Day At The Track

Butt says My Field Marshal will stay

04:30 PM 10 Jan 2019 NZDT
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Champion trainer Tim Butt hotly disputes persistent suggestions that millionaire pacer My Field Marshal is purely a brilliant sprinter who will struggle to win the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

There is no doubting that the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old is a magnificent speedster over short trips, but Butt said that he had no concerns whatsoever that the stallion would be found wanting over the 2536m journey.

“It takes a strong stayer to excel over sprint trips,” said Butt, who is bubbling with confidence that his brother Anthony will guide My Field Marshal to victory on Friday night, particularly after drawing favourably at barrier two on the front line.

“My Field Marshal has done everything right and has pleased me with his work since he led and won the Village Kid Sprint two Fridays ago. He is showing no breathing problems after two successful wind operations.”

My Field Marshal, who rated 1.54 when he was untroubled to win the 1730m Village Kid Sprint, became the fastest pacer in Australasia when he won the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 at Menangle in February last year.

He has raced 60 times for 25 wins, 15 seconds and six thirds for earnings of $1,132,712. His wins have been over 1609m (11), 1650m (one), 1700m (one), 1730m (one), 1950m (five), 2000m (one), 2200m (one), 2240m (two), 2400m (one) and 2700m (one).

His 2700m victory was as a four-year-old at Alexandra Park in the group 1 Messenger Championship when he started from barrier four and enjoyed a perfect trip, one-out and two-back in sixth position before finishing strongly out wide to convincingly beat My Kiwi Mate at a 1.56.6 rate in April 2017.    

“His runs over middle distances in Australia have been good,” said Butt. My Field Marshal finished a one-metre second to Hectorjayjay in the 2680m Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park in July 2017 when Tiger Tara was third and Lennytheshark fourth. The winner rated 1.56.1.

In October 2017 My Field Marshal was a one-length second to San Carlo (1.56.6) in the group 3 Maryborough Gold Cup over 2690m and two weeks after that he was a wonderful 4m second to Lennytheshark, who rated 1.55.4 to smash Restrepo’s track record. My Field Marshal started from the back line and he raced in sixth position before moving into the breeze 1200m from home. He fought on with admirable determination, with the final quarters whizzing by in 26.9sec. and 27.3sec.

My Field Marshal finished his 19-start campaign as a six-year-old with a well-beaten ninth behind Let It Ride in the 2680m Blacks A Fake Championship last July. He started from the back line, raced at the rear and three wide in the final circuit. Her resumed after a spell with an easy 1609m victory in 1.50.9 at Menangle on December 17 before his impressive win in the Village Kid Sprint 11 nights later.

The Butt brothers are aiming to make amends for Raglan’s splendid second to champion Im Themightyquinn in the 2012 Fremantle Cup when Raglan surged home from last at the bell. They first campaigned in Western Australia in 2004 when Mister D G won two heats and finished second in another before finishing a desperately close fourth behind Jofess in a four-way photo finish in the final of the Inter Dominion championship.

Tim Butt decided just over a year ago to move from his property in Christchurch to set up stables at the Menangle complex and he is currently preparing My Field Marshal at leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond’s stables in Forrestdale.

My Field Marshal faces strong challenges from the Bond camp, which dominates the Fremantle Cup with a record of seven of the 12 runners, the New Zealand-bred band of Galactic Star, Saying Grace, El Jacko, Our Jimmy Johnstone, Our Max Phactor, Mitch Maguire and Vampiro, who between them have won 142 races and amassed $2,135,457 in prizemoney.

Greg Bond has fond memories of his first runner in a Fremantle Cup Money Magnet, who was an 8/1 chance and was driven to an easy all-the-way victory by Colin Brown in a 2907m stand in January 2006, a week after he started at 14/1 and came from last to win the Australian Pacing Championship consolation, a mobile over 2143m.

Not surprisingly, Greg Bond rates Galactic Star as the stable’s best winning prospect 12 months after the gelding was the rank outsider at tote odds of $228 and finished 11th behind My Hard Copy, who charged home to win the Fremantle Cup in a thrilling finish from Lazarus and Chicago Bull. Then, in February, Galactic Star was beaten into second place in the Albany Cup by Major Stare.

Galactic Star’s form this season has been outstanding. He started with wins in the group 3 Don Randall Cup over 2631m at Pinjarra and the Cranley Memorial, a listed classic over 1730m at Gloucester Park in November, before winning a heat and being placed in two other heats of the Inter Dominion championship in Victoria in December before finishing an unlucky sixth in the final after he was badly checked and lost valuable ground soon after the start.

Ryan Warwick, the State’s leading reinsman with 88 winners this season, has chosen to drive Galactic Star, who will start from the inside of the back line. The winner of 25 races and $417,335, he possesses dazzling point-to-point speed and has outstanding winning prospects.

Brown has been engaged to drive Vampiro, whose prospects slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Mitch Maguire (Aiden de Campo) also faces a tough test from barrier eight and ten-year-old warhorse Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham) will need luck from the No. 7 barrier. Our Jimmy Johnstone finished solidly along the inside when third behind Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in the 2017 Fremantle Cup.

El Jacko (Nathan Turvey) has sprinted home fast to win on the past two Friday nights and he is capable of a bold showing from barrier two on the back line.

Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green) will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line and will be at liberal odds despite his splendid second to My Field Marshall in the Village Kid Sprint after working hard in the breeze. He boasts a remarkable record in WA of 14 starts for 12 wins and two seconds.

Bond considers lightly-raced five-year-old Saying Grace a realistic chance from the prized No. 1 barrier. The American Ideal gelding who has had only 25 starts for 11 wins and six placings will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won the Fremantle Cup six times with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), John Albert (1995), Sandy Bay (2005) and Dasher VC (2013).

Saying Grace also started from barrier one at his latest appearance, over 2130m last Friday week, when he was first out and then broke into a gallop and lost six lengths. He settled in fifth position before quickly dashing forward to the breeze and finished a close-up fifth behind El Jacko.

Gary Hall Jnr, who has won the Fremantle Cup a record eight times, will drive Rocknroll Lincoln for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice. Rocknroll Lincoln, a smart winner at two of his past three starts, will begin from barrier four and should be prominent.

Gary Hall Snr, who has trained the winner of the Cup eight times, will be pinning his faith in the tough and consistent Runrunjimmydunn, who will start from an awkward draw at No. 5 with Clint Hall in the sulky.

The Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair (barrier six) is the only mare in the Cup and the only non-New Zealand-bred runner is the WA-bred Vultan Tin, who is prepared at Coolup by Phil Costello and will be handled by Chris Voak. Vultan Tin, who set the pace and finished second to El Jacko over 2130m last Friday night, will start from the No. 3 barrier.


Ken Casellas

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