Day At The Track

New name, same talents at Alexandra Park

07:34 AM 27 Oct 2017 NZDT
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Zac Butcher,Harness racing
Zachary Butcher
HRNZ photo

It is not often punters see a new name among the big gun drivers at Alexandra Park on a Friday night but they will tonight.

But the more serious-sounding Zachary Butcher will bring the same huge talent levels to the sulky he has for the last 10 years as happy-go-lucky Zac Butcher.

With 582 career successes in New Zealand, Butcher is well on his way to becoming one of our great reinsman and already sits alongside his father David and Tony Herlihy as the most feared drivers at Alexandra Park.

But it was his mother's influence that saw Butcher officially change his work name to Zachary starting from tonight's meeting.


"We were out as a family recently and Mum said she had always meant for me to be called by me real name, Zachary, and not Zac but it just got shortened when I got into the racing game," explains Butcher.

"As you get older I think you appreciate your family more and if Mum wants me to be called Zachary then that is how I want to be known.

"And its a different kind of name. I don't mind being different," he laughs.

Butcher hold key hands in two of tonight's main races, the Sires' Stakes heat with Mach Shard and the handicap pace with New Zealand Cup contender Jack's Legend but he expects vastly different runs.

"Jack's Legend is going great but I can't see how he got handicapped 20m from winning last start and it makes it nearly impossible over 2200m," he says.

"So unless there are a few gallopers up front we are going to be chasing and he will need some luck.

"But Mach Shard has a good draw and some gate speed so he will be handy over 1700m and that is a big plus."

Mach Shard was one of our more talented juvenile pacers last season and looked in need of his comeback race at Cambridge but gets his chance tonight, especially with Breeders Crown winner King Of Swing drawn the second line over the sprint trip.

Add in Recco Lover, South Beach Arden and the rapidly-improving American Brave and the heat has real depth, with the latter and Mach Shard the pair who need the most prominent placings to guarantee a start in the $200,000 final at Addington on Cup day.

Best bet: Thefixer (R8, No.1): Huge run sitting parked last start and fitter tonight.

Improving: American Brave (R6, No.2): Getting better with every start and up to tonight's test.

Trainer change: All Over The Stars (R1, No.5): Talented and now with Tony Cameron, who works for Tony Herlihy.

Michael Guerin

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