December 5, 2017 Michael Court
Plenty of Butts about this time
EXPECT to see a lot more of champion former Kiwi reinsman Anthony Butt in Sydney in coming months, starting from this afternoon at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
With Butt’s elder brother Tim setting up a Sydney stable at the Menangle Training Centre, its certain he will call on his brother’s services wherever possible to handle his stable runners.
While Anthony has been domiciled in Melbourne in recent years where he has become one of the most sought-after reinsman south of the border, Tim’s stable will also prove an irresistible lure for some hit-and-run missions to Sydney as well.
That could well start today when Tim has just his second runner since setting up his satellite stable.
Promising three-year-old Lanikai will have his maiden Australian start at Menangle today and Tim has wasted no time ‘importing’ Anthony to drive the Somebeachsomewhere gelding in Race Three.
While the Butt brothers have annexed some of Australia’s major races over the years, they will be more than happy to pick up one of the smaller fish at Menangle today when Lanikai takes on a handy field of C0-C1 performers.
Butt’s Australian team already includes Grand Circuit pacer My Field Marshal, Letsgotothehop and promising four-year-old Let It Ride, who was a big winner at Melton on Victoria Cup night in October.
His first Sydney starter since setting up shop here was another horse on the way up in potential star trotter Gentleman Sir, who finished third at Menangle two weeks ago after working hard for reinsman Luke McCarthy outside the lead for much of the race.
Butt is sharing his Sydney stables with former Bathurst trainer Ashley Grives and both are already showing signs of success since making their respective moves to Menangle.
Butt said he needed the move to re-invigorate his career.
“I am coming up 50 and wanted to try something different,” he said.
“Things had stagnated a bit for me [in New Zealand] because they go in cycles and we don’t have the same owners we had a decade ago.”
Butt explained that he had been doing pretty-much the same thing his whole adult life and the time was right for a change.
“I didn’t want to be going to the same meetings, especially some of the smaller ones, that I was 20 years ago in another 20 years’ time,” he said.
“In Australia there is so much more racing – not just for a top horse like My Field Marshal but good bread and butter horses.
“There are nice, steady free-for-all horses in Sydney who have won $300,000-$400,000.
“So with those opportunities and the fact our kids are older now, the time was right to try something different.”
Meanwhile the harness racing spotlight turns to Perth later this week with the running of the
$1.1m Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
And the cheers could be heard in Sydney when local hope, Tiger Tara drew gate one for the final with champion New Zealand Cup winner Lazarus drawn right beside him in gate two in what should be a terrific showdown between the pair.