PROMISING Canterbury pacer Governors Bay has been sold and is destined to do his future racing in Australia.
For now, the son of Rocknroll Hanover is heading to Southland where he will join Brett Gray’s stable.
Victorian couple Merv and Meg Butterworth acquired Governors Bay from trainer Tom Bagrie and connections after a superb second at Addington a fortnight ago.
Rather than line him up in a $20,000 event tomorrow night, as Bagrie had planned, the Butterworths have set their sights a bit lower.
“I wasn’t interested in the $20,000 race at ‘the Met’ this week as, if he had won, he would have been rated in Australia as a C2 M1,” Merv explained.
“Being an M1 horse, this would have precluded him from going through the grades in an orderly Australian way.
“My view is that we can win six or more C-class races at an average of $7000 per race before we head to city and contest an M0 for $20,000.”
Butterworth has forged a close relationship with Gray in recent seasons and this transfer is an extension of that.
“The plan is to race him with Brett at Winton in a $9000 race on April 14 and then view our options from there,” Butterworth said.
“He may have a further run at the bigger Winton track and then spell at Diane Cournane’s before heading across to Melbourne or Sydney.”
Butterworth stated he became increasingly impressed with Governors Bay after a spate of recent outstanding performances.
“He showed tremendous strength for a seven-start horse and I thought, with careful management, would turn out to be quite a successful five-year-old and reach his peak at six,” Butterworth said.
“My only concern is that he is a big horse, which I consider will be a disadvantage in the short term when racing him on the smaller tracks in Australia.
“With experience and maturity, he should cope well with those smaller tracks and I would love to race him at Gloucester Park in Perth, but I don’t think that will suit him early on.
“I have a lot of success at Gloucester Park and they race for the best stake money, which is a conundrum for me.”