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Plans to take Tasmanian-owned pacer Modern Ruler to Queensland for two major races remain unchanged despite the gelding’s shock loss at the harness racing meeting at Menangle last Saturday night. Modern Ruler was attempting to win his fourth Group 3 event in succession on Saturday night but in a small field he was unable to achieve the feat and had to settle for third behind Iam Mr Brightside and Shannonsablast in the Zilco Free For All over 2300 metres. Modern Ruler is trained in NSW by Tasmanian James Rattray and raced on lease by Tasmanians Steve and Marnie Davis who will head to Sydney next week to collect the horse and some travelling companions for the trip to Queensland “We are having Modern Ruler’s bloods done as a precautionary measure but both James and I are confident the race was not run to suit and that is what brought about his downfall on Saturday night, “ Davis said. “We have made plans to take the whole family, kids and all, to Queensland for two weeks so we will fly out next Tuesday and go to James’ stables and float the horse and a couple of stablemates to Queensland.” “We plan to do it in stages so it won’t be too taxing on the horses,” he said. Modern Ruler was sent to Rattray earlier this year after he won a race at Melton in Victoria and after a trial at Goulburn the seven-year-old lined up at Menangle and won by 20 metres which convinced Rattray he had a future. Modern Ruler has won six times from nine starts fo4r Rattray and leading up to last Saturday night’s minor placing he had won four in succession of which three carried Group 3 status. The gelded son of Modern Art will be aimed at the Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park on October 17 and then on to the Group 1 Queensland Pacing Championship a week later. Peter Staples

IF ever there was a horse destined to evoke emotion from winning his first race it was Do It For Dave that powered home for an impressive last-stride victory at the harness racing meeting at UBET Park Hobart last Sunday night. Do It For Dave dug deep when it counted to grab a last-stride win over Fowsands with Metrosilk a distant third. Do It For Dave is the only horse bred by the late David Medhurst who tragically lost his life in a car accident two years ago at the tender age of 26. Tasmania's harness industry mourned the loss for some time and David's legacy has lived on through his family who remain an integral part of Tasmania's harness racing fabric. David's father Zane Medhurst is a talented trainer in his own right and he also acts as clerk of the course at harness meetings in the south and north of the state. Zane trains Do It For Dave, a five-year-old gelding that had strung together three consecutive minor placings leading up to last Sunday night's maiden win. "This win is obviously extremely special to all the family," Zane Medhurst said. "We named this horse after our son as he is the only horse that David bred and to finally win a race with him is truly amazing." "It's hard to explain exactly how it feels because we go thro0ugh mixed emotions every week we turn up at the races and watch our horses go around in David's old colours but this is win is definitely one of the very special moments," he said. Do It For Dave (JR Mint-Chloes Princess) has had only 12 starts for a win and three minor placings But the way the gelding hit the line, more wins could be expected. Peter Staples

When Maree Blake and Paul Williams teamed up as life partners almost 28 years ago Maree was keen to get involved in harness racing despite not having even the slightest interest in the sport prior to them meeting. She worked as tirelessly as her partner in the preparation of a team of paces at their Bagdad property and she was prepared to learn the ropes from the bottom up. Blake became a competent trackwork driver but when Paul suffered devastating injuries as a result of a fall in Launceston about five years ago Maree was forced to make a move to secure a licence to drive in trials. The bulk of the horse's Williams had in training at the time of his accident needed to be sent to other trainers but the ones they owned themselves remained on the property and became Blake's responsibility. Williams suggested that she might as well try and secure a licence to drive in races, predicting it might come in handy further down the track. She secured her driver's licence and ironically it was Ponderosa Gamble, the horse that Williams was driving the night of his horrific fall that provided Blake with a winner at her first drive in a race. At UBET Park in Hobart last night (Sunday) Blake notched her second winner when she partnered Metro Digby to a game win in the Ian Blackburn Pace over 2090 metres. "It has taken me a while to get my second winner but I'm happy enough to have waited this long," Blake said. "I don't get a lot of drives but I enjoy it when I get the chance," she said. Metro Digby had been placed at his two previous starts convincing Williams that internal problems that had hindered the horse's progress had been cured. "The horse had a bacterial virus and ulcers but we have managed to get rid of all of his problems and hopefully he can finally get the chance to realise his full potential," Williams said. Metro Digby has won six and been placed a dozen times from 36 starts for almost $43,000 but now that he's turned the corner Williams expects him to keep on improving on that record. Peter Staples

IT has been a while coming but Mister Ryanjack finally delivered the goods in a C3-C4 event over 1680 metres at the harness racing meeting at Launceston on Sunday.   Mister Ryanjack had been promising to win another race but had been a victim of poor draws or no luck in tunning.   But with Adrian Collins aboard, the Marc Butler-trained gelding enjoyed the run of the race on the back of the favourite Palmisano that faced the breeze.   When Collins eased his charge out three-wide to challenge at the top of the straight the six-year-old dug deep at the business end to score by almost two metres.   Mister Ryanjack won a race in September last year but in between that victory and his latest triumph he has only saluted once for an impressive win in Hobart in June.   His career tally stands at seven wins and a dozen minor placings from 37 starts but he has the ability to greatly improve on those statistics. Peter Staples

The John Castles-trained Chirac continued on his winning way with another impressive performance at the harness racing meeting at Launceston on Sunday.   Chirac has strung three wins together to take his career tally to eight wins that has helped rocket his stake earnings to almost $60,000.   The gelding's part-owner Michael Castles (trainer's brother) said Chirac had always shown potential but they had to be patient.   "He's always been consistent but now he's putting a few wins together and not as many seconds and thirds as was the case early on," Castles said.   "There's not much coming up for him in the immediate future but he is sure to go around somewhere in his class."   "Later in the year he is going to have to go from C2 fronts to much deeper in the classes but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said.   Chirac has been driven by Wade Rattray three times for two wins and a second, confirming the driver is starting to make a name for himself. Peter Staples  

IF the connections of Devendra are keen to get to Perth for the Inter Dominion series then maybe Launceston harness racing trainer Ben Yole should have considered nominating his stable star All I Can Be that delivered a knockout blow to punters in Launceston on Sunday night by defeating Devendra in a free-for-all over 2200 metres.   Devendra was sent out the $1.20 favourite but faced the breeze for the entire journey and could not resist the powerful finish of All I Can Be ($9.20) that powered home to score by over a metre.   "We finally got a good run in transit because he usually ends up out the back with no speed on," said driver Mark Yole.   The trainer said All I Can Be is a really good horse but lacks the early gate speed that is possessed by most of the top class pacers but he is at his best when he can sit and sprint. "He really needs them to run along up front because he is essentially a sit and sprint horse," he said.   At his previous start All I Can Be ran home his last half (800m) in 56.8 but could only manage third placing because he came off a relatively slow speed.   Despite the loss, connections of Devendra remain keen to send him to James Rattray to prepare for an Inter Dominion campaign. Peter Staples

Australia's best harness racing drivers will assemble in Launceston, Tasmania, in November when Tasracing, Harness Racing Australia (HRA) and the Launceston Pacing Club (LPC) host the second Australian Driving Championships. Two drivers from each state (12 drivers in total) will contest six races for points to decide the winning driver. Tasracing chief executive officer Dr Eliot Forbes said Tasmania was home to some remarkable driving talent of all ages. "The Championship provides an opportunity for local drivers to compete on one of their home tracks against the best drivers from interstate," he said. "In addition, Tasmanian harness racing fans have the opportunity to watch the best driving skills live," Dr. Forbes said. HRA chief executive officer Andrew Kelly said he was delighted that Launceston would host the 2015 event on Sunday 15 November. "In only its second year, the Australian Driving Championship has already succeeded in filling an important industry role - bringing together the best drivers from each state to compete for the title of Australian Driving Champion," Kelly said. "One of the things I particularly like about this concept is the opportunity for owners and trainers to meet and interact with the best drivers in Australia. "These conversations allow participants to pick up hints or even tips about how a horse might be driven in future, tinkering with gear or just a general chat," he said. LPC president Joel Wallace said the club felt privileged to have been selected to host the series. "We are very much looking forward to showcasing our track and our facilities, and the quality and competitiveness of our horses to a wider national audience," Wallace said. Last year Tasmania was represented by Gareth Rattray and Rick Duggan. The drivers who finished first and second in the Tasmanian driver award last season will represent the state and that will again be Rattray (100 wins) and Duggan (68 wins). Peter Staples

Impressive Launceston harness racing winner Our Maddys Star is country cups-bound following her impressive win in a standing start event over 2200 metres at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Our Maddys Star began safely off a 10-metre handicap and eventually found a spot outside of the leader after travelling half a lap. Despite being forced to face the breeze the Nathan Ford-trained mare proved too strong for her rivals. She hit the line just over a metre clear of Faithful Jet that enjoyed a cushy run in the one-out-one-back position with Karalta Dazzler coming from well back to grab third just ahead of race leader Prettyboytroy who faded sharply over the concluding stages. Driver Dylan Ford was impressed with the mare's effort. "The Grinfromeartoear mare hasn't had much luck since she's been in Tassie," Ford said. "She's still won two races and only missed a cheque once and that was when she fell in Hobart through no fault of her own." "She flies from a standing start and that's why we are keen to get her into come of the country cups around December-January." "This was her best win because she had to do it tough and still found plenty at the end," he said. It was the first leg of a winning double for the trainer and driver with The Big Parade scoring an emphatic all-the-way win in the Sutter Hanover Pace (C1-C2) over 2200m. Peter Staples

Former New South Wales pacer Wingatui Dew delivered a knockout blow to harness racing punters in Launceston on Sunday night when he outgunned a long odds-on favourite that most punters deemed a certainty in the Stonebridge Regal Pace (C0) over 2200m which was the first leg of the quadrella. The Barrie Rattray-trained Bettormack started the $1.10 favourite while Wingatui Dew was a big drifter $8 to start $13.90. But Wingatui Dew flew the gate to lead easily and while Todd Rattray aboard The Bettormack had a look for the lead he quickly realised it was a futile exercise and eased his charge out of the contest. The Bettormack faced the breeze for most of the race with the driver content to sit over a sulky length from the leader so as not to overtax his horse. When Rattray asked The Bettormack for the big effort in back straight the last time he was unable to make any impression on the leader. Wingatui Dew cruised to an effortless emphatic win over the favourite with Berri Damour a distant third ahead of Bad Boy Hughes. It was Wingatui Dew's first start in Tasmania and the Grant Hodges-trained four-year-old had only fair form at Menangle prior to arriving in Tasmania. While his win was impressive, driver Erin Hollaway said the gelding must mend his ways if he is to go the next step in Tasmania. "He didn't settle at all tonight so we are going to have to fix that or it will bring him undone sooner than later," Hollaway said. "He is a nice horse and we knew from watching replays from his runs at Menangle that he had good gate speed and he definitely showed that tonight," she said. Peter Staples  

Star Tasmanian reinsman Gareth Rattray wrapped up another great season by winning the Tasmanian harness racing driver's premiership but this latest crown was special. Despite missing the first two months of the season through illness Rattray powered his way to the lead mid-season and a treble at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night gave him 100 wins for the season. His treble came courtesy of Fioki winning a C2-C3 over 2090 metres; rank outsider Cardinal Eddy scoring in a nail-biting finish in a 3C1-C0 and he finished with a heady drive to win aboard the Matthew Dwyer-trained Original Art in a C4-C5 . It was the third time he has reached the magical century of winners and this latest title is his 10th in succession. To say Rattray has dominated this past decade would be an understatement with his feats so far ranking him amongst the greatest drivers of all time. The first time he topped the century was in the 2007-08 season when he drove 113 winners but two seasons later he bettered that by snaring 115. His father Barrie also achieved the feat three times driving a state record 118 winners during the 1989-90 season; 100 in 1995-96 and 109 the following season. The father and son are the only two to reach the 100 milestone in Tasmania's driving ranks. This season Gareth passed another milestone of reaching the 1000 winners mark and he now sits fifth on the all-time list with 1040 winners but he still has a way to go to catch his father who has amassed 1566 winners and is still driving competitively. Ricky Duggan had another good season in the caret to end with 68 winners to take his career tally to 1370 to take over second place on the al-time list from Neville Webberley (1369). All-time driver's record: Barrie Rattray          1566 Ricky Duggan          1370 Neville Webberley   1369 Darrell Alexander    1315 Gareth Rattray          1040 Scott Ford                    891 Jack Stamford             848 Rohan Hadley            794 Don Peck                     661 Mark Stanley               638 Terry Knowles             572 Tony Petersen            569 Len Moriarty                556 Terry Peck                   556 Ken Austin                   551 Webb Jones                544 Hec Baker                    516 Meanwhile Beauty Point horseman Rohan Hillier captured his first trainer's premiership ending the season with 43 winners from only 100 starters which must rank as one of the best strike rates of all time. Hillier finished ahead of Barrie Rattray (41) and Juanita McKenzie (37) who won her fourth female trainer's title ahead of Melissa Maine (33). McKenzie and Maine proved beyond doubt that they can hold their own amongst the male trainers. Dylan Ford was the leading junior driver finishing with 34 wins for what was his third consecutive title while his younger sister Tayla Ford and Wade Rattray dead-heated for second with 16 wins apiece. However Ford was a clear winner in the female driver award winning from Natalee Emery (12) and Erin Hollaway (11). Peter Staples

Lightly raced two-year-old filly Kalinda waited until the last meeting of the harness racing season to register her first win but given the way she dispensed with her rivals it won't be her last. The former Victorian filly was sent to Magra trainer Juanita McKenzie about six weeks ago with the hope of winning a race before the season ended. She had no luck from poor draws in two of her three previous outings with a fourth of eight in Hobart enough to suggest the trainer had something with which to work. But last night at UBET Park Hobart the filly gained a start as an emergency and from the pole position (gate one) she stepped straight to the front and was never headed on her way to an emphatic win in the UBET Pace over 20190 metres. Kalinda scored by 14 metres from Karalta Stardust with first-starter Metrosilk almost two metres astern. Kalinda (Jeremes Jet-De La Rosa) was partnered by Mark Yole who described the win as encouraging. "This is the first decent draw she has had and I was very pleased with what she had to offer tonight," Yole said. "She still has a bit to learn because she was hanging in on the corners but she has only had four starts and I reckon she has a future," he said. Peter Staples

Veteran harness racing trainer Tommy Jackson hasn't been in the best of health this past year but his love of horses and the thrill of training them has kept him on the right side of the dirt. At UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night a three-year-old named Finn Mac Kee delivered a brilliant win at only his second start to give the trainer a much needed boost. Finn Mac Kee (Stonebridge Regal-Scarlett Finn) showed blistering early speed to lead from the outside front-row barrier (7) and when driver Paul Hill called on him to extend in the straight he delivered the goods. He hit the line two metres clear of Gifted Courage with Be Good Franklin almost 16 metres away third. It was an emphatic win and the flashy black gelding delivered a sub two-minute mile rate of 1.59.3 over the 1609-metre trip to suggest there are more wins in store. "I haven't been in the best of health, so to perk myself up I went and bought a couple of horses and this fella looks like he'll make the grade," Jackson said. Peter Staples

Having been raised in a harness racing environment it was almost inevitable that Ben Richardson would find his way into the industry. AT UBET Park Hobart last Sunday night Richardson trained his first winner when Wasonie Snake delivered the goods. Wasonie Snake led from the pole position and after James Austin slowed the tempo midrace to sneak a modest quarter it ensured the gelding would have enough in hand to stave off the challengers in the home straight. He hit the line with three-quarters-of-a-length to spare from Ektoras with Sign of Oro almost five metres astern. Richardson, 37, learnt much of his craft from his mother, Jan, who has been training for over 30 years but has usually restricted her Lower Barrington stable to no more than one horse at any one time. Richardson's father, Wayne, worked for many years as curator at the Devonport Showgrounds for the local harness and greyhound clubs. Richardson moved to Hobart about 10 years ago and is currently employed by Betfair Tasmanian. "The job and harness racing are a good mix as I often work the late afternoon or night shift and finish somewhere between 11.00 pm and 2.00 am so that allows me to work horses in the morning," Richardson said. Richardson has been licensed for almost two years but he hasn't taken a lot of horses to the races. His first runner was the four-year-old mare Wozniacki about twelve months ago but after eight unplaced efforts Richardson relinquished the lease in January. Her replacement was an unraced two-year-old by Tiz A Masterpiece from Seduce that was purchased from Lyndon and Gail Menegon. "He is still a long way from being ready to trial, but I saw enough in him to purchase his half-brother, Wasonie Snake, when he was advertised in May." "Wasonie Snake was impressive winning at Launceston as a 3YO rating 2:01.3 for 2200 metres and he beat some handy types including Ektoras,Cardinal Art and Robyn Scherbotsky," Richardson added. Wasonie Snake has experienced a variety of racing environments in the last three months with Richardson. "I have a 25 hectare property at Richmond where he (Wasonie Snake) does his jog work." "On fast work days it's off to Brighton or New Norfolk," said Richardson. Richardson also is dabbling in the breeding side of harness racing. "I have acquired a granddaughter of Draw Card named Arnwood and she is due to have a Mister Feelgood foal in late September." Draw Card, owned by the Rattray family, was Tasmanian Broodmare Of The Year from 2004 to 2006 and her winners included King Carey, Queen Carey, Faithful Sally, Bettor Draw and Divas Delight. "It is an exciting to be breeding from a mare with strong links to the Rattray family," he said. Peter Staples  

Well-bred two-year-old pacer Kvitova Leis will head to the spelling paddock this week with her confidence high following an impressive win in a 2C0-2C1 over 1609 metres last nigh at the harness racing meeting at Ubet Park, Hobart. The Barrie Rattray-trained filly was sent around the field from last to find the front a lap from home and went on to score by almost seven metres from first-starter Reason To Grin with the well-backed Shadow Blue two metres away third. "This filly has done a good job winning two of only four starts but we'll turn her out for a break and hopefully she will come back and be very competitive in some of the feature three-year-old races," Rattray said. Kvitova Leis (Bettors Delight-Levina Leis) won in Hobart two starts back after her debut second at the same venue to suggest she might have a future. The Trevor and Marjorie Leis-owned and bred filly has improved at each outing. Rattray ended the meeting with a double courtesy of Devendra scoring another impressive win. Devendra won in Hobart two starts back but this latest victory proved he is back to his best. Rattray said a virus that swept through his stable had led to a lean time for a few months. "The virus cost the stable and to be honest we've had a horrid season compared to what we normally experience," he said. "But the horses are starting to come good and that has been evident with us producing a few winners of late," he said. Rattray was delighted with the run of his former Devonport Cup winner Devendra that scored impressively win in the The Warp Drive FFA over 2090 metres. Devendra began brilliantly from the outside barrier (7) to cross and lead and once in front driver Gareth Rattray rated the five-year-old well. The leader was pressured by All I Can Be for the last lap but when Rattray gave his charge more rein turning for home the gelding sped clear and had almost 12 metres to spare over Motu Crusader with Jukebox Magic flashing home from well back to grab third 3-1/2 metres away. Devendra produced a mile rate of 1.58.3 on a heavy track and ran home his last 800m in 57.4. Peter Staples

Well bred harness racing mare Belliciouslips loomed as one of the best bets on the card at UBET Park in Hobart last Sunday and she never let her backers down with an effortless win in the Stonebridge Regal Pace over 2090 metres for C3-C4 pacers. Belliciouslips made the most of her front-row draw (gate 2) and when she easily found the front with driver Rod Ashwood aboard, the end result was never in doubt. The four-year-old mare set a solid pace and when Ashwood lifted the tempo over the closing half-mile (800m) she gave nothing else a chance to run on from the back. Belliciouslips (Sutter Hanover-Ima Blue Bell) clocked a mile rate of 2.01.1 and ran home her last half (800m) in 58.5 without being fully extended. She hit the line nine metres clear of Angela De Marco with the Christian Salter-trained Rockbank Dancer just over two metres away third. The winner and runner-up are owned by Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper who have enjoyed a great season, most with horses they have acquired from New Zealand. For Belliciouslips it was her fifth win for the season and she also has notched four minor placings while Angela de Marco has won three and been paced twice from nine outings. Peter Staples

Harness racing trainer Ben Yole dominated the meeting at UBET Park Hobart last night by preparing a treble on the 10-event card. It was one of his best nights at the office and it also was a boon for his younger brother Tim Yole who partnered all three winners - Satisfied Grin, Lu Way Lord and In House.   Yole will most likely target the country cups with former Victorian pacer Satisfied Grin following the gelding's impressive win in a C1 standing start race over 2090 metres.   Satisfied Grin stepped brilliantly from the standing start to lead and driver Tim Yole ensured a steady pace for the first lap.   After sneaking a modest third quarter the gelding kicked clear in the home straight and went on to score by 1-1/4 metres from Prettyboytroy that trailed the winner throughout.   "This horse was trained by Rita Burnett who contacted me to see if I'd be interested in taking the horse," Yole said.   "He is owned by Mick Tobin who is a top bloke so we took the horse on and he's done a really good job since he arrived just over a month ago."   "That's his second win and he's also clocked up a couple of placings so he's well and truly paying his way.   "If he keeps on improving there's no reason why we wouldn't look at the country cups over the Christmas-New Year period," he said.   Satisfied Grin has had six starts in Tasmania for two wins and as many minor placings for over $12,000 in stakes.   Lu Way Lord was sent out a $40 outsider in the Stallion Parade Pace over 2090m and after looking to be in a hopeless position turning for home Yole persevered with rails runs and the five-year-old hit the line with a head to spare over Thatswhatshesaid.   In House was the well-backed favourite and the four-year-old made it wins in successive races, scoring impressively from Bona Fide Hustler in a C1-C2 Pace over 2090 metres.   Peter Staples

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