TASMANIAN harness racing trainer Ben Yole is just one win away from notching 100 winners for the season following his four-win haul last weekend.
Yole prepared one winner in Devonport last Friday night courtesy of Making My Mark scoring another impressive victory at only his second start in the state.
In Hobart Yole prepared Flash Anatomy to dead-heat for first with his younger brother Mark’s horse Black Ops in a C1 over 2090 metres but his next two successes on the nine-race program were clear cut.
Ebonyallstarzzz made an overdue return to the winner’s circle with a narrow win over Christian Jazz in a C2-C3 and Yole capped the weekend when his four-year-old Regal Major scored an effortless win in a C1 event over 2090 metres.
Yole won his first trainer’s premiership last season with 108 winners but given his strike rate he is likely to surpass that this season.
The astute mentor is likely to reach the 100 milestone this Sunday night in Launceston where he has representatives in most of the 11 races.
Todd Rattray is a clear second on the trainer’s premiership table with 55 winners that is already his best ever haul with Shelley Barnes and Deborah Williams sharing third spot with 20 wins apiece making it an interesting encounter for the leading female trainer title.
Natalee Emery has the leading female driver title wrapped up with 23 wins to be 13 clear of Samantha Freeman.
While Yole will win the trainer’s premiership the battle for the driver’s title is hotting up between brothers Gareth and Todd Rattray.
Gareth is chasing his 11th title while Todd is trying to win his first.
Heading into last Friday night’s meeting in Devonport Gareth held a five-win advantage over his younger brother but Todd’s four-win haul doubled Gareth’s take to reduce the margin to only three.
Todd partnered the Ben Yole-trained Making My Mark to a comfortable win in Devonport on Friday night but it was in Hobart that he excelled.
In Hobart he snared a driving treble but he trained four winners on the nine-race card while Gareth partnered Flash Anatomy to a dead-heat for first and he ended the night with a win aboard Regal Major.
In Hobart Todd scored aboard his promising two-year-old filly Inwil in a 2C0 over 1609 metres in which she started the $2.60 favourite.
Wins aboard Taurisi in a C4-C5 and Roger Ramjet in a C6-C10 over 2019m came courtesy of top drives and his training quartet was delivered by Brady Woods who partnered Rattray’s four-year-old Gods Sake to victory in a heat of the BOTRA Claiming Novice Driver’s series.
“I suppose the driver’s premiership looks interesting but to be honest I don’t take too much notice,” Todd Rattray said.
“Of course it would be nice to win the premiership because Gareth’s won a heap but at the end of the day I’m more interested in how my horses perform each race than anything else.”
“I was very pleased with Taurisi’s win because it was probably the best he’s gone because he’s had to face the breeze but he slipped away from them on the corner and went on to win well.
“Roger Ramjet also won well but he’s been a bit on and off this time in and I’d like to see him put two good runs together.”
Gareth has notched 75 wins to lead Todd (72) with Rohan Hillier next best with 62 and seven clear of Ricky Duggan.
Words by Peter Staples.