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That was Anthony Butt at his brilliant best. Butt’s superb and daring front-running drive on Boots Electric in the $60,000 Group 2 SA Pacing Cup was all designed to beat his main danger, which just happened to be stablemate Perfect Stride. They ran the quinella, but it was Boots Electric who “really just jogged it in,” according to Butt. “He felt fantastic tonight. He’s a lovely horse. When he got the front I wanted to run them along and make them chase,” Butt said. “I know Perfect Stride came quickly at him on the final bend, but I was still cruising and Perfect Stride had chased from so far out he came to the peak his run. They both went really well.” Boots Electric, already a Group 1 winner of the 4YO Bonanza earlier this year, won by 7.8m in a slick 1min57.2sec mile rate for the long 2645m trip. It was just 0.4sec outside the great Smolda’s race and track record. “To come here and quinella the big one is a real thrill,” Butt said. “We’ve got a really nice team of horses and this continues the great run we’ve been having.” Boots Electric, a Kiwi-bred by Somebeachsomewhere raced by Emilio and Mary Rosati, has raced just 20 times for 10 wins, four placings and banked $161,672. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Former All Stars gelding Aladdin has quickly made a splash in Victoria. Two starts in a week have netted the Mildura Guineas and Group 3 SA Pacing Derby. And both have been in very easy fashion. Driver Kerryn Manning took Aladdin straight to the front from gate two in last SA Derby and kept s steady tempo with a 59.9sec middle half as main danger Bondi Lockdown sat outside him. When Bondi Lockdown wobbled on the final bend, Aladdin opened up and big league and coasted to a 6.1m win in a 1min57.5sec mile rate for 2230m. It was special win with the now Victorian-based Norman being from SA and Aladdin’s new owners Adam, Ben and Terry Cormack all being South Australians.   By Adam Hamilton

Victorian-based training duo Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith are making their first foray to Globe Derby Park for “quite a few years” chasing silverware on offer in two of the State’s most prestigious harness racing features. Butt said the couple’s relocation to Victoria six months ago opened up many more possibilities in three States for their elite team, backed by prominent owners Emilio and Mary Rosati. Their mission on the Adelaide trip tomorrow night is the Group 2 South Australian Pacing Cup, with Perfect Stride and Boots Electric; and the Group 3 South Australian Pacing Derby, with Radar Stride and Platinum Stride. Just 12 days ago, Butt and Smith claimed cups on both sides of the NSW-Victoria border on the one day.  Zac Phillips piloted Perfect Stride to victory in the $30,000 Downtowner Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup – then half an hour later, Butt got Wolf Stride home in the Group 1 $100,000 Milbrae Quarries Riverina Championship at Wagga. “I’ve never won a South Australian Pacing Cup – I won the Trotters Cup one year, and I’ve won the derby.  But in the Pacing Cup we’ve been second and third and all around the place, but never managed to win it, so we’d love to do that this time,” Butt said. “These races have good money on them, so they’re worth going over for, and that’s one of the things we’ve been able to do since moving down to Victoria,” he said. “We’re in the middle between Sydney and Adelaide and we’re able to place our horses at a lot more meetings than when we were based at Menangle.” Boots Electric (barrier 6) is probably Butt’s best chance of achieving a South Australian Pacing Cup. He showed his potential by winning the (Group 1) Bonanza at Melton in February, then finished only 10 metres behind the winner in the Chariots of Fire at Menangle two weeks later. “He’s had a freshen up and just the one run back and is probably handy enough drawn off the front at Globe Derby,” Butt said. “He has some gate speed, and he should be able to put himself into the race.  Perfect Stride (Zac Phillips) has drawn a bit awkwardly off the back row, but on his mark that was probably always going to be the case.  He’s a bit of an opportunist, so I don’t think it will worry him – he will just need the chance to get into the action at some point.” Perfect Stride and Zac Phillips (pictured) are lining up with his stablemate Boots Electric in the SA Pacing Cup this weekend Butt is also quietly confident about the prospects of his Derby hopes, Radar Stride and Platinum Stride. “Again, we have one drawn off the front (Radar Stride (5) Zac Phillips) and one off the back (Platinum Stride, 8), but there’s not much between them in ability,” Butt said. “They’re a step below the real superstars of their crop but those ones they’ve been racing against aren’t here.  We need a bit of luck, but with an ounce of that, we should be in it.” Butt and Smith travelled yesterday to Adelaide and will spend a few days there. “We’re staying at Luke O’Neill’s place at Globe Derby, which is great.  It’s not really a break, with four horses, but it’s nice to get away for a couple of days,” he said. “We’ve always got 25 or 30 horses in work with good staff around us now, with four or five of us there on most mornings.  It’s been one of the great advantages of the move to Victoria – we have a terrific team on board. “When we’re not there, everyone steps in behind us and they all know what they’re doing – we have total faith in them. “We spent seven or eight weeks up in Sydney over the Miracle Mile Carnival and things just ticked over really well at home.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

ANTHONY Butt’s decision to make Victoria home will go down as one of the great decisions. While the stable, largely backed by leviathan owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, were making waves in NSW, it’s gone to a whole amazing new level since relocating to Victoria last October. And yesterday was a perfect example with Butt and fiancé Sonya Smith winning “majors” in Victoria and NSW. Former Victoria and NSW Derby placegetter PERFECT STRIDE scored his most important open-aged win when he upstaged a good field in the Group 2 Warragul Pacing Cup for Butt and Smith’s number two stable driver, Zac Phillips. Not long after, their stable star and emerging open-class force WOLF STRIDE capped a wonderful first campaign in the big league with another Group 1 win, this time in the $100,000 Riverina 4&5YO Championship final at Wagga. The margin wasn’t great, but Wolf Stride did all the work outside the lead in slick time and just staved-off a late lunge from the outstanding runner-up OUT TO PLAY. Wolf Stride now goes for a long, old-fashioned spell and won’t be back until September to prepare for the Group 1 Victoria Cup the month after. The Wagga series proved a real “win” for harness racing with entertaining heats and finals. Coming a week after a ripper Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival, it’s an important reminder there is something special about major regional racing events. Adding to the thrill and emotion of Wagga was local (well, he’s from Junee) Cameron Hart snaring his first Group 1 victory with a daring front-running drive on Victorian mare TECHYS ANGEL in the $100,000 final for 4&5YO Mares’. It made for an all Victorian training triumph in the big ones with Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin not only training Techys Angel, but also runner-up MAAJIDA. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ TORNADO VALLEY’S remarkable comeback from the very brink of retirement is set to add another chapter. As if returning to win a heat and final of Australasia’s biggest trotting race, the Great Southern Star, wasn’t enough, Tornado Valley is within one metro win of topping $1 million in career stakemoney. And boy he deserves to become only the ninth trotter to reach $1 million in this part of the world. Tornado Valley posted his 38th career win when he led throughout in last Saturday night’s Uncle Petrika free-for-all at Melton. It took his bankroll to $990,297. Lyell Creek is in a league of his own as the richest-earner with $2,256,724. The others to top $1 million are: I Can Doosit ($1,377,319), Sundons Gift ($1.275,264), Speeding Spur ($1,220,147), Take A Moment ($1,132,695), Stent ($1,130,406), Keystone Del ($1,063,560) and One Over Kenny ($1,060,394). “As you know we almost retired him before the Great Southern Star so to come back and win that and be a chance to top the $1 million shows how remarkable he is,” trainer Andy Gath said. While Team Gath keeps producing exciting new trotters, Tornado Valley is still top of the heap despite being a nine-year-old and having raced 103 times. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ The proud harness racing state of Tasmania has regained some mojo and mainland attention during an exciting past month of racing. The Tassie Carnival came to a close with “all locals” finish to the $75,000 Group 2 Easter Cup at Launceston, won in all-the-way fashion by the talented SCOOTERWILLREV. Manners proved the key with Scooterwillrev stepping straight to the front, while Victorian visitor WILLIE GO WEST was backed into $2 favouritism but galloped out hopelessly. Scooterwillrev staved-off a brave late surge from one of the state’s top pacers, RYLEY MAJOR, with outsider ISAAC finishing third. Let’s hope the resurgence helps Tassie restore at least one of its majors to $100,000 purse and Group 1 status.   Sky Racing - Adam Hamilton

Champion driver Anthony Butt has answered an SOS to further bolster the powerhouse Kiwi raid on Tasmania’s biggest meeting. With Chris Alford recovering from emergency surgery on an infected knee, Butt will head across to drive a string of Kiwi stars in feature races at Hobart for Victorian trainer Dean Braun. Glamour mare Our Princess Tiffany is first out and should win as she likes despite an outside back row draw (11) in the George Johnson, Tasmania’s top mares’ race. The $1million-plus earner hasn’t raced since a fourth at Terang on February 20, but sharpened-up with a Hobart trial win in slick time last Sunday. Butt then takes the reins on the lightly-raced and exciting former Kiwi pacer Willie Go West in the state’s biggest race, the $75,000 Group 2 Tasmania Cup. The Auckland Reactor gelding returned from a spell to brilliantly win his standing-start heat of the Tasmania Cup at Hobart on February 28 to stretch his record to 10 starts for five wins and three placings. Under the handicap conditions, Willie Go West starts off the front mark (barrier two) and gets a thumping 30m headstart on his key rival, recent classy Kiwi import Triple Eight for trainer Jess Tubbs and driver Greg Sugars. “We were really pleased with Triple Eight’s heat win last week, but this looks a lot harder,” Sugars said. “There’s a full field and he’s likely to have more traffic problems than last week. Willie Go West has a big advantage on us if he steps well and I’m not surprised he’s favourite ahead of us. “But Triple Eight’s runs for us have been excellent and I’m sure he’ll run a great race” Sugars and Butt clash again with the two key runners in the Tasmanian Oaks. Sugars drives likely leader and favourite Momentslikethese from gate two. Butt and Braun combine with lightly-raced Kiwi import Annarie, a daughter of The Gold Ace out of Feyonce, who is having her first run in Australia. Annarie’s five NZ runs netted a Nelson win on January 8 and a couple of placings. She won a Hobart trial easily but in slow time last Sunday. “Our filly has the draw and did it easily last week. She’ll take some beating, but Dean’s got a great strike rate with his Kiwi imports so you certainly have to respect his filly.” Sugars continues a busy weekend when he gets the first flight from Hobart back to Melbourne Sunday morning and jumps straight in the car for the three-hour drive to Charlton. Sugars takes the reins on classy former Kiwi pacer Im Anothermasterpiece, who is a major player in the $35,000 Group 3 Charlton Cup. “It’s been a busy time over the past few weekends with the Sydney trips, over here to Tassie a couple of times and our country cups at home in Victoria, but it’s worth it with the results we’ve been getting,” he said.   HRNZ

After kicking off the TAB Summer of Glory carnival in style at Ballarat, the Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith team has sights set on snapping up more riches at Tabcorp Park Melton this weekend. The partnership trained a treble at Bray Raceway with Perfect Stride, Prestige Stride and Boots Electric all prevailing, while Wolf Stride reeled off some hot late sectionals in finishing third in the Ballarat Pacing Cup behind Lochinvar Art. Butt and Smith have four stablemates engaged at Victorian harness racing headquarters tomorrow night, including two in the feature of the evening, the Group 1 VHRC Caduceus 3YO Classic. Vanquish Stride and Platinum Stride have drawn in the middle of the front row for their crack at upstaging some of the more fancied runners such as John Justice’s Kiwi import Helluva, who beat them both convincingly last start at Cranbourne. Butt has decided to take the drive on who he feels is the best of his chances in the $100,000 event. "There's probably not too much between them, Platinum Stride is probably the better one. He's probably a little bit tougher and makes his own luck a bit," Butt told this week’s edition of Trots Talk. "But there's not too much between them. It's a good, even bunch and they'll need a bit of luck but they're in there with a good shot." Both Vanquish Stride and Platinum Stride are well-tried youngsters and raced through the Breeders Crown Series as two-year-old geldings. Their freshman season included a start in the Group 2 Breeders Crown Series Silver Pace when the latter finished a good second to Idyllic. Saturday night’s assignment looks a tough one for the pair, with David Moran-trained Patsbeachstorm tipped by many to be the winner after an effortless first-up success at Shepparton and after drawing well in barrier one. But he will get some stiff competition from Helluva and Emma Stewart’s star colt Act Now, who is first-up from his second placing in November’s Group 1 Breeders Crown Series 2YO C&G Final. "It's a good, even bunch and the start of the season for the three-year-olds so it will be a good litmus test for the big races later on,” Butt said. A newcomer to the Butt and Smith barn is Alpine Stride and he’s been set a task in another of Melton’s key races, the Group 2 Allied Express Casey Classic. The horse was impressive second-up at Ballarat last weekend - running third to in-form stablemate Perfect Stride – and has drawn barrier four for the $50,000 showdown over 2240m. The Group 1 TAB V L Dullard Trotters Cup, where we get to witness the clash between top New Zealander Majestic Man and Andy Gath’s star Majestuoso, and the fourth and final heat of the Mercury80 series are other drawcard races on night two of the TAB Summer of Glory. The first race on Saturday night will go at 6.30pm, with the last scheduled for 10.40pm. LISTEN TO ANTHONY BUTT ON THE LATEST EDITION OF TROTS TALK   HRV - Tim O'Connor

ANTHONY Butt wants his young star Perfect Stride to be part of the revamped Queensland Winter Carnival. Whether that happens depends on the Queensland Government opening the borders to allow easy access for NSW residents. Butt’s still got a bit of time up his sleeve with Perfect Stride’s target being the $50,660 Group 2 South-East Derby (2138m) at Albion Park on July 18. “That’s the aim, but it’s out of our control. He’s back and he’ll be ready, so here’s hoping we can get up there,” Butt said. Perfect Stride has finished second in the NSW Derby and third in the Victoria Derby this season. He hasn’t raced since running second in the Bathurst Gold Chalice final on March 28. The Bettors Delight colt sharpened-up for his return with a slick 1min53.1sec mile win in a Menangle trial last Wednesday, beating star mare Bettor Enforce and open-class performers Ignatius and Wrangler. “He’s come back really well and looks to have found a good race first-up,” Butt said. Perfect Stride has gate four in a heat of the TAB Long May Play series. “The final is the week after. It’d be good to get a couple of runs under his belt before we get to Queensland if it’s a goer.” Butt said Queensland plans had been shelved for Victoria Oaks winner Dr Susan, who will be saved for a Breeders Crown assault later in the year. “She’ll be back in about a month or so and Line Up is maybe 4-6 weeks away from a trial,” he added. Longer term, Butt is planning to take a huge team to Victoria around Breeders Crown time. “We might be there a month or two,” Butt said. “We’ll most of the good horses down there so we don’t we have to bounce up and back between Sydney. I’d say we’ll have 12 or more go to Melbourne.” They will include Perfect Stride, Line Up, Wolf Stride, Excel Stride and Dr Susan. “I’ve just got another nice batch of Emilio’s (Rosati) horses arrive across from NZ as well and most of them are likely to go to Melbourne,” Butt said.   Adam Hamilton

Champion horseman Anthony Butt packs a mighty one/two punch combination. Butt, in partnership with Sonya Smith, prepare dual Derby winner Line Up, the country’s best three-year-old plus the richly talented Perfect Stride, placed in both the Victoria and New South Wales Derby classics behind his outstanding stablemate. Perfect Stride was placed in the Gr.1 $300,000 Breeders Crown last season as a rookie and was a runner-up in the Gr.1 $100,000 Bathurst Gold Chalice at his most recent start on March 28. Naturally, keeping both colts separated and not clashing in feature events takes some careful planning. So, with the revised Queensland winter carnival taking shape, Butt is monitoring the situation closely. With the Queensland border currently closed by State Government officials, Butt is hoping the July 10 reopening is on target. The Gr.2 $50,660 Garrards South East Derby on July 18 at Albion Park looms as a distinct possibility for Perfect Stride. The Bettors Delight – Chicago Blues colt ventured back to the Menangle trials this week (Wednesday) and enjoyed stretching his legs for the first time in months. “It was just a good wee trial to get him out and getting ready for competition again, there was no expectation and he just strolled through the trial and did what was required. We’ll trial him again next week and get more serious.” Butt said. The younger full-brother to champion pacer Chicago Bull (47 wins - $1.8 million) finished seventh in the Open trial won by Bettor Enforce over Alta Orlando in a slick time of 1:52.2. “I’m happy with the way he’s come through the trial and given that there’s not much around given the changes to the feature race calendar, the Brisbane race looks a possibility. “He’s not eligible for any Sires Stakes races so this race presents as a perfect opportunity to earn some good prizemoney, nothing set in stone but I’ll keep an eye on things. “Originally, I was going to attack the Brisbane carnival with both colts but obviously plans have changed so we’ve made some adjustments to their schedules.” The star local colt is Governor Jujon, prepared by Grant Dixon, and Butt is fully aware of his capabilities after clashing with him during both the Victoria and New South Wales Derby classics earlier this season. Governor Jujon beat Perfect Stride in a heat of the Victoria Derby at Ballarat before Line Up defeated both of them in the Gr.1 $200,000 Final the following week at Melton. In the NSW Derby, Line Up beat Perfect Stride while Governor Jujon failed to qualify for the Final. Meanwhile, Zeuss Bromac is very unlikely to head north for the Brisbane feature after disappointing on Tuesday at Menangle. Prepared by Paul and Gavin Fitzpatrick, the Bettors Delight led and weakened to fifth as favourite in a time of 1:52.6. Zeuss Bromac is being readied for the Breeders Crown in Victoria later this year. The talented colt was placed in the NSW Derby behind Line Up and Perfect Stride. Back in April, Racing Queensland advised the 2020 TAB Queensland Constellations Carnival will not proceed this year due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. However, with strict biosecurity measures currently in place, certain features will be staged over the winter months. Features that will be staged include; Date Race Division Track Distance Prize money 27/06/2020 Redcliffe Gold Cup Open Disc Hcp Redcliffe 2613m $25,630 11/07/2020 Wondais Mate (Open) Open Disc Hcp Albion Park 1660m $21,160 11/07/2020 South East Oaks 3YO Fillies Albion Park 2138m $50,660 11/07/2020 Queen Of Hearts Pace Open Mares Albion Park 1660m $21,660 18/07/2020 Mr Feelgood (Open) Open Albion Park 2138m $25,660 18/07/2020 South East Derby Open 3YO Albion Park 2138m $50,660 18/07/2020 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Open (F & M) Albion Park 1660m $25,660 18/07/2020 Trotters Cup Disc Hcp Albion Park 2647m $21,270 25/07/2020 Lucky Creed (Open) Open Albion Park 2680m $25,660 25/07/2020 QLD Trotters Cup Open (MS) Trot Albion Park 2138m $25,660   Chris Barsby

EMERGING star Wolf Stride continued a fairy tale first season for the Anthony Butt/Emilio Rosati partnership with a sparkling win in last night’s $100,000 Group 1 TAB Metropolitan Region Championship final. It comes after Rosati, Butt and Butt’s finance, Sonya Smith, have already enjoyed phenomenal success in their first season as a team, largely through the likes of superstar three-year-olds Line Up and Elite Stride. But Wolf Stride looks every bit as exciting as that pair. The four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven has really grown on Butt, who said his opinion of Wolf Stride has “gone to the next level in the past six weeks or so.” Butt declared Wolf Stride a “Grand Circuit horse in the making” headed into last night’s final, which he worked to the front in and never looked troubled. Butt put the foot down with a 27.5sec split from 1200-800m and Wolf Stride still ran his closing splits in 54.9 and 27.9sec to win by nine metres in a slick 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2300m. “He felt fantastic. He’s very exciting. The more we’ve asked of him, especially in the past six weeks or so, the more he’s kept improving,” Butt said. A thrilled Rosati heaped praise on Butt. “He’s been my missing link, he’s a terrific trainer and a champion driver,” he said. “This horse has always had ability, but we’ve been patient and Anthony’s starting to get the best out of him now.” Craig Cross qualified five of the 10 finalists, but had to be content with a brave second from Culture King and third spot with Bettor Robyn. Wolf Stride broke the run of major upsets in the Regional Championship finals after being crunched from $3.50 into $2.60 favourite. Earlier in the night, 18-year-old driver Jack Callaghan and popular Newcastle trainer Clayton Harmey both their first Group 1 when Kayne Crusader led throughout and dug-deep to win the $100,000 Hunter Region final at Newcastle. Kayne Crusader, also a son of Rock N Roll Heaven, was a $17 shot. The first two Regional finals also provided maiden Group 1 wins and wonderful stories. It started with Terryrama for father-and-son Malcolm and Brett Hutchings in the Western final at Bathurst on Wednesday night. Then came trainer Chris McPherson and driver Thomas Gilligan who landed the Riverina final at Wagga prize with Rocky Creed. Those first three results will surely give Harness Racing NSW food for thought about sticking with a regional format, which they were forced to revert to because of COVID-19.   By Adam Hamilton

ANTHONY Butt can’t recall a scarier feature race ride. Butt won last night’s Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Derby with Elite Stride, but admits he had given-up hope halfway through when the buzz trotter completely took charge. “He can do that, but this was extreme. He ran the middle half in 55sec and we go him running his first mile in about 1min53sec … and he still had another 700m to go,” he said. “The sectionals kept popping up and I thought he’d run himself into the ground. “It got to a stage where I could start to control him a little bit, but I didn’t want to really restrain him for fear he’d break. “It’s remarkable he was able to keep going and, despite the second horse getting close, he felt like he’d have something more again if I asked.” Elite Stride ran the first quarter of the last mile in 27.3sec and the second in 28.6, but the last two quarters were 31.2 and 31.5sec. He the Muscle Hill colt held-off talented Victorian Dizzysjet, now in Tim Butt’s stable, by 1.5m in a 1min57.9sec mile rate for 2300m. “He’s the best young trotter I’ve driven for sheer talent and the speed he has is amazing,” Butt said. “He’s just different to our young trotters, he’s essentially US-bred and he’s like a young American trotter, he just wants to go.” Butt thinks Elite Stride has the potential to become something special. “The talent and speed are there, but it’s now a matter of whether it’ll all come together and he’ll learn to become a complete racehorse. If he does, he could be anything,” he said. Elite Stride, who boasts seven wins and a second from eight starts, may have just one run this season, in next week’s Foundation series final at Menangle. "Where and when they run the Victoria Trotters’ Derby is uncertain so that’s still a possibility, but I’ll talk it through with Emilio (Rosati, owner-breeder),” Butt said. “Beyond that, we’ll look towards the Breeders Crown at the end of the year.” In other stable news, Butt said his glamour three-year-old pair Line Up and Perfect Stride were just resuming work. “There’s nothing for them, so we gave them a break and they’re just starting back up again now,” he said. “We’re really just looking towards the Breeders Crown towards the end of the year of them.” Butt is also excited about Saturday week’s $100,000 NSW Metropolitan Region series final at Menangle with the emerging Wolf Stride. “He could be a really serious horse. He’s getting better with every run and really impressed us in the heat,” he said. “It’s a strong series, but he could be a Grand Circuit horse in the making I think.”   Adam Hamilton

An extraordinary night for harness racing reinsman Anthony Butt, who claimed both the three-year-old Group 1 features, and a ground-breaking performance by Lochinvar Art, highlighted a stunning Night 2 of the TAB Summer of Glory. Butt doubled-down on a sublime Saturday evening at Tabcorp Park Melton when he added the Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby to an earlier Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Oaks triumph, with Line Up carrying his favouritism status with aplomb in the $200,000 feature. Butt, a former Melton resident who’s recently moved to Sydney, led from the outset with Line Up, spacing the chasing bunch with a 26.8-second third quarter before closing with a 27.8-second final 400 metres, which was enough to win by 1.6 metres from Grant Dixon’s Governor Jujon. “He’s a lovely horse, very relaxed,” Butt said. “He just went to sleep in front, that’s what he likes. When I pulled the plugs around the bend he really zipped away. It was a big effort.” It capped a big night for Butt, who earlier won the $150,000 Victoria Oaks with Dr Susan for New Zealand co-trainers Nathan Purdon and Cran Dalgety. Dr Susan actually broke her gait in a false start, but second time around would break the hearts of her rivals with a 26.3-second third quarter to set up victory in the Group 1. The all-the-way win was scored by 4.4 metres from favourite Stylish Memphis, a satisfying win for co-trainer Dalgety that he dedicated to Bacchus Marsh reinsman Gavin Lang, who is battling ill-health. “I just saw my good friend Gavin Lang today,” Dalgety said post-race. “Gavin’s having a wee bit of an off time, if I can dedicate a race I’m going to dedicate it to that good man Gavin Lang. It seems a bit hollow tonight not having him win one of these big races.” The three-year-old classics were almost overshadowed by Lochinvar Art’s extraordinary performance in the Group 1 Alabar 4YO Bonanza, where he not only beat highly touted Self Assured but won in a 1:48.6 mile rate, the first time a horse has broken the magical 1:50 barrier in Victoria.“He’s just a legend really,” Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said. “I’m chuffed and lost for words. He’s just a champion.” There was also plenty of fun on track when Always Fast won the Mercury80 for Kima Frenning and Emma Stewart, capping the terrific 1200-metre series that began in front of thousands at Melton on New Year’s Eve. But it’s perhaps the Allied Express Casey Classic and DNR Logistics V L Dullard Trotters Cup that will create most conversation this week. Those two features are likely to be key lead-ins to this Saturday’s headliners on Night 3 of the TAB Summer of Glory back at Tabcorp Park Melton – the $500,000 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup and the $250,000 What The Hill Great Southern Star. Those two crowns form Victoria’s richest pacing race and Australia’s richest trotting race respectively and will draw Australasia’s most talented harness racing combatants to battle for a place in equine immortality. Kiwi Mach Shard reaffirmed he’ll be a contender in the Hunter Cup with Saturday night’s bold win in the Casey Classic. By Tim O’Connor Reprinted with permission of The Star Weekly

FORMER champion Kiwi driver Anthony Butt is genuinely buzzing heading towards Melton’s huge meeting on Saturday night. Despite his stellar record in some of Australia’s biggest races, headlined by seven Hunter Cup wins, Butt’s record in the Victoria Derby and Oaks has been bleak. Remarkably, he hasn’t won a Derby and has only jagged the one Oaks title, aboard Geoff Small’s brilliant Pullover Brown way back in 2003. “My one chance of winning the Derby was Lavros Star (1997). I won the heat on him, but got suspended and Ricky May won the final on him,” Butt recalled. The now NSW-based Butt is confident of turning it all around at Melton this week. And the punters have thrown their support behind him. Butt trains and drives heavily-backed Derby favourite, Line Up, who ran blistering time leading throughout in his heat at Ballarat last week and is drawn to lead again from gate three. He’s been $2.40 into $2.25 on the Aussie TAB since drawing gate three. “It’s a fantastic draw, especially being inside Governor Jujon, who looks the main danger,” Butt said. “Line Up really impressed me last week. He only came to us a couple of weeks before the heat, but obviously I’d driven him in those big races over in NZ. “He’d been working well and I was keen to hold the front. He did a terrific job in quick time after having to sprint three times. “He’s a great chance of leading again and has come through the heat win really well.” Butt’s hopes of winning a second Oaks sit with Cran Dalgety’s speedy and improving filly, Dr Susan, who led, then took a trail on Stylish Memphis and got clear too late when second in her heat at Ballarat. “She was only starting to wind-up on the line last week. I was keen to hold the front, but Mark (Purdon, driving Stylish Memphis) had one crack at me and then his filly started to pulling hard, so when he came again I took the trail knowing it was a heat,” Butt said. “There will be no handing-up this week, that’s for sure. We’ve drawn really again (gate five) and can hopefully find the front, while Stylish Memphis is outside the back and will have to work hard to get around the field and outside of us. “Maybe she will just be too good Stylish Memphis, but Dr Susan is one of those fillies who has just absolutely thrived on the trip away. She’s getting better and better.” Dr Susan has been backed from $3 into $2.50 and is now equal favourite with Stylish Memphis on the Aussie TAB.   Adam Hamilton

By Garrick Knight Ex-pat Kiwi horseman Anthony Butt put aside a hellish 18 hours to win the day’s feature trot at Addington on Tuesday. Driving Sydney visitor Tough Monarch, Butt executed an aggressive front-running drive to win the $100,000 Group 1 New Zealand Trotting Free For All. In frantic scenes, the now Sydney-based Cantabrian Butt only arrived on course mere minutes before the horses were due to go on track. Smoke from the wild fires raging in New South Wales saw his flight cancelled last evening and he only landed in the country 1 hour before the start of the race. “It was a nightmare,” he said post-race. “I went there yesterday afternoon and when I’d nearly got to the airport, I got a text that said the flight was postponed for three hours until 10 o’clock last night. “I went to them and said, tell me now if it’s not going to go and I’ll get on something else. “They said no, no it’s definitely going to go and then at about 9 o’clock they cancelled on me. “By then it was too late to get on anything else.” So, Butt went back home to Menangle and tried everything he could to try and get to Addington the next day. “I was up half the night trying to find flights. “I tried everything – through Auckland, through Melbourne, through Brisbane. “But there was only one option and it got in at 2 o’clock.” The race was set down to start at 2.47 on the other side of town. It didn’t seem likely. “But luckily we landed 10 minutes early. Plus, I only had carry-on and the attendants put me right by the door so I was first off.” His mum, Jenny Butt, picked him up and rushed across town while Butt got changed in to his driving gear in the back seat. He ran in to the Addington stables just five minutes before the horses were called on to the track. Tough Monarch, off the back of an excellent trial on the track last Wednesday, was a $3 favourite with punters and never them any cause for concern. “He felt good the whole way,” said Butt. “We sort of had to a bit early but he was comfortable and Rickie (Alchin, trainer) said to not let them get up to him. “Round the bend they started to drop off and we put a gap on them.” About then, fellow Australian trotter, McLovin, was extracted to the outside by Kate Gath and launched a grinding finish. He got close, but not close enough, and the pair recorded a famous Australian quinella on New Zealand’s biggest race day. Tough Monarch has been there or thereabouts in all the features across the ditch in recent seasons, but Tuesday’s was his first Group 1 win after three placings. “He’s just a wee professional. “It was his first Group 1, but he’s been around about it a lot of the time so he really deserves this.” Gath was thrilled with McLovin’s effort, saying he overcome a less-than-preferable draw and trip to finish close up in second. “I was really happy with him. “I was a little bit disheartened when the draws came out and we knew Tough Monarch would be tough to beat off the front. “So, to get as close as we did was pleasing and it’s a good sign for the Dominion on Friday.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

CHAMPION driver Anthony Butt has landed the plum drive on star Aussie trotter Tough Monarch through NZ Cup Week and the Auckland Inter Dominion. Trainer Rickie Alchin, who arrived in NZ with Tough Monarch yesterday (Wednesday), said he was thrilled to have Butt aboard.  “I wanted a top Kiwi driver, one who has the score on the board in big races over here,” he said. “Anthony might be based in Sydney now, but his record in the big NZ races is outstanding. It’s great to have him driving for us.”  Butt now has drives in at least three major races during Cup Week, having already been confirmed for the Aussie-owned Line Up in the 3YO Sires Stake final.  “It was exciting to get the call-up to drive Line Up for Emilio (Rosati, owner) and now for Rickie and owners to give me the drive on Tough Monarch is terrific,” Butt said. “I’d originally planned to take Emilio’s trotter Lily Stride across, but she didn’t go well enough last Sunday at Menangle. “I’ll stay the week for the Cup, I’ve already picked up another drive during the week as well. "As far as the Inter Dominion goes, I guess I’ll stay that first week for the heats and take it from there.”  Alchin said Tough Monarch had settled well in NZ  “He handled he trip well and it’s good to get across nice an early,” he said. “As planned, he’ll go the Cup trials next week to top him off for the free-for-all on Cup Day,” he said.   by Adam Hamilton

Champion former Kiwi harness racing trainer-driver Anthony Butt and his partner Sonya Smith are looking forward enthusiastically to their next chapter in the industry. The pair this week took over the role of preparing a big team owned by passionate and big spending entrepreneur Emilio Rosati and his wife Mary, at Menangle, Sydney. Rosati is a driving force behind Form 700, one of Australia's leading construction companies. "It was an opportunity which really come out of the blue. But it was too good to pass up and we are so excited," Inter Dominion Hall of Famer Anthony Butt said. The door opened for Butt and Smith when renowned North American horseman Noel "Oz" Daley decided to return to the United States. Daley is an Australian and took up the private trainer role for the Rosatis in February after returning home. He's decided to head back to the US, but not without amassing an impressive strike rate in his short time at the helm, preparing 13 winners (three in the metro) and 28 placings from 67 starters for $128,000. Butt said after being approached by Rosati, they took time to think over the offer. "Sonya and I thought it over for two days, and in the end decided it was a wonderful opening. It was an absolute pleasure to be walking into a barn full of horses in such brilliant condition," Butt said. "Noel is a master at conditioning horses. His outstanding US record speaks for itself," he said. "We've started off with 20 horses, with another 10 to soon come in. The stock includes so many that are well bred and we just can't wait to get into them." Butt, since starting out as a 17 year old in 1983, has won close to every major race across Australasia - more than 2160 wins including well over 100 Group One successes. He and Smith had a four-year stint in Victoria after crossing the Tasman in 2014, then decided 12 months ago to move to Sydney where brother Tim was well set up at Menangle. "We had a team of eight in work so some of these have gone to Tim and a few others down to Melbourne," Butt said. "I've known Emilio for many years. He always travelled over to New Zealand when the sales were on. I had a successful run for him earlier this year when I drove three Group One winners for him over the Winter months. "We are keeping the same staff members that were here with Noel. So it was virtually a case of Noel going out and us coming in. "Working with big numbers of horses is nothing new for us because when I was with Tim he always loved having plenty about." The first runners for the Butt-Rosati combination will appear at Menangle next Tuesday in the form of Moonshine Stride, Crystal Stride, Typhoon Stride, Always A Stride and Kiwi Stride. In the late 1970s, one of the first horses to be owned by Emilio and Mary was a more than useful pacer in Stride High. He had leg issues but still managed 11 or 12 wins under their ownership. It's a result of this that the couple apply the "Stride" suffix to their horses' names.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Champion expat reinsman Anthony Butt has a word of warning for Kiwi punters as our interest in the Breeders Crown heats ramps up at Shepparton tonight. Talented juveniles Zeuss Bromac and Perfect Stride contest different heats of the male series, which has a A$300,000 final at Melton on August 24, with Butt to partner Perfect Stride. Regular reinsman Zachary Butcher is actually in Victoria and will drive Zeuss Bromac, who he trains, but Butt will drive Perfect Stride as he has become the go-to man for big-money NSW owner Emilio Rosati. Butt partnered Ultimate Stride, owned by Rosati, to win the A$50,000 Redwood Trot at Maryborough on Sunday and is engaged to partner four of the eight New Zealand reps in the Breeders Crown. “It works well for me and I hope well for the horses connections,” says Butt mater-of-factly. “Obviously I watch the racing back home very close but also do the form for over here. And I have been thrilled by the support I am getting.” While former Canterbury-based Butt rates Perfect Stride a real speedster who can shock the Aussies in his heat tonight he does say changes to the series suggest punters on horses not drawn to lead should be careful. “With the changes to the series (all heats now in Victoria) all the horses starting in those two heats are guaranteed a place in the semi final next week. “So they could be tame races because those drawn to get back might not be able to win. “A horse like Perfect Stride follows out a good beginner and should be handy on the outer but he looks best driven with a sit. “And with this heat and semi make-up and maybe not much pressure in the heats I can see him having a hard job to win, unless somebody goes hard up front.” The usual leader bias of Breeders Crown heats, and often semis, could aid Zeuss Bromac tonight because while he is in by far the stronger heat he should settle handy from a front line draw Butt will also partner Pukekohe filly Best Western in her three-year-old fillies heat at Kilmore on tomorrow night but she also faces a second line draw but more importantly series hot favourite Princess Tiffany, who has drawn barrier one.   Michael Guerin

There aren’t many trots mountains Anthony Butt hasn’t climbed but the champion Kiwi-turned-Aussie reinsman was beaming at Maryborough today after guiding Ultimate Stride to his first Volstead Redwood Classic. Taking the reins of the favourite for New Zealand trainer Phil Williamson, Butt put in a flawless display to sit in wait while leader Is That A Bid and breeze-horse Dublin Chubb were brisk early, then challenged three-wide a long way from home on Ultimate Stride to ensure a staying test in the 2190-metre standing start. Come the final straight he would prove too strong, winning by 3.4m ahead of valiant leader Is That A Bid, with Daddy Warbucks third and a significant gap to all others. “He got going too good really, they walked that second quarter of the last mile and I just basically got to the stage that I couldn’t hold him any longer,” Butt told interviewer Paul Campbell post-race. “I knew Kerryn’s (Dublin Chubb) was pulling and I wouldn’t be able to get past her too easy, but I just wanted to make it a bit of staying test as well and I had a lot of faith in (Ultimate Stride's) staying abilities. Drive a horse like that, you’ve got to keep him out of trouble as well and I just wanted to cover all bases.” Watch the video here! The win meant plenty to Butt, being his first Redwood Classic triumph, an honour he said had slipped through the grip of many who had crossed the Tasman to capture the crown. “It’s a very hard race for the Kiwis to win, I think Mark Purdon won it just a few years ago and he was the first Kiwi to do it. It’s a time-honoured race, one I’ve always wanted to win and it's great to do it.” It was also a terrific result for prolific owners Emilio and Maria Rosati and trainer Williamson, who also held high hopes for Liberty Stride in the Haras Des Trotteurs Victoria Trotters Derby only to see the race favourite gallop out of contention at the mobile start. Both are expected to now turn their focus to the TAB Breeders Crown, with pacing heats for the great aged racing series beginning on Tuesday.   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media 

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