Le Premiere prevails in St Marys Cup

PHOTO FINISH: Le Premiere, driven by jockey Gareth Rattray, and Chief Destroyer, driven by Rohan Hillier, fight it out down the final straight of the St Marys Cup. Picture: Phillip Biggs

PHOTO FINISH: Le Premiere, driven by jockey Gareth Rattray, and Chief Destroyer, driven by Rohan Hillier, fight it out down the final straight of the St Marys Cup. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Le Premiere lived up to his name for the 13th time on Saturday by edging out Chief Destroyer in a photo finish in the 2017 St Marys Cup.

The victory marked Le Premiere’s fourth win from his past 10 starts and catapulted his career prizemoney past the $80,000 mark. 

Entering the final straight five metres behind Chief Destroyer, the Gareth Rattray-driven black gelding put in an inspired run to edge the field.  

Modern Chic crossed the line in third, while 2016 winner The Majority couldn’t defend his title.

Rattray said Le Premiere “got a good run” into the final stretch. 

“There was plenty of speed on, I settled three back and didn't have to do any work,” Rattray said. 

“I came out at the right time and got a good cut into it down the back and then fought it out near the finish which was good.

“Today he settled good early, I was a bit worried when the leader was stopping in front of me but luckily we got out and got a good run into it, and he was able to finish it off well.”

VICTORIOUS: Chantelle Lane, Le Premiere, Gareth Rattray and Bradley Walters celebrate taking out the 2017 St Marys Cup.

VICTORIOUS: Chantelle Lane, Le Premiere, Gareth Rattray and Bradley Walters celebrate taking out the 2017 St Marys Cup.

Rattray said it was always a thrill to race in a country setting like St Marys, which celebrated its 131st event on Saturday.

“At New Year’s and around Easter time they get plenty of people.

“And country racing, you can’t beat it, it’s been going on for hundreds of years so it's always good to get back to the grassroots of racing.”

Le Premiere’s trainer Bradley Walters had plenty to cheer about, with the Sam Rawnsley-driven Mavis Merle also putting in a solid run to narrowly miss out on the podium.

“To run first and fourth it’s fantastic, both horses are racing really well... and Gareth with his magic touch managed to get him across the line,” he said.

Walters said Le Premiere had more than earned a rest after completing his third race in the space of 15 days. 

“There's a stand start race at Devonport next week but he'd be off a bit of a handicap and he's done a bit of racing so I may give him a little freshen up to see where we go.

“He's been a great little horse to us all and he's close to us on an emotional scale too, he was the last ever horse Dave Medhurst drove as a winner and Dave and I were pretty close.” 

In the curtain-raiser, Todd Rattray led Hafter around the field to win the 1810m Country Guineas. 

“He's been going really well,” Barrie Rattray said after the race.  

“He ran fourth in the Tasmanian Derby, had a win and a third prior to that, he started off the back mark here today and circled round them and beat them nicely so that was really good.” 

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