Day At The Track

Changing of the guard at Rosati barn

03:30 PM 05 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith,Harness racing
Taking up a new role at the Rosati outfit are Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith

Champion former Kiwi harness racing trainer-driver Anthony Butt and his partner Sonya Smith are looking forward enthusiastically to their next chapter in the industry.

The pair this week took over the role of preparing a big team owned by passionate and big spending entrepreneur Emilio Rosati and his wife Mary, at Menangle, Sydney. Rosati is a driving force behind Form 700, one of Australia's leading construction companies.

"It was an opportunity which really come out of the blue. But it was too good to pass up and we are so excited," Inter Dominion Hall of Famer Anthony Butt said.

The door opened for Butt and Smith when renowned North American horseman Noel "Oz" Daley decided to return to the United States.

Daley is an Australian and took up the private trainer role for the Rosatis in February after returning home. He's decided to head back to the US, but not without amassing an impressive strike rate in his short time at the helm, preparing 13 winners (three in the metro) and 28 placings from 67 starters for $128,000.

Butt said after being approached by Rosati, they took time to think over the offer.

"Sonya and I thought it over for two days, and in the end decided it was a wonderful opening. It was an absolute pleasure to be walking into a barn full of horses in such brilliant condition," Butt said.

"Noel is a master at conditioning horses. His outstanding US record speaks for itself," he said.

"We've started off with 20 horses, with another 10 to soon come in. The stock includes so many that are well bred and we just can't wait to get into them."

Butt, since starting out as a 17 year old in 1983, has won close to every major race across Australasia - more than 2160 wins including well over 100 Group One successes. He and Smith had a four-year stint in Victoria after crossing the Tasman in 2014, then decided 12 months ago to move to Sydney where brother Tim was well set up at Menangle.

"We had a team of eight in work so some of these have gone to Tim and a few others down to Melbourne," Butt said.

"I've known Emilio for many years. He always travelled over to New Zealand when the sales were on. I had a successful run for him earlier this year when I drove three Group One winners for him over the Winter months.

"We are keeping the same staff members that were here with Noel. So it was virtually a case of Noel going out and us coming in.

"Working with big numbers of horses is nothing new for us because when I was with Tim he always loved having plenty about."

The first runners for the Butt-Rosati combination will appear at Menangle next Tuesday in the form of Moonshine Stride, Crystal Stride, Typhoon Stride, Always A Stride and Kiwi Stride.

In the late 1970s, one of the first horses to be owned by Emilio and Mary was a more than useful pacer in Stride High. He had leg issues but still managed 11 or 12 wins under their ownership. It's a result of this that the couple apply the "Stride" suffix to their horses' names.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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