Todd Rattray opens big lead in voting for Halwes Medal

Todd Rattray’s outstanding 2016-17 season has been reflected in voting for harness racing’s Halwes Medal.

MEDAL LEADER: Halwes Medal leader Todd Rattray with The Bettormack who will be one of his runners in Launceston on Sunday night. Picture: Greg Mansfield

MEDAL LEADER: Halwes Medal leader Todd Rattray with The Bettormack who will be one of his runners in Launceston on Sunday night. Picture: Greg Mansfield

The Longford-based trainer-driver is a runaway leader on the points table and seemingly has an unshakeable grip on the award.

Jack Laugher

Jack Laugher

As of June 1, when there were 19 meetings remaining, Rattray led with 91 votes ahead of Rohan Hillier and Ben Yole on 53, Gareth Rattray on 47 and Ricky Duggan on 45.

Rattray is second on this season’s drivers’ premiership with 66 wins and second on the trainers’ premiership with 49 wins.

His feature-race wins have included the Easter Cup, Devonport Cup, Globe Derby Stakes and multiple country cups.

The Halwes Medal is decided by a panel of eight judges representing all facets of the industry.

Using a roster system, one judge is nominated to vote on each meeting.

There are six votes to be allocated for the best driving performances and another six for the best training feats.

Votes are made public until the end of June then kept under wraps until the awards dinner in October.

So far this season, 86 different participants have earned votes.

The BOTRA young achiever award, decided by the same votes, sees Jack Laugher leading with 19 ahead of Samantha Freeman on 10.

THE DRAW for the final two heats of the Youngbloods Challenge at Mowbray on Sunday night has given Jack Laugher a good chance of holding his lead.

Laugher will be on outsider Marnu The Beast in the fifth heat but should earn good points on Saywhat in heat six.

The Westbury 18-year-old has a handy seven-point buffer over nearest rival Taylor Ford who has drawn place chances in both heats.

Third-placed Nick Brockman, like Laugher, has a mixed bag with Miss Sharapova likely to be an outsider but Iden Amrak well in the betting from a favourable draw.

FORMER premiership-winning harness trainer Phillip Ford has been disqualified for six months on a charge dating back more than five years.

Ford admitted to stewards that he was at the kennels of a licensed greyhound trainer in February 2012 while a disqualified person and that he was aware this was in breach of the rules.

His penalty will expire at the end of November.

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