Mah Sish is primed for his best year according to the 7-year-old gelding’s trainer Tim Butt – and even without racing for five months he’s still the one to beat in the Group Three $25,000 PGG Wrightson Hannon Memorial for six-plus-win Free-For-All pacers at Oamaru on Sunday (September 15).
Mah Sish is the $2.40 favourite. Four Starzzz Flash is paying $4, Franco Ledger $4.20, and Mach Banner $7.50.
“He will derive a lot of benefit out of Sunday’s run and it this stage of his preparation I couldn’t have him any better. I think he’s set for a big season.
“Personally I think he has got the ability to be a top Grand Circuit horse again. Sunday’s Hannon is the perfect launch for him. He will then race in fortnightly intervals leading into the (New Zealand) Cup,” Butt said.
Butt said his family had had a close association with the Oamaru Harness Racing Club’s Hannon Memorial over the years.
“We grew up with it. It is a time honoured race really. There have been some nice horses win the Hannon Memorial. Anthony has won it a couple of times with Blossom Lady, then there were other nice horses like Roydon Glen and Derby who have won it.
“It is the perfect lead-in race for us,” Butt said.
Brother Anthony is going for his sixth win in the Hannon. He’s saluted previously with Blossom Lady in 1990 and 1993, Mister D G 2004, The Flyin Doctor 2006, and Cullen’s Creek in 2010.
Mah Sish hasn’t raced since finishing seventh in the Miracle Mile in Sydney on April 28.
This year’s Hunter Cup champion goes into the Hannon with two trials wins at Addington and Rangiora on September 2 and August 26 respectively.
At Addington he beat four three-plus-win opponents from his 40m back-mark in 3:20.4 (mile rate: 2:04). Last 800m: 56.8. Last 400m: 28.3.Terror To Love was fourth.
At Rangiora Mah Sish dealt to his six one-win rivals in 3:14 (mile rate: 2:00.3). Last 800m: 58. Last 400m: 29.2.
Both were the same distance as Sunday’s race – 2600m standing start events.
Stablemate Choise Achiever could also figure in the finish on Sunday.
“He’s going well but it’s going to be harder for him to get into the Cup field. Mah Sish is definitely our best chance,” Butt said.
Mah Sish, who finished runner-up to Im Themightyquinn's in this year’s Inter Dominion grand final has won 14 of his 38 starts, placed 12 times and won $892,250
The son of Mach Three - Dancing On Winds
was bred by K. J. Taylor, and is owned by P. J. Hailes, T. G. Casey, G. A. Ayers, Mrs L. N. Ayers, Mrs M. McKay, and J. W. Hall.
He finished fourth in last year’s New Zealand Cup.
The first Hannon Memorial in 1938 was won by the Bill Johnstone trained and Maurice McTigue driven King’s Play. He won the (mile-and-a-quarter) 2000m event in 2:44.8.
Pacer, driver, and winning time of North Otago’s premier pacing event (since 2000):
2012: Franco Ledger (Hamish Hunter) 3:15.7. 2011: Monkey King (Ricky May) 3:15.7. 2010: Cullen’s Creek (Anthony Butt) 3:13.4. 2009:
Bondy (David Butt) 3:18.1. 2008: Ohoka Rebel (David Butt) 3:19.3. 2007: Baileys Dream (Ricky May) 3:26.4. 2006: The Flyin Doctor (Anthony Butt) 3:14.5. 2005: Bob’s Blue Boy (Craig Thornley) 3:22.8. 2004: Mister D G (Anthony Butt) 3:19.7; 2003: Jack Cade (Mark Purdon) 3:17.4. 2002: Panky’s Pacer (Ricky May) 3:18.1. 2001: Kym’s Girl (Colin de Filippi) 3:18.8. 2000: Chloe Hanover (Jo Herbert) 3:17.6.
By Duane Ranger
Harness Racing New Zealand