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Champion horseman Tim Butt, who has prepared more grand circuit winners than any other harness racing trainer in Australasia, is poised to set more records when his brilliant seven-year-old My Field Marshal contests the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 51-year-old New Zealand-born Butt, who relocated from Christchurch to Menangle in New South Wales early last year, is confident that My Field Marshal will prove the best stayer and win the testing 2936m mobile group 1 classic in the stallion’s first attempt over a distance beyond 2700m. “He’s fantastic and has come through his wins in the Village Kid Sprint and Fremantle Cup absolutely terrific,” he said. Asked if the 2936m was a concern, Butt said: “It’s only 400m longer than last week’s Cup and I couldn’t be happier with the barrier draw (No. 3 on the front line).” Queried about the likely driving tactics to be employed by his elder brother Anthony, he said: “We haven’t done the form yet, but we’ve got options from that draw. “The horse hasn’t done a lot since he led and won the Fremantle Cup. He had a hoppled run this morning (Tuesday) and I just ticked him over like I normally do. He’s bright and he loves it here.” The Butt brothers are full of hope that they will be able to go one better than they did when Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karita in the 2007 WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red, second favourite at 3/1 from barrier five, raced wide early and three wide again in the middle stages before working hard in the breeze. He fought on doggedly behind Tealsby Karita, the 11/4 favourite who made most of the running. “Flashing Red was a great horse and a great stayer, but My Field Marshal has got a bit more brilliance,” Tim Butt said. If My Field Marshal is successful this week, it will give the famous Butt family a special record, with the first set of brothers training a WA Pacing Cup winner. Roddy Butt, the youngest of the three Butt brothers, prepared Justaboyden, who was driven by Fred Kersley jnr and produced one of the most spectacular bursts of speed in a Pacing Cup when he was ninth at the 400m and sprouted wings to charge to the front at the 250m mark and career away to beat Southern Knight by more than three lengths in the big race in 1995. The WA Pacing Cup was first run in 1913 and the inaugural Fremantle Cup was in 1928 and, if successful, My Field Marshal will become only the eighth pacer to have won the WA Pacing Cup-Fremantle Cup double in the one season, a feat that has been performed by Black Bertha (1942), Pure Steel (1980), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Baltic Eagle (2003), Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012) and Chicago Bull (2017). My Field Marshal, bred and owned by Syd and Shona Brown (who also bred and owned the horse’s dam Foreal, a winner of 18 races and $664,800 in stakes. My Field Marshal has earned $1,324,712 from 26 wins and 21 placings from 61 starts, has won six group 1 features --- the Taylor Mile and Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park, the Four-Year-Old Emerald at Cambridge (in successive starts in 2016), the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 2017, the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 on the same track last February and last week’s Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. Anthony Butt, who will return to Perth from Sydney on Friday, was full of praise for My Field Marshal after the horse’s exciting all-the-way victory in the 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night, saying: “To lead and cop that pressure just shows what a great horse he is. He did a mighty job; he had to burn out of the gate and then never got any peace. “He kept running fast quarters and it was a great effort. It won’t be easy this week when I’m sure it will again be a truly-run affair. But he has got that class on his side and no matter what race he’s in, he’s always hard to beat.” Tim Butt said that My Field Marshal would not contest the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 and that the horse’s main mission after the WA Pacing Cup would be the Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 3. “My Field Marshal will return to Sydney next Wednesday and he’ll probably have one lead-up run before the Miracle Mile.” With My Field Marshal starting from barrier three on Friday night, Anthony Butt will be ready to make snap decisions after the mobile barrier releases the quality field of 12 runners. He knows that Maczaffair (barrier one) and Rocknroll Lincoln (two) will come out flying in bids to take the early lead. Whether the speedy My Field Marshal can burst straight to the front is highly problematical. Sharing the Butt camp’s confidence is Mike Reed, the trainer of Maczaffair, and Gary Hall Jnr, who will be in the sulky behind the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln. Maczaffair is the only mare in the field and Reed is bullish about her prospects of becoming the first of her sex to win the WA Pacing Cup since Pyramus beat Chief Attain and Sir Alex in 1972. She will again be handled by Reed’s son Mark, who was most impressed with her effort when an unlucky sixth in the Fremantle Cup, only one and a half lengths behind the winner. She was ninth at the bell and was badly blocked for a clear passage before flying home along the pegs in the final few strides. Maczaffair, the winner of five group feature events, showed her class against all-male opposition when second to Ultimate Machete in the group 1 2536m Golden Nugget championship in December 2017. Hall, who has driven the winner of seven WA Pacing Cups, said that Rocknroll Lincoln was travelling strongly and was a sound winning chance before being badly checked approaching the home turn in the Fremantle Cup. Rocknroll Lincoln broke into a gallop and finished 11th. Hall said that the 2936m journey this week would not worry Rocknroll Lincoln. “Barrier two looks good on paper and he’s got genuine gate speed,” he said. “If we get to the front, and I think he can, I won’t consider handing up.” Galactic Star, a gallant second in the Fremantle Cup, is in peak form and must be considered, despite drawing awkwardly at barrier seven. Ryan Warwick looks certain to opt out of any early speed battle and is likely to drive conservatively before deciding when to send the six-year-old forward. Galactic Star raced in eighth position in the one-wide line in the Fremantle Cup before Warwick sent the gelding forward, with a three-wide, burst approaching the bell. He sustained the effort and his performance was full of merit. Galactic Star is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who will also be represented in the Cup by Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green), Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Aiden de Campo) and Saying Grace (Chris Lewis). El Jacko and Saying Grace will start from the back line and have sound place prospects after unlucky runs in the Fremantle Cup in which El Jacko, a smart sit-sprinter, was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit before going across the line, full of running, in seventh position. Saying Grace, who trailed the pacemaking My Field Marshal throughout, went to the line, bolting under lock and key, in fourth place. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the WA Pacing Cup a record 11 times, is pinning his faith on Runrunjimmydunn, who will be driven by Clint Hall from barrier five. Runrunjimmydunn fought on from tenth in the middle stages to be a sound fifth in the Fremantle Cup. The WA-bred Vultan Tin, trained in Coolup by Phil Costello, is the only non-New Zealand-bred runner in the race. He will be driven by Chris Voak and will start from the outside of the back line. Vultan Tin was seventh at the bell in the Fremantle Cup before finishing fast, out six wide, to be an eye-catching third. Ace trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Saab for his WA Pacing Cup victory in 1999, has engaged Shannon Suvaljko to drive Im Full of Excuses from the awkward No. 6 barrier. Im Full of Excuses bounced back to form and ended a 22-month drought when he charged home with as three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to win narrowly from Gotta Go Gabbana in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night. He will again be at long odds this week.   Ken Casellas

Mister Bushido, a lightly-raced six-year-old, will make his Australian debut when he starts from barrier six on the front line in the $20,000 TABtouch Race Replays Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He arrived in Perth from New Zealand just over four months ago and is being prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr for his breeders and owners Syd and Shona Brown, who race champion pacer and Fremantle Cup favourite My Field Marshall. Mister Bushido was trained in New Zealand by Tim Butt, who said that the Bettors Delight gelding’s strength was his ability to produce a powerful finishing burst. “He’s a pretty handy sort of horse, is good and honest and should pay his way here,” said Butt. “He’s probably more of a finisher late in the race.” Mister Bushido, who will be driven by Stuart McDonald, has not been produced at trials. His latest appearance was in a 1980m event at Addington on August 17 last year when he was trained and driven by Jonny Cox. He was restrained from barrier seven, raced in seventh position and went five wide on the home turn before finishing sixth in a field of eight behind the brilliant pacer Ana Malak. His most recent win in a career of 21 starts for four wins and five placings was six starts ago when he rated 1.55.5 in beating Joey Maguire by a half-head over 1950m at Addington. It was a most impressive victory. He started from barrier 14 the outside of the back line and was a $23.80 outsider. He was 12th at the bell and 11th with 600m to travel before he charged home, out six wide, to get up and win in the final stride. He won at his previous start, also over 1950m at Addington, when he was restrained at the start from barrier eight, was eighth at the bell and seventh on the home bend before surging home, four wide, to get up and beat the favourite Cindy Bromac by a neck, rating 1.57.6, with a final; quarter in 27.7sec. Mister Bushido’s chief rivals on Friday night appear to be his stablemate Liberty Rose and the Colin Joss-trained eight-year-old Lagoon Stride. Liberty Rose was an odds-on favourite last Friday night when she started from the No. 2 barrier, set the pace, but was kept under pressure by Mary Catherine, who overraced in the breeze. She wilted after final quarters of 27.6sec. and 28.1sec. to finish third behind the fast-finishing Lady De La Renta and Mary Catherine. Liberty Rose is sure to enjoy a much more comfortable run this week and will take plenty of beating. Lagoon Stride has not been successful for 34 months, but he should pay to follow after he set the pace and refused to give in when a fighting second to Bronze Seeker over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week.   Ken Casellas

The Barrier Draw has been conducted for the 2019 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup worth $450,000 at Gloucester Park this Friday night. Last week’s Fremantle Cup winner and Australasia’s fastest pacer, My Field Marshal has once again fared well, drawing barrier three. The Tim Butt trained star should retain favouritism to win the big Western Australian double. The Justin Prentice trained and Gary Hall Jr driven Rocknroll Lincoln will start from an ideal barrier in two with the only mare in the field Maczaffair drawing the coveted rails ally. Once again, despite having six runners, the Greg and Skye Bond Stable were without luck with the majority of their runners drawing the outside of the front line. Galactic Star in seven, Vampiro in eight and Our Jimmy Johnstone out in nine, with El Jacko inside of the back line (10) and Saying Grace on his immediate outside in barrier eleven. Popular local pacer, Vultan Tin has drawn the outside of the back line in barrier 12.   The Barrier draw for the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup for 2019 is as follows; Maczaffair Rocknroll Lincoln My Field Marshal Our Max Phactor Runrunjimmydunn Im Full Of Excuses Galactic Star Vampiro Our Jimmy Johnstone El Jacko Saying Grace Vultan Tin Gotta Go Gabbana (1st Emg) Mitch Maguire (2nd Emg) The first race scheduled for 5.50pm WA time, with the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing set to jump as race five at 7.55 WA time. There is live trackside entertainment all night and tables are still available for bookings in our premier restaurant The Beau Rivage. To book contact Gloucester Park on 9323 3530.  Gloucester Park

The Southern Bred Southern Reared breeding group received a real boost on Friday night when two horses bred by the group quinellaed the Group One $300,000 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park in Perth. My Field Marshal bred by Syd and Shona Brown of Mosgiel won the race by 1.2 metres, beating Galactic Star which was bred by Tuapeka Lodge in Lawrence. Some talk beforehand asserted that My Field Marshal wasn’t a true stayer but part owner Syd Brown was quick to dismiss it. And the Art Major entire proved that he can definitely stay, giving a dominating performance in front. “People make talk like that. You ask any good trainer or driver they’ll tell you that a sub 1-50 mile horse (like My Field Marshal) can’t do that (run a fast mile) unless they can stay,” he said. Trained by ex-pat Tim Butt and driven by his brother Anthony, Brown says their comments after the run were very positive. “They were thrilled. They did expect him to improve on his first run up and they’re confident that he can improve on that run again.” The win was My Field Marshal’s twenty sixth, elevated his stakes to close to 1.5 million dollars and he gets a chance to add to that tally in this Friday’s $450,000 Group One West Australia Cup on the same track. Brown has a three quarter brother to My Field Marshal entered in next month’s NZB Standardbred Yearling Sale in Christchurch. He’s by Art Major out of Washington VC mare Ednalea which is a full-sister to Foreal the dam of My Field Marshal. “He’s just a strong Art Major colt. He’s not too big, not too small and he’s very wide in the front with a good strong head but people need to look at that themselves rather than hear an owner tell them that.” SBSR horses have won the Fremantle Cup three times in the last four years with Chicago Bull winning the race in 2017 and Beaudiene Boaz in 2016. Another SBSR horse I’m Themightyquinn won the race in 2011. Im Themightyquinn in 2011 and Chicago Bull in 2017 won the prized Gloucester Park double: the Fremantle and West Australia Cup. Meanwhile former Southlander Graham Cooney bred two of the winners at the Bay Of Plenty Harness meeting at Te Aroha yesterday. Cooney now resides in Tauranga and he bred Misty Memory and Comic Book Hero which are both out of Deja Vous. Both horses were originally trained by Hamish Hunter at Ryal Bush. He won two races with each horse. Comic Book Hero is now trained by Ray Darby at Patumahoe while Misty Memories is trained at Tuapaki by Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins.   Bruce Stewart

Champion trainer Tim Butt hotly disputes persistent suggestions that millionaire pacer My Field Marshal is purely a brilliant sprinter who will struggle to win the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. There is no doubting that the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old is a magnificent speedster over short trips, but Butt said that he had no concerns whatsoever that the stallion would be found wanting over the 2536m journey. “It takes a strong stayer to excel over sprint trips,” said Butt, who is bubbling with confidence that his brother Anthony will guide My Field Marshal to victory on Friday night, particularly after drawing favourably at barrier two on the front line. “My Field Marshal has done everything right and has pleased me with his work since he led and won the Village Kid Sprint two Fridays ago. He is showing no breathing problems after two successful wind operations.” My Field Marshal, who rated 1.54 when he was untroubled to win the 1730m Village Kid Sprint, became the fastest pacer in Australasia when he won the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 at Menangle in February last year. He has raced 60 times for 25 wins, 15 seconds and six thirds for earnings of $1,132,712. His wins have been over 1609m (11), 1650m (one), 1700m (one), 1730m (one), 1950m (five), 2000m (one), 2200m (one), 2240m (two), 2400m (one) and 2700m (one). His 2700m victory was as a four-year-old at Alexandra Park in the group 1 Messenger Championship when he started from barrier four and enjoyed a perfect trip, one-out and two-back in sixth position before finishing strongly out wide to convincingly beat My Kiwi Mate at a 1.56.6 rate in April 2017.     “His runs over middle distances in Australia have been good,” said Butt. My Field Marshal finished a one-metre second to Hectorjayjay in the 2680m Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park in July 2017 when Tiger Tara was third and Lennytheshark fourth. The winner rated 1.56.1. In October 2017 My Field Marshal was a one-length second to San Carlo (1.56.6) in the group 3 Maryborough Gold Cup over 2690m and two weeks after that he was a wonderful 4m second to Lennytheshark, who rated 1.55.4 to smash Restrepo’s track record. My Field Marshal started from the back line and he raced in sixth position before moving into the breeze 1200m from home. He fought on with admirable determination, with the final quarters whizzing by in 26.9sec. and 27.3sec. My Field Marshal finished his 19-start campaign as a six-year-old with a well-beaten ninth behind Let It Ride in the 2680m Blacks A Fake Championship last July. He started from the back line, raced at the rear and three wide in the final circuit. Her resumed after a spell with an easy 1609m victory in 1.50.9 at Menangle on December 17 before his impressive win in the Village Kid Sprint 11 nights later. The Butt brothers are aiming to make amends for Raglan’s splendid second to champion Im Themightyquinn in the 2012 Fremantle Cup when Raglan surged home from last at the bell. They first campaigned in Western Australia in 2004 when Mister D G won two heats and finished second in another before finishing a desperately close fourth behind Jofess in a four-way photo finish in the final of the Inter Dominion championship. Tim Butt decided just over a year ago to move from his property in Christchurch to set up stables at the Menangle complex and he is currently preparing My Field Marshal at leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond’s stables in Forrestdale. My Field Marshal faces strong challenges from the Bond camp, which dominates the Fremantle Cup with a record of seven of the 12 runners, the New Zealand-bred band of Galactic Star, Saying Grace, El Jacko, Our Jimmy Johnstone, Our Max Phactor, Mitch Maguire and Vampiro, who between them have won 142 races and amassed $2,135,457 in prizemoney. Greg Bond has fond memories of his first runner in a Fremantle Cup Money Magnet, who was an 8/1 chance and was driven to an easy all-the-way victory by Colin Brown in a 2907m stand in January 2006, a week after he started at 14/1 and came from last to win the Australian Pacing Championship consolation, a mobile over 2143m. Not surprisingly, Greg Bond rates Galactic Star as the stable’s best winning prospect 12 months after the gelding was the rank outsider at tote odds of $228 and finished 11th behind My Hard Copy, who charged home to win the Fremantle Cup in a thrilling finish from Lazarus and Chicago Bull. Then, in February, Galactic Star was beaten into second place in the Albany Cup by Major Stare. Galactic Star’s form this season has been outstanding. He started with wins in the group 3 Don Randall Cup over 2631m at Pinjarra and the Cranley Memorial, a listed classic over 1730m at Gloucester Park in November, before winning a heat and being placed in two other heats of the Inter Dominion championship in Victoria in December before finishing an unlucky sixth in the final after he was badly checked and lost valuable ground soon after the start. Ryan Warwick, the State’s leading reinsman with 88 winners this season, has chosen to drive Galactic Star, who will start from the inside of the back line. The winner of 25 races and $417,335, he possesses dazzling point-to-point speed and has outstanding winning prospects. Brown has been engaged to drive Vampiro, whose prospects slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Mitch Maguire (Aiden de Campo) also faces a tough test from barrier eight and ten-year-old warhorse Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham) will need luck from the No. 7 barrier. Our Jimmy Johnstone finished solidly along the inside when third behind Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in the 2017 Fremantle Cup. El Jacko (Nathan Turvey) has sprinted home fast to win on the past two Friday nights and he is capable of a bold showing from barrier two on the back line. Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green) will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line and will be at liberal odds despite his splendid second to My Field Marshall in the Village Kid Sprint after working hard in the breeze. He boasts a remarkable record in WA of 14 starts for 12 wins and two seconds. Bond considers lightly-raced five-year-old Saying Grace a realistic chance from the prized No. 1 barrier. The American Ideal gelding who has had only 25 starts for 11 wins and six placings will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won the Fremantle Cup six times with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), John Albert (1995), Sandy Bay (2005) and Dasher VC (2013). Saying Grace also started from barrier one at his latest appearance, over 2130m last Friday week, when he was first out and then broke into a gallop and lost six lengths. He settled in fifth position before quickly dashing forward to the breeze and finished a close-up fifth behind El Jacko. Gary Hall Jnr, who has won the Fremantle Cup a record eight times, will drive Rocknroll Lincoln for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice. Rocknroll Lincoln, a smart winner at two of his past three starts, will begin from barrier four and should be prominent. Gary Hall Snr, who has trained the winner of the Cup eight times, will be pinning his faith in the tough and consistent Runrunjimmydunn, who will start from an awkward draw at No. 5 with Clint Hall in the sulky. The Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair (barrier six) is the only mare in the Cup and the only non-New Zealand-bred runner is the WA-bred Vultan Tin, who is prepared at Coolup by Phil Costello and will be handled by Chris Voak. Vultan Tin, who set the pace and finished second to El Jacko over 2130m last Friday night, will start from the No. 3 barrier. Ken Casellas

The Barrier Draw has been conducted for the 2019 Retravision Fremantle Cup worth $300,000 at Gloucester Park this Friday night. The big winner was Australasia’s fastest pacer, My Field Marshal who came up with barrier two. The Tim Butt trained star will now be a short price favourite to take out the time-honoured Group One event. Despite having seven runners, the Greg and Skye Bond Stable were not so lucky in the draw, with their main chances Galactic Star drawing inside the back line (10) and Vampiro on the outside of the front line. Their inform pacer, El Jacko has come up with their best draw, following out My Field Marshall from the second line in barrier 11. Local favourite Vultan Tin is in barrier three with the Justin Prentice trained and Gary Hall Jr driven Rocknroll Lincoln outside him in barrier four. The only mare in the field Maczaffair has draw barrier six. The Barrier draw for the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup for 2019 is as follows; Saying Grace My Field Marshal Vultan Tin Rocknroll Lincoln Runrunjimmydunn Maczaffair Our Jimmy Johnstone Mitch Maguire Vampiro Galactic Star El Jacko Our Max Phactor The Bucket List (1st Emg) Waylade (2nd Emg) The first race 5.50pm WA time Gloucester Park

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

You realise Gloucester Park’s summer carnival is heating up when the Miracle Mile Champion is in town. My Field Marshal, who won February’s Group 1 Miracle Mile (1609m) at Menangle in a track record time of 1:46.9, will have his first look at headquarters when he lines up in Friday night’s $50,000 Village Kid Pace (2130m). The seven-year-old Art Major entire has drawn gate five in the sprint and will do battle with local stars Mr Mojito (gate two), Runrunjimmydunn (three), Our Max Phactor (six), Our Jimmy Johnstone (seven), Vultan Tin (eight), Rocknroll Lincoln (nine) and Mitch Maguire (10). My Field Marshal is trained by former New Zealand horseman Tim Butt, who is now training out of Sydney, and is driven by Butt’s brother, Anthony. The Butt brothers know their horse well and will have him primed to run a big race at his first start at GP. My Field Marshal is a genuine Grand Circuit horse with the impressive record of 24 wins and 21 placings from 54 starts for more than $1.1M in prize money. He possesses brilliant speed from the machine, but is equally as effective coming off a sit, which he did with a devastating 53.3 sprint ove the last 800m of the Miracle Mile. Tim Butt wisely decided to bypass the recent Inter Dominion series in Victoria because he believes his horse races best when kept “fresh”. My Field Marshal had a five-month spell over winter and spring, returning to the track earlier this month. He showed the break had done him the world of good by recording a “soft win” over the 1609m at Menangle in a mile rate of 1:50.9. My Field Marshal is here for our two big races - the Group 1 Fremantle Pacing Cup and the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup early next year - and the Butts will be keen to impress the handicapper on Friday night. It’s a ripper of a race and it won’t be a walk in the park for My Field Marshal, but he looks the one they all have to beat. Our Max Phactor, the winner of 10 of his 11 starts at GP, will have plenty of admirers despite drawing wide and facing the best field he’s come up against. Last-start winner Mr Mojito, the evergreen Our Jimmy Johnstone and the consistent Rocknroll Lincoln all have legitimate claims. However, the NSW raider has the score on the board and seems certain to prove the testing material over the sprint trip.   Wayne Currall  

FORMER top Kiwi trainer Tim Butt will be hoping stablemate flagbearer My Field Marshal can turn his fortunes around at Gloucester Park tomorrow (Friday) night. Butt’s Miracle Mile winner has drawn well in the first of his three Gloucester Park runs during this raid, the $50,000 Group 2 Village Kid Pace (1730m).  Punters have already backed him in from $2.60 to $2.40 on the Aussie TAB and he looks set to snatch favouritism from comeback pacer Mr Mojito, who opened $2.20 from gate two, but is out to $2.30.  It’s been a tough week for Butt and his open-class pacers with Let It Ride and new addition, Raupakuka Ruler, both running below their best in different races on Boxing Night.  Raukapuka Ruler, who won his first Aussie run for Butt then ran second to My Field Marshal in slick time at Menangle, stopped after leading to finish almost 40m from winner Our Triple Play in the $50,000 Group 2 Shirley Turnbull Memorial (2760m) at Bathurst.  Just before that, Group 1 Blacks A Fake winner Let It Ride did his share of work, but was beaten 10.1m into third spot behind Victoria’s most-improved pacer, Rackemup Tigerpie in the $20,000 Lightning Mile at Ballarat.  They went a sizzling 1min52.1sec mile rate for the 1710m and trainer Mick Stanley has the winner on target for much better races.  Let It Ride didn’t enjoy sitting parked, but battled away fairly. He’s well below the horse who so dominated Queensland’s biggest race in winter and was the one-time Inter Dominion favourite.  Butt is adamant he needs regular hard racing to regain that form.  Back to My Field Marshal at Gloucester Park and he has gate five, plenty of early speed and Anthony Butt is flying across for the drive.  Aside from Mr Mojito, his main rivals have drawn outside him for the back row: Our Max Phactor (six), Our Jimmy Johnstone (seven), Vultan Tin (eight), Rocknroll Lincoln (nine) and Mitch Maguire (10).  “It’s good to get him across early to settle in and have a run at Gloucester Park before the two big races,” Butt said.  “I’m sure he’ll run well and be better for it going into the Fremantle Cup (January 11).”   Adam Hamilton

An oversight from top trainer Tim Butt has ended his Inter Dominion pacing assault. And cost him A$1000 in the process. Butt had his two pacers Let It Ride and Italian Delight withdrawn from their heats at Ballarat on Tuesday and therefore the remainder of the series after he took blood off them today for a routine blood test.  Harness Racing Victoria rules forbid horses having any form of injection used on them for a clear 24 hours before raceday so stewards had little option but to scratch the pair.  The irony is Butt, who until last year trained with great success in Canterbury, actually told the stewards he had broken the rule.  “They rang me to ask how the horses were and I told them I had just taken a blood to have it tested to make sure they were fine,” said Butt.  “Then the told me I can’t do that and it dawned on me, no injections the day before the races even if it is extracting rather than putting anything into the horses.  “It is totally my mistake. I guess in the back of my mind I knew the rule but I honestly didn’t think about it.  “So I will have to cop that and apologise to the owners.” Stewards accepted their was nothing sinister in Butt’s actions and fined him A$1000.  The pair join local star Shadow Sax in being withdrawn from the series yesterday and leave the Kiwi pacing trio of Cruz Bromac, Spankem and I’m Pats Delight as three of maybe only six serious winning chances left for the A$500,000 final on Saturday week. Michael Guerin

Tim Butt is a man that knows how to train big race winners. For over two decades he has made it his business to not only plunder the riches on offer in the Shaky Isles, he has also targeted the biggest races in Australia. Now however, the tables have turned and the ex-Kiwi horseman now calls Sydney home. It may not be as far to travel but the task is no easier as Let It Ride arrives at this year’s TAB Inter Dominion as, in many ways, the forgotten horse. After a devastating win in the Blacks A Fake through the Queensland winter, he has been taken along slowly as an early season five-year-old. “People maybe forget that a lot of the big guns either weren’t at their best or weren’t in the Blacks A Fake but I was really pleased with him obviously,” Butt said. “He maybe can’t win this weekend from the draw but he should get a nice run and he’ll be finishing off well.” While he hasn’t yet captured the heights of last campaign, which saw him run second in the Chariots Of Fire before claiming the final Grand Circuit race of the season, Butt has been happy with his progress. “It’s very hard at Menangle when you’re drawing 10, so I’ve been happy with his three runs this time in,” he said. “You don’t really know until you do it but I think he’s the kind of horse that will get through the series. It’s made easier if you get a couple of soft runs through the heats but he’s a good leader as well.” Wilmas Mate has landed on Aussie shores for the first time since taking out the Victoria Trotters Derby and a Breeders Crown Final in 2016 and she’s heading to Butt’s Sydney base after ID18. “I’m rapt to get her. I’ve only had her about 10 days but her last run was actually quite good and she just hadn’t been having much go her way in New Zealand. “This series might come up a bit quick for her but she has drawn well for the first heat and after this I’m confident she’s going to do a really good job up at Menangle in the future.” Blake Redden

New Zealand Cup favourite Tiger Tara won’t have exciting stablemate Majordan as a travelling companion to Christchurch. After talks with US owners Gordon Banks and Marc Hanover, trainer Kevin Pizzuto has opted to leave Majordan at home to focus on mile racing. “We’ve scrapped the NZ idea and he’s out of the Inter Dominion as well,” Pizzuto said. “He’s a dead-set mile horse and that’s what we will focus on towards the Miracle Mile. “Ultimately the plan is to take him across to race in the US next season.” Pizzuto said he thought Tiger Tara was a justified NZ Cup favourite given his history in the race and fantastic form this season. “Don’t forget last year he sat outside Lazarus, galloped and lost a few lengths down the back straight the last time, and still picked himself up and ran third,” he said. “It was a fantastic run last year and I’ve got no doubt he’s a better horse this time around … and, without Lazarus in the race, it’s nowhere near as strong a Cup, either. “I’m sure he’s the one to beat, but he’ll need luck of course. I’d love a good draw and hope he steps away as quickly as he can.” Amazingly, this will be the sixth consecutive year Tiger Tara has raced on NZ Cup Day. It will be his fifth run in the Cup and, back in 2013, he won the Sires’ Stake final for trainer Geoff Dunn on Cup Day. Tiger Tara’s Cup runs have returned sixth placings to Adore Me (2014) and Arden Rooney (2015), a second to Lazarus – albeit beaten 10 lengths – in 2016 and last year’s terrific third to Lazarus. Pizzuto confirmed Tiger Tara would fly to NZ on Monday. “He’s right where I want him now. He didn’t need another race or trial after Cranbourne the other night. He’s spot on for the Cup and it’s the race I’ve set him for,” he said. “He’s amazing horse and I’m sure he’ll run well. I hope people give him credit for what he’s done and I still think the best is yet to come.” ________________________________________________________________________________________ Five of Australia’s top Inter Dominion contenders strut their stuff this weekend. Leading the way is Tim Butt’s emerging star Let It Ride, who is second-up from a break in Saturday night’s $30,000 Group 3 Nick Robin free-for-all (1609m) at Menangle. Let It Ride is the Aussie TAB’s $5 equal favourite with Tiger Tara for the December 15 Inter Dominion final. His rivals this week include one of Team Tritton’s major Inter Dominion players, My Alpha Rock, who is $26 in latest Inter Dom markers. Let It Ride stamped himself as one of the sport’s hottest properties when he blew away a strong field in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park at the end of last campaign. He resumed with a late surging fourth to Majordan in a 1min50.4sec mile at Menangle last Sunday. He was privately-timed to run his last half in 52.7sec. This week’s race is slightly easier without Majordan, but driver Anthony Butt has the same dilemma with the extreme outside draw (gate 10) and quality rivals sure to settle in front of him. My Alpha Rock is also drawn wide in gate 10, while other key runners include: Mach Doro (nine), Joes Star A Mia (eight), a rejuvenated Aztec Bromac (three) and fresh Major Crocker (four). Down at Melton on the same night, three of Victoria’s top four Inter Dominion contenders – Shadow Sax, Wrappers Delight and Menin Gate – clash in the $20,000 Sokyola Sprint (1720m). Shadow Sax, who ran a close third to San Carlo and Tiger Tara in the Cranbourne Cup last week, is drawn to lead from gate three and has been crunched from $2.10 to $1.35 with the Aussie TAB. Wrappers Delight ($4) has gate four, while Menin Gate ($12) faces a huge test from the outside gate seven. Inter Dominion has Shadow Sax $7.50 third favourite, Wrappers Delight at $11 and Menin Gate at $18. Adam Hamilton

Trainer Gary Hall Snr is in firm agreement with the TAB Inter Dominion handicappers. Chicago Bull is No.1. The Peth superstar pacer owns the rare air of being top-ranked horse for Australasia’s premier harness racing series after Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) announced the first round of rankings today. Last season’s Inter Dominion runner-up has won 11 of his last 12 starts and is about to embark on a monster campaign that will take in the $200,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on Saturday night October 13, the $800,000 New Zealand Cup at Addington in November, and ID18 in Victoria, which kicks off on December 1. “He ran second to Lazarus (in the Inter Dominion final) and never got a crack at him; he won two heats and was third in the other. He’s won 11 out of 12 races since … you can’t fault his form,” Hall Snr said. “They keep saying he hasn’t beaten anything but that’s just not true. Lazarus, San Carlo, Tiger Tara … he was racing all those horses over here. I know he was on his home track … but they’re grossly underrating him.” Pressed on where Chicago Bull ranks right now among Hall Snr’s all-time top horses, the trainer was a mix of circumspect and audacious, if it’s possible to be both.  “Right now, he’s the second best horse I’ve ever had,” he said, “But, saying that, he’s also better than Quinny (Im Themightyquinn) was at this stage in his career.” Any suggestion therefore that Chicago Bull requires a coming out party against the best is erroneous; he’s been there and done that in the Inter Dominion. Are travel questions fair? Sure.  “I think he’ll handle that. He’s a pretty laid back fella,” Hall Snr said. “The only thing is you never quite know I suppose. He’s always got a paddock mate, so he needs the right company, that’s all.” The Bulls’ Michael Jordan was always the best, but Scottie Pippen helped. On the New Zealand Cup Hall Snr said it was a race he’d tried to win three times before. “Fourth time lucky hopefully,” he said. “I tried to win it with Quinny but he fibrillated, bled, broke a leg… it just didn’t work out. It’s a great meeting. I went 12 years in a row and would love to win it.” Meanwhile, Tim Butt-trained rising star Let It Ride, who produced a slashing run to win the Grand Circuit Blacks a Fake classic in Queensland, is second on the ID18 pacing rankings, ahead of New South Wales’ Tiger Tara. Kiwi superstar Speeding Spur is top ranked in the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, with Andy Gath-trained Tornado Valley number two, ahead of Temporale, Kyvalley Blur and Glenferrie Typhoon.   Cody Winnell

POSSIBLE has become probable for Tim Butt’s surprise NZ Cup plans for new stable addition Bettermatch. Butt had been so impressed with the former star juvenile’s trackwork, he dared to telegraph a possible NZ Cup raid before Bettermatch had raced for him. And those who watched the now five-year-old blast home in a flying 1min50.4sec mile at Menangle yesterday (Tuesday) could clearly see why Butt is thinking such lofty thoughts. Bettermatch was the lone back row runner and settled worse than midfield in the running line, but was helped when the leader, Heza Bromac, blazed through a 55.1sec first half. Things got hairy coming to the home bend when driver Chris Geary was dragged back behind a tiring horse and lost a couple of lengths coming three-wide. Bettermatch copped another check and lost momentum at the top of the home straight, but Geary picked him back up and surged past the leaders for a powerhouse win. “It was a big win to overcome a few things in and run, give them such a big start and run that time,” Butt said. Butt immediately turned his thoughts to a path to the NZ Cup. “We’ve got a nice program planned,” he said. “There’s another race for him next Tuesday, then an M0 on October 6 over 2300m, which really suit him and he should be getting to peak fitness by then. “That M0 will let me know if he’s up to an NZ Cup and, if so, we have the Ashburton Flying Stakes on October 22, which is three weeks out from the Cup. “I think it’s a perfect preparation if he’s up to them.” Bettermatch was sidelined for three years with injury after his stellar juvenile season and returned with four wins and a third from five start for Riverina trainer Colin Thomas. Butt then bought the entire and was immediately impressed. Bettermatch’s win headlined a fascinating Menangle mid-week meeting where former top class Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson sparkled in a trial for Shane and Lauren Tritton. Franco Nelson, who hasn’t raced since finishing down the track in the Len Smith Mile, won his trial by 16m in a 1min52.8sec mile and blasted home in 54.0 and 27.0sec. The trial was enough for Team Tritton to put the Victoria Cup back as a genuine possibility. They already have the in-form My Alpha Rock and last week’s sparkling Menangle win winner Gotta Go Ya Hu being set for the Victoria Cup. My Alpha Rock (gate 10) is shooting for his fifth successive Menangle win, but faces another step-up against the likes of proven open-class stars Tiger Tara (gate 11) and Mach Doro (gate seven). They clash in the Health Foundation Cup (1609m) at Menangle on Saturday night.   Adam Hamilton

TIM Butt is planning a trip back home for the NZ Cup and it won’t be just to catch-up with old friends and family. Butt revealed he is seriously thinking about tackling the Cup with new stable addition Bettermatch, who has his first for the trainer in a ho-hum midweek race at Menangle tomorrow (Tuesday). When Bettermatch appeared in NZ Cup nominations a few weeks back, he hardly rated a mention. The former star juvenile won the Leeton Breeders Plate and NSW Saplings Stakes in his freshman season for trainer Colin Thomas before spending three years on the sidelines with injury. He has returned with four impressive wins from five starts this campaign, including his farewell run for Thomas in the Country Series final at Menangle on August 25 where he won in terrific style. “I really like him,” Butt said. “He feels like a very good stayer. We hope to go if he keeps improving like he feels as though he will. “It’s the year to have a go. Chicago Bull is the one to beat and Ultimate Machete if he’s right, but it’s a thin lot that’s for sure. “Put it this way, on what Bettermatch is doing at home, he’s up to those who horses who ran in the main race at Addington last Friday.” Bettermatch is the lone back row runner (gate 11) in the sixth race at Menangle at 7.07pm NZ time tomorrow (Tuesday). In other stable news, Butt has ruled-out the Victoria Cup with his sparkling Blacks A Fake winner Let it Ride. “It was always unlikely. We wanted to give him a good break after Queensland,” he said. “He won’t be ready and the Inter Dominion is his first target.” And Butt’s Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal will return to training at he end of the month, but the Inter Dominion is not on the agenda. “He’s not an Inter Dom horse. We’ll bring up with a view to returning to racing around Christmas time,” Butt said.   Adam Hamilton

PROP-forwards in football teams are expected to “do the hard yards” up front, and that’s exactly how 21-year-old Jed Betts performs for the Bathurst Panthers first grade league side week in and week out during the season. After snatching victory in the dying seconds of last weekend’s sudden-death semi-final, Jed’s team is now just two matches away from making it to their second successive grand-final in the western districts competition. In what might well be an omen for the coming weeks, Jed steered Limbo Larry to a smart win at last night’s (Wednesday) Gold Crown Paceway meeting. Despite being just the fourth career win for this five-year-old son of the family’s  resident stallion Abercrombie Dexter (by Panorama), it took his earnings past $60,000 in a remarkably consistent  career of 148 starts which have included 37 placings. Now that’s “doing the hard yards “ in anyone’s language, and explains why Jed has a real fondness for “ATM”, his only horse which he also trains and drives. He led early in the C1 2260 metres event before handing up to Barkway Arnold which maintained a consistent tempo, and rather than wait for the sprint lane, he came to the outside to draw level with the leader halfway down the running before asserting himself close to the finish. It was a cool, calm performance - much like his team-mate’s winning field-goal out on the paddock a few days previously - and earned the laid-back, popular figure racecaller Craig Easey’s Drive of the Night award. There was much anticipation leading in to the HRNSW Guaranteed Two-Year-Old Pace, one of three races for juveniles on this final meeting of the Bathurst racing season. Obi One NZ had created an enormous impression in winning over the longer 2260 metres trip a week earlier, but was drawn on the outside over the sprint trip this time, with very strong opposition expected from Izzy Dagg NZ, a recent Addington winner which was a fine second in brilliant time at his Menangle debut last Saturday. As expected, Izzy Dagg led out of the gate, while Obi One did some work early to get around to the death seat. Chris Geary threw in a blistering 27.5s third quarter which gave him a little clear air turning in, and although Amanda Turnbull’s youngster didn’t shirk his task at all, he couldn’t quite match strides and finished five metres astern of the leader, whose winning mile rate of 1:55.6 was close to track record time. The name of the winner will be very familiar to football followers everywhere. Israel Dagg made his debut as an All Black in 2010, was part of the winning Rugby World Cup team the following year, and played a near-record number of games as full-back for the Silver Ferns, before switching to the wing in the last couple of seasons. He is revered in NZ rugby, as one of the finest players in recent years. He was a part-owner of the two-year-old named after himself, but now that he has signed to continue his career in Japan, he’s relinquished his ownership in the A Rocknroll Dance son. Both youngsters will now spell, with the classic races early in the New Year the targets for their respective trainers Tim Butt -himself a fine Rugby player, who spent time in Australia playing for the Western Reds - and Amanda Turnbull. The other 2YO events gave maiden wins to Kyle Shannon (Peter Bullock/Mackayler Barnes) and Kelli Frost (Blake Fitzpatrick/ Jack Trainor). Mackayler’s win was special because the horse was named for her father who passed away last year following a lengthy battle with cancer; Jack came back to scale declaring it was so cold out on the track that he couldn’t feel his hands, before admitting “I’m a bit ashamed to say that, because I’m a Kiwi!” If sympathy was owing to anyone on Wednesday night, it should have gone to the race stewards and the club officials, who contended with two lengthy delays - a nasty fall in the second race, which resulted in a dislocated shoulder for Cowra reinsman Darryl Davis who was transported to hospital, and then a generator failure which necessitated a 20 minute cooling-down period before the track lights could be switched on again. Everyone pitched in, particularly the trainers who managed to have their horses readied with the shortened gaps between races, and it was a commendable team effort. Just another way of “doing the hard yards.”   TERRY NEIL

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