Victory in Miracle Mile one for the generations

IT has taken three generations, hundreds of races and the giving up of ambitions, but the Rattray family has claimed a Tasmanian first.

The family is celebrating its win of the $750,000 Miracle Mile harness race in New South Wales on Saturday with six-year-old pacer Beautide.

The win is the first for a Tasmanian-bred, trained and driven horse.

But owner Barrie Rattray said the win wouldn't have been possible without the effort his family had put into the sport during the past three generations.

Rattray, Tasmania's leading harness trainer, is the son of Wayne Rattray and grew up in North-East Tasmania.

``Dad was quite a good footballer and when that time had passed, he wanted to stay active in sport, so he got into harness racing through my mother's father Bill McKerrow,''  Rattray recalled at his 70-hectare property at Longford yesterday.

``I was in primary school when we first started training horses.''

Like his father,  Rattray was a keen footballer as a teenager.

``I had an ambition through school to play football professionally,'' he said.

``(But) I wasn't good enough.''

He was 18 when he gave up his job at Coles to work on a stud in country Victoria ``for half as much money''.

Rattray went on to train horses and drive in the US and in 1993 represented Australia in Germany, Belgium and France.

Following in their dad's footsteps, Rattray and his wife Denise's sons, Todd, 23, twins James and Gareth, 28, and Adam, 25, also got involved in the sport.

``We tried everything we could to make them do something else that was much easier,'' Rattray said.

``But when it's in your blood, it's in your blood.

``I've only been too pleased to sit on the boundary line and watch them succeed.''

James, who now lives in New South Wales, drove Beautide to victory on  Saturday's night, which Barrie Rattray said was without doubt the family's greatest harness racing achievement.

``It was the perfect drive,'' he said.

The family won $450,000 for first place.

Beautide's total winnings sit at $780,000.

And while he is getting older, his two-year-old sister, who is yet to be named, is training well and could follow in his footsteps.

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