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The rise of Chloe Butler

By Duane Ranger

Logan Village-based teenage driver, Chloe Butler, experienced one of her best days in the sulky at Albion Park on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old only had two steers, claiming a win behind her father Jack’s trained Zoomalong Johnny in the first event.

She followed it up with a half-neck second placing, sitting parked behind the Brian McCall trained Ifyoubelieve in race four.

But on May 21, Butler’s career will take on a whole new dimension.

Not only will she turn 17 and become eligible for Saturday night metropolitan races, but her father confirmed she will also be the number two Saturday driver for his 35-strong team.

Butler is one of Australia’s best horsemen, and for several seasons now has been one of Queensland’s best trainers.

This year, he’s trained 70 winners and banked $565,000 in stakes, following on from 117 races and $895,457 the year prior.

“I came so close to driving my first double, but I think that’s 28 winners this season - I’d like to get to 40, especially with Saturday night drives coming up,” Chloe Butler said.

“It’s only 22 days away and I can’t wait, I have wanted to compete against the best drivers and horses for as long as I can remember so I’m quite excited.”

Albion Park

RADIO TAB TROTTERS DISCRETIONARY HANDICAP 2647m

If yesterday’s drive behind Zoomalong Johnny in the opening event is anything to go by, then Butler is in for an exciting career against the ‘big boys and girls’.

Butler had the Zooma gelding in front not long after the 2,647m stand, setting a solid clip in front.

The closest anyone could get to her was Grant Dixon and Skyline, who finished a half-neck second.

Chloe’s brother Marty owns the nine-year-old with his mother, Tara, and it was his fourth win in 82 starts.

In saying that, Butler has only has the former Victorian trotter for 10 starts and has won three times with him – including three of his last four starts.

“I was really worried before the race, because I didn’t think he would see out the extreme 2,647m standing start distance, I thought he was better suited to the 2,138m,” Chloe Butler said.

“He was coming to the end of it near the line, but he saw it out well when I gave him a little reminder not far from the line.

“He’s turned into a nice trotter, Dad has done a good job with him.”

Her father said that his daughter was kind to his horses, and they responded positively to that.

“It seems just like yesterday when Chloe had her first drive, but she’s been keen for a very long time – since she was very young,” Jack Butler said.

“We gave her the chance to get involved with the Mini Trotters, but she always wanted to work with the big horses and bide her time until she was old enough to drive them race-day.”

Butler’s now driven 37 career winners, and regarded her first win as her best-to-date - behind the Jack Butler trained One Wise man at Albion Park.

“That was very memorable because it was just three days after my 16th birthday, this is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” Chloe Butler said.

“I grew up on my grandfather, Steve Turnbull’s farm at Bathurst, and he’s a bit of a harness racing legend.

“We moved up here four years ago, but I did go back and work for ‘Pop’ when I left school.”

Her Dad said Chloe had already played a big part in the stable’s success and would continue to do so as she grew older.

“She’s always the first one out of bed in the morning and rearing to get going, she absolutely loves the sport and with that sort of passion she can’t go wrong,” Jack Butler said.

“She has learnt a lot over the years and Tara and I are very proud of her, she drove both horses very well today.”

The Butler stable oozes class, highlighted by open class legend and 2017 Blacks A Fake winner, Hectorjayjay, who makes his return to the racetrack (after a trial win) at 8.07pm on Saturday night at Albion Park.

The stable also boasts the classy two-year-old filly, This Ones For You.

“I’m so lucky to be able to work around some really nice horses, ‘Pop’ had some good ones over the years and now so does Dad,” Chloe Butler said.

“I’ve got three pacers whom I’m very close to, Major Score is like my pet and never leaves my side, and then there’s my old favourite, One Wise Man, and recent acquisition, Mega Star.

“The latter was a recent giveaway from Mr and Mrs (Kevin & Kay) Seymour, they have done that for a lot of young ones in the game and I’m so appreciative of that.”