The New Year’s Day punters witnessed a surprising finish in the St Mary Pacing Cup on Monday.
When the favourite Solid As A Rock, driven by Rohan Hillier, and Full Speed Ahead, driven by Todd Rattray, flew past the post, punters were left debating who was the winner as the stewards checked the photo finish.
The next announcement was a shock - the race was so tight they couldn’t separate the two horses.
With a record $12,000 in prize money at stake, the 2685 metre cup race was declared a dead heat.
Racing journalist Duncan Dornauf said it was a good fighting finish for the pair, although the dead heat finish was “very rare”.
“Full Speed Ahead jumped straight to the lead and Rohan on Solid As A Rock got through the field pretty quick to find the spot outside the leader … the death seat,” Dornauf said.
After winning his last three starts, Solid As A Rock was the firm favourite and “looking very hard to beat”, Dornauf said.
Winning driver Hillier said he’d never had a dead heat at St Marys before and didn’t think he’d even had one before.
Solid As A Rock was approaching seven-years-old so Hillier was looking for other country cups to try out his good form.
Winning driver Todd Rattray put his victories down to a bit of luck and good training.
“He was struggling to win in Queensland so to come over and dead heat in the cup, he’s done a good job,” Rattray said.
When asked how Full Speed Ahead was looking before the cup, Rattray said if he jumped on top, he would be hard to beat.
After winning the Country Guineas driving Izaha, race three driving Preferred Lies and race four driving Dellas Command as well as the main cup, it was a cracking day for the Rattray family.
Keeping the family momentum, Gareth Rattray pipped the post driving Itz Gemmas Delight in the sixth race.
Dornauf said the field was one of the better class of meetings St Marys had held in a while.
“It’s the only grass (harness racing) track on mainland Tasmania.”