Beautide – Farewell to a Legend

Thursday 18 May 2017

By Jamie Cockshutt and Matt Jordan

Whilst it was not a great surprise given his persistent injury issues, the announcement earlier this week that Tasmania’s most decorated racehorse in Beautide had been retired brought with it a mixture of emotions.

The initial emotion was actually a tinge of disappointment that we will never get to see this great horse strut his stuff on the track again but that feeling was quickly replaced by one of pride when one recollected what he had achieved throughout his career.

Tasmanians as a whole embraced the horse as one of their own and likewise James steadfastly stuck firmly to his Tasmanian roots so we all felt a part of the ride Beau took us on and what a ride it was.

Trying to come up with a fitting tribute was difficult but it soon became apparent that the best way was to hear from those who were closest to him throughout his career and let them tell their story.



James Rattray:

When he initially ventured to New South Wales, it was decided to set Beautide for an MO series at Menangle that went into a final for $30,000.

Most of the corporate bookmakers didn’t know much about a horse from Tasmania called Beautide, so they put up the luxurious odds of $14 and plenty of Tasmanians snapped up those odds and he was backed to win plenty. He was a proven open class star in his home state and came up against a handy field of MO’s in his heat. James drove him in his normal racing pattern by working to the breeze and at the top of the straight Beau just went “bang” and won easily.

Next, it was onto the final where he came up against a very smart ex-Kiwi from the Luke McCarthy stable by the name of Courage To Rule so there was certainly no disgrace in finishing second. A lot of people are probably unaware now that it actually took Beau another four runs to get his next win at Menangle.

After that next heat win though, he went on to win the final of that M0 series and according to James “we then had a decision to make in whether to take the easy option of an M1 heat and final or the Newcastle Mile which was obviously a much bigger ask. We decided to take on the big boys in the Newcastle Mile which he ultimately won in brilliant fashion.”

It was this race that really made the media and public sit up and take notice of him and “The Tassie Terminator” nickname was created.

Victory in the Newcastle Mile gained him a start in the Miracle Mile and who would have thought what was about to happen. He fronts up on the 30th November, 2013 against proven champions of the track in the form of Smoken Up, Terror To Love and the very talented Christen Me who most people rated as the next big thing in harness racing. ”It was just a privilege to be in the field” James said.

James’ recollection of the race is “Smoken Up took up his normal role as the leader and as usual runs them along, then I make a split second decision to go three pegs, which I thought was not a bad place to be, so when the trail horse came off the pegs and then Smoken Up drifted up the track and the heavens opened up I pushed Beau through the inside and he ran up to and then past a very game Christen Me to give me the highlight of my career.

Considering Beau went from an MO to winning the Miracle Mile in the space of three months, it really is what dreams are made of but this was actually only the start of the story.

Now that Beautide had shown that he was indeed a proven Grand Circuit performer and with his love of the Menangle track, James started looking towards the Inter Dominion which was only a bit over three months away. He ventured down to Melbourne for the Victoria Cup where he ran a great fourth after coming from last from a poor draw. After that run and with the Inter Dominion less than three months away, he headed back home to be set for the series.

He won his two lead up races leading into the series but was beaten as a short priced favourite in a heat of the Inter Dominion by a $50 chance in Seel N Print two weeks before the big race. However, James wasn’t as concerned with his defeat as many onlookers were as the track was waterlogged and it wasn’t until half way down the straight that he started to stretch out properly. Based on the defeat though, questions were being asked about Beau and whether he could win the final.

So we move onto the Final which was held on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and drew together a star studded field including the likes of Smolda, For A Reason, Terror To Love, Caribbean Blaster, Mach Beauty, Im Victorious and Seel N Print to battle out what is the biggest harness race on the calendar.

Beau was installed as the early betting favourite but drifted in the market as the money came for the Mark Purdon star in Smolda before punters rallied late for the “Tassie Terminator” and Beau was ultimately sent out as the $4.90 favourite.

From his second row draw, James was able to get a good run through early then made a move midrace to try and find the lead but Mach Beauty would not let him roll to the top so James was content to sit parked and then Mark Purdon launched his stable star Smolda and the leader let him roll to the top at th bell which meant Beautide was still sitting parked.

The pressure really started to go on from that point but at the top of the straight Beautide still looked to be bolting and when James gave him a little flick with the reins the Tassie Terminator exploded past a quality field to win easily from Seel N Print and For A Reason.

The smile on my face said it all, how could this be happening to a young fella who grew up dreaming about this sort of stuff.” James said in a post-race interview.

When asked how it felt to run past the great Mark Purdon halfway down the straight as that is usually what Mark does to others in the big races, James merely chuckled and said “it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Beautide was now the reigning Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion champion and the impact of those victories is best summed up by James himself.

In the space of four months, Beau changed the life of everybody who was involved with him such as Mum and Dad, my partner Fia, my brothers with a special mention to Gareth who drove Beau all through his career until I returned back home and the amount of Tasmanians that were trackside to cheer us home in the final was unbelievable. It just goes to show how the Tassie people love their champions.

Beau had a short break after the Inter Dominion and returned to win the Len Smith Mile and then was sent for a spell.

“He returned to have a crack at making it back to back Miracle Miles but even though he won the lead up race we did have a few minor issues with him leading up to the big race.”

The day arrives and he goes out a short priced favourite and things were panning out perfectly mid race but on straightening it was apparent that it was race on as the Kiwi star Christen Me loomed up and really put it to Beau and beat him on his merits in a great finish with Guaranteed finishing strongly for third.

He ventured down to Melbourne for another crack at the Victoria Cup but things just never went to plan as he had a few problems leading into the race. James stated after the race that “we thought he was not far off his best and he drew well, however things never went to plan but despite finishing eighth we were very happy with his run.

After his Victoria Cup run, James added “it was only two weeks until the heat of the Inter Dominion so we headed straight back home where Fia and I worked tirelessly getting Beau back on track, he lined up in the heat and won well rating 1:54 for the 2400m journey so we knew he would be cherry ripe come the final.”

The big day had come around and Beau was ready to rumble, So heading out onto the track I was still pinching myself that I’m here again on Beau, He proved once again just what a champion he is when winning by a staggering 13 metres and as easily as he did, On crossing the line I still can’t believe that we have just won back to back Inter Dominions” James said.

Barrie Rattray:

The Early Years:

“We had three yearlings at the time in Bymarjac, Bettor Draw and Beautide and we couldn’t really split Draw and Beau but Beau did have a lot of character about him and he was a real handful.”

“It was our plan to leave him a colt but we decided to have him gelded which resulted in him contracting a very serious infection that took him a long time to get over.”

“We then took him to Hobart for leading vet Art Meeker to look at as we had a slight concern about windgall so we decided to take it easy with him.”

Racing Career:

“I was pretty confident when we fronted him up at Burnie for his debut so I had a very big bet for me and he only got up in the shadows of the post with Gareth in the gig and the win was definitely nothing to get excited about.”

“I actually drove him in the Sweepstakes as the stable thought very highly of a stablemate named Hangover Joe but Beau showed then he was just a professional racehorse with a courageous win.”

He then went on to win a heat of the Sires impressively but he disappointed in the final which rounded out his two year old season.

“It was when he returned as a three year old that everything started to click as he was running very good times and he just kept stepping up as he went through through his classes. There was one win that stands out, it was a C2-C3 in Launceston where he came from last at the top of the straight and gobbled up his rivals in a few strides and that’s when I thought Wow, he is going to be a very special horse.”

“He was only beaten once as a three year old taking everything before him with his only blemish being in the Derby but his run was close to his best as a three year old. He finished his three year old season with a very brave win in the Globe Derby Sires Stakes and I can honestly say he was not at his best that day”

“His four year old season was very fruitful winning seven out of his eleven starts in Tasmania before a disappointing tilt at the Breeders Crown series in Victoria.”

“He returned next season where he was a Free For All performer and I can remember he broke the track record in the Light Harness Free For All at his first run back with myself in the gig.”

“From there on in Gareth and James shared driving duties and that’s when he adapted to what racing was all about.”

“It was at this time that James and I discussed about sending him to Menangle for an MO Series with James’ then partner Fia and that is where the fairytale really began as what he achieved at Menangle is what dreams are made of.”

Gareth Rattray:

From day oneBeau was always going to be a very smart horse. I did a lot of work with him as a young horse and even back then he always gave the impression that he would be very good which in some way makes me feel a part of helping him reach the heights that he did.”

“I was lucky enough to drive him in thirty five of his starts which included twenty one wins and nine placings. His three year old season was just brilliant as he was only beaten once and that was in the Tasmanian Derby where we had no luck at all.”

“I still pinch myself thinking how lucky I was having the opportunity to drive a dual Inter Dominion winner and Miracle Mile winner in the first half of his career.”

The record books will show that Beautide is the most decorated Tasmanian horse of any code but probably his greatest triumph was in how he managed to unite an industry that had been starved of success and were craving something to cheer for.

Not exactly The Beatles but perfectly captures the support he had from his home state.

Barrie Rattray – Recalling the Glory Years

For more than thirty years I have yearned and waited for a horse like Beau, he has made all of those early mornings worth it. A dream of mine since I was a young boy was to have a horse good enough to compete on a premier race day and without doubt one of the biggest days on the Australasian calendar is the Miracle Mile at Menangle and to have him prove superior to all of his opposition that day is something we will never, ever forget. James’ drive was also one of the best in a feature race that I have seen” says Barrie.

Rattray Family

His two Inter Dominion wins proved that he was the superior stayer in the country as he just smashed them despite doing all the work in the run and running a world record in the process so you can imagine how proud he made us all feel.”

The one thing that really did stand out was how Beau’s career brought all of our family together. My brother Robert who is deaf loved Beau as if he was one of the family and he would make the long journey from Western Australia across the Nullabor along with his family to watch him compete in his feature wins. It was an absolute thrill and pleasure to see all of our extended family and all of the Tasmanian public get behind Beau and treat him like one of their own” said Barrie proudly.

Gareth also played a huge part in Beau’s career driving him in many wins in Tasmania and had a great bond with him that will always be remembered.”

Fia was an absolute gem and was Beau’s “girlfriend” and the bond they shared for those three seasons is something that reminds me of Tommy Woodcock and Phar Lap so to say Beau may not have gotten to the heights he did without her is not far from the truth.”

The support team behind Beau was huge so I would just like to thank all of them and they know who they are.

Finally, the way James has presented himself and handled the pressure associated with having a horse like Beau is a credit to himself and to say that we are proud of him is an understatement” added Barrie.

James Rattray – The Final Word

It was just a pleasure to have him in our lives, the ride and great memories that he has given myself and everyone involved (with a very special mention to Fia who was Beau’s right hand woman) is something that I and all of his loyal followers will cherish for the rest of our lives.”

I would also like to thank everyone who has helped out throughout the entirety of Beau’s career with a special mention to the Tasmanian public who showed just how much they love a champion.

“Also to his farriers, Anton Golino in the early days and then Scott Hewitt who was his farrier right through to the end of his racing career.

“The McCarthy family were an enormous part of Beau’s success and their help is something I will never forget, especially the support that they gave myself and Fia.”

Greg Glasgow (his Chiropractor) was a regular around the stables treating Beau and I would also like to thank all the vets that offered assistance as well.”

And one final wish from James:


No doubt a sentiment we all agree upon.

– By Jamie Cockshutt and Matt Jordan