Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.
NO IFS, BUTT DOMINATES CARNIVAL
Despite limited opportunities over the years, it was somewhat of a surprise to learn that top freelance reinsman Anthony Butt had driven just two Group 1 winners at Albion Park since 2001.
Claiming the 2001 Trotters Inter Dominion with Take A Moment, Butt’s next Group 1 winner at The Creek would come in the 2019 Queensland Trotters Cup with Majestic Courtney.
Fast forward to the 2021 TAB Constellations Carnival and Butt has been able to add a further three wins at the elite level to his resume with victories in the Sunshine Sprint, another Queensland Trotters Cup and the Queensland Derby.
Across the three big nights of the Albion Park segment of the Constellations, Butt has really gone about highlighting why he has reached the pinnacle of the sport worldwide.
Complementing his Group 1 glory, Butt also added the Rising Sun Consolation, the Group 3 South East Derby and a Band 5 pace with Tommy Lincoln on Blacks A Fake night.
Not only did he score some decisive victories, Butt also went mighty close in other races - beaten a head in the Group 1 The Golden Girl and a head in the Group 1 The Rising Sun.
Taking driving honours on the biggest night of the Constellations, Butt claimed a treble of victories, two of those at Group 1 level.
Starting the night with victory, it was Tommy Lincoln to get the ball rolling, leading throughout from gate two to claim the opening race of the card.
The next win came aboard the Rickie Alchin-trained Tough Monarch, a horse that he has previously had success aboard and ironically defeated in the 2019 Trotters Cup when driving Majestic Courtney.
Moving up three-wide to get outside the leader, Tough Monarch proved to be too classy and too strong for his rivals in scoring a smart victory.
In landing the Group 1 double for the night, Butt claimed the Queensland Derby with a perfect drive aboard American Dealer.
Allowing the colt to settle, the pint-sized pacing machine was sent forward with two laps to travel and taking control at the 2000 metre marker, was never in danger thereafter, with close to two metres to spare over Captain Crusader and over six metres clear of the third-placed Krug.
The Carnival has been a huge success for Butt, with the results slightly soured when earning the wrath of stewards in the Blacks A Fake for causing interference to King Of Swing.