Day At The Track

Father-son battle Premiership

01:24 PM 25 Jul 2017 NZST
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Zac Butcher,Harness racing
Zachary Butcher
HRNZ photo

Even Zac Butcher admits winning the Alexandra Park Driving Premiership could be a bridge too far for him on Friday.

Butcher, who has recorded 36 wins at Alexandra Park this season, is two shy of his father David (38). Maurice McKendry (MNZM) is third with 32 wins.

"I think I've run out of time. I've only got four drives this week, compared to Dad who has six or seven.

"I think I'll come up short, which is okay. My goal at the start of the season was to record more winners than last year's champion, Tony Herlihy (MNZM), and I’ve done that.

"I don't mind losing to Dad. He's still the best driver in our family, and probably will be for the next 25 years," Butcher said.

The 25-year-old Clevedon driver, rated the Ray Green trained two-year-old, Linc's Tiger as a good winning chance in the first race.

Meanwhile Ardmore reinsman, Robert Argue, is going to have to win behind all three of his drives at 'The Park' on Friday if he is going to equal Jack MacKinnon, at the top of the Alexandra Park Junior Drivers' Premiership.

Argue, who has recorded six wins at northern headquarters this season, will get behind the Gary Noakes trained Izinthezone (race 3); the Stephen Argue trained My Cash (race 4); and the Dave Iremonger trained Opawa Speed (race 5).

MacKinnon, who has won nine races at 'The Park' this season, will drive the Ivan Court trained Arden Lustre (race 4); the Stephen Argue trained Speedy Lavros (race 5); the Robert Dunn trained Lambros (race 6); and Yagunnakissmeornot (race 7).

Last year's Junior Driving Premiership came down to a 0.159 of a point on the UDR strike rate, but MacKinnon just held out Andre Poutama and Kyle Marshall.

Zac Butcher's boss, Barry Purdon, has the Training Premiership all parceled up.

The ‘Hall-of-Famer’ goes into Friday's meeting with 18 wins at Alexandra Park in 2016-2017 - five more than John and Josh Dickie.

Last season's senior driving and training titles saw Herlihy (MNZM) claimed his eighth consecutive Alexandra Park driving premiership and his ‘Strike Won’ Ardmore-based stables’, nabbed their fourth straight training title.

Herlihy (46) had nine wins to spare over Zac Butcher (37). Josh Dickie (31) was third.

Training-wise Herlihy (40) had five wins to spare over Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen (35). Barry Purdon (29) was third.

With just one meeting left in the North Island in the 2016-2017 season, the Alexandra Park Premierships read (tote races only):

Driver Starts Wins Seconds Thirds UDR
D J Butcher 221 38 34 30 .3027
Z E Butcher 205 36 26 29 .2932
M W McKendry 225 32 20 26 .2301
A G Herlihy 216 25 25 32 .2294
B M Mangos 148 23 14 13 .2372
Driver Starts Wins Seconds Thirds UDR
J A MacKinnon 82 9 7 6 .1816
S A Grayling 44 8 6 3 .2803
R G Argue 64 6 6 5 .1719
D P Ferguson 53 5 8 9 .2348
T A Cameron 36 4 4 6 .2284
Trainer Starts Wins Seconds Thirds UDR
B P Purdon 186 29 26 22 .2730
J W Dickie & J I Dickie 131 25 15 11 .2824
A G Herlihy MNZM 177 23 19 29 .2442
M Purdon & N C Rasmussen 76 23 15 9 .4518
R W Green 151 22 25 20 .2818


Duane Ranger

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