Day At The Track

Matatoki shines fresh up

01:00 PM 02 Jul 2016 NZST
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Bob Butt
Bob Butt

He expected a good performance, but even harness racing trainer Bob Butt couldn’t help being impressed by the win of Matatoki on Friday night at Addington.

And the scary thing is that the imposing son of Revenue should only improve with a run under his belt.

Fresh up since the end of January the showy chestnut surged to the lead from just off the speed inside the final 500 metres and went on to win impressively by one and three quarters lengths from a fast-finishing Jean Sebastien.

The half-brother to the ill-fated Kahdon has always been held in high regard by Butt but the journey has been far from plain sailing.

“He’s had a few issues along the way and then when I took him to Auckland he got quite crook,” Butt said.

“It ended up being a lung infection and I decided the best move was to give him a good break. Being a three-year-old there was no rush to get him back to the races.

“I just brought him up slowly and let him tell me when he was ready to go the races.

“He was pretty forward for tonight so I expected him to go well, but he impressed me with the way he did it.”

The win gave Butt his sixth training success for the season and with a horse like Matatoki and also the exciting Hall Of Fame working their way through the grades, things should only get better.

Butt is currently working around eight horses from his Woodend Beach stable and has a number of young horses to come back into work in the near future.

“I’ve been pretty lucky, I’ve picked up some great owners who have backed me and I’m enjoying doing my own team of horses.

“I’ll get up to around 14 I think which is quite a lot, but I’m excited by it.”

Hall Of Fame, an impressive winner on debut, will return to the race this weekend as well, in the last race at Timaru on Sunday.

And Butt is expecting a big performance from him too.

He beat Superfecta, who won impressively last night, in a Rangiora trial last week and although drawn the second line on Sunday, he should be hard to beat.

“I’m really happy with him, it won’t be easy from the draw. He got really crook up North as well.

“It was pretty serious there for a while and it really knocked him but he seems good now.”
Matatoki’s win was just one part of a great night at the office for Butt.

He drove the winner of both of the Australian Breeders Crown heats held as non-totes before the meeting.

The first came on three-year-old trotter, Conon Bridge who looked a lot more like his old self when beating My Amour and Blood And Whiskey comfortably.

“He relaxed beautifully tonight, usually it doesn’t take much to get him keen and up on the bit.

“Ricky came around me with a lap to run and he came back to me nicely and then when I asked him to sprint he really let down and found the line.

“It certainly felt like the old Conon Bridge.”

Wilma’s Mate provided the other winner for Butt, who also went close to winning the last with Junior.

Both trotters are trained by Paul Nairn who said at this stage a trip to Australia for the Breeders Crown was likely.

Early on in the night’s proceedings Dexter Dunn notched up his 200th win for the season when he won the maiden trot with Dusky Eyre.

After a week of being stuck on 199 the current World Champion was relieved to hit the double ton.

“It’s really only been the one meeting, so it wasn’t worrying me too much, but it is nice to get there.”

Dunn added another win later in the night when he saluted with Donegal Rundlescreek.

His father Robert, and brother John, also had a good night out winning three to cut the margin between them and Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen down to 12.

They won with Freedom Fighter, Franco Cristiano and Letspendanitetogetha to take their tally to 111.

The All Stars did pick up a winner too when Superfecta turned in a massive effort to win an action packed junior drivers’ event.

Matt Markham

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