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Champion driver Anthony Butt keen to finish Constellations on a high

P7joQRcg.jpegBy Jordan Gerrans

Champion driver Anthony Butt’s TAB Queensland Constellations carnival record so far this year has been as good as you could dream of.

It started up at The Triangle, partnering Krug in the Redcliffe Derby late last month, before following that up with the Listed Wondais Mate with star Copy That in the first few days of July.

Copy That’s stable-mate American Dealer provided Butt his feature race the next week, grabbing The Rising Sun Consolation before claiming the South-East Derby at Group 3 level seven days later, and most recently it was Group 1 Sunshine Sprint glory - with you guessed it - Copy That.

The New Zealand product, who these days is Victorian-based, has a sparkling resume in the sulky, including feats like multiple Hunter Cups, countless Inter Dominion honours, several NZ Cups and many other high accolades.

Even by those standards it has been a spectacular TAB Queensland Constellations carnival and Butt is hopeful he has another big week in him yet.

He has American Dealer in the Group 1 Queensland Derby this Saturday at Albion Park and Copy That in the big one – the TAB Blacks A Fake, Queensland’s only Grand Circuit event.

Both his Group 1 chances for Saturday evening come from the yard of stalwart horseman Ray Green.

“The last four weekends I have won big races every weekend, so it has been really good,” Butt said at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have driven some good horses; they have all been well trained and it has all come together well.


“I think the carnival here in Queensland is fantastic, what the boys have done here the last 12-18 months has been great and it is only going to get bigger and better.

“There is a clear window now for racing in Queensland this time of year, it makes it easy for those southern guys from Victoria and NSW to come up, as everyone loves to get up here at this point in the year.”

While the Green and Butt partnership was not a regular one when they were both based in NZ – it was an unexpected phone call that sealed the deal earlier in 2021.

“He phoned me about three or four months ago as he heard the horse was coming here for the series,” Green said of Butt.

“He put his hand up for the drive and I thought that was good, it saves me worrying about finding a driver (laughs).”

oNluudd8.jpegThe champion driver has been in devastating form across the TAB Constellations Carnival, claiming the Redcliffe Derby with Krug as well as partnering Copy That and American Dealer of late, with great success.

“It is very important to have people like him, especially with these races, Anthony is a particularly good big race driver,” Green said.

“I am lucky to have him and he has done a great job so far.

“It is great to get someone like him over here, he has done a huge job.”

With King Of Swing drawing barrier one for Saturday night’s TAB Blacks a Fake, the bookmakers have the result as a near-on foregone conclusion, rated a $1.22 chance to claim the time-honoured Group 1 prize.

Butt, Green and Copy That are $11 with the TAB just seven days after rolling the superstar of Australian pacing in the Group 1 Sunshine Sprint.

The draw makes it tough for expert driver Butt and he says he will play it by ear with how the tempo in the race is try and cause the upset.

“He has been fantastic, I always knew he was a good horse for his record in New Zealand,” Butt said of Copy That.

“But he has probably stepped up since he has been here, he has turned into the complete package and he has a few more strings to his bow now compared to what he previously did.

“The racing now will do him good, the hard racing on a semi Grand Circuit sort of thing, he is going to have a great couple of years.”

The final night of the carnival will feature an incredible six Group 1s, with the Queensland Derby and Oaks, the Triad Finals and the Queensland Trotters Cup supporting the TAB Blacks A Fake, Queensland’s only Grand Circuit event.