The Group Three Hambletonian Classic is next on the agenda for the classy Tim Butt trained three-year-old trotter Thebestlove, who set a new New Zealand record for 3YO trotters at Rangiora today.
“He is a lovely trotter, who I think can go a fair way,” said driver Anthony Butt, after the gelding made it two wins from as many starts. “He has speed, he can stay, and the manners are there also, so he really is the all-round package,” he explained.
Thebestlove had a slight bobble just as the gate got rolling, but Butt said that was more his fault than anything.
“I had him way back off the gate, so he just panicked trying to chase it,” said Butt. “He came down quickly though and actually left the gate really well.
After finding the front, Butt let the son of Love You and Kathy Galleon roll, before increasing the tempo further down the back straight.
“I knew the hardest horse to beat (Lothario) was outside me so I wanted to make sure he worked,” Butt explained.
Thebestlove had two lengths to spare on Lothario at the line, with a further two lengths back to K D Muscles in third.
His time of 2-29.0 (1-59.8) shaved 0.4 of a second off the former three-year-old record of Paramount Geegee, who also set his record at Rangiora.
Through a new incentive brought in at the last Rangiora board meeting, the connections of Thebestlove picked up an extra $3,000 on top of the stake due to the fact he set a New Zealand record, while his breeder also picked up $1,000.
“He is out of a speedy type in Kathy Galleon (6 starts, 3 wins), while his sire Love You should add a bit of toughness,” analyzed Butt.
When asked if there had been any interest in the young trotting talent, Butt said that Thebestlove probably wouldn’t be for sale.
“He is co-owned by the richest man in New Zealand (Graham Beirne),” quipped Butt.
Meanwhile, Butt was very happy when news came through that Mah Sish had drawn number one for Saturday’s $A400,000 Hunter Cup.
“He is generally a really good beginner, so I am very happy with the draw,” he enthused . “We will be doing our best to hold up and won’t be handing to anyone,” he added.
Another to impress at Rangiora today was last season’s 2yo Harness Jewels runner-up Majestic Time (Majestic Son – Time To Shine), who trotted just 1.6 seconds slower than Thebestlove when effortlessly downing his maiden rivals by 2 & ¼ lengths.
He will also compete in the Hambletonian Classic on February 8.
By Mitchell Robertson