Day At The Track

Three wins apiece for Butt brothers

01:21 AM 01 Jun 2019 NZST
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Mollys Purse
Connections were thrilled with Mollys Purse after her Group Two victory at Menangle. Mollys Purse has put the writing on the wall with a comfortable win at only her second start for Armstrong training partnership Danny and Leroy O’Brien

Former champion Kiwi harness racing driver Anthony Butt, now based in Sydney, was bubbling with confidence earlier this week when he got off to a flyer at Tuesday's Menangle meeting, with a Group Two victory.

It was the perfect start and Butt went on to snare three winners - but his day could have been one better.

"If I hadn't pulled the wrong rein later, I could have finished with four winners, but that's the way it goes - I had the choice of drives and went the wrong way," a philosophical Butt said.

The Group Two win was for the Danny and Leroy O'Brien training combination, hailing from a small town near Ararat.

The father and son combination got the chocoloates in the $30,000 NSW Trot 2YO Final with Mollys Purse (Eileen Donon USA-Golly Kosmos (Sierra Kosmos USA) for owner-breeder, Michelle Wonson.

The win was courtesy of Anthony Butt's familiar, well-judged, front-running style driving.

"The first quarter of a tick over 30 secs was okay, and then I was able to back right off with 33.2 and 32.3 splits which set it up nicely for us. She stretched out in 29.3 to the finish line and was quite comfortable," he said.

"We were out there to get the Group win on the board, not to break records, and we achieved that without too many worries."

Starting on the third level of betting at 7/1 behind the more fancied Artzen ($1.95 fav) and Sunny Gee ($2.15), Butt was able to rate Mollys Purse to his liking.

"That was the first time I've driven for them, so it was a bit special and she's a nice little filly who did the job pretty easy," he said.

"They are going to have a lot of fun because she was a little green and she has some growing to do.

"I don't know what the plans are, but perhaps after a few runs, and then a break, she will certainly come back bigger and better."

Anthony Butt's brother, highly respected trainer, Tim, also showed a Midas touch on the day with a treble, preparing the winners of races two, three and six.

Anthony was the driver on two of the Butt stable winners but jumped the wrong way with the third.

The Golden Lion (Peak DNK-Young Monkey), despite not displaying his best manners in the score up, got his act together for James Rattray and won by 11 metres over stablemate Running Free. Mile rate for the 3yo and older trotters' event was 2.01-4.

"It's not much use complaining because I could have driven either, but James is a good friend and as the second stringer, he got the winning drive, so that was nice."

The Butt boys combined in the T2 to T4 Trotters mobile to score on $1.45 fav. Majestic Courtney (Majestic Son-Courtneyrae (Armbro Invasion).

"They are all capable square gaiters and should continue racing well for a while," trainer Tim said.

"I like them a lot so hopefully they keep getting the job done."

Four-year-old mare Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Changeover-Back In The USSR (Presidential Ball) was one of the outsiders at 14/1 in the Christmas In July at Club Menangle Pace, but looked impressive.

Well handled by Anthony for brother Tim, she downed the $2.30 favorite by three metres in 1.56.

The brothers are both based at the Menangle Training Centre with Tim, being a more familiar face having been there over 18 months.

"I've cut back to 25 after getting rid of a few off the bottom rung and recently moved into a new barn," Tim said.

"We had another treble a few weeks ago and I've now trained over fifty for the season so it's shaping up well."

Anthony, who trains with partner Sonya Smith, prepares a relatively smaller team of six or seven to allow him time to take outside driving commitments.

The Inter Dominion Hall of Famer moved to Menangle in October and describes the Menangle track as "very fair".

"By this I mean every horse gets its chance," he said.

"And there's plenty of racing here. There's racing at Menangle twice a week and other country meetings like Penrith if you want to go there.

"We've got a few going around at present, one of the best is Reign On Me, who's a winner of three of his last five."

Anthony has won nearly every major race across Australasia in almost four decades in the sport and first crossed the Tasman in 2014 for a four-year stint in Victoria.

But there's every appearance he's most content these days as a Sydneysider!

"We are finding it far less hectic than Victoria where we were always on the go," he said.

"There was a fair bit of travelling back and forwards and we decided to stay in Sydney because of the racing and lifestyle.

"It's a lot quieter and while you are competing in less races, the stakemoney is just so good."

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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