By Duane Ranger
The first of the Kiwi big guns have rolled into town as they prepare for TAB Winter Carnival spoils at Albion Park and Redcliffe in June and July.
Multiple Group One winning brothers, and New Zealand Harness Hall-of-Famers, Tim and Anthony Butt have two starters at ‘The Creek’ on Friday and another three on Saturday. All-up the younger Butt (Anthony) has five drives.
“Queensland has provided me with some very happy memories over the years. We’ve won a few big races here, and apart from my first New Zealand Cup win with Blossom Lady (1992), one of my greatest moments in the sport came in Queensland,” the gifted reinsman said.
That was of course when the Butts combined with Kevin and Kay Seymour to win the 2009 Interdominion grand final with Mr Feelgood.
“I also remember my first trip to Australia was way back in 1984 when I drove at the Junior Driving Championships at Redcliffe. I have some very happy memories of Queensland and Tim and I are happy to be here again,” Butt said.
Five years ago Butt moved to Victoria from his native Christchurch in New Zealand, and then late last year Butt and his partner, Sonya Smith relocated to Camden near Menangle.
“It’s a good lifestyle in New South Wales and living there makes it a lot easier coming up to Albion Park. Hopefully we will get there more now, because it makes sense to come to the warmer weather when other venues are cold
“I’m coming up there this week and will drive at Albion park on Friday and Saturday and then go back to drive at Menangle on Tuesday.
“The rest of the team will come up on Saturday week. Sadly, winner My Field Marshal, who finished second in the Black’s A Fake two years ago. won’t be coming. Tim has decided to give him a big spell this time in after injuring himself in the Miracle Mile.
“He will come back in December and target the Miracle Mile again. The Menangle mile suits him better than what the New Zealand Cup over two miles does,” 53-year-old Butt said.
Butt will drive his two brother’s horses – Allaboutdreams (12) and Itz My Generation (7) in races six and nine respectively on Friday.
Then the following night he has five drives, three of which are for his brother and the other two for Cristina Monte and Mark Jones & Aaron Goadsby.
“I’ve got a lot of good chances, especially on Saturday. If I had to single one out it would be my drive in the trot (race 10). His name is Majestic Courtney and he’s a very promising squaregaiter who should go through the grades.”
Extensive comments on all five of Butt’s Saturday night drives (with opening odds) can been seen below.
Butt said he enjoyed driving at Albion Park simply because it had brought him a lot of happy memories over the decades.
“Tim won the Blacks A Fake last year with Let It Ride. We will have some nice horses again this year like Cheesy Fingers and All About Dreams. Tim also has his eyes on the Redcliffe Derby,” Butt said.
Anthony Butt’s five drives at Albion Park on Saturday night, with opening odds and his comments are:
Race 2: The Tim Butt trained PRESTONPANS (7) $2.60: "He’s a really nice horse over from New Zealand. He’s done a really good job since his first race here in January. I think he will whip through the grades. Despite the awkward draw he does have gate speed. Good chance.”
Race 6: The Cristina Monte trained TULHURST ACE (9) $12: "I don’t know much about this horse, I just got asked to drive him today (Wednesday). I do know he won well on the course last start. It looks a top field and he looks a nice horse. I’ll do some good field and study on this fella later in the week.”
Race 7: The Mark Jones & Aaron Goadsby trained BARRETT (1) $6: "He’s a very nice Better’s Delight 3-year-old colt, who has also done well since coming over here. He’s been racing at a high level and the Queensland Derby next month is his main goal. From the draw he should be hard to beat.”
Race 8: The Tim Butt trained IM ROCKNROLL MAGIC (2) $1.60: "He’s another consistent pacer racing well and from the kind draw should be tough to beat. He hasn’t been far away in recent starts finishing second twice and winning at Menangle.”
Race 10: The Tim Butt trained MAJESTIC COURTNEY (5) $2.80: "He's won seven of his 11 starts and last four in a row at Menangle. My brother thinks very highly of his horse. He’s a very exciting trotter who should get to the top level. If he steps away from the stand, and he should, then he is the horse to beat. Our best chance of the night it would be this trotter.”