Day At The Track

Curtain has come down on Peak's racing career

04:23 PM 18 Nov 2014 NZDT
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Peak - Stylish European trotter will appeal to Southern Hemisphere breeders
Peak - Stylish European trotter will appeal to Southern Hemisphere breeders
Peak
Peak

The Butt brothers Tim and Anthony announced today that their imported superstar trotter Peak had been retired and would now take up full time stud duties.

Peak was the flagship for an attempt by the Butt brothers to strengthen the trotting breed down under.

The trotting breed in Australasia has always been the poor cousin in the harness racing industry in the Southern Hemisphere.

Pacing has always been in the ascendancy and with access to the best sires in the world for the last fifteen plus years has closed the gap with North America.

Trotting broodmare owners have not been as well served over the same period but in the last two or three years attempts have been made on several fronts to change that.

One of those attempts was the importation of three well bred and performed European trotters by the well respected Butt brothers.

Having witnessed first hand on their travels to Europe the ability and gait of European sired trotters, the Butt brothers imported the three entires and syndicated them to stable clients with a view to racing them first and then standing them at stud if they proved themselves in local conditions.

As most people realize, it was a very brave decision to try to bring three stallions half way around the world and attempt to get them to adjust to the different racing style in New Zealand and the different training methods.

The first of the three stallions to set foot on a New Zealand track was the son of the French super sire Ganymede in Peak.

Although not 100% ready,Peak made his New Zealand debut in the Group 3 trotters Flying Mile at Ashburton in October 2013 and what a debut it was.

Parked early, Peak worked to the front after 400 metres for Anthony Butt but was attacked from a long way out by The Fiery Ginga which should have made him a sitting duck in the straight.

The whole way up the long Ashburton straight Peak lead and come post time he was still in front after cutting out the mile in 1:57.6.

It was a wonderful introduction to New Zealand racing and held the promise of better things to come.

Second up was the $80,000 Group 1 New Zealand Trotting FFA on Cup Day in 2013.

Parked for the first 800 metres, Anthony took Peak to the front with 1200 metres to go and in a replay of Ashburton was immediately attacked again by The Fiery Ginga.

Clear as they turned for home, Peak was challenged by a wall of trotters with 100 metres to go and when seemingly beaten got off the canvas to come back and grab the win.

Peak's winning time was 2:26.4, a mile rate of 1:57.7 over the 2000 metres which was just outside the New Zealand record held by I Can Doosit

It was a stunning performance and one that cemented him as one of the favourites for the $250,000 Group 1 Dominion Handicap three days later.

Away well, Peak was shuffled back in the running line before joining the three wide chain at the 800 metres mark.

Sent four wide by Anthony at the 500 metres mark, Peak looked poised to challenge as he ranged up to the leaders with 200 to go but then uncharacteristically broke and lost all chance.

Sore the next morning, Peak has fought soundness issues ever since.

Given a long break, Peak was readied for the 2014 New Zealand Cup meeting but when the pressure went on the soundness problems returned.

Already available to New Zealand trotting breeders as Peak combined training with stud work, Peak has already served over twenty mares this season and with the announcement today of his retirement from the track that number should swell by a lot more before the end of the breeding season.

The Butt brothers have had several champion trotters through their barn over the years with the likes of Lyell Creek 1:52.4 $2,961,137 and Take A Moment 1:56.7 $1,164,356 to name just two but their is no mistaking how highly they rated Peak.

Anthony was effusive in his praise of the son of Ganymede.

“The most clean gaited trotter I have ever driven. He is the perfect trotter with speed, gait , heart and manners. When you ask him to go he goes, and keeps going” he said.

Tim was no less impressed by the abilities of Peak.

“He is such a beautiful horse with a massive heart and superb attitude. He has an unbelievable gait, far superior to any other trotter I have trained. His will to win was his biggest asset,"  he said.

Standing for a fee of $2500 +GST, Peak should get his chance to make it as a sire.

The two other trotters brought in from Europe with Peak have been a mixed bag to date.

Kvintet Avenger had one start in New Zealand before joining the Brent Lilley stable in Victoria where he has looked a trotter on the rise.

In seven starts for Lilley, Kvintet Avenger has had five wins and two placings for $41,388 in stakes and looks headed for the best grades. 

The other import was Sir Lexington who has won one race from six appearances to date but has had a decent spell and bigger things are expected of him when he resumes shortly.

All things considered the Butt brothers should take a lot of heart out of the fact they were able to transport a horse like Peak half way around the world and turn him out a winner at the highest level.

Harnesslink Media

 

 

 

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