Day At The Track

Overdue Pembrook Benny lands Gr1 FFA

07:41 PM 15 Nov 2013 NZDT
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Pembrook Benny and Zac Butcher - career away in the NZ FFA

If there was a horse that deserved a Group One win in New Zealand it was today’s $200,000 Woodlands Stud New Zealand Free-For-All winner Pembrook Benny.

The now nine-year-old has been in and around the placings in some of New Zealand’s biggest races since he burst on to the scene as a three-year-old but, until now, he had never won one.

“He really was overdue a big one,” said an ecstatic Zac Butcher. “He has been close so many times,” he added.

Butcher was once again singing out praise to his boss Barry Purdon, who has produced yet another sensational training performance.

“The man is an absolute genius,” claimed Butcher. “He has this horse sounder and better than he has ever been, and at the age of nine!

Pembrook Benny was third-up for the season today after returning home from a winter campaign in Australia. He was a great fourth at Alexandra Park first-up before finishing an even better fourth in the New Zealand Cup on Tuesday.

“We left him in Australia to race over the winter as there wasn’t much for him back home,” said Butcher. “He won a few races over there, but his form soon tapered off.

“He can get a bit sour sometimes when he travels but he absolutely loves it at Barry’s. As soon as he got home he starting pricking his ears and bouncing around again.

Butcher said that he was absolutely stoked with Benny’s fourth in the New Zealand Cup and that he was quietly confident going into today.

“He came through the run surprisingly well and had plenty of spring in his step yesterday. I think keeping him fresh has been the key this time in,” explained Butcher.

“Or perhaps he is like a fine wine and is just getting better with age,” he quipped.

It was Zac Butcher’s fourth Group One driving success, and third at Addington. “I would like to pay a huge thanks to all of the owners of this horse. There have been a couple of times were I probably have pulled the wrong rein and, being a young fella, they could have easily opted for someone with more experience like the old man (David Butcher) or Tony Herlihy but they stayed loyal to me.”

Pembrook Benny, by Courage Under Fire  is owned by B Purdon, T F Henderson, J C Higgins, K G Parry, D H Sixton, J B Hart and was bred by W D Power, Mrs G L Power paced the one mile journey in 1-54.3.

It was a North Island quinella with Easy On The Eye finishing a game second after serving it up to Australian raider Suave Stuey Lombo, who folded in the home stretch. Fellow Australian Caribbean Blaster was herculean in third after being trapped three-wide from the 1100.

Meanwhile favourite Chisten Me galloped when in tight quarters at the start and did well to recover for seven, finishing just two and a half lengths from the winner.

“The one mile start at Addington is an absolute joke,” said driver Dexter Dunn. “I’m not just saying that because of what happened today, I’ve been saying it ever since it came in. Today was just the proof of the pudding.”

By Mitchell Robertson




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