne on the boat next Tuesday night and he'll race at Kilmore on the Thursday night (June 22) in a heat of the Vicbred series. "Provided he races well in his heat he should make it to the semi-final stage at Melton eight days later and all going well he'll be in the final at Melton a week later." Peter Staples

The Dandy Patch Stakes series for two-year-old colts and geldings has produced some harness racing stars over the years and this year's series should be no exception. The two heats of this season's series at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night proved the depth of talent in Tasmania's juvenile harness ranks is as strong as ever. The heats were won by first-starter Izaha from the Todd Rattray stable and the in-form Feelin Dusty prepared by Paul Hill. Izaha (Roll With Joe-Our Zellweger) settled last in his heat while the heavily-backed favourite Dufrene led but Izaha stormed home to defeat the favourite by seven metres with Pezzamystic two metres astern. It was a very impressive debut and given the colt is likely to take a lot of benefit from the outing he could start a warm favourite in the final if he draws a good gate. Feelin Dusty (Mr Feelgood-Maybe Elite) made the most of the pole position to lead and despite being challenged a lap from home he still had plenty in reserve when he hit the line well clear of Maybe Jack with Run Wick a distant third. Hill's filly Ideal Bliss is likely to start a short-price favourite to win the Evicus Stakes final for fillies following her impressive win in the Evicus Prelude over 1609 metres. With Rohan Hillier in the cart, Ideal Bliss settled just beyond midfield in the one-out line with cover while Jeanette Barry led from the pole position. Hillier sent Ideal Bliss around the field with a lap to go to face the breeze and when he called on the filly for the big effort in the home straight she responded well and went on to score by 1.4 metres from Jeanette Barry with Inwil a distant third. The leader fought back strongly but in the end it was the class of Hill's filly that shone through. Peter Staples

Underrated harness racing mare Capture Me set a record in Launceston last Friday night that most punters would have rued. At a meeting that resulted in a mixture of favourites and mid-price winners on the eight-event card Capture Me started at cricket score odds. The Ben Yole-trained mare paid $98.10 for the win and $19 the place on the Ubet tote but where the record was set was the dividends she returned on the NSW tote which was a massive $274.20 for the win and $37.10 for a place. Surprisingly, Capture Me had some support in fixed odds markets firming from $81 to $61 before easing out to start at $101. It was a gem of a drive from Natalee Emery who settled the four-year-old daughter of Village Jolt near the rear and five-back the fence from her outside second-row draw. In the back straight the last time Emery persevered with rails runs and when Crafty Old Fox that had faced the breeze, started to capitulate it gave her the chance to get her charge off the fence and when she eased her out four-wide in the home straight she powered home to score by over three metres. Olivers Mate came from well back to grab second with Tenfour that had trailed the leaders sneaking into third place. Capture Me arrived in Yole's stable from South Australia in January and won at her second start for him in Hobart that followed a first-up third in Launceston and she has since notched two wins and five minor placings from 16 subsequent outings. Peter Staples

Top Tasmanian harness racing reinsman Ricky Duggan delivered two of his best drives to secure a personal milestone at Luxbet Park Hobart on Sunday night. Duggan went into the meeting two wins short of 1,500 career wins, rapidly closing the gap on Barrie Rattray who holds the Tasmanian record of 1575. Duggan's wins came aboard Cheshire Cat for trainer Pat Bishop in a C2 standing start event over 2090 metres in which the mare led throughout and his 1500th win came courtesy of typical Ricky Duggan gem of a drive aboard I Am Camelot to win the Pitt & Sherry Pace over 2090m. "It was great to reach 1500 wins at the meeting because sometimes when a personal milestone or a record is imminent it can take a while to get there, but I managed to do it at the first meeting after we became aware of me approaching 1500 winners," Duggan said. "It also was a bit special to get the 1500th win aboard one trained by Deb Williams (I Am Camelot) because she's doing a super job with the team she has in her stable." The top five drivers with more than 1000 winners up to 04 June 2017 are: 1575 - Barrie Rattray. 1500 - Ricky Duggan. 1369 - Neville Webberley. 1315 - Darrell Alexander. 1173 - Gareth Rattray. Peter Staples

Tasmanian owned and trained two-year-old pacer Ignatius will remain in New South Wales despite connections being unsure of whether he will gain a start in a semi-final of the harness racing 2YO Breeders Challenge series. Ignatius, trained and driven by Todd Rattray, finished third in his heat at Menangle on Tuesday but only the first two placegetters in each of eight heats are guaranteed a berth in one of two semi-finals. Four of the eight third placings from the heats will progress to the semi-finals and they are chosen by Harness Racing NSW with the remaining four third placegetters to be made emergencies. "We have decided to leave the horse here and hope for the best as far as the semi-finals are concerned," Rattray said. "The horse led in his heat but he was probably still feeling the effects of travelling because he never finished his race off like I expected him to. "He was definitely off his game and is better than what he showed on Tuesday." Ignatius went into the race unbeaten from three starts in Tasmania and his times at home suggest he is capable of matching it with the best in the Breeders Challenge series. Another Tasmanian-owned gelding Miracle Marcus that is trained in NSW by Wayne Potter, finished fourth in his heat and missed the chance to progress to the semi-finals. Miracle Marcus is owned in Tasmania by Mick Maxfield. Peter Staples

Tasmanian two-year-old harness racing pacer Ignatius will line up in a heat of the NSW Breeders Challenge Series at Menangle tomorrow (Tuesday) and his trainer-driver Todd Rattray expects him to qualify for a berth in the semi-finals on Saturday week. Ignatius scored an impressive all-the-way win in the 2YO Sweepstakes final in Hobart last start to keep his unbeaten record intact. The Roll With Joe gelding has drawn ideally in gate two in one of two heats for colts and geldings with the first six across the line in each heat to progress to the semi-finals. Ignatius is being stabled with the trainer's older brother James Rattray who prepares a big team at his training complex in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. "Ignatius went to Sydney last week and he's settled in well at James' (Rattray) place and I couldn't be happier with the barrier draw," Todd Rattray said. "It's a challenge for the horse because it's so hard to get a guide as to how he compares to a lot of the others in the race but he'll go into the heat fit and I guess we'll all know after the race whether he's up to it." Ignatius won his Sweepstakes final by almost 17 metres defeating a quality line-up and his mile rate of 1.58.2 and he scampered home his last 800 metres in 56.6 seconds without being fully extended. "He's run a really good time in Hobart last start on a track that was rain affected so I'm interested to see what he can do on the Menangle track that produces really fast times." The semi-finals will be held at Menangle on 10 June with the $125,000 Group 1 final at the same venue on 25 June. Peter Staples

Consistent three-year-old pacer Playing Arkabella delivered another outstanding harness racing performance to emerge triumphant in the $40,000 Group 3 Bandbox Stakes over 2200 metres in Launceston on Friday night. The Paul Hill-trained filly won the two-year-old version of the sires stakes series last season (Evicus Stakes) so to capture the three-year-old edition puts her in elite company. Playing Arkabella had her colours lowered in the Bandbox Prelude by El Jays Mystery that edged her out in the last stride but with a more favourable barrier draw and a heady drive from Rohan Hillier she justified the punters' faith in the daughter of Shadow Play. The filly was heavily backed to start the $1.80 favourite courtesy of drawing barrier three on the front line while her archrival El Jays Mystery had to start from the outside of the second row courtesy of being out of the draw in mobile events. The Todd Rattray-trained Harshali began well from gate five and eventually worked to the lead from rank outsider Safari Oakey ($126) but Hillier was content to send Playing Arkabella around the field to face the breeze from where he could dictate the pace of the race. Ricky Duggan sent El Jays Mystery three-wide to challenge 600 metres out but she was making hard work of it while Harshali looked to be travelling easily and put three metres on the favourite turning for home. But when Hillier called on his filly for the big effort she dug deep and went on to defeat the fast-finishing Huiffier by two metres with El Jays Mystery hanging on for third ahead of Harshali and Halo Henry that dead-heated for fourth. Peter Staples

The Todd Rattray-trained Harjeet led throughout to win the $40,000 Group 3 Globe Derby Stakes for harness racing three-year-old colts and geldings at  Launceston, Tasmania on Friday night. Harjeet ($2.80) began brilliantly from gate two to lead while the favourite Rocknroll Turbo ($2.20) was caught three-wide until driver Rohan Hillier urged him forward to face the breeze while the other main contender Usain Jolt was dragged back to last from his outside front-row draw, Duggan made his move 700 metres out but that's when Hillier called on the favourite to stake his claim and he moved a half-length clear of Harjeet but Rattray's horse refused to wilt. Harjeet regained the lead and went on to defeat Rocknroll Turbo by 9.5 metres with Usain Jolt a game third almost two metres away. It was Harjeet's third win from only six starts and while he is still very immature Rattray is quietly confident he has a bright future. "My horse hung out and then hung in so once he learns to go straight he's going to be a very good horse," Rattray said. Harjeet a Rocknroll Hanover gelding was bred by the Rattray family and Wayne McLaughlin who was thrilled with the win. "I started this breeding program with the Rattray family about 10 years ago and this is the first one we've been able to get to the races so hopefully he can go right on with it," McLaughlin said. Peter Staples

Former Tasmanian Derby winner Mister Lennox broke the harness racing track record in Launceston on Sunday night when he flashed home to win the $10,000 Golden Mile over 1680 metres. The Juanita McKenzie-trained gelding emerged from the pack to chase down tear away leader I Am Camelot to score by two metres clocking a mile rate of 1.54.5 that set a new benchmark for open class pacers. It eclipsed the previous best of 1.55 set by Queens Advocate, also trained by McKenzie, in February last year. It made it back-to-back Golden Miles for the five-year-old gelding that was dispatched to top NSW trainer Paul Fitzpatrick after winning last year's Golden Mile however he was unplaced from five starts. McKenzie said Mister Lenox could soon head to Melbourne with the hope of winning an M0 event at Melton. It was one of five winners in succession for Hillier who captured races 5-9 for what was a personal best haul. Hillier has driven four winners on a program a few times, according to the popular reinsman, but this is his first quintet of winners. His winners were Mister Lennox, Chirac, Rocknroll Turbo, Chenin Valley and Lord Jones. Two of the wins were aboard horses he trains, Rocknroll Turbo and Chenin Valley, while the others were for individual trainers. To highlight his popularity, Hillier had a drive in every race on the 10-event card. Peter Staples

The depth of talent in Tasmania's harness racing three-year-old ranks was on show in Launceston on Sunday night in preludes of the state's sires' stakes races. In the Globe Derby prelude for colts and geldings three stars in their own right flashed across the line with narrow margins separating the trio. Rocknroll Turbo emerged the victor by a few centimeters from Usain Jolt with race leader Harjeet a similar margin away third. Rocknroll Turbo ($2.30 favourite), trained at Beauty Point by Rohan Hillier who also drove the colt, said very little separates the first three across the line. "I was very happy with how my horse performed tonight but the first three across the line will improve from that run and probably the barrier draw and luck in running will play a big role in the outcome of the final," Hillier said. Harjeet ($3) led from gate four while Hillier snagged his charge back at the start to settle one-out-one-back with the well-backed Usain Jolt ($3.80) also eased out of the early speed battle from barrier six to settle last. When Harjeet's driver Barrie Rattray tried to slow the pace slightly entering the back straight the last time Duggan eased Usain Jolt out three-wide to make his move but it also allowed Rocknroll Turbo to find his back for a cart home. When the pressure was applied in the home straight it became a survival of the fittest with Rocknroll Turbo getting up in the last bound. The Bandbox prelude for fillies resulted in another close finish between Playing Arkabella (Rohan Hillier) and the favourite El Jays Mystery (Ricky Duggan). Hillier tried to pinch a winning break when he sent Playing Arkabella around the field to assume control leaving the back straight the last time but under strong driving from Duggan the favourite gained the upper hand right on the line. El Jays Mystery, prepared at Karoola by Dick Eaves, was heavily backed to start the $2.10 favourite while Playing Arkabella had her share of supporters firming from $5 to start $4.40. Duggan was content with his filly's effort but he was concerned about her breaking gait soon after the start. "I'm going to suggest a slight gear change to Dick (Eaves) that might stop this filly from breaking at the start," Duggan said. Peter Staples

Hit The Lights had 28 starts before he emerged triumphant but as often is the case with horses that take forever to win a race just two starts later the Mark Geeves-trained gelding was back in the harness racing winner's circle. The gelded son of Shadow Play registered his second win in a C1 over 2090 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart last Sunday night. With Adrian Duggan in the cart, Hit The Lights settled near the rear of the field but when the pace slackened the driver made the race-winning move to allow his charge to roll around the field and face the breeze from where he could help dictate the pace of the race. Hit The Lights stormed to the lead in the home straight and went on to score comfortably from Last Guy Standing and Pop The Cork. Hit The Lights is owned by Geeves and his long-time friend and fellow hobby trainer Eric Blomquist. Geeves purchased the gelded son of Shadow Play from Queensland about 16 months ago and when he arrived at his stables he immediately showed promise but a back ailment prevented him from realising his potential. "Because he showed so much when he first arrived (in Tasmania) we pushed on to try and win a three-year-old event but I discovered the back problem so I tipped him out and gave him a decent spell," Geeves said. Now that Hit The Lights has found form Geeves expects the gelding to remain competitive as he makes his way through the lower classes. Peter Staples  

Star Tasmanian-owned and bred superstar pacer Beautide has been retired from harness racing as a result of a persistent leg injury. The nine-year-old gelding, arguably the best pacer to come out of Tasmania in the history of the sport, has been battling a number of injuries that have kept him off the racetrack for just over a year. Beautide was bred by the Rattray family at Longford who also raced the gelding and he is trained in NSW by eldest son James Rattray who said all attempts to get the horse back to the races had failed. "He's had a lot of trouble with his tendons but this latest injury, a bruised sesamoid, is what has caused us to retire him," Rattray said. "The horse seems well in himself but he's just not 100 per cent. "Taking everything into account, including his age, we've decided to retire him. Retiring a horse that probably still had the potential to win another Inter Dominion surprisingly sits comfortably with Rattray. "The injury could have happened when he was a young horse and he never would have got to do what he did so we are thankful for what he has achieved." The gelding began his career in Tasmania where he won on debut at Burnie and went on to win the Sweepstakes final at his fourth start before ending his two-year-old season with an unplaced effort in the Dandy Patch Stakes. At three he won nine of his 10 starts including the prestigious Globe Derby Stakes. He notched seven wins at four including at Ascot Gold Cup and the following season he won eight times with the last in Winter Championship heat in NSW where he remained based for the balance of his racing career. Beautide burst into the national spotlight when he won the 2013 Group 1 Miracle Mile at Menangle and he capped the season when he bettered that effort to win in the 2014 Inter Dominion four months later that earned him the title of Australian Horse of the Year. But when he made it successive Inter Dominions a year later defeating a star-studded line-up at Menangle he rocketed to superstar status, eclipsing the feats of some of Tasmania's former greats including Halwes. It is always difficult to compare past and present champions but Beautide's record of 49 wins from 81 starts that included six Group 1 victories for over $2 million in stakes has him clearly at the top of Tasmania's lifetime stake earners. Last year the gelding was inducted into the Australian Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Managing owner Barrie Rattray says Beautide will remain in NSW for the time being. MAJOR RACES/HONOURS WON BY BEAUTIDE 2YO Betfair Sweepstakes Final (Hobart) (Listed 3YO Globe Derby Final (Launceston) (Group 3) 6YO Inter Dominion Championship Final (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 1) Miracle Mile (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 1) Len Smith Mile (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 1) Newcastle Mile (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 2) Generation Firststrike Championship Final (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 3) 7YO Inter Dominion Championship Final (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 1) Coca Cola Amatil Sprint (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 1) Inter Dominion Championship - Heat 2 (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 2) Nick Robin Free For All (Tabcorp Park, Menangle) (Group 3) Paul Fitzpatrick Free For All, Menangle (Group 3) 8YO Coca Cola Amatil Sprint, Menangle (Group 1) Trans-Tasman (Albion Park,Qld) (Group 1) Qld Winter Cup (Albion Park, Qld) (Group 1) Gold Coast Cup (Gold Coast, Qld) (Group 2) Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Heat (Albion Park) (Group 3)   2014, 2015 Australian Harness Racing Horse of the Year   Inter Dominion and Australian Pacers Records - 3000m 1:55.5MS (02/03/2014) Inter Dominion and Australian Pacers Records - 3000m 1:55.5MS (02/03/2014) Peter Staples

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