Day At The Track

Tim Butt imports another Swedish trotter

10:12 AM 16 Aug 2015 NZST
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Daryl Boko - Another Swedish trotter imported by Tim Butt
Daryl Boko - Another Swedish trotter imported by Tim Butt

He did it with Peak in 2013 and now Canterbury harness racing trainer Tim Butt is hoping another Swedish trotter named Daryl Boko can get him back into the big time.

The five-year-old flew into New Zealand last weekend and will join Butt's Premier Stables in another week and, hopefully, be ready to contest the feature trotting races at cup time in November.

He will be a welcome recruit for Butt who has just ended one of his quietest seasons since he started training, producing only 85 starters for just six wins. 

Butt has been on the lookout for a replacement for Peak since he galloped out of the 2103 Dominion Handicap in only his third start here and was later found to have injured a hind suspensory ligament.

It was a cruel blow for Butt and the syndicate which imported Peak and two other trotters from Scandinavia as Peak won his only two other starts, the Trotters' Flying Mile at Ashburton and NZ Free-for-all at Addington.

"He was an awesome horse to drive and could have been anything," said Butt who attempted to bring Peak back but eventually retired him to stud, where at Alabar he is now attracting a lot of attention.

Unable to buy one of the better trotters here, Butt also tried importing one from the United States in the well performed Imperial Count but that project foundered when the horse bled in his first race here, last September's Ordeal Cup.

"We didn't know what we needed when we bought the last lot from Scandinavia but Peak proved up to the best and we didn't want to go below his standard this time.

"Even though Kvintet Avenger also won a Group I race in Australia (the Trotters Cup at Menangle) you have to pay good money for the really good ones.

"I didn't want an old horse, who'd done it already, I wanted a young, up-and-coming one, and they're not easy to get."

Butt entrusted his search to Swedish trainer Sofia Arronson who worked for him here in 2006 and she eventually hit the jackpot securing Daryl Boko from Veijo Heiskanen for a sum well into six figures.

Most of Butt's loyal owners who had shares in Peak have come in on Daryl Boko, with a few newcomers as well, Butt said.

"I didn't initially want a gelding - with a stallion you always have a stud career to fall back on - but Peak was pretty colty and geldings actually settle in better to new surroundings.

"Daryl Boko is five by northern hemisphere time but he's had only 28 starts and is untapped."

Butt said he had clocked Daryl Boko in several of his races and he had run the equivalent of  2:25 for 2000 metres and 3:57 for 3200 metres, times which would win him any race in New Zealand.

With nine wins, four seconds and three thirds and NZ$130,000 in stakes, Daryl Boko had shown he was a top flight contender, winning a heat of the Finnish Trotting Derby (2640m) last September and running third in the $NZ165,000 final. Peak had won the Denmark Derby, a slightly inferior quality race. 

By Majestic Son, the leading age group trotting stallion in New Zealand, Daryl Boko was actually bred in the United States out of the Donerail mare Insider Trade.

Butt said while Daryl Boko had been stuck in quarantine for four weeks in England and would have a fortnight couped up here before being released, he raced as recently as July 2 so his job of readying him for racing would be easier.

"But to be racing by cup time we can't afford anything to go wrong."

Butt said he was in a rebuilding phase after many horses had reached their mark and were sold. His team was down to only 14.

"It's tough going. We've had to start again and the owners aren't there like they used to be - they don't want to compete against the big stables like Mark Purdon, Robert Dunn and Cran Dalgety.

"But we have some nice young ones coming along."

Butt served notice that he was on the front foot again, with two wins from his first two starters of the season in Franco Harrington and Prestine, placing him second on the premiership after two weeks.

But he knows it will take a while again before he enjoys the highs of 2006 and 2007 when Flashing Red won the New Zealand Trotting Cup twice and, more recently, 2011 when he was seventh on the trainers' ladder with 47 wins racing high achievers like Vulcan, Stunin Cullen, Choise Achiever and Raglan.

Barry Lichter

Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here

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