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Last weeks selections at the four harness racing meetings looked ok on paper but it turned into our worst performance since we started doing the ringaround. Todd MacFarlane has bragging rights this week because he was the only tipster to select a winner last week. We did have eleven placings but it is still hard to fathom how we only managed one winner from twenty odd selections. Still as Steve Hansen would say, "flush the dunny" and move on to this week. There are five meetings this week and we have selections for them all. Forbury Park - Thursday night Brad Williamson - Gives The Silver Fox a big chance of taking out race 3 Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Astro Boy was a good each way chance in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Rates Parramatta very hard to beat, also in race 4   Alexandra Park - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Thinks the two year old filly Are You Ready Girl can win race 1 Tony Herlihy - Rates Rub Of The Green a good each way chance in race 4 Scott Phelan - Reckons Prince Of Pops will be very hard to beat,also in race 4 Todd MacFarlane - Gives Twoandahalf Tigers a good each way show in race 5 Steven Reid - Very bullish about the chances of Art Form, also in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) Quite keen on the chances of Chachingchaching in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Thought Makarewa Jake was a big chance in race 8   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Rates Bracken Ridge a big winning chance in race 1 Bob Butt - Thrilled with Conon Bridge last week and thinks he will win race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thinks Trouble Rieu will be too smart for them in race 5  Ricky May - Very bullish about the chances of Brilliant Strike in race 9   Motukarara - Sunday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly  - Gives Hit The Spot a good chance fresh up to win race 7 John Dunn - Thinks Geisha Girl can bounce back to her winning ways, also in race 7    Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Tim Williams - Can't see the very smart Lazarus being beaten in race 1 Clark Barron - Thinks he can bring up win number 1000 on Mass Invasion in race 3 Nathan Williamson - Thought Sue Me from barrier one would be hard to beat in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Reckons Leigh Major just needs a little bit of luck from her barrier to win race 11   Harnesslink Media

Last week was a mixed bag but two very wet tracks at both Ascot Park and Methven didn't help with the conditions hampering a lot of runners. We managed five winners with the best dividend going to Bob Butt at Methven with Ancient Moonlight while others to select winners were John Dunn, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Scott Phelan and we also had five placings as well. This week there are only the four meetings and we cover them all. Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Gives Soul Hanover a great each way chance in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thinks on his runs to date they can't beat Alta Leroy in race 8    Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Thought Uandmebabe would be hard to beat from her good draw in race 7 Scott Phelan - Very bullish about the chances of Bettor B Amazed, also in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Gives the two year old Shandale a big chance of winning race 8 Steven Reid - Rates Aquickone on her work this week as the one to beat in race 9   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Thought Danny Del Vito from barrier one could upset them in race 1 John Dunn - Gives Culinary Delight a big push to return to the winners list, also in race 1 Bob Butt - Looking for the trifecta in race one where Bob thinks Gracious Me will be hard to beat Robbie Holmes - Thought Aile Rouge could get a piece of it at good odds in race 2 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of the very smart Father Christmas, also in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) Reckons Waikiki Beach will beat Chase The Dream and win race 4 Blair Orange - Thinks Habibti Ivy will match it with the boys in the Derby and win race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Tiger Tara would be improved this week and a each way chance in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Knows Alley Way is up against it this week but a great place chance in race 7 Tim Williams - Keeps giving out Have Faith In Me and he keeps winning, this week in race 8 Ricky May - Rapt with the run of Dalton Bromac last week and won't have him beaten in race 9   Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Reckons Leigh Major must be due a change of luck and can win race1 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Really likes the chances of Denn Nee Nose Best in race 3 Clark Barron - Gave Real Raider a big chance to clear maidens in race 4 Nathan Williamson - Thought Franco Tyson would be a great each way chance at good odds in race 8   Harnesslink Media

Last week wasn't one of our best but the missing link was our southern tipsters who had a shocker at Winton last Saturday. Everybody else was thereabouts with their selections with Jim Curtin, Todd Mitchell, Maurice McKendry and Ricky May tipping us into winners and we had seven placegetters as well. This week there are only four meetings in the country and we have selections for them all. Taranaki - Thursday afternoon John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Gave Sheza Springfield a big chance of clearing maidens in race 3 Peter Scaife - Likes Prime Legal to improve on his first day run and win race 4 Scott Phelan - Rates Better B Amazed as very hard to beat in race 9 Sean McCaffrey - Thought Styx It To Em was right in the zone and would win race 10   Addington - Friday night John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of Boom Gate in race 1 Blair Orange - Gives Goodness Gracious Me a big chance in race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Jaccka Justy would be hard to beat in race 3 Tony Herilhy - Thinks Hug The Wind will be very hard to beat from barrier 1 in race 6 Tim Williams - Very keen on the very smart Have Faith In Me, also in race 6 Todd Mitchell - Reckons Prime Power is at his best and will win race 8   Ascot Park - Saturday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of Geordie Sivad to make it two in a row in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thought Mokosun from the front line would be hard to beat in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Gives Leigh Major a big chance in race 7 Nathan Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of Statham in race 8 Clark Barron - Not sure if Bonnies Khaleesi can beat Statham but a great place bet, also in race 8   Methven - Sunday afternoon Matthew Williamson - Likes the chances of the first starter Toot Toot in race 1 Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of Ancient Moonlight in race 3 Jim Curtin - Gives Trial Separation a big chance of leaving maidens in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Really keen on the chances of Another Delight, also in race 4 Ricky May - Thought Jack Hammer would be very hard to beat in race 8 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Break Dance is a big chance to make it two in a row in race 9   Harnesslink Media

The harness racing debutante Idealindiamonds was well supported when he lined up for his first start at the invited drivers meeting on the grass at Waikouaiti today. The three year old son of American Ideal had been impressive at trials and workouts around Canterbury for trainers David and Catherine Butt. A second to subsequent winner Boundary Row at the Rangiora workouts was followed by a trial win last Monday at Addington over Just Ben who won at Oamaru on Sunday which suggested that Idealindiamonds  was always going to be a major player today. Driver Bob Butt got him away well from barrier four and grabbed an early lead before handing up to the well supported Edge Of Reason and Sam Ottley. Edge Of Reason took Idealindiamonds all the way to the passing lane and once angled into the lane by Bob, Idealindiamonds shot clear for a very impressive debut victory. Another well supported debutante Real Raider ran on well for second just in front of the pace making Edge Of Reason. Idealindiamonds paced the 1900 metres from a stand in 2:36 with the last 800 metres in 61.8 and the 400 metres in a sharp 27.5 A $32,500 purchase at the 2013 New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch, Idealindiamonds is bred to be well above average. He is from Imprint 1:58.4 ($22,622) who has already produced Opulent 1:54.9 ($219,906) and Imprint is a daughter of the former smart three year old filly Impish 1:54.9 ($45,032). Bob Butt thought he would go close on debut. " He is such a wee professional." " He is such a lovely pacer and has the manners as well so I thought he would be hard to beat." " It was his first time on the grass but he is so well gaited I didn't think it would worry him," Bob said One of things that made the win more memorable for Bob Butt was it continued a long standing trend between the owners and the Butt family. " I am the fourth generation of the Butt family to have driven a winner for these owners so that makes it pretty special," Bob said. Idealindiamonds will continue to race in grade racing around Canterbury and judging by today's win he won't have any trouble handling the rise in grade. Harnesslink Media   

Last week was an improvement from the week before with our tipsters selecting six winners along with eight placegetters so not far away from a great result. Clark Barron, Todd Mitchell, Zac Butcher, John Curtin, Matthew Williamson and Maurice McKendry all got their selections home first to carry on the good strike rate that most of that group have. This week we are covering the four meetings with declared fields but we would suggest that anyone backing a horse at Westport on Friday follows their selection through to Reefton on Sunday. Forbury - Thursday night Terry Chmiel - Gives Moment Of Love a big chance of turning her form around and winning race 4 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of Mokosun in race 9   Westport - Friday afternoon Jim Curtin - Likes the chances of Insignificant even off 30 metres in race 2 Robbie Holmes - Thought As Kiwi As was due a change of luck and could win race 4 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Breakdance can turn her form around and win race 5 Steve Richardson (Tab) - Thought the durable Ideal Arden would be hard to beat in race 7 John Dunn - Rates Geisha Girl a huge chance to make it three in a row, also in race 7 Bob Butt - Gives Georgie Mach a big winning chance even from the unruly mark in race 8   Auckland - Friday night Maurice McKendry - Reckons Yagunnakissmeornot can carry on her winning way in race 2 Blair Orange - Thinks Barry with a drop back this week would be very hard to beat, also in race 2 John Curtin - Gives Chase The Dream a big chance of upsetting Lazarus in race 3  Scott Phelan - Thought First Home, even from barrier eight could upset them in race 4  Tim Williams - Rates Dream About Me a big chance to make it three from three in race 5 Todd Mitchell - Gives Prime Power a great chance of going back to back in race 7 Ricky May - Thinks Jason Rulz is a great place chance from barrier two in race 8 Tony Herlihy - Rates San Diego Love coming in fresh a big chance of winning race 9   Gore - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Gives Taranto a good chance on grass to win race 2 Matthew Williamson - Thought Falcon Asset would be hard to roll in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Reckons Statham has kept improving lately and will win race 7 Shane Walkinshaw - Thought with a drag into the race Viscountess could get some of it, also in race 7 Clark Barron - Gives Flight Deck a good chance of making a winning debut in race 10

The Harnesslink weekly ringaround has been on a bit of a run lately with a few double figure dividends thrown in by our tipsters. This week we have already had a real turn up when Justalittlebettor upset them in the last in Motukarara on Friday at odds of $18 to one Sent forward from barrier eight by trainer/ driver Bob Butt to grab the early lead after 200 metres, Justalittlebettor took a trail behind Perissa after 600 metres and got a lovely run on her back to 250 metres from home where Bob eased her out and just nailed a game Perissa in the last few strides. It was the fourth win for the five year old daughter of Bettor's Delight and along with thirteen placings took her earnings over the $48,000 mark. Bob was confident of a big run which is why he tipped it out in the weekly ringaround as his drive of the week. " It was a big drop in class to what she had been racing lately." " Last week she was racing New Years Jay in a 1:54.6 mile at Ashburton and she ran a good fourth so it was  a huge drop in class this week." "She has had a dropback recently which has helped as well," Bob said. Bob has always had a bit of time for Justalittlebettor. " She is a lovely pacer and great to do anything with" " She is in a grade where she needs a bit of luck but with the right run she is always a chance," Bob said. Bob is going through a bit of a rebuild at the moment having sold a couple of his more progressive horses. " You have to turn them over when you are starting out." " I have got a lovely three year old in Bettor Be Smooth who is not far away from the trials so there is always another one coming through," Bob said. The weekly ringaround continues to throw up big dividends most weeks lately and judging by the amount of correspondence we receive about it each week, it has really developed a loyal following. Harnesslink Media  

Another one of those weeks where we were there abouts without getting the rub of the green, with a lot of the horses selected by our tipsters having little luck. Five managed to get home first but another five ran second which about sums up the luck at the moment. Blair Orange, Robbie Holmes, Tony Herlihy, Nathan Williamson and the boss John Curtin all picked winners and special mention for the boss who is going for three in a row this week. Our tipsters have gone near and far this week from Winton in the south to Tabcorp Park Melton in Melbourne. Winton - Thursday afternoon Brad Williamson - Rates Mokosun a big winning chance even off 20 metres in race 4 Clark Barron - Thinks Mass Invasion is overdue a change of luck and can win, also in race 4   Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Princess Arts from the draw could roll the hotpot On The Town in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Gives Repeat After Me a great chance of running in three in race 9     Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Reckons Unmissable is ready to win her second race at Manawatu in race 5 Peter Scaife - Rates Mach Cullen from barrier one a big chance to turn his form around and win race 7   Amberley - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Rates last weeks impressive debutant Supershakes hard to beat in race 3 Robbie Holmes - Gives Bridget Blue Chip from her handy draw a chance to upset them in race 5 Gerard O"Reilly - Thought Always Yours would take all kinds of stopping in race 6 Jim Curtin - Rates Star Of Dionysis back to the grass a big chance to win race 8   Auckland - Friday night Steven Reid - Thought  Clarius could continue his good form and win race 1 Tony Herlihy - Likes Walkinshaw to improve on his debut run and win race 4 Maurice McKendry -  Thought his two year old Shandale would have a big show, also in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Our Dainty Lady very hard to beat in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Better B Amazed will be awlfully hard to beat in race 9   Ashburton - Saturday afternoon Tim Williams - Rates Chase The Dream a big chance to win the Sapling Stakes on debut (Race 5) Blair Orange - Thought Goodness Gracious Me could top off a string of placings with a win in race 9   Tabcorp Park Melton - Saturday night Ricky May - Was rapt with "Terrors" run last week and thinks he can win the Hunter Cup   Wairarapa - Sunday Afternoon Todd Mitchell - Rates Te Kawau very difficult to beat in the Wairarapa Cup.   Waikouaiti - Sunday Afternoon Nathan Williamson - Rates Grey Power a big chance on the grass to win race 5 Matthew Williamson  - Thinks if Bet's Sun trots all the way he can beat his brother in race 5 Craig Thornley - Likes the chances of Dream Big to bounce back and win race 8.   Harnesslink Media

The racing programme is finally getting back to something like normal this week although there is no meeting in the Auckland/ Waikato region so the number of selections this week reflects that. Our "holiday" selectors were in good form with Scott Phelan, Ricky May, Blair Orange, Jim Curtin, Steve Richardson, Bob Butt, Nathan Williamson, Matthew Williamson and Brad Williamson all tipping out winners with Brad getting bragging rights on the back of Nureyev paying $10:90 at Winton. This week we have four meetings in the country covered with some interesting selections from our tipsters. Northern Southland - Thursday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Bullish about the chances of Acolyte in race 4 Bob Butt - Thinks that with an ounce of luck Justalittlebettor can win race 5 even from barrier 8 Terry Chmiel - Reckons Millwood Pink Lady from barrier two will be very hard to beat, also in race 5 Ricky May - Rates Rocker Band very hard to hold out if she gets clear air in race 6 Brendon McLellan - Reckons with his dropback to C1 Sammy The Bull can win race 8 Nathan Williamson - Gives Dwindle Mist a real chance of upsetting the favourites in race 9 Clark Barron - Thought even in a red hot field, Twilight Franco could upset them in race 10    Otaki - Friday afternoon John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates the chances of recent northern import Balius in race 6 Scott Phelan - Likes the chances of Sweet Art off the front mark to win race 7 Steven Reid - Thought Clarius was a chance to upset them in race 8 Peter Scaife - Thought Playaway was due a change of luck and could win race 10   Addington - Friday night Gerard O'Reilly - Rates Royal Caroline a big chance of leaving maidens in race 1 Craig Thornley - Thought Supreme Gem even from barrier 6 at the mile could win race 3 Robbie Holmes - Gives Petite Royal a chance of turning her form around and winning race 4 Blair Orange - Quite bullish about the chances of Bracken Ridge in race 6  Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes the chances of Big Lucy winning first up for the season in race 8 Brad Williamson- Thought Monty Python could make it three in a row in race 9   Oamaru - Sunday Afternoon Matthew Williamson - Rates Brads Kenny a huge chance on his home track to win race 5

It is not very often that the harness racing enthusiasts in Central Otago get to see a million dollar winner but it happened yesterday when the old warrior Vulcan won the FFA mobile trot at Omakau Raceway in Central Otago. The eight year old son of Earl looked to be coming to the end of his career a few starts ago but since being leased by Roddy Butt after Cup Week in November, Vulcan has got a new lease on life. Stabled at David and Catherines Butt's property at Woodend, Vulcan has responded to the beach training and his win two starts ago at Addington in a tick outside the New Zealand record showed he was back on track. A creditable fourth at Ashburton on Boxing Day after being the lone back marker on 30 metres, Vulcan looked much better placed today under the mobile start conditions. Regular driver Bob Butt gave Vulcan out as his horse to follow in the pre Xmas ringaround as he thought he was hitting top form Drawing the outside barrier under the preferential draw system,  Bob  sent Vulcan forward from the start and he worked to the lead after 400 metres. Attacked by the inform Alley Way and Matthew Williamson shortly after, Bob took a trail with Vulcan in what would prove to be the winning move. Alley Way kept up a steady tempo and led for home but was quickly claimed by Vulcan up the passing lane who went on for a comfortable 1 3/4 length victory over a solidly finishing Saratota with Alley Way holding third. It was Vulcan's 20th career win and more importantly took Vulcan over the $1,000,000 threshhold in career earnings. Considering the significance of the win Bob gave a rather subdued whip flourish as he hit the line. "I don't like to get too carried away with things like that but I was rapt the old fella had won and cracked the million." "Jenny Butt (part owner) was there which made it that bit more special" "On paper he looked a bit good for them really and I expected him to be hard to beat," Bob told Harnesslink this morning. A lot of pundits thought Vulcan had gone just okay at Ashburton at his previous run but Bob thought the run had plenty of merit. " He was the lone backmarker on 30 metres and was chasing the whole way." "He went 3:2.7 for the 2400 metres which was the quickest in the race and I thought the run was full of merit." "Starting off level terms yesterday gave him a huge advantage, " Bob said. Future plans for Vulcan are already set with the veteran to head south for the Northern Southland meeting on January 15th. " There is a 3200 metres race there which will suit him down to the ground. "It is a handicap event and he will be off 40 metres but being two miles it gives him a chance to make up the handicap,"  Bob said. Harnesslink would like to join with the rest of the industry in congratulating Tim Butt , Anthony Butt, Roddy Butt, Bob Butt and the myriad of others who have contibuted to Vulcan making the millionaires club. Harnesslink Media  

We must apologize for last weeks absense due to the staff member responsible being off ill and the "boss" not picking up the slack. It might have been an opportune time for a break anyway as our tipsters were digging themselves a bit of a hole in the last week or two. There are five meetings this week and we have selections for them all. Cambridge - Thursday night Zac Butcher - Thought Georgies Smile from the ace would be hard to roll in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Very keen on the chances of Thanks Shane also in race 2 Scott Phelan - Reckons Santana Jewel is way overdue to win one in race 4 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks if the breaks go her way that Simply Stunning can upset them in race 6 Maurice McKendry - Likes the chances of The Moonraker clearing maidens in race 8   Auckland - Friday night Ricky May - Thinks Dalton Bromac should continue the picket fence formline in race 1 Tony Herlihy - Rates The Fascinator a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Reckons Classical Art can keep the winning streak intact in race 5 Blair Orange - Likes the chances of Mighty Flying Major to be a "major" player in race 7 Tim Williams - Not surprisingly Tim thinks that Have Faith In Me will win, also in race 7 Steven Richardson - Has gone a touch rougher with Express Stride to upstage the other two in race 7 Sean McCaffrey - Thought Yagunnakissmeornot can make it six from six at Alexandra Park in race 10 Gerard O'Reilly - Is confident that Zin Zan will strip a lot fitter this week and can win race 11   Addington - Friday night Robbie Holmes - Likes Tehoro Ruby from barrier 1 to break out of maidens in race 1 Bob Butt - Thought if Justalittlebettor could reproduce her Methven run she could win race 6 Matthew Williamson - Rates Monty Python a big chance to go back to back in race 7 Jim Curtin - Thinks Breeders Crown finalist Field Marshall will be to good in race 11   Wairio - Saturday afternoon Nathan Williamson - Thought if Grey Power put his best foot forward they wouldn't beat him in race 1 Dexter Dunn - Likes the chances of Leolas Delight making a winning debut in race 2 John Dunn - Very confident that Jay Dub can make it two from two this time in and take out race 6 Brendon McLellan - Thinks that Vera's Delight can get that long overdue win in race 7 Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Canardy Lover a big show to go back to back in race 8 Clark Barron - Reckons that Shezacheapy back on the roomy Winton track can win race 9   Rangiora - Sunday afternoon Craig Thornley - Thinks Inchbonnie Lad can go one better this week and win race 4   Harnesslink Media  

The old saying in harness racing that form is temporary and class is permanent was never better displayed when Vulcan turned his career around with an outstanding win at Addington last night. The 8 year old son of Earl has been a big player at the elite level in the not to distant past but has been struggling during the last twelve months  to recapture that sort of form. This is a trotter who has racked up 10 Group 1 wins on both sides of the Tasman with 5 Group 1 wins in both Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand his victories include the coveted Dominion Handicap, two Harness Jewels victories as well as successes in the New Zealand Trotting Championship and New Zealand Trotting Free For All. In Australia his biggest wins were in the inaugural Great Southern Star (Heat + Final), The Knight Pistol Trot, V L Dullard Trotting Cup and the Australian Trotting Grand Prix. It is an outstanding record however you look at it and judging by last nights win he is not finished yet. With his form dropping away this season,the decision was made after the Dominion Handicap this year to lease a share of the horse to Roddy Butt. Vulcan was transferred to the beach training complex of David and Catherine Butt with Roddy doing most of the day to day work with the horse since his transfer.  In his three runs from his new quarters Vulcan was ok at Geraldine before running a much better race to run 4th at Methven last Sunday to Royal Aspirations in the trotters Green Mile. Last night driver Bob Butt who was wearing Roddy's colours had Vulcan away well from his 35 metres handicap and he settled seventh in the running early. Working up on the inner, Vulcan was four back as Vacanza set a hectic pace in front. Going past the 800 metres Vulcan was shuffled back to last and then hooked on to the three wide line on Valmagne's back. Going past the 500 metres mark Bob pushed the go button and Vulcan looped the field and shot clear as they turned for home. At the line Vulcan was still 3 1/2 lengths to the good of Royal Aspirations in a display that was more like the Vulcan of old. Vulcan trotted the 2600 metres from a stand in 3:15.4, a mile rate of 2:00.9 and only 6/10ths of a second outside of the New Zealand record for the trip held by Royal Aspirations. It was Vulcan's 19th career win and along with 19 placings took his earning to $994,969 and cracking the million is now on the radar. "It would be great to crack the million with him as he deserves it after what he has achieved," Bob Butt told Harnesslink this morning. "That is the immediate aim and we will just keep him to races like the one last night to give him every chance to crack the million," Bob said. Judging by the manner of his last to first burst last night it won't be too long until Vulcan cracks the million dollar mark. Never a horse that has received the accolades his performances have deserved, Vulcan deserves every bit of praise that he will receive when he cracks the million mark in the next few weeks. Harnesslink Media  

Generations of families being successful in harness racing is quite common in this industry and the one name at the top of that pile is the one tracing to Wes Butt. The list is way too long to compile here but one of the latest from this trotting dynasty to branch out on his own is Bob Butt. Son of the 2006 and 2007 premiership winning trainers David and Catherine Butt, Bob has been around horses all his life. Bob first got serious about a future in harness racing while still at school. " I use to help Nigel McGrath out after school and that confirmed to me that I wanted to do this for a career," Bob told Harnesslink recently. After Bob left school, he went and worked for Cran Dalgety for 18 months before heading north and working for legendary trainer Barry Purdon for just on two years. " It was great going and working for trainers like Cran and Barry." "You learn so much from them,especially all those little things that can make all the difference,"Bob said Returning home to his parents establishment at Woodend Beach after his stint at Barry Purdon's, Bob was only home a short time before being offered an opportunity to travel to Australia to work for the former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley in Melbourne. "I always wanted to have a look at the Australian scene so i didn't twice about taking the offer to work for Brent" "Brent put me on a lot of nice horses while I was with him and I ended up driving over 80 winners in my time there," Bob said. Returning to New Zealand about 18 months ago , Bob began working for his parents with their team while training one or two of his own account. This season Bob thought it was time to take up training on his own account and is working ten from  boxes he is renting from his parents. He hopes to slowly builds up his team numbers and has the capacity to handle quite a few more. "The facilities are as good as you can get so there are no excuses." "They lack for nothing here," he said Bob has taken over the distinctive colours made famous by his grand - father Robin Butt of green with white sleaves which were carried by such stars as Locarno (Miracle Mile) and Camelot (New Zealand Cup)  The smart qualifier Bettor Be Smooth is the most promising horse in the stable at the moment but Bob has high hopes for a couple of 2 year olds that he is training and found it hard to split them. "I really like both of them to be honest." "There is an Art Official colt out of Honey Babe and a Rocknroll Hanover colt out of Special Rose and they both go pretty good," he said. Expectations are always high for young trainers like Bob when your family is a house hold name in the industry and that can sometimes be hard to overcome. However with over 200 winners as a driver in Australasia and seven winners in his brief training career to date along with the thorough grounding he has undertaken, Bob looks well placed to add another layer to the Butt family harness racing dynasty. Harnesslink Media

Bit of the post Cup blues from last weeks tipsters with just Blair Orange, John Curtin, Tony Herlihy, Todd Macfarlane and Nathan Williamson nailing winners while the tipsters racked up seven placings as well. Jimmy Curtin went close with Juliette Bromac at Addington running second when paying $31 to win. This week there is plenty of racing in the south with four meetings and just one in the north and our tipsters have covered all the meetings. Due to the invited drivers series at Invercargill taking over the last six races there, we have no selections from our southern tipsters this week bar Nathan Williamson who is driving at Forbury Park.  Forbury Park - Thursday Night Matt Williamson - Thought Tachma was right in the zone and could win race 1 Nathan Williamson - Gives Strathmores Charm a real chance to go back to back in race 5 Tim Williams - Reckons with the big drop back in class Here We Go Again should win race 6   Alexandra Park - Friday Night John Curtin  (Harnesslink) - Reckons Hot Mach will be too good in race 1 Steven Reid - Likes Blinding Light  with a better barrier draw this week to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Rates Bourbon Street a big chance of clearing maidens in race 6 Scott Phelan - With Spanish Lustre scratched, his best drive is now Le Lua Invasion in race 9   Timaru - Saturday Afternoon  John Dunn - Likes Eilish Aimee to start her career on a winning note in race 1 Bob Butt - Rates Easy Rider a good chance to atone for Ashburton last week and win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Gives Major Patron a big show of turning his form around in race 3 Brad Williamson - Thought the standing start would make Goshawk an each way chance in race 7  Ricky May - Reckons Pay Me Art from the front line will be hard to beat in race 9 Terry Chmiel - Gives Stradowan a winning chance even off 10 metres , also in race 9 Gerard O'Reilly - Likes Jayceekay from the mobile to be too good and win race 10  Craig Thornley - Rates Real Life Hero a big chance to take out race 11   Banks Peninsula - Sunday Afternoon Robbie Holmes - Thinks Willie Shine is slowly turning the corner and can win race 1 Jim Curtin - Thought Franco Tyrone was a good chance to win race 12   Invercargill - Sunday Afternoon Maurice McKendry - Thought from barrier 3 Sheeza Shark would be tough to roll in race 8  Blair Orange - Rates Pepe Bromac,even from barrier 12 a chance to beat Sheeza Shark in race 8    Harnesslink Media

What happens next in the career of exciting two-year-old pacer Alta Orlando is, ultimately, up to Alta Orlando. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained son of Courage Under Fire added a substantial cheque to the bankroll this afternoon (Saturday) when winning the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series 2Y0 Final. But while he was brilliant in his victory, Alta Orlando has the potential to be so much better and sorting out the top two inches will go a long way to sorting some of the issues out. “You can’t afford to take your mind of him for even a minute,’’ Rasmussen said. “He could just as easily spin around on you so you have to be on the game when driving him. “The fact he is a really talented horse makes it a little easier to deal with.’’ The minor problems nearly cost the team victory yesterday with alleged interference on the Bob Butt driven Maverick shortly after the start leaving Rasmussen sitting in a chair in the Stewards room. The inquiry was quickly dismissed though after it was ascertained that Maverick’s galloping was no direct fault of Alta Orlando. “It probably didn’t look all that good, but we haven’t made contact and it’s more just two-year-olds acting their age a bit.’’ The early issue out of the way, Rasmussen and Alta Orlando soon found themselves outside the speed and trying to grind their way to victory – and that’s exactly what they did. Stopping the clock at just over 2.20 for the 1950 metre mobile, Alta Orlando was too good for a game Say My Name with Express Stride running home well to finish in third position. “He doesn’t mind a fight,’’ Rasmussen said. “He just keeps giving and doesn’t like other horses getting anywhere near him. “It’s a good quality to have.’’ Alta Orlando will now be aimed at the Harness Jewels where he will have to square off with his unbeaten stable mate Follow The Stars who returned from a successful Australian campaign this week. Owned by Neil Pilcher and legendary galloping trainer Jim Gibbs and his wife Anne, Alta Orlando has now won three of his five career starts and the $107,000 he added to his earnings yesterday took him to $145,000 for the season. Wanna Play sets NZ record Natalie Rasmussen thinks she might finally have enigmatic Wanna Play sorted out. The two-year-old trotting filly made light work of winning her first race today (Saturday) at Addington in the Seelite Windows and Doors Sires’ Stakes 2Y0 Trotters Championship worth a cool $60,000. In seven previous starts the daughter of Majestic Son has shown enough potential to warrant total respect in any race she lined up in, but those performances had been mixed with some bad manners. But today’s effort contained none of that. In fact it was quite the opposite. Balanced up early by Rasmussen and allowed to find her feet, Wanna Play then surged forward to take the lead off her stable mate Arya at the 1000 metre mark and, from there, never looked back. Despite the quality of her opposition the lightly framed filly ran them off their feet smashing the 2Y0 trotting fillies New Zealand record for a 1950 metre mobile in the process. Previously held by Kylie Ree with a time of 2.27.5, Wanna Play stopped the clock at 2.24.2. “She did it easily really,’’ Rasmussen, who co-trains the filly with her partner Mark Purdon, said. “The ability has always been there, around home I have always said she is a pretty nice horse. “But I’ve figured her out I think, you are better off just letting her run than trying to get her to stop and start all the time. “When you start fiddling with her mouth she can get a little bit funny in her gait, but letting her run today she was great.’’ Wanna Play is out of the former top race mare, Miss Whiplash who won 13 races and was trained by Purdon. She has since left solid performers Emma Hamilton and Dutch Annie but looks to have thrown a real potential star in Wanna Play. And the best part for Rasmussen…she owns a share in the filly with prominent juvenile trotting owner, Trevor Casey. “That adds a little more excitement to the win for sure, this is pretty special.’’ Casey also owns runner-up Arya who was brave in defeat for Colin DeFilippi while Monbet ran well to finish third. He won the race last year with Daenerys Targaryen. Wanna Play will now be pointed toward to the Harness Jewels at Cambridge at the end of the month and her victory today adds another interesting piece to a difficult puzzle in the 2YO Trotting category. By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Waterloo Sunset, who is the first foal from Rowe Cup winning mare Inspire, was victorious in his debut at Methven on Sunday some 18 months after qualifying at the same venue. The win came courtesy of what was yet another remarkable training performance by Paul Nairn, who trained and drove Waterloo Sunset’s mother to win the 2006 Rowe Cup in what was just her 11th start. And while this big four-year-old son of Sundon might never reach those great heights, he is definitely going to work his way through the grades. “He just looped the field and absolutely jogged it,” said driver Bob Butt. “Paul (Nairn – trainer) asked me to drive him without a stick and I never looked like needing one.” “That certainly won’t be his last win, I think he will be a very good stayer,” he added. Interestingly, the horse that beat Waterloo Sunset in his trial some 18 months ago, Thanksforplaying, was also a winner on the card. Meanwhile, Brian Norman who owned the winner of the feature race at Methven, Arising Easton, trained a double at Wingatui today, where harness racing was run for the first time in around 60 years. By Mitchell Robertson

Consistent eight-year-old mare Live Lea ended an eleven start losing streak when she was victorious in yesterday’s Grey Valley Cup at Reefton. The win followed a luckless fifth on the first day of the two day meeting at Westport when Live Lea sat on the back of leader and winner Fly The Flag but was unable to find clear air in the straight. Robbie Holmes put the quick beginner in the same position on Sunday, however this time he shunted out on the home bend and Live Lea let down with a powerful finish centre track to down leader Graduate Under Fire by a length and a half. Live Lea, who is trained by Grant McStay, has now won 7 of her 81 starts, she has also finished a further 19 minor placings. Meanwhile, Steve Roulston of Bob’s Blue Boy fame, trained his first winner since 2006 when Sueno was successful in the second race on the card, while Bob Butt reined home an early double on the 10-race card. By Mitchell Robertson

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