Day At The Track

Great Southern Star preview

09:27 AM 25 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Red Hot Tooth
Zac Phillips and Red Hot Tooth
Stuart McCormack photo

Former top Kiwi trainer Tim Butt expected to be a feature race player at Melbourne’s Summer of Glory, but just not with the horse it’s turned out to be.

Before a minor setback late last year, the Hunter Cup was firmly on Butt’s radar with his stable star My Field Marshal.

It was such a focus, he surprised many by turning his back on the Perth Inter Dominion series.

But My Field Marshal was sidelined with a minor hoof injury and a limited lead-up preparation has Butt leaning towards skipping next Saturday night’s $500,000 Hunter Cup to focus on the Miracle Mile.

So now Butt’s major Melbourne hopes rest with the talented but sometimes frustrating trotter Daryl Boko in this Saturday night’s $300,000 Group 1 Great Southern Star (2760m) at Melton.

Although a $16 outsider, Daryl Boko has drawn well in gate two and heads into the race an impressive last-start winner, albeit in a much weaker race at Menangle.

“He’s really heading into this race and draw is a huge help,” Butt said. “We think he’s a genuine upset chance now he’s drawn so well in a pretty open race.”

Given the lack of a standout trotting superstar racing on either side of ditch right now, the opening Aussie market for the Great Southern Star was $4 the field.

But emerging Aussie mare Red Hot Tooth has been sensationally-backed into clear favouritism for Australasia’s richest trotting race.

The Kari Males-trained mare has been crunched in from $5 to $2.70 favouritism after her sparkling last-start Group 1 George Gath win at Shepparton.

Although this is clearly the next step-up against such a hot field over the longer 2760m trip and against genuine Group 1 opposition, but she did rip home in a 56.6sec last half last outing and looks the leader again this time.

“I might be biased, but I think she’s the better trotter in the land right now and she gets the chance to prove it,” Red Hot Tooth’s driver Zac Phillips said.

“She’s got speed, she can stay and she absolutely bolted in last time.

“I was saying on radio the other day, it’s a good time to have a really nice trotter like because there isn’t a champion winning everything like say a Keystone Del was here a couple of years back.”

For Phillips, teaming-up with Males and her husband Paul, makes it extra special.

“Kari and Paul, along with Robbie O’Connell were the people who got me going. To win a really big Group 1 for Kari and Paul would be as good as it gets,” he said. “I can’t wait for Saturday night to give it our best shot.”

Another emerging Aussie trotter Sparkling Success has eased from $4 to $4.60 second elect from gate 11.

Kyvalley Blur, back from his ultra-consistent Kiwi campaign shares the line of betting with Tony Herlihy’s Temporale at $6.50.

Temporale’s chances were hurt by an inside back row draw (gate eight), negating his sparkling gate speed.

The other class Kiwi raider, Speeding Spur, is the best-credentialed runner in the race, but drawn outside the back row (gate 13) and under a form cloud given his recent Kiwi defeats. He is a $6.50 chance.

Back to My Field Marshal and Butt said a final Hunter Cup decision would be made on Monday.

“It’s unlikely, but we want to watch this weekend’s racing and wait as long as possible to see if Lazarus is definitely running,” he said.

In other stable news, classy four-year-old Let It Ride will have another crack at forcing his way into the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on Saturday week.

He ran way below his best when, after a midrace burn to find the lead, he wilted to finish at the rear of the field in last Saturday night’s Hondo Grattan at Menangle.

“He checked-out fine after the race,” Butt said. “He was a bit disappointing, but he did burn a bit so we’ll give him another chance next week.”


Adam Hamilton

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