NO INSTRUCTIONS, no regrets and one of his biggest thrills.
That was the only way young trainer Todd Rattray could explain a massive win in securing today’s Breeders Challenge for two-year-old colts
with Ignatius at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
Ignatius set a new track record two-year-old rating 1:51.3 to beat outsider Little Peanut and the well-backed Sicario in the Group One classic.
The Tasmanian youngster has improved with every step since crossing Bass Strait and Todd was more than happy to hand the reins to big brother James when Ignatius hit Sydney a month or so ago.
“James has done a terrific job today and to come up here and beat the likes of Mark Purdon and Shane Tritton’s stables is pretty special,” said Todd.
“No, I’m not sorry I wasn’t driving him . . . it’s just a thrill to see him win. To be honest we never dreamt he could improve this much and be this good when we decided to send him up here.
“Yes, this is just great for Tasmanian harness racing too.
“We haven’t had any really smart two-year-olds down there this season until this bloke came along and it’s good to see he might be something special.”
With the retirement of Beautide a few weeks ago, the arrival of Ignatius what just what the state . . . and the Rattrays needed.
In a fast-run affair Divine State quickly took the front and reinsman Chris Geary showed his intention was to keep them running. He did that with a 26.9s first split and a 28.2 second quarter.
But turning for home Divine State was looking almost spent while Sicario and Ignatius were quickly putting themselves into the race.
No sooner had Sicario (Mark Purdon) hit the front and Ignatius came at him and quickly put the issue beyond doubt as it was left to outsider Little Peanut to issue a late challenge. After a 29.9s third quarter, they came home in 28.3s to become the state’s fastest two-year-old this season.
* Earlier in the day owner-breeder Diane Kelly admits she still had to pinch herself when she watched star two-year-old filly Molly Kelly race.
“We had so much fun with Frith when she raced, we never dreamt that we’d get another horse as good as Molly Kelly,” said Diane as she accepted the trophy for her youngster winning the Breeders Challenge two-year-old fillies’ final at Menangle this afternoon.
“This is just amazing.”
Dianne had just watched the full sister to frith blow away a class field to win the Group One for trainer Emma Stewart and champion reinsman Chris Alford.
Taken straight to the front by Alford, the master reinsman found he had to stoke the filly up going up the back straight with a few taps with the whip as she looked to relax mid-race, which only allowed a few challengers to suspect they might be a chance.
Turning for home Molly Kelly wandered away from the pegs and for an all-too-brief moment it appeared that the Craig Cross-trained and Luke McCarthy driven Love My Sister might sneak up on the pegs and blouse her.
Tassini also made a dash out wide but like her sister frith, Molly Kelly was just keeping them interested as she held them out all the way down the straight to score a three-metre win in 1:55.3.
Love My Sister stayed on for second ahead of outsider Tassini and the fast-finishing War Dan Bad Girl, who flashed home when the race was all but decided.
Alford later commented that it had always been a long-term goal of his to come up from Victoria and win a Breeders Challenge final.
“Thanks to Di and Bernie Kelly, I’ve been able to do that today. I’m so glad they send this horse down to Emma [Stewart] and Clayton [Tonkin] to train.
“They are the best owners and hopefully our association will continue for many years to come.”