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Likeabeel on trial for Sydney trip

9 July 2024

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By Glenn Davis

Deagon trainer Pat Busuttin is hopeful Provincial Stayers Final winner Likeabeel can confirm plans to head to Sydney if successful at Eagle Farm on Wednesday.

Likeabeel - a Robbie Dolan mount – will be on trial for a 2400-metre Benchmark race at Rosehill on July 20 when he steps out in the Benchmark 68 Handicap over 2231 metres.

Dolan had his first ride for Busuttin when the rising nine-year-old narrowly won the Provincial Stayers Final over 2500 metres at Ipswich last month.

“He’s held his form well and although he only won by a head last time, he was strong to the line and would have won by more had it been further,” Busuttin said.

“There is a Benchmark race over 2400 metres I’d like to send him to Sydney for and it’s worth a bit of money.

Patrick Busuttin Next Racing
Robbie Dolan Next Racing
Likeabeel and Robbie Dolan after the win at Ipswich.

“He’s won over 2500 metres twice now and was placed over 3100 metres when I sent him down last year to my son, Trent, who trains in Victoria.

“He had four runs in Victoria for Trent who has been in the top five trainers down there for the past three years.”

Busuttin is semi-retired and trains a small team of three at Deagon where he also works part-time mentoring stable hands for Racing Queensland.

He is best remembered as the trainer of former top Kiwi strayer Castletown who campaigned in Brisbane during the 1994 Brisbane winter carnival.

Castletown won three Wellington Cups, an Auckland Cup and a New Zealand Derby all at Group 1 level.

Now 70, Busuttin has trained 46 Group 1 winners in four countries in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Macau.

He also tutored champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller before he left New Zealand to train for 10 years in Singapore.

Pat Busuttin's daughter Julie with Likeabeel.

“Chris Waller had just left school and came to work for me and eventually was foreman for five or six years," Busuttin said.

Busuttin paid only $900 for Likeabeel at an online auction after he started off with Roma trainer Craig Smith.

“I liked the look of him, and he was out of a Zabeel mare and had a good family line,” he said.

“When I got him for $900, I rang Craig (Smith) and asked him why he went so cheap.

“Craig said there was nothing wrong with him but just needed a lot of time.”

Likeabeel has gone on to win more than $235,000 in prizemoney for Busuttin with eight wins and 11 placings from 59 starts in his career.