The Rattray name is synonymous with Tasmanian Harness Racing and will go down in history as the one of the greatest.
I thought I would catch up with Barrie with the upcoming two-year-old Sires being run this week and get his view why he has had so much success over many years breeding plenty of juvenile stars and many top liners. And one Legend.
So I posed the question about some of the horses that have made an impact on the Rattray Family and Karalta Stables. Their foundation mare was Barrington Lass who jointly holds the record for the most individual winners with the remarkable feat of sixteen horses to the races with fifteen of them winning. Barrington Belle was the standout of the progeny as she went on to win thirty-three races during her career with a sizzling 1:51.6 beside her name.
“She will go down as one of the most important horses to ever come through Karalta Stables. Gorse Bush was a very handy mare who won ten races during her forty-one start career, she was a game second in the Devonport Cup behind Flashing Red when she has in foal so we decided to retire to the broodmare barn after that run. She has had nine foals to race with 100% record with all of them winning, she has produced very smart mares Death and Taxes and Ashkalini who both won over 100K in their careers.
But her greatest feat is being the Dam of Beautide who has won two Inter Dominion’s and a Miracle Mile and is now one of the Legends of Harness Racing in Australia “So it’s fair to say she will always have a special place in our hearts”
Barrie and Denise with Gorse Bush.
Is another mare that is very close to his heart as a good mate of mine told me go and buy her off Gary Lethborg who had her on the market with a Walton Hanover foal on her and was also in foal to Walton Hanover so back then we paid five thousand for the mare and the foal at foot and to say that was one of the best decisions I have ever made as those two foals ended up being King Carey and Queen Carey.
Barrie had a bit of a man crush on Wayne Carey and that started the trend of horses named after the greatest footballer to play the game in Barrie’s eyes.
King Carey Public Persecution, Kings A Coach and Faithful Sally were all handy horses in their own right with the latter being named after Wayne’s wife” so that say just proves how Barrie admired Wayne as a sportsman.
But it was Queen Carey who was her greatest claim to fame as she was one of the best mares in the country.
Affectionately known as Queenie was a very special horse to the family who won eighteen races in which I drove in sixteen with Gareth driving her in the other two wins, she took out the Bandbox Sire Stakes as three year old and backed up the following season to take out the four year old Sires the Granny Smith, we tackled the 2004 George Johnson in which she beat the very smart mare Bronski Gorgeous. We set her for the 2005 Ladyship Mile at Harold Park but on the way she contested the Blossom Lady at Moonee Valley in which she won very impressively. So he was pretty confident heading into the Ladyship Mile and Queenie never let us down as she ran a brave second to the star New Zealand mare in Foreal.
“She will go down as one of our real favourites as when we needed it the most she would always find a way to win”.
She was retired to stud in where she had the world at her feet as her first foal was Benediction (161K) and her next foal was Devendra who is a dual Interdominion heat winner and a winner (396K) in prizemoney, so when she tragically passed away it was a very sad day for all that was involved with our beloved Queenie
About ten years ago Barrie and longtime stable client Wayne McLaughlin made the decision to purchase some New Zealand bred fillies with the long term plan to strengthen the broodmare line with some Kiwi bloodlines.
Our Zellweger was the first of those she was a handy mare who won 13 out of her 37 starts and just over 70k in prizemoney but she has excelled as a mum as her two foals to date are the very impressive three year old Harjeet who recently took out the Globe Derby Sire Stakes and looks like a real star of the future. The next foal turns out to be the good debut winner Izaha who will be one of the favourites for the Dandy Patch Final on Friday night.
In 2010 we went to the yearling sales and paid good money for a Christian Cullen – Delightful Paula filly which was called Delightful Christian, they left her to be trained in New Zealand by John Green and Brian “Bunty” Hughes as she was paid up for all the Kiwi features. On the February the 1st they got there big pay day when she took out the 170K Yearling Sales Classic at Addington. Her last start in the shaky isles was in the Jewles at Ashburton in where see came up against a budding superstar called Adore Me. She did actually win the two year old version of the Jewels at Cambridge before losing the race because of a swab that was fought tenaciously by her trainers but as history shows they took the race off her.
In total she won just under 300k in prizemoney with a career best 1:52.1 mile rate next to her name. Barrie and Wayne have a yearling filly by Bettors Delight so it’s fair to say they will be waiting with baited breath to see how she performs on the race track in the next eighteen months.
The best broodmare of all is my wife Denise, as much as the boys have been very important in running this operation but no one is more important than Denise, she works all day every day and is just an outstanding woman and most of all the best mother the boys could ever hope for.
Her whole attitude on life is always to be positive in where at times I have had my ups and downs but she is always there to pick us all back up.
She instilled into the boys from a young age respect and to be polite so that enabled us to give them a great childhood.
She is just a tireless worker at the stables and i mean she will do anything that has to be done rain hail and shine, honestly she always does it to perfection.
Todd, James, Barrie and Gareth all driving in the same race at Launceston
Over my 45 years in the game I posed the question who are some best youngsters that Barrie has bred and raced, Not John he was the most brilliant two year old that I had as his manners and strength that made him the complete package as a youngster.
Gerry Neptune was a horse that changed my life at a very young age as he was a horse longtime owner in Marc Panton and myself purchased for $2,500. He was a top quality two-year-old who won seven races as a two-year-old which included the heat and final of the Sweepstakes. He also won the heat and final of the Sires Stakes being the Dandy Patch so that was a testament to just how good he was, so we received what was a huge offer back in those days so we reluctantly decided to sell him. With my percentage of the sale price and the money I won of the punt enabled us to buy our first block of land
“Gerry was just a natural two year old who had great gait and good manners”
He was a brilliant juvenile winning seven out of his nine starts in Tasmania before he headed to Victoria for the Two Year Old Vicbred Series.
He was beaten a short half head in the Semi-final by Denver Gift who just nabbed him right on the line, he was a little disappointing in the final when finishing fourth was a great effort which capped off a great two year old season. He was plagued by injury throughout the rest of his career but was still able to win another five races and also finished second in the Tasmanian Derby to the very smart Mon Poppy Day.
“He goes back through the bloodlines of Barrington Lass and he two was just a naturally gifted young pacer who was faultless in his gate and had a great will to win as a two year old”
A special mention has to go to a two year old trained by Dad called Cody Maverick who was just a freak youngster and some of his wins had to be seen to be appreciated as he just gears and true harness fans would understand what I’m saying, I can remember him winning his heat of the Breeders Crown in Victoria beating some off the best youngsters in the country and I thought wow he is definitely the real deal.
Barrie has had numerous quality youngsters come through his hands since he has been a trainer and a driver so I thought it was only fair to get a few quotes about a couple of very smart youngster that they have produced this season.
I posed the question with the upcoming Dandy Patch Final about his impressive first starter Izaha who was a very impressive heat winner, “he is a very promising youngster that still has plenty to learn, we are not sure where his bottom is or his top is at the moment but I can say all the signs are there to suggest that he may go all the way’.
I asked the question who is the best two year old that he has driven in his career to date and without any hesitation he quickly replied
“Ignatius as he is outstanding at this time and is potentially the best two year old that I have driven”
So it’s fair to say he sits at the top of the pecking order as far as two year olds that have come through the ranks at Karalta Stables.