Tasmanian harness racing has received a major boost with the return from Queensland of Ken Rattray.
Rattray forged a highly successful training and driving career in Tasmania in the 80’s and 90’s with his biggest thrill coming with Star of Broadway winning the Tasmanian Pacing Championship, a race Ken remembers fondly.
“The 1987 Championship was the first group one harness race in Tasmania and carried prize money of $100,000. It was a series of three heats and a final.”
“You needed a tough horse to get through and Star of Broadway was certainly that. He was a stallion and getting to the end of his career but he put up a mighty effort to win. To conquer the likes of Thorate, Napoleon Stone and Shy Atom is a memory I will never forget.”
Ken also tasted success with star performers Ebony Mac and Bradford Hanover before deciding to head north to the sunshine.
Over twenty years on and Ken and his wife Sally Stingel have pulled up stumps from their Jimboomba property and setup operations at Flowery Gully, near Beaconsfield.
“Sally and I both have family here. We loved our time in Queensland but Tasmania has always been home and we both just thought the time was right.” said Ken.
“The last twenty years have been great. We’ve enjoyed the lifestyle up there, we’ve had our fair share of success with horses like Very Cool, which we finished up selling to America, Funny Boy and of course Destreos.”
Destreos has had an incredible career, 434 starts for 96 wins and despite his age, continues to thrive on the track, racking up stake money of three-quarters of a million dollars.
“He is an amazing horse, a real warrior. We bought him from New Zealand as a four-year-old, a decade on he is still winning. He just loves racing, loves competing and while he wants to race, that’s what he will do,” said the admiring trainer.
“Destreos is part of the family. If we were short of room, Sally would have him in the house and I would be in the stables I reckon.”
Rattray will re-launch his Tasmanian career on Sunday Night in Launceston with two runners, Tuxedo Max ad I’m Born To Rule.
“We have ten stables and plenty of day yards here at Flowery Gully. We brought some of our horses down from Queensland and we have picked up a few since we arrived three weeks ago. We’re glad to be home and looking forward to the challenge ahead!”