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The all-conquering harness racing Butt brothers, Tim and Anthony, have wasted no time in making their presence felt in Queensland. And there's sure to be more to come as the Multiple Group One winning pair call the Sunshine State their home for at least the next month during the rich Winter Carnival season. "We plan to have a team of perhaps a dozen between us competing in the carnival at Albion Park and Redcliffe," Anthony said. "Both of us have some special memories from our previous Queensland trips. One of the best was in the 2001 Inter Dominion Trotters Final at Albion Park, which we took out with Take A Moment," he said. Take a Moment was without a doubt one of New Zealand's greatest-ever trotters, the winner of 39 of his 67 starts. In 2009 the Butts also landed the Inter Dominion Pacers' Final with Mr Feelgood at the Parklands circuit on the Gold Coast, and more recently Tim won the Blacks A Fake feature with Let It Ride last year. While Anthony posted a winning driving treble on Saturday night at Brisbane, Tim trained a popular double, which would have pleased punters. "It was nice to kick off in the right direction. We both love the Albion Park track, and personally, it's one of my favorites," Anthony said. The New Zealand Hall-of-Famers combined with Im RocknRoll Magic (RocknRoll Hanover USA-Foreal (Washington VC) in the $12,970 Qualifying Pace and then Majestic Courtney NZ (Majestic Son-Courtneyrae NZ (Armbro Invasion USA) in the $8500 Haras Des Trotters Discretionary Handicap. Anthony Butt scores with Majestic Courtney - (Dan Costello Photo) Anthony was also successful when he picked up the drive for training partners Mark Jones and Aaron Goadsby on their promising three-year-old Barrett (Bettors Delight USA-Priceless Gem (Art Major USA) in the $12,970 Silks Qualifying Pace. The colt recorded his fourth career win in a handy 1.52-7 mile rate, impressing Anthony. "He's a nice type who is only going to get bigger and better. He certainly looks an ideal Queensland Derby prospect," he said. "We were pleased with Tim's winners, particularly the square gaiter Majestic Courtney. He's a four-year-old now, and he's built a picket fence with consecutive wins at his past five - I think he should be in free-for-all class in another 12 months." The Butt brothers will be based in the Logan-Jimboomba district, about an hour south of Brisbane during their Queensland campaign. While Tim is already there, Anthony and partner Sonya Smith will drive up with three horses this week from their base at Camden, near Menangle. "We'll end up with a pretty nice team because All About Dreams and Cheesy Fingers have some class. They'll compete in suitable races with their main goal being the Queensland Oaks," Anthony said. "Unfortunately, we won't have our grand campaigner My Field Marshall with us. After he injured himself in the Miracle Mile, Tim made the decision to give him a long spell," he said. And while the visiting NSW raiders are sure to be busy with preparing and racing their big team, they are all looking forward to the warmer weather. "There were no arguements when the idea was put forward to head north for a while-it's starting to get a little cool back home in Sydney," Anthony said. "I don't think any of us can imagine anything better than getting a little bit of the sunshine on a working holiday!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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

CHAMPION trainer David Aiken might not have had a runner in this year's Miracle Mile, but that didn't stop the former premier NSW trainer from making an impact. Aiken took out the first of the big Group Ones at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight with promising trotter Big Jack Hammer. Now based in Victoria, but operating a satellite stable from Menangle, Big Jack Hammer came with a withering burst to score a neck win over second favourite Tough Monarch ($3.70) with War Dan Destroyer ($3.40 favourite) a further one metre back in third place in the Aquagait Trotters Mile. Ace reinsman Anthony Butt, filling in for Kima Frenning, had Big Jack Hammer perfectly poised one-out and one-back during the run before making his move well into the straight. While Tough Monarch's trainer-driver Rickie Alchin was nervously looking left and right for dangers from back in the field as he moved up to challenge turning for home, Alchin just knew there would be something coming from behind and no sooner had he found the front than Big Jack Hammer gathered him in and went on to score a comfortable victory in a 1:54.7 mile rate. Butt later explained: "We were off the bit and chasing at about the 800m mark but once I got the chance to get him in behind Rickie [Alchin, Tough Monarch] he picked up the bit again and I knew I had them covered." Earlier in the evening All Stars team co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen set the ball rolling for a big night for the stable when she scored an all-the-way win on four-year-old stallion The Bus. Trained by fellow New Zealand trainer Mark Jones, The Bus ($3.60) found the lead quickly from gate four and Rasmussen was able to dictate terms to suit herself with a 56s first half of the mile (splits of 28.7 and 27.3). The champion former Queensland reinswoman was then able to up the ante in the second half with quarters of 28.1s before running home in a slick 26.9s for a 1.7m win over The Wrangler (Kima Frenning) with Redbank Addi (Kate Gath) a further 1.2m back. The winner rated 1.51 and with three wins from his last four, the son of Art Major looks destined for better things. Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au

The defending champion may have an unusual problem in Saturday’s A$1million Ainsworth Miracle Mile.  Because trainer Tim Butt believes the field of hotshots may not go fast enough to suit Australasian mile record holder My Field Marshal.  My Field Marshal came from near last to win a supersonic Miracle Mile last year in an Australasian record 1:46.9, in the ten fastest miles in the history of harness racing.  But while Saturday’s field contains local hero Tiger Tara, New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer and new superstar Poster Boy, Butt is worried the race time could be up to two seconds slower than last year.  And that could leave My Field Marshal struggling when the sprint goes on. “Our horse is a great stayer who loves it when they go the first half (800m) in 54 seconds and he just keeps going,” says Butt.  “But I don’t see it being that sort of mile this time. I think the front line is pretty even on gate speed so the inside ones should be able to hold their spots without too much pressure. “So without that sub-26 opening 400m the horses who settle back can be in trouble and that could be us.  “I am not saying he can’t win but from barrier eight we are going to need to some pressure early and in the middle stages and I am not sure where that is going to come from.” Punters and bookies agree with Butt with the expected move in the TAB market coming for Thefixer, who opened $3.80 after drawing barrier two but is now the $3.50 favourite with the Australian TAB, with Poster Boy out from $3.60 to $3.90.  That comes as the scenario of Thefixer leading with Poster Boy on his back and Tiger Tara having to do the bullying sitting parked becomes the conventional wisdom about Saturday’s great race.  Butt says while he can see the race bring a tricky one for My Field Marshal the flashy stallion is racing as well as when he won the great race last season/  "He went his final 400m very fast very wide last week so I am not worried about his form.  "But the draw does worry. Still, there isn't much I can do about it and that will be Ants's job (brother and driver Anthony)."   Michael Guerin

This Friday night will witness the 106th consecutive running of the WA Pacing Cup since the race was first run on 27th December 1913 as the WA Trotting Cup. Only the New Zealand Cup, which was first run in 1904, has a longer history in terms of races run for pacers anywhere in the world. In fact a couple of trotters started in the WA Cup in the early days when it was a regular occurrence for trotters and pacers to compete against each other. The race was run at Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground track between 1913 and 1928 before moving across the road to the course now known as Gloucester Park where it was first run on 28th December 1929. The 1929 edition of the Cup was won by the New Zealand bred gelding Taurekareka for trainer/driver Dave Michael. The 2019 Tabtouch WA Pacing Cup will be the 90th running of the race at Australia’s premier harness racing track. Tim and Anthony Butt looking to go one better in 2019 In the 2007 WA Pacing Cup the Tim Butt trained and Anthony Butt driven Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karalta and the duo will be looking to go one better this year with their Fremantle Cup winner My Field Marshal. Flashing Red is one of only four New Zealand Cup winners to have started in a WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red won the 2006 and 2007 New Zealand Cup and started in the WA Cup in those same years. Steel Jaw won the New Zealand Cup in 1983 before finishing sixth behind Preux Chevalier in the 1984 WA Cup while Trusty Scot won the 1978 New Zealand Cup before he finished sixth to Pure Steel in the 1979 WA Cup. The first New Zealand Cup winner to contest a WA Cup was the Australian bred Sheik which stunned the Kiwis when he took out the 1924 edition of their flagship race. Sheik finished fifth in the 1929 WA Cup won by Taurekareka and while he didn’t win the Cup he did win three races in Perth before retiring to stud in WA where he sired the mare Queens Gift which took out the 1942 WA Cup. Only two winners of a WA Cup have managed to sire a winner of the WA Cup. The New Zealand bred Bintravis won the race in 1949 and then sired the dual WA Cup winner Radiant Oro which took out the race in 1969 and 1971. The 1938 WA Cup winner Kolect sired the 1941 WA Cup winner Kolrock during a break from his racing career which began in 1932 and ended in 1940. Kolect not only sired a WA Pacing Cup winner but he is the only WA Cup winner produced by a mare which won the Cup. WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame inductee Kola Girl won the 1918 WA Cup and her first foal was Kolect. Kolect was a son of Vin Direct which competed against Kola Girl in the 1925 Australasian Championship at the WACA ground. Vin Direct not only sired a WA Cup winner but he also sired the dam of WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame inductee Beau Don which won the Cup in successive seasons 1952/53 and 1953/54. Maczaffair out to break long drought Still looking for room in the home straight of last Friday’s Fremantle Cup, the connections of the 5yo Mach Three mare Maczaffair will be hoping the additional 400 metres of the 2019 WA Pacing Cup will see a few more openings appear in the last lap this week. Maczaffair has a 47 year hoodoo to overcome as the last mare to win a WA Pacing Cup was Pyramus on 1st January 1972 which incidentally was the last year the race was run as a standing start. Pyramus was the 19th mare to win the State’s major harness race and she was part of a cluster of three wins by mares in six years as she followed the efforts of Color Glo (1967) and Daintys Daughter (1970). After mares won 12 of the first 22 runnings of the Cup (1913 – 1935) there have only been seven mares win the race in the past 82 years. First family of the WA Pacing Cup When Fred Thomas started the Huon Jnr gelding Wally M in the first WA Pacing Cup in 1913 he began what was to become a remarkable family record in the State’s major harness race. Fred and Francis Thomas had eight children, three boys and five girls who grew up surrounded by horses as their father was both a trainer of Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. Fred trained the 1911 Railway Stakes winner Apple Charlotte and in 1920 he trained a WA Pacing Cup winner in Harold Rose. Six of the eight Thomas children either rode or drove winners on the track: Pearl Thomas (b 1899) – won a Lady Riders race at the WACA and later married Athol Robertson who was a prominent trainer/driver and later a WATA Committeeman Charles Thomas (b 1900) – highly successful trainer/driver with 260 winners in Perth including four WA Pacing Cups Ruby Thomas (b 1903) - won a Lady Riders race at the WACA and later married Gordon Bradford who drove some 33 winners in WA Hilda Thomas (b 1905) – outstanding driver of winners at the WACA and an even better equestrienne who won events at the Royal Sydney Show and Perth Royal Show. She married trainer/driver Charles Coulson and their son Phil Coulson drove more than 1100 winners including an Inter Dominion with Binshaw and seven WA Pacing Cups Lella Thomas (b 1908) – didn’t win a race but married Arthur Hough and their son Fred Hough drove 512 winners and trained and drove the champion Frosty Nelson John Thomas (b 1911) – drove some 106 winners including a Fremantle Cup Ivy Thomas (b 1913) - won a Lady Riders race at the WACA Don Thomas (by 1919) – drove 165 winners including a WA Pacing Cup winner in Buller Pass and he later became WATA Chairman of Stewards and officiated at three Inter Dominions between 1962 and 1974. All up the Thomas family trained a total of 22 starters in a WA Pacing Cup for eight winners in Harold Rose (1920 Fred Thomas), Frosty Nelson (1955 Fred Hough), Buller Pass (1959 Don Thomas), Hycraft (1965 Phil Coulson), Lord Mina (1966 Phil Coulson), Color Glo (1967 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1977 Phil Coulson) and Pure Steel (1978 Phil Coulson). Members of the Thomas family had a total of 61 drives in a WA Pacing Cup for a truly remarkable 13 wins comprising Harold Rose (1920 Charlie Thomas), Black Childe (1924 Charlie Thomas), Connie Glo (1935 Charlie Thomas), Lulu Mick (1938 Charlie Thomas), Frosty Nelson (1955 Fred Hough), Buller Pass (1959 Don Thomas), Lord Mina (1966 Phil Coulson), Color Glo (1967 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1977 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1978 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1979 Phil Coulson), Gammalite (1983 Phil Coulson) and Village Kid (1985 Phil Coulson).   Alan Parker

East coast visitor My Field Marshal has taken out another sensational edition of the Retravision-Fremantle Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park last night. The reigning Miracle Mile winner had to survive a number of challenges from some of the Greg and Skye Bond-trained runners throughout the Group 1 event, but was able to fight all of them off. Reinsman Anthony Butt was able to cross Saying Grace from barrier two and find the lead with ease and control the race from there. The first of the Bond runners to make an aggressive move was Vampiro, with reinsman Colin Brown finding the breeze at the end of the first lap. Dylan Egerton-Green then made a move to the breeze with Our Max Phactor and continued to put the pressure on the short-price favourite. The leading chance from the Bond stable Galactic Star then made a three-wide move approaching the bell for reinsman Ryan Warwick and looked to be travelling strongly. My Field Marshal was able to hold off Galactic Star in the closing stages though and win by a metre to Galactic Star, while Vultan Tin was third. Saying Grace finished fourth, but appeared to have little luck in the home straight. El Jacko’s reinsman Nathan Turvey was suspended for 23 days for his drive in the $300,000 event. My Field Marshal 1.55.6 for the feature event and ran home in 58.0. The seven-year-old will now look to complete a clean sweep of the WA feature events when he lines up in next week’s $450,000 TABtouch-WA Pacing Cup (2936m). He also took out the Village Kid Pace a fortnight ago. Elsewhere on the night, Im Full Of Excuses took out the Listed Free-For-All event, producing a tough performance when three-wide for much of the last lap. Reinsman Gary Hall Jnr recorded a winning double with Bronze Seeker and impressive three-year-old Dracarys.   Tim Walker

When Anthony Butt guided My Field Marshal to victory over Galactic Star and Vultan Tin in last night’s $300,000 Retravision Group One Fremantle Cup he continued the remarkable record in the race for one of the most under-rated sires in the Southern Hemisphere. My Field Marshal is the second foal from the three-time Group One winning mare Foreal, a daughter of the imported American stallion Washington VC which is currently standing his 19th season at Brydone, just north of Edendale (population 600) in the deep south of New Zealand. Washington VC is well known in Perth having sired five successive Fremantle Cup winners in the nine runnings of the race before last night courtesy of Im Themightyquinn (2010, 2011 & 2012), Dasher VC (2013) and Im Victorious (2014). His Fremantle Cup winning record rose to six in ten years last night with his first broodmare siring credit courtesy of My Field Marshal. Washington VC has never stood anywhere other than at Keith and Tracey Norman’s Bryleigh Stud and semen from the stallion is rarely if ever made available for transport. In fact there are just two Australian bred progeny of Washington VC – both foals from mares imported in foal to the stallion. The Norman’s loyalty to their stallion has seen them refuse approaches from Australia to move the stallion across the Tasman. The Norman’s love the son of Presidential Ball with a passion and it is little wonder as the 391 winners he has sired to date have between them won a remarkable 28 Group One races. Unlike a lot of the high profile stallions brought to the Southern Hemisphere from North America, Washington VC could best be described as moderately performed with a record of eight wins from a 30 start career with earnings of $560,984. His biggest win came in the Adios Stake as a 3yo but he clearly has the invisible genetic marker that differentiates between good and great sires and his first crop of 79 foals, born in 2001, produced 30 individual winners including Foreal – the dam of My Field Marshal. Foreal won both a NSW Oaks and Great Northern Oaks before winning a NSW Ladyship Mile on her way to 18 wins and stakes of $664,800. Washington VC stands for a moderate $3,000 plus GST but if West Australians want to access this remarkable sire then be prepared to ship your mare to the Southland of New Zealand and to buy them a heavy rug before they go.   Alan Parker

Star Sydney pacer My Field Marshal has stamped his claims as the one to beat for next month’s feature Cups double, following a scintillating win in the Village Kid Pace (1730m) at Gloucester Park last night. This year’s Miracle Mile winner showed his dazzling burst of speed when the arms folded back to find the front with ease and reinsman Anthony Butt was able to control the race from there. Butt was able to back the speed off after running a slick first quarter of 27.7, before running home in 56.3 to score by 5m. Our Max Phactor and Runrunjimmydunn both turned in big performances in second and third respectively to enhance their claims of getting a start in both the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. Mr Mojito, who was vying for favouritism for much of the week with My Field Marshal, got too far back in the run and finished last. Trainer Tim Butt, who is also the brother of Anthony, said he was pleased to see My Field Marshal perform well at his first shot at the tight Gloucester Park circuit. “He handled the track great, particularly at the start,” he said. “Once you’re in the lead here over the mile, it’s pretty hard to run them down. “It’s a different kettle of fish once you get to the staying races, but we’ve started how we wanted to.” Butt said My Field Marshal would take plenty of improvement from the $50,000 event and said the seven-year-old would be the one to beat in both in the upcoming Group 1 races. “He’s had a bit of a hard week,” he said. “He had to float down to Melbourne and fly over here after running 1.50 on the Monday (December 17). “My Field Marshal has got a great record against Tiger Tara, so we’re not too worried about him coming. “We’re progressing well and we’re happy.” Meanwhile, El Jacko has staked his claims to get a spot in both Pacing Cups, after he upstaged stablemate Saying Grace in the JP’s Sportsbar Pace (2130m). Saying Grace was forced to settle in the breeze after the mishap at the start, which allowed El Jacko to sit on his back and get the perfect trail into the race. Reinsman Nathan Turvey was able to urge El Jacko past leader Maczaffair in the closing stages and win by 5m. It was the first leg of a double for Turvey, who teamed up with Carter Micheal later in the night. The other feature event of the evening was the Group 3 Coulson Final for the fillies and mares, which was taken out by the Mike Reed-trained and Mark Reed-driven Our Angel Of Harlem. The four-year-old was able to hold the front from barrier one and was never troubled from there, as she made it four wins from six starts this campaign. The Reed’s enjoyed further success later in the program when Golden State broke through for a well-deserved win in the Follow Gloucester Park On Facebook Pace. It was Golden State’s first start since the Golden Nugget a fortnight ago and he relished the drop back in class last night. Stefsbest was also coming out of the Golden Nugget on December 14 and he was also able to lead all of the way from barrier one. In the final event of the evening, Patrickthepiranha made it five wins in a row against a star-studded field of three-year-olds, including Golden Slipper winner and hot favourite Franco Edward. Patrickthepiranha was able to get to the front from barrier four and score a comfortable victory to his stablemate Its Rock And Roll.   Tim Walker

Yabby Dam racing's Beau Garcon's strong win in the Group 3 Breeders Crown 2YO Silver Trot was the icing on the cake for his sire Orlando Vici's impressive first season crop Down Under. With big race driver Anthony Butt in the sulky, Beau Garcon, took over the lead a lap out, stared down race favourite Alpha Male's challenge, and when he broke under pressure down the back straight, strode away from the field to win easing up to win by 14 metres from Yabby Dam Racing stablemate Hallaboutme. Trained by Anton Golino at Cardigan, Beau Garcon was Orlando Vici's third individual winner, from an Australian crop of 11 foals, with no less than six making the races, and, with his only New Zealand colt included, four making the Breeders Crown finals last weekend.  Trainer Anton Golino and Driver Anthony Butt, pictured with Beau Garçon Orlando Vici has been a standout sire in Europe, a consistent top ten stallion in France and a top five stallion in Sweden, whose progeny have won age-group black type in six nations and whose durability, is shown by his veteran son Un Mec d'Heripre capturing the Cagnes-sur-Mer GP des Alpes-Maritimes in the past week at the age of 10. Beau Garcon is a product of all- French breeding, with his imported dam Glenferrie Unixa having produced group winners with her first two foals, her previous offspring being the multi-Group one winning filly Une Belle Allure, who completed the Victoria Trotters Derby and Oaks double last season.   Dave Sanders  

IT has been a while between drinks, but Dexter Dunn will be out to an extend his unbeaten run aboard Let It Ride in Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park. Dunn drove the Tim Butt-trained pacer to win his first four starts – all at Addington – but hasn’t taken the reins since. The most recent of those wins was on March 31, last year. But Dunn was more than happy when told Anthony Butt had opted to stick with My Field Marshal as his drive in the Blacks A Fake, meaning Dunn would be aboard Let It Ride. “I’d have been happy to drive either horse. It was great to get the call-up from Tim,” Dunn said. “I actually went across this time last year to Brisbane and finished second on My Field Marshal in the Sunshine Sprint. “But Let It Ride is an exciting horse. I know Tim’s always had a big opinion of him and he’s taking him along really well. “He’s been racing well, has the good draw and Tim obviously thinks he’s ready to step-up to a race like this.” Dunn said this would be “about my seventh or eight trip to Albion Park” and his most recent major win came aboard Terry Chmiel’s filly Nek Time in the 2016 Queensland Oaks.   Adam Hamilton

EVEN rival reinsmen could not believe their eyes. The short-priced favourite for today’s TAB.com.au Len Smith Mile was gone as soon as the starter let them go. Soho Tribeca went into a full stretch gallop just as the mobile arm let them go and suddenly this whole Group One feature completely changed complexion. My Field Marshall found the front but his reinsman Anthony Butt had no hesitation handing up the front to Cruz Bromac (Chris Geary) in that frantic run to the first turn. After that the young man who is regarded as one of the finest young horsemen in the land, Geary was able to dictate terms to suit himself and Cruz Bromac did the rest. His trainer Kevin Pizzuto later relayed how confident he was going into the Len Smith Mile: “He worked so well when I fast-worked him yesterday morning I actually told the owner he was a moral,” grinned Pizzuto. “As a matter of fact we were so confident we probably won more on the punt then the race was worth so it’s been a pretty good result all around.” Owner Denis Zavitsanos also paid tribute to Pizzuto: “He’s only had the horse for less than a month and he’s already taken him to the next level,” said the part-owner. photo by Ashlea Brennan Photography Geary was also stoked after scoring the biggest win of his fledgling career: “The owners could have more an older more experienced driver on him but they stuck by me and I have to give them a big thank you for trusting me with such an important drive,” he said. “Kevin said the horse was going really well and he’d have him ready to win and he’s rarely wrong.” After coming out of the gate in 26.4s, Geary was able to back the speed off with a fairly leisurely middle half of 57.2s (splits of 28.9 and 28.3) which meant the son of Falcon Seelster was able to dash home in 26.4s for a 1:50.1 mile. Cruz Bromac finished up scoring a four and a half metre win over My Field Marshall, who tried hard but couldn’t run him down after getting clear late in the straight, while Mach Doro was a strong third, just ahead of Gotta Go Ya Hu. And another feature race was headed home to one of Australia’s most successful stables – the Kevin Pizzuto barn. As for Soho Tribeca? He trailed home a long last.   Mandy Madern     6 3:26pm TAB.COM.AU LEN SMITH MILE (GROUP 1) 1609M $100,000 RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Fr6 7 Kevin Pizzuto Chris Geary   $ 25.90   GS L QUER SWAB   BAY GELDING 6 by FALCON SEELSTER USA out of CROWN DEFENDER (NZ) (LIFE SIGN USA)  Owner(s): D Zavitsanos, P M O'Shea, Z D O'Shea, J Zavitsanos, W R Viney  Breeder(s): Bromac Lodge Ltd 2 MY FIELD MARSHAL NZ      Fr1 1 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 4.60 $ 5.40   PRBT SWAB 3 MACH DORO      Fr3 3 Craig Cross Luke McCarthy 7.60 $ 23.80   PRBT HUE SWAB 4 GOTTA GO YA HU NZ      Fr5 6 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lachie Manzelmann 7.90 $ 79.60   PRBT D/F$400 UW 5 CELESTIAL ARDEN NZ      Fr4 5 KerryAnn Turner Robert Morris 8.90 $ 28.80   RAS 6 TACT TATE NZ      Fr7 8 Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 9.60 $ 33.80   RAS 7 MAJORDAN      Fr9 10 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 11.70 $ 12.30   PRBT 3WE WF QUERP VXAR NAR 8 FRANCO NELSON NZ      Fr10 11 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 12.50 $ 18.40   RAS 9 MATCH IN HEAVEN      Fr8 9 Paul Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 14.70 $ 48.70   PRBT 10 SOHO TRIBECA      Fr2 2 Michael Stanley Michael Stanley 375.90 $ 1.40 fav  PRBT HOSU GO WI VXAR CR SD7D SDVC Scratchings   CHARLAVAL 4 ULTIMATE ART 12 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:50:1 Mile Rate: 1:50:1 First Quarter: 26.4 Second Quarter: 28.9 Third Quarter: 28.3 Fourth Quarter: 26.5 Margins: 4.6m x 3.0m  

The unofficial queen of Port Pirie Kate Gath returns home on Sunday to take part in the annual Elders Insurance Mid North Drivers Invitation. The entire six-race Port Pirie program are invitation races featuring a host of top drivers from across Australia. Wayne and Danielle Hill along with Jayden Brewin will represent South Australia competing against Victorians Michael Bellman, Anthony Butt and Kate Gath. Western Australia has Nathan Turvey and Shannon Suvaljko, Queensland’s rep is Pete McMullen and Chris Geary from New South Wales completes the invitation field. Gath tied with Ryan Hryhorec in the 2013 Elders Insurance Invitation and won outright in 2016.  Anthony Butt is a previous winner having scored in 2015. The 2018 version looks tight with no standout having scored the best of the drives, but Gath does look to have a good chance of taking out the series. She will partner the Heather Stevens-trained Bettorhavtime in heat one over 1609m which from gate two should get a good run and looks an each-way hope and an excellent chance of running into the placings. Gath drives Timansi for Greg Sims in heat three over 2050m and a place would appear the best hope. The Dale Afford-trained Cheersbigears is her drive in heat four over 2050 metres and again the gelding looks a place chance at best in a tough heat. Top Port Pirie trainer Lyndon Hall has Two Kays in heat five over 2050 metres. The three-year-old filly has failed to flatter in seven starts and is resuming from a break.  Two Kays did show improvement in a recent Port Pirie trial and might surprise. Gath will partner the Les Harding-trained The Shooting Star in the sixth and final event. The Shooting Star will come from gate five in a field of six where the Claire Goble-trained Clarenden Valour looks her strongest rival. Clarenden Valour will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, currently Western Australia’s leading reinsman. Suvaljko has a number of handy drives in the Elders Insurance series and must be considered as a possible victor. His other drives are Goodtime Scout (heat one), Hez Declan (heat three), Quadentate (heat four) and Little Growl (heat five). See how form expert Ben Harding has analyzed the Elders Insurance Mid North heats at trotsguide.com.au with comments, selections and speed maps for all six races. Graham Fischer

THE record-breaking Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal may not even start favourite in a ho-hum Menangle free-for-all on Saturday night. That’s because he is locking horns with NSW’s buzz pacer of the moment, Majordan, and the new kid on the block has a better draw and looks the leader. Majordan, who has gate 10 compared to My Field Marshal’s barrier 11, could not have been more impressive winning his past three starts for new trainer Kevin Pizzuto. The five-year-old followed 1min48.9sec and 1min49.4sec mile wins at Menangle with a demolition job in last Saturday night’s Newcastle Mile. Majordan won by 20m in a scorching 1min51.4sec mile, which took 0.8sec off Avonnova’s race and track record from two years earlier. “And think about the fact he ran that time on a cold night compared to the Newcastle Mile usually being run in summer as a lead-up to the Miracle Mile,” driver Luke McCarthy said. “I can assure you he had plenty left. He could’ve gone quicker, much quicker if I’d asked him.” With McCarthy committed to his own horse Mach Doro (gate nine) this week and his brother, Andy, still away in Europe, Pizzuto has opted for Mat Rue to drive Majordan on Saturday night. Rue, 28, is best known for driving the then Belinda and Luke McCarthy-trained Baby Bling to win the 2013 Miracle Mile. Anthony Butt takes the reins on My Field Marshal, who is sure to be fitter and sharper for a workmanlike first-up Menangle win against a moderate bunch last Saturday night in a relatively cosy 1min52.4sec mile. My Field Marshal has the class and form at the top level, but Majordan has stirred huge excitement and Pizzuto has declared him serious Miracle Mile material. Throw in a handy support crew with the in-form Mach Doro and Match In Heaven and this should be a fascinating pointer to the $100,000 Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on June 24. Adam Hamitlon

This is no pipedream.  Victorian dairy farmers John and Mary Meade are poised to snap-up an invitation to tackle the world’s best trotters in New York later this year with stable star Sparkling Success.  Harness Racing Australia’s CEO Andrew Kelly delivered the invitation for the $1.3 million Yonkers International Trot on behalf of the New York track this week.  Most thought it would be a bridge too far for the Meade’s, but no so.  “We want to go. And we are going at this stage,” Mary Meade said. “As John said, we’ll never get another chance like this.  “And we have family in the US. Our son and his family live in Virginia and are so excited about us having our horse racing over there.”  Sparkling Success, winner of the Great Southern Star three starts back, has one more target this campaign before sights are set on the US trip.  That’s tomorrow (Saturday) night’s $100,000 Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix (2240m) at Melton.  Sparkling Success will need to show better manners than when he broke early as a hot favourite, but recovered remarkably well for a huge third in last week’s Knight Pistol Trot at Cranbourne.  “It was his first run at Cranbourne and people told us that corner he broke on is a bit notorious,” Mary said. “We thought his run was fantastic after the break and he seems very well this week.”  Sparkling Success is a $1.70 favourite on the Aussie TAB despite drawing outside the front (gate seven). “After this he’s out for a break and then comes back to prepare for the US trip,” Mary said.  Anthony Butt, who boasts plenty of US experience through the likes of Lyell Creek and Under Cover Lover, has spoken in-depth with the Meades about the trip.  “Anthony has been great. He thinks we need at least a couple of lead-up runs here and we must get to the US at least a month before the race to acclimatise, so that’s the plan,” Mary said.  “We aren’t allowed to race there before the big race, but we can afterwards if we choose.  “So we’ll get across early to settle in and maybe trial him.”   Adam Hamilton

Transplanted Kiwi trainer Tim Butt is hoping for a near two-minute commercial for his new Sydney training base to be beamed Australasia-wide on Saturday night — called the Miracle Mile. Butt stunned the local harness racing industry last year when he left his native Canterbury for the outskirts of Sydney, where he now has 12 horses in work including Miracle Mile blowout hope My Field Marshal. He and wife Andrea have no regrets about the move as Menangle provides localised racing without great travelling, a chance to tap into Australian riches and hopes of building a new ownership base. "And I'd always wanted to live in Australia, and I thought you only live once so why not," says Butt.   While his team is ticking over nicely, more horses — and more good horses — are always welcome and a Miracle Mile win would be an advert for the stable like no other. "It would obviously be the dream result. We are going all right but you can't buy that level of exposure. "And I think we have a chance, the way the race is shaping up." My Field Marshal has been set for the mile and ignored the sapping distance races like the Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup, with his history of two wind operations suggesting sprinting is more his go. He won the Len Smith Mile, usually a mini Miracle Mile, at Menangle last year by sitting off a hot speed, something which looks likely again on Saturday night. "I think they will go hard and we could be trailing, three deep or in the one-one behind a horse like Soho Tribeca," says Butt. "And that would give us a chance. He may not be as good as Lazarus but he may not have to be with him drawn eight. "I also have Ants (brother Anthony) driving and that is always a plus in a group one race so we will get our chance." While many rival trainers are buoyed by Lazarus's defeat last week and barrier on Saturday, Butt is not so confident the champ is ripe for the beating. "I have had those top horses before with a bug and they get beat because they are a fraction off their peak form but then they can bounce back very quickly. "Mark is a great trainer and if he gets him back to his best this week and they go really hard early then I still think he can win. His last 100m last Saturday we very good, very brave." My Field Marshal has been one of the few roughies heavily backed this week, being as long as $23 with some bookies after the draw but only $10 with the NZ TAB fixed odds now. Michael Guerin

Next stop is the Victoria Derby heats for Australia’s buzz three-year-old Lumineer. The colt made it two wins from as many starts this campaign and stretched his unbeaten record to seven runs with another dominant display in last Friday night’s $20,000 VHRSC 3YO Classic (2240m) at Melton. He was surprisingly eased to the rear at the start from gate four, but driver Jason Lee made a lightning midrace move around them to take the front and won as he liked by 10.4m in a cosy 1min57.4sec mile rate. Lumineer ripped home in 55sec and 27.1sec under his own steam. “He can get fired up, so we didn’t want to use him off the gate this early in his campaign. Jason said he relaxed well coming back off the gate and then got the lead easily when he made his move,” trainer Ange McDowall said. “We know he’s got the gate speed when want to use it, but you don’t want to everu time with a horse who can get a bit keen.” McDowall said the run definitely sharpened-up Lumineer again. “He still had a good blow afterwards, so I’m glad he got a good hitout and we’ve had the two lead-in runs to the (Derby) heats.” The Derby heats are at Ballarat on Saturday week with the final at Melton on January 27. Although unbeaten Kiwi Chase Auckland won’t be there, McDowall still knows the enormity of the task ahead. “There are so many nice three-year-olds around. Poster Boy came back with a good win, I like the Queensland horse Colt Thirty One a lot and then there are the Kiwis as well,” she said. Poster Boy, regarded as Emma Stewart’s top Derby hope, opened his season with a soft Bendigo win last Saturday night. It proved little after he found the lead cheaply and only dashed-up the last 400m in 27.8sec to win by 9.6m.   _____________________________________________________________________________   It's been a golden few weeks for Brent Lilley. And it’s been a couple his veterans leading the charge in Kyvalley Blur across in NZ and now Messini back home. Messini landed yet another major win, this time as an outsider, when he outstayed a handy field in last Saturday night’s $60,000 Group 2 Bendigo Cup (2650m) in a 1min57.7sec mile rate. It was a fascinating race which sparked plenty of post-race stewards’ questions when favourites Ideal For Real and Moonrock duelled for the front for 400m. The effort took its toll on both with Moonrock finishing fourth and Ideal For Real, first-up for 16 months, wilting very badly to finishing last. Stewards queried Gavin Lang and Anthony Butt’s tactics on Ideal For Real and Moonrock respectively.   _____________________________________________________________________________   Popular Victorian driver Chris Svanosio confidently and correctly predicted his first Group 1 win at Bendigo. Svanosio spoke glowingly about Sparkling Success’ chances in a pre-race on-track interview and the John Meade trotter delivered with a dominant win in a scorching track record 1min53.9sec in the Group 1 Maori Mile. “He’s always shown so much potential and he’s really matured now,” Svanosio said. “That was some sort of win.” Reigning Great Southern Star champ Glenferrie Typhoon led in slick times, but looked under pressure when he broke and Sparkling Success powered clear. Sparkling Success won by 6.9m over Sonya Smith’s talented former Kiwi trotter Hey Yo with Vincennes in third spot.   _____________________________________________________________________________   It will be interesting to see whether NSW trainer Darren Elder heads to the Victoria Derby heats with Bright Energy. The emerging son of Western Terror impressively won the Group 3 Simpson Memorial at Menangle last Saturday night, which is a tradtional lead-up race for NSW-based raiders ahead of the Victoria Derby. It was a hotly contested 1min52sec mile with Shane Tritton’s Divine State bowling along front, before tiring late for fourth. Mark Jones’ Kiwi pacer Life Lavros was backed into favourite, but worked hard and dropped-out to finish last. The hardluck story was Amanda Turnbull’s lighly-raced War Dan – a brother to Victoria Cup winner Caribbean Blaster – who ran into plenty of traffic issues in sixth spot.   _____________________________________________________________________________   Tim Butt’s Menangle stable continues to build momentum. Veteran former Scandinavian trotter Daryl Boko returned to his best form for the the most dominant of wins at Menangle last Saturday night. Despite sitting parked for driver Chris Geary, the eight-year-old powered clear to win by 10.5m in a 1min55.2sec mile.   _____________________________________________________________________________   So who is the stable star of the powerhouse KerryAnn Turner/Robbie Morris barn? Aztec Bromac grabbed the tag with a hugely successful Queensland spring campaign, but Charlaval has clearly gone to the next level in recent weeks. Fresh from upstaging Bling It On at Bathurst on Boxing Night, Charlaval dominantly won the Menangle free-for-all in a slick 1min51.3sec mile last Saturday night. Classy Kiwi pacer No Doctor Needed, back for another stint with Paul Fitzpatrick, caught the eye with a terrific second placing.   Adam Hamilton

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