Kimberly Butt, daughter of champion reinsman Anthony, didn’t always want to follow in her father’s footsteps but after she realised she didn’t really like school, she was left with no other option.
“Early on I wanted to be a vet, but I soon realised that would involve me staying at school and going to university afterwards,” laughed Butt. She gained her early experience with her uncle, Tim Butt, before spending just over a year with master trainer, Mark Purdon.
“As soon as I started driving a lot of fast work I caught the bug and realised this is what I want to do,” said Butt. “I now work for Mark Jones and he is a great boss who has been very helpful with my driving.”
Butt has already had two raceday drives but talented four-year-old, Madiba Magic, who runs in the fifth race at Oamaru on Sunday, looks by far her best to date. “He is a really nice horse and I am very thankful to Tim and the owners for giving me the opportunity.”
Butt already knows Madiba Magic well, having driven him to an impressive trial win September 2. “He trialled really well and ran a bit of time. (2:24.6, mile rate 1:59.3, 800: 57.7, 400: 28.8). Hopefully he can repeat the dose on Sunday.”
Of Madiba Magic’s seven opponents in the one-win pace, Rocky Road and Vice Chairman look the two hardest to beat. “Dad has driven Rocky Road before, and he thinks that Madiba Magic is every bit as good as he is. So the pressure is on,” joked Butt.
The young reinswoman said that she does feel the pressure when she steps out on to a racetrack, but will be trying to keep a cool head on Sunday. “He gets out of the gate well and it is only a small field, so I will probably look to head forward,” she added.
While the latest harness professional from the talented family has countless relations who have driven winners, if she is successful on Sunday she will become the first female from her family to drive a winner.
By Mitchell Robertson