Pacha­cuti to the fore again

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - PETER STA­PLES SUN­DAY OC­TO­BER 8 2017 THE­MER­CURY.COM.AU

A BRIL­LIANT vic­tory in last sea­son’s Easter Cup in Launce­s­ton was the cat­a­lyst that earned star free-for-all pacer Pacha­cuti the ti­tle of Tas­ma­nia’s best har­ness horse for sea­son 2016-17.

Pacha­cuti was crowned horse of the year at the an­nual gala award pre­sen­ta­tions at Lux­bet Park Ho­bart last night.

Pacha­cuti’s Easter Cup vic­tory in track record time gave his trainer-driver Todd Rat­tray his big­gest win in his home state but the gallant geld­ing also snared the Devon­port Cup, Gov­er­nor’s Cup and Tore­ace Cup as well as fin­ish­ing a game sec­ond to Lets Elope in the Group 3 Tas­ma­nia Cup.

The geld­ing amassed seven wins and three sec­onds from 13 starts for $73,512 in prize­money, which took his ca­reer stake earn­ings to well be­yond $300,000.

It is the geld­ing’s sec­ond horse of the year ti­tle hav­ing won the crown as a three-yearold in 2012-13.

Todd Rat­tray won his first driver’s premier­ship with 87 wins and, along with his sec­ond place in the trainer’s premier­ship (67 wins), the tal­ented horse­man was awarded the Hal­wes Medal recog­nis­ing in­dus­try par­tic­i­pants who have ex­celled in ei­ther or both dis­ci­plines (train­ing-driv­ing).

Pacha­cuti also was voted the best four-year-old and older pacer while Rat­tray’s bril­liant two-year-old geld­ing Ig­natius was voted the best 2YO in the colts and geld­ings divi­sion.

Ig­natius cre­ated head­lines na­tion­ally when he won the Group 1 Breed­ers Chal­lenge fi­nal at Me­nan­gle in NSW and in win­ning he clocked the fastest mile rate by a two-year-old in Aus­tralia.

Tal­ented young reins­man Jack Laugher was a clear win­ner in the ju­nior driver cat­e­gory, driv­ing 31 win­ners to fin­ish sixth on the over­all premier­ship ta­ble.

Old Beach trainer Paul Hill again pro­duced smart ju­ve­niles with his two-year-old filly Ideal Bliss named 2YO filly of the year while Play­ing Ark­a­bella took out the 3YO fil­lies’ ti­tle.

The best three-year-old of the colts and geld­ings was the Craig Hayes-trained Scooter­will­rev, which won 10 of his 16 starts with three mi­nor plac­ings for $70,312 in stakes.

Shel­ley Barnes and Deb­o­rah Wil­liams shared the lead­ing fe­male trainer ti­tle while Natalee Emery again emerged as the state’s lead­ing fe­male driver.

Tas­ma­nia’s best-per­formed mare last sea­son was Af­ter Lunch and the lead­ing brood­mare ti­tle went to Amar­illen which pro­duced win­ners of Group races in Miss Grace­land and Nos­tra Beach.

Vet­eran Tas­ma­nian har­ness rac­ing trainer-owner­breeder Noel Sal­ter was hon­oured for his ser­vice to the in­dus­try by be­ing awarded the Edgar Tat­low Medal (look for a fea­ture on Sal­ter in next Tues­day’s Mer­cury).

Sal­ter has spent a life­time in the in­dus­try and along the way has bred some of the state’s best pac­ers in­clud­ing On Pa­rade. He also spent two decades in rac­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion, pri­mar­ily with the Tas­ma­nia Pac­ing Club.

The state’s lead­ing trainer was Ben Yole who amassed a record 124 wins to eclipse the pre­vi­ous best of 118 set by Hall of Fame trainer Neville Web­ber­ley in 1989-90.

The Hall of Fame in­duc­tions were again a high­light of the night with Ch­ester Bul­lock one of the most pop­u­lar in­ductees. Bul­lock has de­voted much of his life to har­ness rac­ing, as a breeder, owner-trainer and ad­min­is­tra­tor.

The late H. W. (Hec) Baker was in­ducted in the driver cat­e­gory and is best re­mem­bered for his as­so­ci­a­tion with cham­pion Cham­fer’s Star in the 1960s. Char­lie Coo­ley, grand­fa­ther of well-re­spected Tas­ma­nian har­ness rac­ing his­to­rian Peter Coo­ley, was in­ducted al­most 100 years af­ter his death in 1922.

Also in­ducted into the Hall of Fame were tal­ented train­er­driver Tony Petersen, Harry Lewis, Rod Burgess and horses Belle Lo­gan, Col­lab­o­rate, Emil­ius Way, Dainty De­sign, Ha­lyer and brood­mare Gorse Bush.

Ha­lyer’s in­duc­tion cer­e­mony was quite emo­tional as his own­ers Dean Cooper and his fa­ther Don Cooper were at the func­tion to ac­cept the cer­tifi­cate and to rem­i­nisce about the cham­pion’s feats.

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