By Duane Ranger
Jack Butler could be in for two birthdays this week.
On Tuesday the Logan Village horseman turned 43. Tomorrow night (Saturday) at Albion Park it could be party time again for one of Queensland’s best conditioners of horse flesh.
Butler has four pacers and one trotter (race 8) nominated for the 10 races at ‘The Creek’. He said they were all capable of winning, if not putting their hooves in the till.
Butler knows all about winning. Last season he was Queensland’s second best trainer with 117 wins from 863 starters. He also recorded 241 placings and netted $895,457 in purses.
That ensured second place, and 12th in Australia, behind Grant Dixon’s national record of 340.
Twenty-eight of those wins were at ‘The Creek’.
So far this season Butler trainees have notched up 12 wins from 77 starters, and placed 27 times for $85,803 in stakes.
“We usually work a team of between 35 and 40 and my season goal is to see if I can get 100 wins and ultimately beat my personal best which I think is around 120. So, I was really satisfied with 2018-2019.
“The stable is going along quite nicely at the moment. We are hitting all the targets at this very early stage,” he said.
The South-Queensland horseman said he enjoyed working with his stable foreman, Brendan Barnes, who will drive all five of his team tomorrow night.
“He’s a good young reinsman and a good thinker, and always drives them the way I want them to be driven. I think we go well together.
“Brendan worked for me before he went down south (New South Wales), and has been back almost two years with me this time.”
Butler said he turned a lot of his team out after the Winter Carnival but several would be trialing again in the next fortnight.
“I’ve got a lot coming through, including ten two-year-olds, which I’m looking forward to. The breakers said they broke in well, so that’s encouraging.
“Then there’s promising ones like Rock With Sam (15 wins and $157,529), who stepped up last season. He’s one of my best and is back from a six-week spell. He’s looking real nice and is quite forward for this time of year,” Butler said.
Butler believed $3.50 favourite, Charming Major, was his best winning prospect tomorrow night, but said the other four were all capable of figuring in the photo finish.
His comments (with horse, draw, form, and opening odds) are:
Race 3: LEXUS ON THE BEACH (8) 35186 ($17) – “This Somewheresomebeach gelding can be a funny horse at times. You have to drive him like you hate him. I see there are a few scratchings, and the smaller field will suit him. He is definitely better than what his form suggests.”
Race 5: SAMS THE MASTER (4) 54566 ($8.50) – “I’ve been struggling to get him back where he should be, but if he puts his best foot forward, he can be competitive here. He had a long time off (November 2018 to June 2019) and is still not at his best yet. I’m hoping that all changes tomorrow night. I certainly expect better of him because when he’s right he is very good.”
Race 8: CLOVER MAC (7) 74782 ($9) – “Black Dream Vacation gelding who is having just his second start for me. I was super happy with this first run (second) and then I had to scratch him because he nicked his leg. It wasn’t a major injury. It was just in an awkward place. I’m expecting a big race from him this time. He has trained on well.”
Race 9: CHARMING MAJOR (1) 12332 ($3.50 favourite) – “Art Major 6-year-old gelding, who on paper is my best chance of the night, but I wouldn’t be putting the house on it. From the draw he will be tough and he’s the type of pacer everyone would love to own because he is ultra-consistent. But he’s had his chances of winning lately but sometimes he tends to go through the motions. He will definitely win one soon, and this is his best chance. He is a beautiful horse. Each-way.”
Race 10: PAY ME INTEREST (8) 30882 ($11) – “Follows out $9 chance, and Thursday Redcliffe winner, Chinook Winds. If that horse has gate speed then this mare is a real chance of filling a hole, because she is quite fast and has a good sprint on her. She only needs to be close to them turning in to get a cheque. It all comes down to the trip and the gaps opening up at the right time.”