Day At The Track

Kiwi pacer creates history in Ballarat

06:59 PM 22 Jan 2017 NZDT
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Anthony Butt with Smolda
Anthony Butt with Smolda with the Ballarat Pacing Cup trophy - Smolda's second and Butt's third.
Dylan Burns Photo

New Zealand warrior Smolda created harness racing history by becoming the first to capture back-to-back Ballarat Pacing Cups on Saturday night.

And in doing so he upstaged his younger stablemate superstar and short-priced favourite Lazarus ($1.40). in a stunning performance.

Smolda ($4.50) led and gave nothing else a chance in running a track record mile rate of 1:54.8 -smashing the 1:55.3 he ran in winning the race last year.

Lazarus completed a quinella for Mark Purdon, while Lennytheshark ($6.60) ran a brave third – 5.6m behind Smolda. 

Smolda now has earnings of over $2.2 million.

While Purdon, who drove Lazarus, was naturally delighted with the performance of his old warhorse and reigning Inter-Dominion champion, it was not the outcome he expected, although he still had plenty to smile about.

Smolda also gave Victorian-based NZ reinsman Anthony Butt a third win in the Cup, following Stunin Cullen in 2011 and Mah Sish in 2013.


Butt only picked up the drive after the barrier draw on the Monday night leading into the Cup and was appreciative of the opportunity to continue a long association between the Butt and Purdon families.

Like Butt, Purdon now three Ballarat Cups to his name – the difference being as a trainer. He won with Highview Tommy in 2012 before Smolda’s two successes.

With the Purdon and Butt combination New Zealanders have now also won five of the past seven editions of the race.

Part-owner Phil Kennard said connections had always hoped to return to Ballarat for a title defence, but never imagined winning the Cup for a second time.

In a night of history, the Courage Under Fire gelding joins Sinbad Bay as the only two-time winner of the Cup. Sinbad Bay achieved the feat in 1991 and 1996.


$4.50 SMOLDA (A Butt)

$1,40 fav LAZARUS (M Purdon)

$6.60 LENNYTHESHARK (C A Alford)

Then followed:



$56.20 IT IS BILLY



By David Brehaut

Reprinted with permission of The Courier

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