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Australasia’s Anthony Butt to drive in Ireland
19 Jul 2014

Anthony Butt with his daughter Kimberly
Anthony Butt with his daughter Kimberly

The Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series for two-year-old pacers has truly become an international affair as Australasia’s leading harness racing driver, Anthony Butt, has announced he is heading to Dublin, Ireland’s Portmarnock Trotting Track to compete in the series.
“I had read the stories on Harnesslink about Derek and James Delaney developing the series to honor their lost brother,” Anthony Butt said, “and then Irish Joe Hanney, who is a friend of mine in the USA, got in contact with me asking if I was interested in going up for the race weekend. When I looked at the dates and it fitted in well with my schedule, I jumped at the opportunity.”
“How great is it that one of the leading drivers from Australasia, Anthony Butt, is coming here to Ireland to drive,” said Derek Delaney. “Now we have two world class drivers from the other sides of the globe, Wally Hennessey and Anthony, coming to Portmarnock for my brother’s memorial series. This is going to be one super weekend of racing. Plus we also have the world renowned announcer, Roger Huston coming over from the USA to call the races both days.”
Anthony Butt hails from three full generations of harness racing in his family. His grandfathers, Wes Butt and Derek Jones, belong to the short-list of New Zealand’s outstanding trainer/drivers. Little Anthony began working in the stables at age 9.
Starting out as a driver and entering the sport as a 17-year-old in 1983, Anthony began carving out a distinguished career with a victory in just his third start in a race. His first season saw him win the New Zealand Junior Title.
From there it has been a career dreams are made from by his Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final victory with the great Lyell Creek (2000) and Take A Moment (2001 and 2003). He also scored a Pacing Grand Final victory in 2009 (Mr. Feelgood USA). His success in the industry has also been a family affair as his brother Tim does the training for the stable and has been instrumental in Anthony’s and the stables success.
Anthony has consistently been in the top 10 of New Zealand reinsmen since the 1990’s and his career was recognized by his peers and fans as he was inducted into the New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame. Between driving in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, Anthony has more than 2,176 career wins and $19.8 million in purses won with the horses he has driven.
Has Anthony ever been Ireland or the United Kingdom?
“I have only been to England on holiday, Anthony said. “I have visited Newmarket/Ascot a couple of times to have a look at the Thoroughbreds. A great friend of our family is Sam Ballentyne, who was a leading trainer/driver in Scotland before he emigrated to NZ in the 1970's. I have driven many winners for Sam over the years and always enjoyed his stories of trotting in the UK back then. Also quite a few New Zealanders were involved with harness racing in Wales back in the 1960/70's.
“We have had several people work for us over the years from the UK,” Anthony added, “including Richard Haythornthwaite, who is from a famous harness racing family in the UK.
Anthony talked about how great a trip this will be.
“This is a great opportunity to visit and drive in a new country,” Anthony explained, “As well as to help Derek and his family promote the race meeting worldwide. It’s fantastic to see harness racing taking off in a country like Ireland and any chance we get we should do whatever we can to support occasions like this.
“I can’t wait to experience harness racing in Ireland and meeting the people involved. They appear to have a real passion for the sport and hopefully a meeting like this can really give the sport a boast there. It looks to be a unique kind of meeting.” Anthony said.
The Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series has 54 two-year-old colt and filly pacers nominated. The series has $2,000 elimination heats Saturday, August 9 and the $35,000 final will be raced Sunday, August 10. Fillies in the final will draw for the inside posts on Portmarnock’s half mile oval.
There is already a reported golf match schedule Monday morning after the race meet between Derek Delaney, Wally Hennessey and Anthony Butt.
“I have no idea how good Derek is so by the sounds of it definitely Wally, I am only a hacker and I might be better driving the cart with the drinks in it,” laughed Anthony. 'There is also a reporter for a Dublin newspaper and the Standardbred Ireland Facebook page, Eric Haughan, who will be playing with us so I am sure everyone will be able to read about the golfing went."
The Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series has developed into an exciting weekend of racing in Ireland and promises to have plenty of action and drama for those who are fortunate enough to attend the meet live.
By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com


Hunter Cup: Butt Declares Sish's Stamina The Key
29 January 2014
by Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Will Tim and Anthony Butt be celebrating in similar style this Saturday night with 2013 Hunter Cup winner Mah Sish?
Will Tim and Anthony Butt be celebrating in similar style this Saturday night with 2013 Hunter Cup winner Mah Sish?.


If Christchurch pacer Mah Sish steps well and leads in Saturday night’s Group 1 Del-Re National Food Group AG Hunter Cup, driver Anthony Butt has promised to make the race a “survival of the fittest”.

Butt, a seven-time winning driver of the Hunter Cup, said he was pleased reigning champion Mah Sish had drawn pole position in his bid at back-to-back glory.

“It’s better than being wide on the second row,” he said.

“Mah Sish is a very good frontrunner and a great stayer. If I’m in front heading into the first corner, I’m more than likely going to stay there.”

The seven-year-old New Zealand-trained pacer, from the Tim Butt stable, returned to form last weekend at Ballarat, leading all the way to win The Pure Steel by 2.8m.

Butt admitted the horse had been racing below his best for most of his preparation before last weekend, but hopes the son of Mach Three has turned the corner at the right time.

“His form has certainly been patchy,” he said.

“There was nothing we could put our finger on. He raced really good all summer last year then we took him for the Miracle Mile and he just didn’t fire. Maybe he got a bit crook and took some time to recover.

“At Ballarat he was back to his best. Every time I clicked him up he really responded. He felt much better.”

Butt said the stand-start conditions of the $400,000 Hunter Cup meant planning pre-race tactics was fraught with danger as a lot depended on which horses stepped away best on the night.

Mah Sish is generally safe from the tapes, with four wins and three placings from 14 career stand-start runs.

Butt said pocketing another Hunter Cup would be a special achievement.

“It’s definitely one of the iconic races on the Australasian calendar. Once you’ve won it once, you’ve got a taste for it and you want more.”

The star reinsman was also glowing about the race conditions changing this year, suggesting removing handicaps meant the event would attract the best of the best.

“It brings the superstars who might not have previously contested it back into the race,” he said.

“It’s a really good, even field. There are not many of the 13 or 14 horses who you’d say can’t win it this year.”


SIX NZ CUP ENTRIES FROM PREMIER STABLES
31 August 2013

2013 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup - Nominations Released.....click here to see PDF list


News Banner

"European Trotters for Premier Stables."
10 June 2013

Premier-Stables-european-trotter- for-syndicationPremier Stables are in the process of purchasing 3 high class European trotters to race downunder. In an exciting development, Tim has been seaching for the right horses for some time, and through our agents in Europe have come up with 3 outstanding prospects.

One is a 6yo Group 1 winner in Europe and ready to go straight into our Group 1 racing in NZ and Australia. The other 2 are 5yo's with very exciting potential. All 3 are beautifully bred Stallions, and will have enormous appeal at Stud when their racing careers are over.

"With the proven ability of the European trotters and the huge prizemoney now on offer in NZ and Australia for the Trotters, I think these horses are great prospects. I am really looking forwad to their arrival and hitting our tracks'' said Tim.

Tim is putting together a syndicate of 8 shares of 12.5% each to race all 3 Trotters together and anyone interested in more details please contact us.

Premier-Stables-european-trotter- for-syndication


Elusive Chick nails 4yo $150,000 Diamond
Harnesslink Admin 01-Jun-2013

Elusive Chick out-muscles her 11 opponents to win the GP1 4YO Jewels Diamond for maresAfter finishing runner-up in last year's Harness Jewels Finals the Tim Butt trained Elusive Chick has gone one better in 2013, winning today's (Saturday June 1) $150,000 Woodlands Stud Diamond for 4yo harness racing pacing mares.

After getting a beautiful run through from the second row the daughter of McArdle settled in the one-one before going up to be parked.

She then out-muscled her 11 opponents to get up in the shadows of the post to down Windinherhair in what was her her ninth victory.

Co-owner Greg Ayers said Elusive Chick had been knocking on the door all season without landing a big race win.

"It was great to finally get a big one especially after being relegated to second in last year's 3-year-old Sales Series Final.

"It has been a great training effort by Tim Butt considering she has been up all season," Ayers said.

"It was a great drive by Anthony (Butt)," he added.

It was (Anthony) Butt's fourth driving success in the Jewels.

He was stoked with the head victory.

"The winning margin might not have been much but I was always confident of winning. The race panned out perfectly from the second row draw.

"I had to make a call down the back whether to hook out or not. In the end it worked out perfect,"Butt said.

Winner's time:1:54.71

Last 800m: 54.71.

Last 400m: 25.96

Second: Windinherhair (Nicky Chilcott).

Third: Pemberton Shard (Ricky May).

Margins: Head, neck, long neck.

Winning dividend:$2.70.

Trainer: Tim Butt.

Owner: D. N. Jones, Mrs A.C.S Jones, G.A. Ayers, G. T. Tomes, Mrs K.M. Tomes, G.R. McConchie.

Breeder: D. N. Jones, Mrs A.C.S Jones.


Butt brothers eye up another Newcastle MileAnthony-Butt-news-342013
Harnesslink News Room 03-Apr-2013

Star harness racing reinsman Anthony Butt will be hoping to make it back to back wins in the Newcastle mile when he steers the promising My Temudjin in the $70,000 group two event at Newcastle on Saturday night.

Butt piloted Raglan to victory in the 2011 Mile. My Temudjin will start from barrier three should the emergency come out which is the same barrier that Raglan started from when he won the 2011 Mile.

The 2012 version was pushed back to April to coincide with the Miracle Mile being moved back to late April for this year only. The winner of the Newcastle Mile receives and automatic invitation into the Miracle Mile.

The best result in the Newcastle mile is barrier 5 saluting seven times.

The John Tapp trained Chariot King will start from barrier five if the emergencies come out. In the 22 runnings of the Newcastle mile, barriers 2 and 10 are yet to salute.

Our Sixpence will start from barrier two should the emergency come out and Queensland visitor Torque in Motion will start from barrier ten on the outside of the front one line start at Newcastle.

The query runner is the Kiwi visitor Easy on the Eye. The son of Christian Cullen is in top form and heads to the mile after a solid fifth to I’m Themightyquinn in the Auckland Cup on the 8 March. Darren Hancock will take the drive. Hancock drove top class pacer Jofess to victory in the 2002 Newcastle Mile.

The best horse in NSW, Excel Stride has drawn awkwardly and will start from barrier eight should the two emergencies come out.

The Group Two Newcastle Mile is set to start at 9.15 on Saturday night.


Vulcan in action
Vulcan in action
Vulcan - winning his 10th Group One

Vulcan- winning his 10th Group One -

Vulcan brings up a Gr1 'Sonny Bill dozen'
Mitchell Robertson - Harnesslink Admin 30-Mar-2013

Great Southern Star champion Vulcan brought up a 'Sonny Bill dozen (10) of Group One wins when taking out tonight's (Saturday March 30) harness racing feature for the trotters- the New Zealand Trotting Championship (Gr1).

Just seven days after becoming the first horse in the Southern Hemisphere to win two Group One races in a day, it is highly likely that Vulcan set another record tonight, in becoming the first horse to win three Group One races in the space of a week.

Remarkably it was also Vulcan's fifth straight Group One win, and fourth in the last fortnight.

Vulcan was forced to race in the open for the last lap, but proved far too strong in the home stretch holding off Stent and Samantha Ottley by ¾ of a length. A good result in what was Samantha Ottley's first Group One drive.

"He's just a super horse and a true professional said driver Anthony Butt. "I know I've said that before, but it's the best way to describe him.

"Five Group Ones in a row is just a remarkable feat."

Vulcan's Group One tally is quickly closing in on those of his illustrious former stable mates. Two more would see him equal Take A Moment, while six more would see him join the legendary Lyell Creek on 16 Group One successes.

In his current form, anything is possible.

The camp also confirmed that they are still very keen on a trip to Sweden, but details are yet to be finalised.


Connections of Vulcan consider Elitlopp trip

Vulcan-winning-the-inaugural-running-of-the-Great-Northern-Star
Vulcan - taking out the inaugural running of the Great Southern Star

Mitchell Robertson  25-Mar-2013
 
Vulcan might get a shot at the world's best trotters - simply because he isn't that good. If that sounds confusing, you are not alone. Even his trainer Tim Butt laughs at the strange situation the tiny trotter finds himself in.

Vulcan, who at best might be New Zealand's third best trotter, dominated Saturday's night inaugural Great Southern Star series at Melton, winning both his heat and final in effortless style. That means he has won four Group One races in 15 days and eight in his career, remarkable for a horse who looks more like a skinny pit pony than a superstar.

Just four weeks ago he wasn't even rated in the top six trotters in New Zealand, missing a spot in the Kiwi team for the Glenferrie Farm Challenge.But after a summer battling for form and full health, Vulcan turned the corner a fortnight ago and that coupled with injuries and problems for I Can Doosit and Stig have made him the horse of the moment.

This leaves Butt and his mother Jenny, who owns half of Vulcan, to make a decision that would have seemed ludicrous to even consider a few weeks ago. Vulcan is likely to be invited to Sweden to take on the world's best trotters in the Elitlopp in May, a series which mirrors Saturday night's heats and final format. The only problem is the Elitlopp trotters are the best in the world and Vulcan isn't world class. Which might be exactly why he makes the trip.

"If he gets invited we will definitely think about it," said Butt.

"Because the irony with him is that we are not giving up as much to go.

"When we took Lyell Creek there 12 years ago we knew we were giving up winning everything at home, the Rowe Cups, Dominions and everything else. Whereas Vulcan could win those races but would be no good thing in them. So it costs us less in lost opportunities to go.

"And we love a trip away. Sure, he probably couldn't go there and win but he wouldn't disgrace himself and maybe Mum will be keen too because these chances don't come along that often in life."

Butt knows Vulcan isn't a great trotter because he has trained two of our best ever - Lyell Creek and Take A Moment - as well as owning Stig, who lost his chance on Saturday night with an early gallop.

"Vulcan is not as good as any of those other three and he obviously isn't as good as I Can Doosit.

"But he would be a good horse to travel with because he has the manners and the temperament for the trip. And he doesn't trot quite as well right-handed so the Rowe Cup (May) isn't that big a lure for us."

Vulcan's win was a triumph for soundness and timing as well as some great unofficial co-training from Paul Nairn.

"Paul has been looking after the horse the last few weeks and walking him at a fast clip for four kilometres every afternoon.

"I think that has helped his tying up problems so he deserves some credit for this win too."

So too does Butt's brother Anthony, who drove another perfect race to add to his amazing record in Victoria's best races.

But while the Butt family were basking in the glory of winning the first running of what will develop into one of Australasia's great races, racing's brutal reality soon bit back for Tim. He owns 83 per cent of Stig and was disappointed when he galloped early when he had a chance of running to the front. He soon found out why, with the veteran superstar badly lame in his near fore in the stabling area.

"It is a real shame because to be point blank Stig is better than Vulcan.

"Maybe he will never get a chance to show us how good he really is."

The other Kiwis in the final raced tired, with Sovereignty adequate at best while The Fiery Ginga was fantastic in his heat and looked exhausted in the final.

by Michael GUERIN (Courtesy of the NZ Herald)


Vulcan wins $250,000 Great Southern Star
Harnesslink Admin  24-Mar-2013 

Vulcan-wins-$250,000-Great-Southern-Star
Vulcan has done it again on a big night.

Vulcan has made it a complete clean sweep of the last four harness racing Group 1 squaregaiting races in Victoria in a memorable display in the inaugural Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star.

He didn't fly the gate as many expected but he was able to take cover early and work three wide in the final lap to cruise up to the leaders on the bend.

He never looked in danger up the straight, spearing clear from his rivals including Elegant Image who took a sprint lane run early and My High Expectations who came into the race three wide with cover.

The disappointment of the race was Stig who galloped shortly after the start and never got into the race after the early issues.

It was all about Vulcan though, with the seemingly unconquerable squaregaiter doing it from in front and from the back in the last few weeks, proving his versatility.

The mile rate was slightly quicker than both heats in 1:56.5 suggesting that the trotters clearly took no harm from running twice in the same night.

In a last half of 57.4, Vulcan held off the late charge of Elegant Image by 7.2 metres.

The win has taken his total prizemoney to over $700,000 with $340,000 coming in the last month.

Tim and Anthony Butt continue what has been an autumn of domination in Victoria where Mah Sish and Vulcan have gone on winning sprees.

by Blake Redden
Harness Racing Victoria


Tradesman Mah Sish is a definite contender

Mah Sish
Mah Sish - is a contender in Sunday's Interdominion Final

Harnesslink 26-Feb-2013

Talented New Zealand harness racing reinsman Anthony Butt has driven some exciting horses in his lengthy career and has won many feature races.

This Sunday afternoon Butt will drive Mah Sish for his brother Tim in the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final and after drawing barrier one believes he can win the race.

“I’m warming to barrier one, when I first saw that Mah Sish had drawn the inside I was a little bit concerned about where he may end up early but the more I think about it, the more happier I am becoming,” Butt said.

“One is a lot better than barrier nine, ten or even fourteen, the race is over 3000 metres and it isn’t going to be won in the first lap, following the pegs is the shortest way home and he shouldn’t have to cover too much extra ground from where he is drawn.”

Butt last won the Inter Dominion in 2009 when he drove Mr Feelgood to victory on the Gold Coast.

“Mah Sish probably lacks the glamour of a horse like Mr Feelgood but one thing you can’t take away from him is that he is very tough, very strong and won’t give up and those three traits are very important in a big race like the Inter Dominion and he does have a genius trainer in his corner too.”

“If you go back and have a look through the runners Tim has had in Inter Dominion finals he always has them peaking and when I get into the sulky I know they are ready to run the race of their life.”

Terror To Love and Im Themightyquinn are the two biggest dangers according to Butt.

“I’ve driven Terror To Love on a number of occasions and he is the complete package when it comes to being a racehorse, he is versatile and I think that will take him a long way in Sunday’s final.”

“Im Themightyquinn has been so good at the top level for a couple of years and there really isn’t much between them but if I had to settle on one danger I would say Terror To Love.”

by Greg HAYES


Mah Sish in cruise control for Inter Dominion
 Harnesslink 17-Feb-2013

Leading New Zealand harness racing trainer Tim Butt suggested there was 25 per cent improvement in his stable star Mah Sish since he arrived in Sydney.

Yet he looked to have even more up his sleeve as the six-year-old cruised into the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Final with a dominant display to win the supplementary Inter Dominion heat run at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight.
 
Following Excel Stride's impressive win earlier in the night, Mah Sish proved he would be one of the toughest to beat in Sunday week's Grand Final (March 3), beating the other qualifier Mach Alert, with Devil Dodger a strong third. It was a Mach Three trifecta.
 
Mah Sish rated 1:56.3, almost a second slower than Excel Stride, but was just as impressive, working to the front after going about 400m as reinsman Anthony Butt set a tempo to suit himself, coasting through the first half in 61.5 (30.8-30.7).
 
Butt knew his rivals would have no end of trouble running him down from there as Mah Sish reeled off final splits of 28.1 and 26.1 seconds to justify his short price.
 
"He had an easy run in front and really only had to sprint the last 400m," Butt said.


Mah Sish Is The ManLogo

03 February 2013
by Chris Barsby

Cups Kings; Tim & Anthony Butt have claimed yet another Grand Circuit feature with Mah Sish winning the Hunter Cup.
Cups Kings; Tim & Anthony Butt have claimed yet another Grand Circuit feature with Mah Sish winning the Hunter Cup.

Star Kiwi pacer Mah Sish has clearly signalled his arrival at the elite level.

Mah Sish joined Sting Lika Bee and Stunin Cullen as same year winners of the Ballarat/Hunter Cup double after an explosive performance in last night’s Gr.1 Del-Re National Food Group $400,000 feature at TABCORP Park, Melton.

In front of a massive crowd, the lethal combination of Christchurch brothers Tim and Anthony Butt claimed the country’s richest handicap event after Mah Sish ($3Fav) held off the determined late challenge of Jaccka Clive ($42.30) and Caribbean Blaster ($5.10) in track record time.

The victory provided Tim with his fifth victory as a trainer while Anthony has now won the Cup a record seven times as a driver.

But for Mah Sish, it clearly demonstrates that he has come of age on the Grand Circuit scene after careful planning and management over the past twelve months.

Back to back victories in the Ballarat and Hunter Cups now has most fans believing he’s the right horse to complete a unique treble with the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship in Sydney well within his reach in the coming weeks.

The 3280m stand start started well with Mach Alert ($7.60) jumping straight on the lead while Mah Sish steadily worked around them three-wide early to challenge for supremacy.

Anthony Butt drove confidently and aggressively, he eventually took the lead away from Mach Alert with a mile and a half left to run, but the chances of an easy lead were quickly dispelled as Caribbean Blaster worked around them to race outside Mah Sish.

The lead time was covered in 127.4 seconds.

The race quickly took another turn as Terrorway ($11) zoomed around the field three wide and attacked for a position outside of Mah Sish, but Caribbean Blaster became fired up and fought with driver Kate Gath before restraining to land a trail on the back of Terrorway.

The first half was frantic with quarters of 28.5 and 28.9 seconds.

Entering the back straight on the final occasion, Mah Sish led Terrorway while Four Starzzz Flash ($6.60) led up the three wide line.

The third quarter was covered in 28.5 seconds and Mah Sish had fought off the challenge of both Terrorway and Four Starzzz Flash but Caribbean Blaster loomed danger along with Jaccka Clive wider on the track while Mach Alert and Pub Blitz ($51.60) used inside runs.

At the line, Mah Sish fought tenaciously and held Jaccka Clive by a head with Caribbean Blaster a further 1.25m away in third place.

The final split was the slowest at 29.6 seconds.

“I thought we were in big trouble leaving the back straight the final time, we were just flying the whole way and I was waiting for the sweepers but he just wouldn’t give in. There was no quit in him tonight.” Driver Anthony Butt said.

“He’s really come of age in the last six months and he’s adapted very well to the Aussie style of racing. His past two victories have been super and it’s great to win another Hunter Cup because it’s such a great race.” Butt added.

Mah Sish will now head to Sydney to contest a supplementary heat of the Inter Dominion series at TABCORP Park, Menangle on February 16.


Sish Shimmies His Way To Hunter Cup
02 February 2013
by Blake Redden

Tim and Anthony Butt again held the Del-Re A G Hunter Cup aloft this year.

 


Mah Sish has been crowned this year’s Del-Re National Food Group A G  Hunter Cup winner after a dashing display from the front.

Anthony Butt was made to work hard with Caribbean Blaster and Terrorway both putting the pressure on for much of the 3280 metre journey.

The race came to life on the turn when Caribbean Blaster was pulled three-wide and made a run at the leaders however Mah Sish continued to hold a margin to his rivals.

Jaccka Clive got out of the pack and loomed as a major threat however the Butts weren’t to be denied in a race they have made their own in recent years.

The combination has won with Mister D G, Mr Feelgood, Stunin Cullen and Choise Achiever inside the last decade and Mah Sish would appear a fitting name to add to the honour roll.

Anthony Butt spoke with Rob Auber after the race about their success.

“You dream to win it once, I’m lucky to have driven some great horses. I just hope it’s not over yet.” Butt said.

“It was a great race, he was really out on his feet at the 400 and I wasn’t overly confident but he just really fought. He was buggered but the rest were too.

“I just got a lot of pressure the whole race, Kate (Gath) got outside me and pulling then Terrorway came so I never really got a breather. It was a fantastic effort because he was going the whole race. I was pleased when that line came.

“I drove him for the previous driver and I liked him. We paid a lot of money for him but he’s cheap now.
“He’s just got better and better the last six months. He’s run in the New Zealand cup was good but once he got to Aussie he’s improved. He’ll go to the Inter Dominion in Sydney now.”

Mah Sish held on to score by a head from Jaccka Clive with Caribbean Blaster holding third just in front of roughie Pub Blitz.

The last mile was run in a tick over 1:56 with a last half of 58.2.

Mah Sish will now likely claim TAB.com.au Inter Dominion favouritism from Im Themightyquinn.


Sky the limit for the Butt trained Mah Sish

Harnesslink Admin
06:42 PM 10-Jan-2013 NZT

Mah Sish may have been $41 when a fast-finishing second in the Victoria Cup after a luckless run in the Cranbourne Cup, but harness racing punters have cottoned on to this rising star and sent him around at long odds-on when he won at Tabcorp Park Melton in a lowly M1-M2 race last week.

It's hardly the form one searches for when trying to find a Group 2 winner but when you consider his overall form; it isn't going out on a limb to suggest Mah Sish will be very tough to beat come Saturday night in the Group 2 PETStock Bendigo Pacing Cup.

His trainer Tim Butt spoke to Shane Anderson on RSN's Racing Ahead Wednesday morning and explained that his pacer is starting to find his feet on the big stage.

"He went a terrific race in the Victoria Cup and then won well last week at Melton so it should hold him in good stead in the Bendigo Cup," Butt said.

"He can do it tough if he wants to but he just needs the solid sectionals all the way, he's not a sit and sprint horse, he's more of a grinder. At this stage we're still introducing him to the Grand Circuit level and he'll furnish into a lovely horse later on.

"He probably needs to get out in the three-wide train at some stage of the race and be up with them but there's plenty of speed with Auckland Reactor drawn handy and those sort of horses.

"If he gets the right run and they go hard he's going to be right in amongst it."

That attitude provides brother Anthony little choice from the uncomfortable draw of 10. If they aren't running from the outset he will have to be positive to make the race for his emerging stayer.

"He's still an up and comer at the top level so he needs to continue to improve to match it with them. He's a good stayer and when he gets to the longer distances he'll improve a bit," Butt said.

That said, there are some obvious targets for Mah Sish in the next few months, and after his monster effort in the New Zealand Cup Butt's attention has turned to the Hunter Cup.

"The Hunter Cup is a great race for him, he's a great stand start horse, as many of the Kiwis are, and that extra distance will suit him. That's the race for him with Im Themightyquinn and Gold Ace not being there," he said.

There is still the question of this weekend's race however and the son of Mach Three will line up as a major contender along with Sushi Sushi who has returned to Australia with an impressive trial win this past week.

Auckland Reactor from the plumb draw will also be high up in many pundits' thoughts and Mustang Mach with a soft run is not without a chance.

The race will get underway at 9.30pm on Saturday night.

Butt Stops here for crack at Cups

Tim & Anthony Butt with Mah Sish

Tim and Anthony Butt are keen for more big race success in Australia with Mah Sish and Vulcan this weekend.

05 December 2012
by Blake Redden

The 2012 Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup is set to be the major lead in to the Victoria Cup carnival in a stellar December for harness racing fans. It’s not just a lead up race though; the significant history of the races suggests that more often than not the best pacers are required to take the prize.

This year is sure to be no different with a swag of top-liners ready to do battle in the $100,000 Group 1 event over 2555-metres. The likes of Bitobliss, Mustang Mach, Caribbean Blaster and Abettorpunt will all be lining up as a part of an Australian-trained contingent that will be aiming to ward off a challenge from across the ditch.

New Zealand will be attacking the race in the form of Mah Sish.

The six-year-old gelding from the Tim Butt yard may only be 27 starts into his career but the master horseman is certain his ability belies his experience.

His run recently in the New Zealand Cup was enough to prove he is a horse that is likely to come into his own as his continues to mature. His trainer believes there is plenty more improvement to come.

“He’s a little bit of an up and comer, he was set for the New Zealand Cup really and that made him a bit dour when he backed up in the Free-For-All over the short course,” Butt said.

“He hasn’t had a lot of starts for an older horse but I’m sure a bit of racing on the Grand Circuit will furnish him into a really nice horse.

“He wasn’t broken in until he was three-years-old so he was just living on New Zealand grass for most of his life but he went from a New Zealand maiden to open class in pretty much one season so he’s done a really good job this time in to put his foot on the till.”

Time is still on his side. The southern-island standardbred will be better for his recent run of tough racing and can stake his claim on the grand circuit with a win in the Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup a major stepping stone to that.

The promise of an historic clash sees Mah Sish the somewhat forgotten horse of the field however his key asset remains – versatility. After working through the mid-stages of the New Zealand Cup he still had a kick in the locker.

Butt also explained that he would be more than happy to take the sit if there was early pace or barriers dictated he be driven that way.

It won’t be the end of the world if Mah Sish is beaten on Saturday night, not for his trainer at least. He is predicting a big campaign for the rising star with most of the upcoming big races on the radar.

Butt believes that once he has settled in to Australian racing he will be a force.

“I’m sure he’ll improve for the run at Cranbourne so we’re really looking forward to getting on to the Victoria Cup and the Hunter Cup,” he said.

“He’s definitely there to win but as we saw last year our horses can sometimes just need one run here, not so much for fitness but just to settle in and realise what they are here for.”

Mah Sish won’t be the only runner on the night for the Premier Stables team. The Group 2 Aldebaran Park $50,000 Bill Collins Mile is the target for Vulcan – touted as a superstar in the making less than a season ago – he seemed to lose his way in his most recent New Zealand preparation.

“He hadn’t been dead right in New Zealand but he’s coming back to himself over here. He loves Australia; he loves the tracks and the warm weather so I think he’s in for a good carnival,” Butt said.

If he could return to his best he would no doubt be one of the major contenders across the major trotting races in the next month. A win in the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Mile would take Vulcan’s prizemoney to over $380,000.


Choise Achiever withdrawn from NZ Cup

30 October 2012 14:00
By Michael Guerin

Choise Achiever won’t get his shot at one of the toughest doubles in harness racing.

Trainer Tim Butt has withdrawn the gelding from the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup today after his poor run in yesterday’s Kaikoura Cup. Butt says Choise Achiever was still troubled by a virus which hit him two weeks ago, which he had thought the pacer was over.

“We had his blood done last week and it was perfect so I thought he was fine,” said Butt.

“But when we got his checked out this morning his lungs were full of gunk again so he is out of the Cup.”

Choise Achiever downed Auckland Reactor in this year’s Hunter Cup, the closest thing Australia has to the New Zealand Cup conditions-wise. But very few horses have managed the Hunter Cup-New Zealand Cup double, especially in recent years, although theoretically it should be easier now the New Zealand Cup is a free-for-all.

“It just goes to show how hard it is to keep them healthy and at their peak at this level,” said Butt.

“Choise Achiever was always a little bit on the back foot with his Cup campaign anyway so he can have a let up now and head to Australia with me next month.

“He seems to thrive over there and he will have plenty of targets.”

His withdrawal leaves Butt with two Cup contenders in Mah Sish and Stunin Cullen, with the latter being freshened up.

“He isn’t racing as good as he was a couple of years ago but in the Flying Stakes, Fly Like An Eagle sat on his back and couldn’t run past him.

“So he isn’t too far away but I am taking him to the beach and keeping him fresh and happy.”

Mah Sish has been kept fresh in the build-up to Addington on Friday night.

“He is really well and he is our best chance in the Cup.

“He is a great stayer and the 3200m will suit and he has the manners.

“He is a great place chance in the Cup but needs to improve two lengths to be a real winning chance against Terror To Love.

“But he is in that group just behind Terror To Love who can win.”

The latest rankings released yesterday, coupled with Choise Achiever’s scratching, see Major Mark, Jarcullembra and Ohoka Texas all in the field, with Pure Power sitting as first emergency.

Butt to cross the ditch next monthTimButtarticle-shifting-to-Australia

Wednesday, 24 October 2012
By Michael Guerin

Champion trainer Tim Butt’s return to training is set to be short lived - in this country at least.

The outstanding harness horseman is free to train again after serving a six-month disqualification for a positive swab returned by Raglan in last year’s Miracle Mile. Butt was not even looking after Raglan at the time of the positive in Sydney and while very disappointed at his sentence prefers to look forward rather than dwell on the past.

And he believes that future doesn’t belong in New Zealand. Butt plans to move to Australia next month and base himself in Victoria, with the intention of making the move permanent.

“I think it is a better fit for what I am trying to achieve,” Butt stated.

“There is a larger ownership base over there and better opportunities for the horses.

“Don’t get me wrong, New Zealand harness racing has been great to me and I have had a lot of success and some great times.

“But I have to look at my future. Some of my bigger and more regular owners are getting older and it is hard to find new people who want to buy going horses at the level I want.

“I am also faced with racing horses here in good fields for stakes which have stagnated or taking them to Aussie to race in weaker fields for the same or better money.”

Butt intends to head to Australia with stable stars Mah Sish, Vulcan, Choise Achiever and Elusive Chick as well as some of his lower grade horses, while still maintaining his base in Christchurch. But he will be looking for owners and new horses in Australia and says if the venture goes well that is where he sees himself living permanently. His wife Andrea and young children will remain in Canterbury over the summer but could join him next year.

“That will be the tough part, being away from them but I am working on what is best for our future.

“And to be honest, it has been tough living in Canterbury the last couple of years.”

Butt is one of New Zealand’s elite trainers but competes head-on with other superstar trainers Mark Purdon and Cran Dalgety in Canterbury. Once set up in Australia, he hopes he can compliment those rivals.

“I know there are plenty of trainers in New Zealand who would like to send a horse or two to Australia for either a small campaign or a longer one and I want to be the go-to option for them.

“So Anthony (brother) will be in charge of the team back here and between us we will place the horses where we think they are best suited.”

Butt is the trainer of two of New Zealand’s greatest trotters in Lyell Creek and Take A Moment as well as training veteran dual New Zealand Cup winner Flashing Red. He has rarely been without a genuine Grand Circuit horse for the last 15 years and has specialised in purchasing going horses for his clients and turning them into open class money machines. Anthony will head to Australia to partner the open class horses in their December engagements but one of Tim’s first jobs will be finding a regular Australian driver.

“I want somebody who can work in as part of our team and help find horses for our owners.

“It is all a big commitment but I am keen to give it a go and home will always be here if it doesn’t work out.”

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Stunin Cullen needs to lift game in Flying Stakes
By Michael Guerin
18th October 2012

Stunin Cullen is at the crossroads in what will be his last start for trainer Anthony Butt at Ashburton on Monday. The former Hunter Cup winner starts in the Flying Stakes just two days before being transferred back to former trainer Tim Butt, who returned from disqualification on Tuesday. Tim’s brother Anthony says he has enjoyed the extra responsibility of training the large team at Premier Stables for the last six months but will be glad to see his brother back.

“Its been good, with the physical workload not really that much different because I have always been here at the stables anyway,” says Anthony.

“But there has been more admin work and a bit more planning.

“But it will be great to get Tim back.”

That comes at a tricky time for Stunin Cullen as the $1.46million earner struggles for top end form. He has been mid-pack in all three starts this campaign, which while not bad, is hardly the sort of form that made him the New Zealand Cup favourite two years ago, before problems robbed him of an entire season.

“He hasn’t been bad, in fact last week he probably paced his last 2400m in around 2:53,” says Butt.

“But he needs to lift about a length or two.

“He still has the speed because he has unleashed a couple of 26 seconds quarters here at home but he is also an older horse now who has had his share of problems.

“So Monday will tell us which direction he is going in and how he is shaping up for the Cup.”

Stunin Cullen has drawn wide in the Flying Stakes, in which his Cup pilot Dexter Dunn will do the driving. Butt will allow his own Cup drive Mah Sish to miss Ashburton after his was suffering from a slight throat infection after his placing at Addington last Friday.

“It is nothing major and he will be fine going forward but he doesn’t need to race in all the lead-up races.

“I am thrilled with where he is at and he has been just off Terror To Love in their two meetings so far.

“He has really taken the step up and will love the 3200m of the Cup.”

Mah Sish is likely to miss the Kaikoura Cup as well and race at Addington on November 2. The Butts will send Choise Achiever to Kaikoura and, while admitting his Cup campaign has started late, Anthony is pleased with his progress.

“He has started behind the eight ball a little bit but he doesn’t need a lot of racing so with a month left to go I think he will be fine for the Cup.”

One of the stable stars who is not quite fine at the moment is Vulcan, who dominated the Group Ones during NZ Cup week last season.

“He raced well below his best last Friday and was a crook horse afterwards.

“So I have eased up on him and will set him for Cup week.”

And what does Butt, the man who steered two of our greatest trotters in Lyell Creek and Take A Moment, make of trotting’s current champion I Can Doosit?

“Yes, he is a great horse and very dominant.

“And it is not just him. Those next few horses behind him like Stig, Dr Hook, Stylish Monarch… they are all very good too.

“There is so real depth there.”

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Butt set for Oamaru feature - Hannon odds

Anthony ButtNobody is in a better position to judge the merits of the big guns heading into Sunday's $25,000 Hannon Memorial at Oamaru than top harness racing driver and now trainer, Anthony Butt.

And armed with that knowledge he is adamant Mah Sish can win the next step on the path to the New Zealand Cup.

Butt is not only a five-time winning driver of the Hannon but has seen plenty of the key runners in this year's edition.

Just last week he partnered Stunin Cullen behind Franco Ledger and Franco Emirate in the first open class race of the season at Addington while on Monday he drove Mah Sish when he split tomorrow's race-rivals Sleepy Tripp and Major Mark in a Motukarara workout.

And while he respects that quartet he says Mah Sish is a pacer on the up.

"It won't be an easy race to win but he will go very close," said Butt.

"He has been trialling well and is very forward, so while like all of these horses fresh-up he will improve, he has a big chance."

Yet Butt knows this is a strong renewal of the Hannon, something a bit more like a decade ago when the race was a genuine New Zealand Cup guide.

"There are four or five real Cup chances in here so it might come down to who gets the right run."

If Mah Sish is good enough to win tomorrow he could leap-frog Stunin Cullen as Butt's New Zealand Cup drive in November.

But that won't be easy judging by how Sleepy Tripp and Major Mark trialled on Monday.

They both pleased trainer Mark Purdon but he opts for Sleepy Tripp as his better chance tomorrow, with the fact he is on the unruly negated somewhat by there only being one line of runners at the start.

Grant Payne, who drove Sleepy Tripp to win a trial on Monday, has retained the drive in the Hannon.

"We only have two horses at the meeting and Mark has decided to stay at home," Payne said. Blair Orange will drive Major Mark.

There was plenty to like about the Addington performance of Franco Ledger, who downed Franco Emirate in a fast-run race. Franco Ledger is a fast beginner from a stand who will almost certainly settle the handier of the Franco pair and could be decent each way value again.

While the Hannon will dominate there will be plenty of interest in the following race where former northern trotter Murcielargo makes his stable debut for new trainer Phil Williamson.

By Michael GUERIN (Courtesy of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD)

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Butt not committed to a NZ Cup drive yet

Anthony ButtMultiple New Zealand Cup-winning harness racing driver Anthony Butt has thrown a curve ball into calculations for this year's race.

And it is one that will have Australian bookmakers trembling.

Butt is the trainer and driver of Stunin Cullen, who opened as one of the favourites for the Cup when the first market was released last night.

As a former Hunter Cup winner with $1.4 million in the bank, Stunin Cullen would seem certain to be Butt's Cup drive.

However, he says he won't make that decision for at least another month because he has been so impressed by stablemate Mah Sish.

The latter was one of the big movers in the open-class ranks last season, going from being an unheralded lower-grade pacer at the start of the term to finishing fourth in the Auckland Cup.

He also staged a huge performance in the star-studded Easter Cup and Butt is adamant Mah Sish has gone to a new level this campaign.

The 6-year-old suggested Butt is right by holding out defending Cup champion Terror To Love at the Addington trials yesterday.

The pair clocked a fast 3:13.7 for the standing start 2600m and while Terror To Love was not asked for his best in the straight, Butt says neither was Mah Sish.

"I think people underestimate this horse, he is the real deal," said Butt.

"I think there is nothing between him and Stunin Cullen now so I could drive either in the Cup."

The pair won't clash for at least a month, with Stunin Cullen to take on Franco Emirate and a host of other stars at Addington this Friday whereas Mah Sish will head to the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru a week later.

"So once they have had a few races I will make my decision and there are plenty of good drivers around for the other horse, whichever one that is."

Mah Sish emerging as a Cup threat would be bad news for the Australian TAB, which opened him at $61 in its markets last night before being swamped, bringing him into $26.

The New Zealand TAB opened Mah Sish at just $15, with Auckland Reactor the $5 favourite over Terror To Love at $6 and Sushi Sushi at $7.

Two-time Cup winner Monkey King, who is expected back from retirement this week, is rated a $21 chance.

The best value with the TAB is Australasian Breeders Crown winner Caribbean Blaster, who opened at $16.

Trainer Andy Gath told the Herald last night that the 5-year-old was likely to be at Addington for the Cup on November 13.

By Michael GUERIN (Courtesy of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD)

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Butt gears up for Jewels Day

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 11:04
By Michael Guerin

Anthony ButtThis is not how Anthony Butt saw his Harness Jewels week unfolding.

A few months ago the champion horseman would have been looking forward to a relaxing build-up to harness racing’s $1.2million day at Cambridge this Saturday.

After all, Butt is New Zealand’s best known freelance driver, a Group One superstar whose core skill is coolness under pressure.

He was probably thinking June 2 would be a matter of turning up, maybe helping out brother and trainer Tim a little bit but primarily jumping in the sulky and doing what he does best.

But after an autumn of discontent for the Butt brothers, Anthony finds himself in the drivers seat in more ways than one on Saturday.

Brother Tim, the training brains of the unofficial partnership, has been disqualified for six months on a controversial drugs charge in Sydney and has decided not to appeal because of the costs involved. So Anthony is now the trainer of millions of dollars of horseflesh at Premier Stables and that includes two of the favourites on Saturday.

And for good measure he will drive New Zealand Cup winner Terror To Love in the four-year-old Emerald, meaning Butt is in for one of the most testing days of his stellar career on Saturday.

He is understandably disappointed Tim won’t be running the family operation this weekend but says the figures just didn’t stack up.

“Tim was very keen to appeal because he feels he was hard done by but it simply would have cost too much and those things are very hard to win,” said Anthony.

That leaves Anthony in charge of Thanesan, who is the favourite for the four-year-old trot even from a second line draw and Elusive Chick, who he is tipping to be a big improver in the three-year-old fillies pace.

Thanesan is the only trotter at the Jewels who has been racing against open class opponents, beating a genuine topliner in Clover Don two starts ago. From a good barrier he would have been an odds-on favourite on Saturday, from barrier 12 he has got out to $3 fixed odds, helped by a $7500 punt on key rival Irish Whisper.

“The draw makes it harder but he follows out a fast beginner and I am sure he can still win,” says Butt.

“He has been going great races against open class trotters and I couldn’t be happier with where he is at.

“And I won’t be scared to put him in the race because at Cambridge you have to be handy.”

Elusive Chick was below her best in the NZ Oaks last start but has been one of our best pacing fillies all season, albeit with no luck.

“She is better now than she was Oaks night at Addington and I think she can win but they are a very even crop and that is one of those races where luck in the running is going to pay a key role.”

Butt isn’t expecting too much bad luck with Terror To Love, on who he will try for an all-the-way win.

“I think punters can forget about his failure in the Messenger last start,” Butt advises.

“He was attacked a few times and then his tyre came off the rim at the 1400m mark.

“But he showed winning the Taylor Mile the start before how hard he can be to catch so that will be the plan this week.”

In other Jewels news, trainer Mark Purdon has advised the RIU tests taken from star three-year-old Smolda have shown no serious problems after his shock defeat at Alexandra Park last Friday. The NSW Derby winner was found to have a slight lung infection after Friday night but nothing long-term and can be expected to strip at his peak on Saturday.

Still, he has lost favouritism and maybe some of his intimidation factor, especially with Ideal Scott drawn inside him and trialing brilliantly on Sunday.

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Harness Racing AustraliaChoise Cup Win
05 February 2012 - by Chris Barsby

Anthony Butt - Mr Hunter Cup
Mr Hunter Cup; ace reinsman Anthony Butt has now won the Hunter Cup six times.


Champion New Zealand reinsman Anthony Butt officially 'owns' the Hunter Cup.

Butt claimed his record sixth Gr.1 $425,000 Del-Re National Food Group A G Hunter Cup success after a masterful drive behind Choise Achiever ($6.30) who scored a narrow victory from Auckland Reactor ($2.60 fav) and Jaccka Clive ($8.10) at TABCORP Park, Melton tonight.

The A G Hunter Cup is the most sought after staying race on the Australian calendar, a gruelling test run under standing start conditions and run over the marathon distance of 3280m but the Christchurch based 'maestro' has dominated the event since scoring with the mighty mare Blossom Lady back in 1994 for his grandfather and trainer Derek Jones.

Blossom Lady scored again the following year in 1995, Butt then had to wait until 2004 for his third success with Mister DG before scoring with North American import Mr Feelgood in 2009 and again in 2011 with Stunin Cullen.

His brother Tim has trained the Cup winner four times.

“We've had a bit of luck in this race, it's a great race to win.” Butt stated.

Choise Achiever made the most of his good draw and stepped straight to the early lead, Butt then made his winning move by handing the lead over to tough local stayer Jaccka Clive.

The lead time was covered in 2;07.6.

Jaccka Clive continued to set the pace with many moves being made from back in the pack, Butt had Choise Achiever travelling easy behind the leader.

Boom New Zealand 4yo The Gold Ace made a spirited bid for the lead with a lap and half still to run but Jaccka Clive refused to yield, the first half of the final mile covered in 30.4 and 29.7 seconds.

Entering the back straight, Jaccka Clive led from Mach Wiper with race favourite Auckland Reactor poised in the one out, one back position while Butt sat patiently on the inside with Choise Achiever.
The third quarter was posted in a solid 28.3 seconds.

Approaching the home turn, Jaccka Clive was joined by Choise Achiever while Auckland Reactor loomed sharply three wide on the track.

Choise Achiever seemed to lose his chance when inconvenienced by Jaccka Clive but the Courage Under Fire gelding rallied strongly under strong driving from Butt and edged out Auckland Reactor by a head margin with a further half head margin back to Jaccka Clive in third.

The final quarter was timed in 28.4 seconds.

The mile rate was 1;59.9, which shaved over a full second off the track record set by Stunin Cullen when successful last year.

“He's a good horse, he had to fight hard in the straight but he never took a backward step.

“The race worked out really well for us, he stepped perfectly and got the right horse to follow so it couldn't have been scripted any better really.

“It really is a great race to win, we look forward to this event each year and to win it again is just unreal.”
The next leg of the 2011/12 Grand Circuit is the V75 Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final on March 2 at Gloucester Park, Perth.

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TEAM TARGETS AUSSIE RACING
By: Jeff Scott

Premier Stables is set to launch again on the Australian scene.

Well-performed pacer Raglan will fly to Sydney at the end of the week and will be in the care of Darren Hancock until Anthony Butt arrives to take charge of the NSW-based Premier Stables team.

"We're taking a few to Aussie over the summer," said Anthony Butt, who will train the Menangle-based squad.

"We'll have a base over there for a few months. Tim's going to run the NZ stable, and I'll look after the ones in Aussie," Anthony said.

"I'll come back and forth to drive them in the feature races. I'll still drive at the main meetings in NZ," he said.

Raglan will take in a couple of free-for-alls at Menangle as he builds to the $70,000 Newcastle Mile on November 5.

"Raglan will go where they're all mobiles. He's not guaranteed to get in the NZ Cup and its going to be hard to get in anyway," he said.

High-profile North American import Lisagain will be flown to Sydney at the end of October to race in lead-up events before the $500,000 SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile at Menangle on November 26.

"We're really happy with him. He'll be ready for the trials in another week or two. He's having a week of hoppling now and everything is on track," said Anthony.


Lisagain will probably be sent over with two three-year-olds in late October.

"Hostile Grins will probably go across after NZ Cup meeting and maybe some more," Anthony said.

The Butt brothers will lease boxes not far from Menangle Raceway.

Following the Miracle Mile, Anthony will head to Melbourne with Lisagain for the $425,000 Victoria Cup at Melton on December 17, and $425,000 BIG6 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 4.

"We'll race in Sydney and Melbourne, and intend to do Perth as well," he said.

"We've got a good team to start off with. It just depends whether it works out over there."

The plan is to send Raglan to Perth to Anthony's son, Chris, now training in West Australia, for feature Christmas and January racing, where he will stay until after the $1 million Perth Inter Dominion Final on March 2.

Raglan could contest such races as the $400,000 West Australian Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on January 13 and the $250,000 Fremantle Pacing Cup on January 20.

Fellow top pacer Choise Achiever, and Kurow Cup winner Hostile Grins, are due to resume at the trials on Wednesday as they build towards the NZ Cup meeting.

However, capable squaregaiter The Tower won't be part of the team at the NZ Cup meeting.

"An injury problem just flared up again so he's out for a while," Anthony said.

Meanwhile, dual Harness Jewels Trot winner Vulcan is set to resume in Sunday's $25,000 D G Jones Trotting Cup at Motukarara.

Vulcan settled fourth off 30m and tracked up race rival Brownie in the one win or faster trot heat at the Addington workouts on Monday, September 26.

Vulcan, Thanesan & Brownie - Addington Trials 26 Sept 2011
Brownie (blue colours), Vulcan (red cap) and Thanesan hit out well in the run home at the Addington workouts on Monday.

He finished solidly wide in the hands of David Earnshaw, finishing on terms with front-running stablemate Thanesan (Anthony Butt).

However, the Premier Stables stablemates had to settle for second equal behind the Greg and Nina Hope-trained Brownie, who held in a solid 3:23.7 for the 2600m.

The leaders ran their last 800m in 58.5s and final 400m in 27.7s.

This was Vulcan's second conditioning run since resuming, having run Lexie Highlander to a head at the Addington trials a week earlier, the winner going 3:28.9 (2600m).

Enoughs Enuff Addington workouts - 26 Sprt 2011 Miss Coco - Addington workouts 26 Sept 2011
Enoughs Enuff sharpens the speed turning for home in his maiden heat at the Addington workouts on Monday.
Miss Coco, who was solid at the Addington workouts on Monday for driver Anthony Butt.

Maiden pacer Enoughs Enuff, and maiden trotters, Miss Coco and Ace Moment, were Tim Butt-trained winners at the workouts.

Five-year-old Tinted Cloud gelding Enoughs Enuff led up and held Gumboots, who trailed by a head in a non-win mobile 2600m pace in 3:23.4, quickening over his last 400m in 27.5s.

Miss Coco (4m Pegasus Spur-Givenchy) was untroubled to lead throughout an unqualified trot over 2600m, clocking a leisurely 3:41.7 to win by four lengths. She quickened over her last 400m in 31.2s.

Ace Moment (3g Dream Vacation-Stay A Moment) finished best from the trail to wear down First Time Caller in a non-win trot in 3:33.2 (2600m), the leaders picking up the speed over their last 400m in 28.9s.

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The Tower after trials - Addington 5-9-11
"The Tower" after the trials at Addington
5-9-11

THE TOWER TRIALS WELL
By: Jeff Scott

Capable intermediate grade squaregaiter The Tower is nearing race fitness again after a 17 month break from racing.

The six-year-old half-brother to top trotter Sovereignty, and brother to good winning mare, the ill-fated La Femme D'Argent, pleased driver Anthony Butt with a bold front-running effort at the Addington trials on Monday, September 5.

"He's come up well after an enforced layoff. One more trial and he's probably good to race," Anthony said.

The Tower set a solid clip in the one win or faster special handicap trot but had to bow in the run home to last season's big trot mover Clover Don, who outfinished him to score in 3:23.5 for the 2600m from a stand.

The leaders ran their last 800m in 58.4s and final 400m in 29.3s.

The Tower won four from eight starts as a four-year-old and has only had had 10 lifetime starts.

Fast class pacer Raglan (30m), last until the 600m, ran on wide for fourth to Terror To Love, Mach Banner and Samuel James, in the stand start one win or faster pace at Monday's trials.

Winner Terror To Love, who settled sixth and stormed home with an inside run, paced the 2600m in 3:20.6, the leaders quickening over their last 800m in 57.3s.

"He went ok but has to improve a little bit," he said.

Trainer Tim Butt says he is looking at the Hannon Memorial for Raglan.

"He's on the way up and he's still a bit risky from a stand, so we might just wait a week," Tim said.
Meanwhile Kurow Cup winner Hostile Grins is having a little break from racing.

"He had a bit of time off after Kurow and he got a bit more time off with the snow. He's just got away on us a bit but he'll be back," Tim said.

Without big numbers at this time of year, the Premier Stables team kept the wins ticking over when Surrender won at the Methven meeting at Ashburton on Sunday.

After an early break, the four-year-old Sundon gelding recovered well to hold Tiz A Secret in 3:10.7 for the 2400m from a stand.

Surrender, improving with regular racing, was recording his second win in his last five starts for owners Peter and Joan Cocks.

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CHRIS BUTT WINS WITH FILLY
By: Jeff Scott

(If) I Have A Dream, who launched the west Australian training career of Chris Butt a few months ago, won her second race at Gloucester Park, Perth, on Monday, August 29.

Chris, son of Anthony and Karen Butt, prepared her for a Group One second when the 2.5 metres runnerup to Artemis Belle in the $A150,000 Gannon's WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on May 13.

I Have A Dream, raced by mum Karen, with Chris, notched her first WA win in an Australasian Breeders Crown Heat on July 2, clearing out by 17.5 metres in a 2:00.5 mile rate for the 2100m.

She was quicker on Monday, racing away to win by 8.7m in a 1:57.3 mile rate for the 2100m in the $7000 Channel 9 3YO MS Pace, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.6s and final 400m in 28.9s.

Among the beaten runners was hot favourite, the former Mark Purdon/Grant Payne trained pacer Lewis Hamilton, who finished sixth.

I Have A Dream has been ultra-consistent in WA, racking up eight minor placings and two wins from 12 starts, for just over $A42,000.

The Bettor's Delight-Pocketmore filly won two of 12 NZ starts when with the Premier Stables team at West Melton.

She rated 1:57.9 to win over 1700m at Forbury Park, first-up as a 3YO last November when catch-driven by Dexter Dunn.

I Have A Dream also won her 2YO debut at Winton in December 2009. She was reined by Chris, to beat Ransom Olds and State Of Affairs, in 2:00 for the 1609m.

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ZEN SULKY A FIRST-UP WINNER
By: Jeff Scott

Bettors Creek maiden win
Anthony Butt (green colours), in the new Zen sulky, drives Bettors Creek past Chloe Finn (Mark Jones) to win at Addington on Friday, August 26, 2011.

Anthony Butt is hopeful of having the Christchurch manufactured Zen sulky in Auckland for the second running of the Island Of Origin Drivers series on Friday night, September 2.

Anthony, brother Tim, and other Canterbury trainers, Cran Dalgety, Mark Jones and Nigel McGrath, commissioned Christchurch scientific designer Milton Bloomfield, of Dynamic Composites, to invent a sulky to rival the importation of the latest American speed sulkies.

The Zen sulky made a winning debut at Addington on Friday August 26.

Anthony used the new sulky on when he reined the Dalgety-trained debutante Bettors Creek for a good staying win in the opening race.

"It has the maximum width under the regulations. Our longest trotter doesn't hit anywhere," Anthony said.

"The horses are definitely better balanced in it."

Mr Bloomfield, who specialises in the design and application of composite materials such as carbon fibre, has become famous for developing the Martin Jetpack (allowing humans to fly short distances), and has worked for various America's Cup Syndicates.

Dynamic Composites also developed the racing bikes which have won Olympic and Commonwealth games medals for top NZ cyclists, Sarah Ulmer, Hayden Roulston and Alison Shanks and have earned a Hi-Tech Award for their work.

Mr Bloomfield began working on the light, but rigid, racing sulky last October.

"They are building another four for us at the moment. All the stables involved will all have one and there will be one spare," Anthony said.

"I'm trying to get this one up to Auckland so the other boys can have a look at it up north in the drivers series, but it all depends whether we can get it back quickly," he said.

The Island Of Origin will be competed over four penalty-free races.

The South Island team includes: Anthony Butt, John Dunn, Mark Jones, Ricky May, Blair Orange and Matty Williamson.

The North Island team is: David and Zac Butcher, Josh Dickie, Peter Ferguson, Todd Mitchell and Tony Herlihy.

AMERICAN PACER ARRIVES

Premier Stables have Hunter Cup winner Stunin Cullen on the easy list for the first half of the season with a hairline knee fracture, but are excited by the arrival of American import Lisagain (1:49.1).

"He's arrived in Auckland and will have two weeks in quarantine there before coming down," Anthony said.

"We'll put in a nomination for the New Zealand Cup but its a big ask with the stand start, which will be new to him, plus racing over two miles."

The Miracle Mile at Menangle in late November will be Lisagain's main target.

"He's a pretty good horse. Andy Miller drove both him and Mr Feelgood in the States and said he will more than hold his own," Anthony said.

"He thinks he is a little bit stronger than Mr Feelgood."

"With Andy having driven both, he can give a good comparison."

Lisagain, a half-brother by Dragon Again to former stand-out Lis Mara (1:47.6), has won around $US600,000 in North America.

He lowered his lifetime mile mark to 1:49.1 when winning a $35,000 pace at Mohawk Raceway, Canada, on May 21.

On June 5, Lisagain lowered Lis Mara's track mark at Rideau Carlton Raceway in Canada to 1:59.2 when with a strong front-running win in the $177,750 Des Smith Classic Pace _ his 17th career win.

He will attempt to emulate the deeds of Mr Feelgood, who was brought down under for the latter stages of his career and won the 2009 Hunter Cup and Gold Coast Inter Dominion for the Premier Stables team.

Lisagain, five to North American time but now a six-year-old in the Southern Hemisphere, is being syndicated.

From Lisheen (by Abercrombie), he will ultimately will stand at stud here.

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VULCAN BACK-TO-BACK JEWELS WINNER
By: Jeff Scott

Vulcan has a winning break on his rivals with 100m to run in the Harness Jewels Glenferrie Farm 4YO Ruby.
Vulcan has a winning break on his rivals with 100m to run in the Harness Jewels Glenferrie Farm 4YO Ruby.

Vulcan produced one of the best performances on a stellar Harness Jewels programme, justifyng his favouritism in the $100,000 Glenferrie Farm 4YO Ruby at Ashburton on Saturday, June 4, 2011.

It wasn't easy from the outside of the front row and the task was made more difficult when driver Anthony Butt was relegated back to last after the opening quarter.

Anthony was forced to circle the field four wide down the back to be parked at the 700m.

Vulcan surged clear turning for home and kept going strongly to hold by a neck in 1:57.3 for the 1609m, being timed over his last 800m in 56.9s to hold Jinja Gal, who trailed and tried to make the most of a sprint lane finish.

The Earl gelding emulated top trotter Springbank Richard with back-to-back Ruby Jewels wins at three and four. Vulcan led to win the 3YO Ruby at Cambridge 12 months ago in 1:58 (1609m).

"Its amazing to do it again," said co-owner Jenny Butt, who bred and races Vulcan with Don McKenzie.

"He's a wonderful horse. I knew I had the trainer and the driver, so it was up to the horse then to do it," she said.

Trainer Tim Butt said Vulcan had been troubled by a minor virus in recent months but had thought he was pretty spot on for the Jewels after his good workout win seven days earlier.

Driver Anthony said it was a "really tough performance" after having no luck in the early running.

This second Jewels success was the crowing glory on Vulcan's 4YO term, taking his lifetime record to eight wins and nine placings from 29 starts for $173,018 in stakes.

Two races later, Vulcan's year younger stablemate and close relative Thanesan finished a sound fourth behind Paramount Geegee, Springbank Sam and Talkmeitoit in the Overport Lodge 3YO Ruby Trot.

After trailing through three back on the inner early, Thanesan moved out and forward at the 1200m, leading at the 1000m, but was swamped over the final 100m.

Both Vulcan and Thanesan after from half-sisters and are furthering a big-winning family for their breeders.

Vulcan, a half-brother to Lotsa Speed (six NZ wins & $73,463; t, 1:56.6, US) and minor winner Maia, is from the unraced Epona (Sundon-Abundant), while Thanesan is from Farisa (Chiola Hanover-Abundant).

Mrs Butt and Mr McKenzie have had a great run from descendants of Abundant (four placings), who they purchased as an empty broodmare for $600 some 15 years ago.

While no star on the track, Abundant was bred the right way, being by former top trot sire Game Pride mare from former smart mare First Prize (nine wins), the 1978 4YO Trotting Mare Of the Year.

Abundant is a sister to former smart trotters, October Pride and Elayjay (both nine wins apiece), while her half-sister Hanover Whiz (by Gee Whiz) also won nine and left former top northern mare Our Sunny Whiz (19 wins including the 2008 Rowe Cup).

At stud herself Abundant has created her own dynasty, leaving big winners Genius (24 wins and $214,523) and Noam (t, 1:56.6, 40 wins & $158,267), good winner Bizness (five NZ wins & $45,363; t, 1:56.2, US) and Maysoon (two), while her daughters have bred on, leaving classic types.

Abundant, on top of being the grand-dam of Vulcan, Lotsa Speed and Thanesan, is also the grand-dam of former smart Kiwi trotter Dream Machine (four wins and $159,494, runnerup in the 2009 Jewels 3YO Ruby).

Dream Machine, now a 1:57.6 trot mile winner in North America, is from minor winner Sundon's Prize, who has left other winners in the ill-fated Givenchy (three), Varenne (two) and Australian winner (Im) Sonialeelee.

Tim Butt, Jenny Butt and Don McKenzie, with their Jewels trophies
Tim Butt, Jenny Butt and Don McKenzie, with their Jewels trophies
Jenny Butt congratulates winning driver, son Anthony
Jenny Butt congratulates winning driver, son Anthony
click on this photo to enlarge
Click to enlarge
 
Jenny Butt with grandsons, Riley (holding trophy) and Carter.
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VULCAN READY FOR JEWELS HarnessJewels_TheTrust
by: Jeff Scott

Vulcan Workouts before Jewels 2011Premier Stables driver Anthony Butt is hoping for a case of history repeating in back-to-back Harness Jewels races for talented squaregaiter Vulcan on Saturday, June 4.

Vulcan stepped up to win last year's 3YO Ruby Trot at Cambridge, holding the ill-fated Kahdon in 1:58 for the 1609m for trainer Tim Butt, and breeder-owners, Don McKenzie and Jenny Butt.

The Earl gelding is primed for another bold showing in Saturday's $100,000 Glenferrie Farm 4YO Ruby at Ashburton after a strong showing at the Ashburton Jewels workouts on Saturday, May 28.

Vulcan led up and cleared out by six lengths for Anthony in the workout, trotting the 1609m in 1:58.8 and quickening over his last 800m in a swift 56.5s and closing 400m in 27.7s.

"He went really well. Its a bit of a bugger about the draw, but hopefully he's good enough to overcome it," Anthony said.

"He'll be our best chance on the day," he said.

Vulcan was installed a $1.80 favourite with the NZ TAB final field market after his bold workout run.

He will start from nine, the outside of the front row, but is one of the most tightly-assessed squaregaiters in the 4YO trot division.

Vulcan performed well enough as a newcomer to the top trot ranks in the Inter Dominions at Auckland in March-April and has advanced his career record to 28 starts for seven wins and nine placings, for $121,455 in stakes.

Stablemate Thanesan will start from the inside of the back row, following out Commander Jewel, in the $100,000 Overport Lodge 3YO Ruby, with Paramount Geegee (barrier 12) to start a commanding favourite.

Elusive Chick, the other Premier Stables Jewels runner, will start from barrier six in the $150,000 Alpine Cheese 2YO Diamond, but will need luck as the only non-winner up against a field of form runners.

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NORTH AMERICAN TROTTER ARRIVES IN NZ
by: Jeff Scott 26/5/11

He's here ! Former Nat Ray winner Misterizi (t, 1:51) has arrived in Auckland where he is undergoing a two-week quarantine period before entering the Premier Stables team.

The 8YO Mr Lavec stallion has been secured by Tim and Anthony Butt, along with Gold Coast construction businessman Paul Montgomery.

Mr Montgomery also races this season's Wairio Cup winner Hostile Grins.

Misterizi, the winner of 17 races for over $US574,000 in North America, will be given a chance to compete at the top level in Australasia next season, before letting down for a stud career.

While his stud career is the main focus, Anthony is looking forward to driving him in the top level trotting features.

"He's been a good horse over there," he said.
"Apparently he's a magnificent looking horse according to Nifty Norman (New Jersey trainer)."
"Nifty had him for the last two and a half to three months and really liked him."

Tim and Anthony were visitng the Meadowlands for Misterizi's stellar moment, winning the 2008 Nat Ray Final at the Meadowlands, New Jersey, but little did they know then they would end up with him one day.
"We didn't take a hell of a lot of notice of him," Anthony said.
"But then we tried to buy him a couple of years ago. We couldn't get it done because he was a bit dear, but he's a bit older now and circumstances changed."

In much the same way they sourced Mr Feelgood from North America to win an Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final, Tim and Anthony are hopeful Misterizi can show his class down under before heading to stud.

"Its tough really. We'll know until next time whether we've got to buy a better one, or whether he'll be good enough," Anthony said.

Even though Misterizi hasn't been tried from a standing start, this isn't a concern for his connections.

Apart from the Group One Dominion Handicap at Addington in November, most of his other races will be mobile starts.

RAGLAN SPELLING

Raglan wound up a solid 5YO racing season with a strong-finishing second to Power Of Tara in the Avon City Ford Mobile Pace at Addington on Saturday, May 14.

After being good enough to hold out Stunin Cullen at Addington in the spring, then having his mid-season affected by a virus, Raglan bounced back to race honestly after Christmas.

He stepped up in February chasing home Auckland Reactor in the IRT Ashburton Mile, being racetimed in 1:53.3 for second, then rated a strong 1:58.3 to win at Auckland in March.

After failing to make the Inter Final in April, he unwound well for a neck second to Highview Tommy in the Inter Dominion Consolation, he cleared out to win a lesser free-for-all by six and a half lengths in late April.

Raglan wound up his season with a fourth in the Rangiora Classic and his half-head second to Power Of Tara on premier day at Addington on May 14, the winner clocking 1:56.3 for the mobile 1950m.

He raced 19 times for the season for three wins and four placings, adding $77,804 to his earnings, which now total $182,544 lifetime.

Trainer Tim Butt will have three chasing Jewels honours at Ashburton next wek _ Vulcan (4YO trot), Thanesan (3YO trot) and Elusive Chick (2YO pacing fillies Diamond).

Vulcan, last year's 3YO Jewels Ruby Trot winner, is the second leading qualifier for this year's 4YO division, just behind Southland mare Larix.
Raglan (No. 7) tries hard, but finishes a half-head second to Power Of Tara (No. 9), with Four Starzzz Flash (No. 4) third, in the Avon City Ford Mobile Pace on premier day at Addington, May 14.
Raglan (No. 7) tries hard, but finishes a half-head second to Power Of Tara (No. 9), with Four Starzzz Flash (No. 4) third, in the Avon City Ford Mobile Pace on premier day at Addington, May 14.

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THANESAN RECOVERS FOR DERBY
By: Jeff Scott

The Premier Stables team will again be back to dual strength for the $80,000 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby at Auckland on Friday night.

Trainer Tim Butt gave Thanesan, withdrawn last week due to a minor virus, the green light to race on Friday after working him on Wednesday morning.

"I left the drives up to Tim," said Anthony, who has put him on Thanesan, drawn well in gate two, with Mark Jones to drive stablemate King Kenny, who is likely to start from the inside of the back row with the likely withdrawal of emergency, Brookside Filly.

"It probably was not ideal Thanesan missing last week's race but he worked really good this morning (Wednesday)."

"He had a good foundation before last week's setback, so hopefully it won't affect him too much."

King Kenny, who moved up parked over the last lap and fought well for third last week behind front-running winner Paramount Geegee, had been driven by Mark Jones to beat Thanesan by a neck in a smart Rangiora mobile 2000m trial (2:00.8 mile rate) on March 16.

"One on the second row is probably not ideal for King Kenny, but he's a good stayer if he has any luck," Anthony said.

The Premier Stables team have already won the Northern Trotting Derby twice with Novander Whiz (1996), and Thedonsson (2003), however Paramount Geegee stands in their way for a third win in the race tonight.

"He's the benchmark for the three-year-old trotters, so he'll be the one to beat again," Anthony said.

Paramount Geegee took his record to 11 wins from 15 starts in last week's 3YO Trotters Championship and is expected to strip fitter this week.

The John Dickie-trained Paramount Geegee was short of work going into last week's race after being caught up in a fence six weeks ago, suffering superficial injuries to a leg.

Anthony is looking to make the most of good barriers on Friday night.

Other Premier Stables runners have drawn favourably with Choise Achiever (three) in the $100,000 Dawson Harford NZ Messenger Championship, and Donostia (four) in the $15,000 Brancott Estate Mobile Pace for two-year-olds.

"Choise Achiever should be a bit better this week. He missed a bit of work leading up to last week with a foot abcess and should have gone a bit better when fourth in the Taylor Mile."

"With his gate speed we'll probably look to cross Mach Banner and Smiling Shard early, and see how things work out from there."

"Donostia was a bit better last week but its going to be a bit harder for her against the colts and geldings this week."

He will also drive the Mark Jones-trained Holme Fire (three) in the $170,000 Magness Benrow Sires Stakes 2YO Fillies Championship, and Swedish mare Annicka (eight) in the $200,000 Canam Rowe Cup.
Raglan, meanwhile, has returned to Canterbury for Sunday's $50,000 Wai Eyre Farm "Rangiora Classic".

"He won really well last week, but its not going to be easy with Benny's two (Monkey King and Power Of Tara) in there," Anthony said.

Raglan, who scored by three lengths from Franco Hendrix in last week's 4-9 wins $20,000 The New Zealand Herald Mobile Pace at Auckland, has now won nine races and been 14 times placed from 48 lifetime starts for $177,469 in stakes.
Thanesan in action on Inter night Auckland 2011
Thanesan in action at Auckland last month

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THREE-YEAR-OLDS WITHDRAWN
By: Jeff Scott 12/4/11

Thanesan

Thanesan, recovered well after an early break at Alexandra Park last Friday night, He is progressing well for the upcoming Sires Stakes Trotters Championship and Northern Trotting Derby.

Premier Stables trainer Tim Butt has withdrawn promising three-year-old squaregaiters Thanesan and King Kenny from the Franklin meeting on Friday night after they both ended up in the same race.

"They're both fine. They don't need to go round this week and they'll just get ready for the 29th (Sires Stakes 3YO Trotters Championship)," Tim said.

"They were supposed to be in different races. We were disappointed they ended putting them in the same race so we've scratched them."

Tim says there are plenty of races coming up for the pair, and he is keen to take King Kenny to Australia for racing later in the season.

"The mobile racing will suit them both, Thanesan especially, after being caught on the wrong foot at the start last Friday."

"He handled the track but got a bit keen. It was probably a pretty good run to finish with Pocaro after losing that ground at the start. Its just hard at that next level and you can't afford to make a mistake."

Choise Achiever, checked on the home turn in last Friday's Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final, will remain in Auckland for the $100,000 Woodlands Stud Taylor Mile on April 29, and the $100,000 Dawson Harford NZ Messenger 4YO Championship on May 6.

"He seems good. He'll race in those two, and the Jewels, and not much more this season," Tim said.

"Going into the series we thought he was a couple of lengths behind the Aussies, but in reality he was five lengths behind them. The series hasn't knocked him and he should be better for the experience."

Raglan, a strong-finishing runnerup to Highview Tommy in the $50,000 NRM (NZ) - Inter Dominion Pacers Consolation last Friday, will also stay north for a $25,000 free-for-all on the April 29.

PHANTOM GRIN JOINING TEAM

Phantom Grin, a promising Grinfromeartoear gelding for Gore co-owner Matt Brinsdon, is joining the Premier Stables team to prepare for the $200,000 Christian Cullen New Zealand Derby on Saturday week, April 23.

"They've just sent him up now and will take him back for the Southern Supremacy Final ($40,000 at Invercargill, April 30)," Tim said.

"He mightn't be quite up to the good ones in the Derby yet, but the way he races, I think he could develop into a tough horse," he said.

Phantom Grin has been a strong front-runner in his southern racing, winning three, finishing five times second, and recording one third, from 11 starts.

Tim has another recent Southland addition, Just A Cracker working towards the $80,000 NZ Trotting Championship at Addington on April 23.

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KING KENNY TROTS NZ RECORD
By: Jeff Scott

King Kenny joined stablemate Thanesan leading contenders for the Northern Trotting Derby by claiming a New Zealand three-year-old trot record at Cambridge on Thurday, April 7.

The former $75,000 yearling led throughout and King Kennycleared out to win by 16 lengths in 3:30.2 for the 2700m (stand), 0.4 of a second inside The Fiery Ginga's age group record for the distance.

Driver Anthony Butt gave King Kenny a good blowout over the final lap of the 1-5 wins Racing and Rugby Combo Handicap Trot as he drew further and further in front to win untouched.

West Melton trainer Tim Butt has always rated King Kenny as a good stayer.

King Kenny is a gelded son of Pegasus Spur and the second foal from former smart trot mare One Under Kenny (11 wins and $87,919), a sister former champion mare One Over Kenny, who won nearly $1.1 million.

Thanesan, who cleared out to win at Auckland last week by 5 3/4 lengths, steps up to premier company for his engagement on Grand Finals night at Auckland on Friday.

King Kenny, and Thanesan, look in for rewarding autumn-winter campaigns.

They have the Group Two $70,000 Hutton Racing Stables Sires Stakes Trotting Championship (mobile 2200m) for their age group at Auckland on April 29 on their immediate programme, along with the Group One $80,000 Northern Trotting Derby (mobile 2700m) at Auckland on May 6.

The Group One $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Derby is scheduled to be run at Addington on May 20, with the Group One $100,000 Harness Jewels Three-Year-Old Ruby to follow at Ashburton on June 4.

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CHOISE ACHIEVER LOOKING FOR LUCK IN GRAND FINAL
By: Jeff Scott 6/4/11

Choise AchieverLeading driver Anthony Butt says Choise Achiever faces a "big ask" as a lightly-raced 4YO in the $800,000 Skycity _ Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final at Alexandra Park, Auckland, on Friday night, but he's there to chance his luck.

Anthony will be having his 16th Pacing Grand Final drive behind the Grand Circuit newcomer, trained by brother Tim.

"We've been lucky enough to have won a Pacing Grand Final (Mr Feelgood), as a lot of people never do," he said.

The Butt brothers also have three Inter Trot Finals on their list of achievements, one with Lyell Creek (2000) and two with Take A Moment (2001 & 2003).

"Choise Achiever seems pretty good. He's bounced back from last week. His blood is back to normal," Anthony said.

"Hopefully he can get back to the form he showed on the first night (when he fought hard from the trail for third to Themightyquinn and Washakie)," he said.

"I would have loved to have drawn one with him."

"Hopefully from four, we can come out a bit, but Pembrook Benny (three) and Blacks A Fake (two) will be holding the lead, so it will be hard to get across. I'd love to find the markers, so we'll come out hard and fast and see what happens."

"There should be plenty of action. Its set up to be a really good race the way the draws are, with three of the main Aussie chances on the back row.

"They're all great horses and our horse is new to this level, but the experience will do him good and toughen him up for next year."

The Premier Stables team have each-way chances in Friday's $50,000 Inter consolations with Raglan and Vulcan.

"Raglan has been battling away in a tough grade. He'll get a shot in that field to get some of money," Anthony said.

"He Went good on the second night. He's not far away from the top ones but just a step below," he said.

Vulcan disappointed last week, but went well enough after breaking in the early stages on the first night

"We've been really pleased with him apart from his last start. With the best ones out he'll get a good shot too from a front row draw."

Anthony says their best winning chance on Grand Finals night will be promising 3YO trotter Thanesan in the first, the 2 wins and faster $15,000 Caduceus Club Of Auckland and Armacup Maritime Trot
.

Both Thanesan, and King Kenny, who starts at Cambridge on Thursday night, have gone north early for the Derby and Sires Stakes 3YO Trot at the end of the month.

"Thanesan has come on good since his run last week.

Anthony said he was a little fresh in the early stages when he tangled in his Auckland debut last week, but he was much too good over the closing stages, clearing out by 5 3/4 lengths in a 2-5 win trot.

While Friday's trot is stronger, he should take running down with a clean beginning.

"He's a bit like that until he settles down. He gets a bit better with racing," he said.

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JUST A CRACKER HANDY NEWCOMER
By: Jeff Scott 24/3/11

Just A Cracker
Just A Cracker and Anthony Butt are clear over the closing stages of the Dream With Me Stables Free-For-All Mobile Trot at Rangiora.

Just A Cracker only just missed the cut for the Dream With Me Stables Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, but is a handy addition to Tim Butt's Premier Stables for Canterbury autumn racing.

The 9YO Sundon gelding was strong winning second-up from his new quarters in the $9778 Dream With Me Stables Free-For-All Mobile Trot at the NZ Metro meeting at Rangiora on Wednesday, March 23.

He had only arrived up from Invercargill a few days before running on for a first-up seventh for the Butt stable at Rangiora on March 3.

On Wednesday, in-form Premier Stables driver Anthony Butt pressed forward from a wide front row draw over the mobile 2000m with Just A Cracker.

Trapped four wide around the first turn, they made the lead with 1300m to run and kept up a useful run to hold by two lengths from consistent mare With Intent in a 2:00 mile rate, running his last 800m in 60.2s and closing 400m in 29.9s.

"He's a lovely old horse and a great old horse to have around the place," Anthony said.

"He probably went as good today as we could get him. Horses usually go one way or the other when they get into a bigger stable working with other horses, but he's settled in well," he said.

Just A Cracker's autumn target will now be the $80,000 Garry Thompson/Fred Shaw NZ Trotting Championship at Addington on April 23.

The long-striding squaregaiter is on the brink of topping $100,000 in career earnings.

He was recording his 11th career win from 78 lifetime starts this week, having won his previous 10 starts for Invercargill trainer Don McRae.

Anthony Butt was the form driver on Wednesday, also winning both Rangiora 2YO pacing features, with the Cran Dalgety-trained colt Raging Bull, and the Mark Jones-trained filly Holme Fire.

He is looking to take his good driving form to Auckland for the opening night of the Inter Dominions on Friday night where he will drive Premier Stables hopes, Choise Achiever, Raglan and Vulcan, and Swedish trotter Annicka, in the Inter heats, and Exposed, in a support race.

"Tim's really happy with all of ours," Anthony said.

"Its a good draw for Choise Achiever (one) and drawing three should set up well for Raglan in his heat. Vulcan's drawn the back row but it doesn't really matter with him as he hasn't got a lot of gate speed anyway."

Anthony expects Scandanavian trotter Annicka to improve throughout the series.

"It will be interesting. She's been working on her own and has had plenty of strong work," he said.

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STUNIN CULLEN RULED OUT OF INTERS
By: Jeff Scott 17/3/11

Stunin CullenA recurrence of a soft palate problem combined with a lung infection has ruled top Premier Stables pacer Stunin Cullen out of the Christchurch Casino Inter Dominion Pacing Championships at Auckland, which begin on Friday March 25.

The Ballarat and Hunter Cups winner was found to have problems after being vetted following his seventh in the Trillian Trust Auckland Cup on March 11.

Premier Stables trainer Tim Butt, and driver Anthony Butt, have decided to take a conservative approach with the five-year-old after getting the vet report.

"He just didn't scope out very good," said Anthony Butt.

"It indicated he had been flopping his palate again. He has some sort of lung infection as well so we just decided it was better to knock off now and get him right, otherwise it would have only been a patch-up job."

"We'll try and get him ready for next year," he said.

The stable are now pinning their hopes on three other up and comers in Raglan and Choise Achiever in the Inter Dominion pacers series, and four-year-old trotter Vulcan, in the trot series.

"They all went good last week. Raglan went good in the Auckland Cup without much luck," Anthony said.

Raglan finished well late for sixth as Themightquinn came off the back of Mr Feelgood (parked) to score in 3:16.7 (1:57.2 mile rate) for the mobile 2700m.

Perth pacer Themightyquinn lowered the race race record set by former Premier Stables pacer Flashing Red in his 2007 Auckland Cup win.

The NZ record for the distance is held by Tintin In America, who went 3:15.8 (1:56.6 mile rate) to win last season's NZ Messenger 4YO Championship at Auckland.

Anthony was pleased with the run of Choise Achiever, from the outside of the front row in last week's 4-7 wins Jacobsen Headstones Mobile Pace.

"Choise Achiever was having his first run up here this season. He probably couldn't have won (from the outside of the front row) with the sectionals, but I was really pleased with him and that winner (Fernleigh Renegade) is a bit better than people think," he said.

Fernleigh Renegade, who led throughout for David Butt, paced the mobile 2200m in a slick 2:39.9 (1:56.9 mile rate), quickening over his last 800m in 55.6s.

"Vulcan went super too. We're going in with no pressure," Anthony said.

"They are three nice young horses on the way up," he said.

Meanwhile, promising 3YO trot stablemates King Kenny and Thanesan had a good hit-out at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday, March 16, in preparation for upcoming age group features.

King Kenny, driven by Mark Jones, led up over the mobile 2000m with a smart opening quarter of 28.8s and maintained a strong clip.

He held Thanesan (Anthony), who closed well late, by a neck in 2:30.2 (2:00.8 mile rate) for the mobile 2000m, quickening over his last 800m in 57.9s.

The stablemates were unofficially inside Awesome Imace's NZ 3YO trot record for the distance of 2:30.9.

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Interdominions Final RankingsMedia Release - 14/3/11

Final Rankings for the 2011 Christchurch Casino Inter Dominion.

View by clicking here

 


Stable Rankings:

$1,000,000 Christchurch Casino Interdominion Pacers Championship

Stunin Cullen (6)
Choice Achiever (19)
Raglan (20)

$250,000 Dream With Me Stables Interdominion Trotters Championship

Vulcan (24)
Just A Cracker (31)

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PREMIER STABLES TEAM READY FOR BIG NIGHT
By: Jeff Scott 10/3/11

Raglan
Raglan, handily drawn in barrier two for the $400,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup on Friday night.

Premier stables driver Anthony Butt says his brother Tim has the team in good shape for feature racing at Alexandra Park, Auckland, on Friday, March 11.

Anthony is not unduly concern by the eight barrier for Stunin Cullen in the $400,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup.

"Sometimes it undoes him drawing good with two or three committing to go foward. At times he has gone better when he has not done too much early," he said.

"You are probably going have to go back and try and get into in the second half of the race.

"Choise Achiever has drawn the outside of the front too, but both are good enough to overcome it."

Anthony says Stunin Cullen needed the run last week.

"Sub-conciously we might have been a bit too kind to him after he got back from Melbourne. He's trained on good this week."

Stunin Cullen didn't quicken up from a handy spot on the outer in last week's NZ Herald City of Auckland Free-For-All but the Christian Cullen entire didn't lose any ground either, finishing only two lengths from upset winner Power Of Tara.

The Ballarat and Hunter Cup winner should be sharper this week.

Butt rates Stunin Cullen's former stablemate, Mr Feelgood, as the horse to beat.

"The way the race is set up I can see him going to the death (parked) mid-race and take a bit of beating. I think he'll be the one to beat but Monkey (King) always steps up for a big occasion."

"He's been racing as good as any all season.

"Themightyquinn is flying too but he may end up three back on the markers and need a bit of luck."

The Premier Stables No. 2 hope Raglan has done everything right in recent weeks and looms as an upset chance from the two barrier.

"Raglan's spot on," Anthony said. "He's been good all the way through the trip."

Former world champion driver Mark Jones take the reins behind Raglan but tactics may hold the key to his chance of a first four finish.

"It looks a good draw for him but doesn't always work ou that way. He could end up in the one-one sit early but what happens after that remains to be seen.

"There is a chance he could get pushed back mid-race but he's going well. He could surprise with a bit of luck."

Anthony was pleased with Raglan's strong win in last week's 4-8 wins LGB Builders Mobile Pace at Alexandra Park.

Raglan rated a smart 1:58.3 mile rate for the mobile 2200m in the slushy conditions.

The Sands A Flyin gelding justified his hot favouritsm to run clear by three lengths over J Walker, with a further two and a quarter lengths to last year's Breeders Crown 3YO colts and geldings winner Devil Dodger.

Meanwhile 4YO trot stablemate Vulcan is on trial for a start in the Inter Dominions when he contests the $30,000 Auckland Co-op Taxi 300-3000 City Of Sails Free-For-All Trot.

"He may need the run but whatever he does this week he will be looking to improve on for the next two Friday nights.

"He came up here as a three-year-old and didn't handle the track, but the plan is to start him in the Inters if he goes good," Anthony said.

Vulcan, 30th on the third rankings for the series, should slip into the final 28 starting line-up when the series opens at Auckland on March 25.

Just A Cracker, running on late for seventh first-up for the stable at the Cheviot meeting last Sunday, is also chasing an Inter Dominion berth.

"I was pleased with him. He'd only just arrived up late that week and should improve a bit more with a bit of racing," Anthony said.

The former Southland trotter may have to rely on some withdrawals as he is 36th on the third trotters rankings for the $250,000 Dream With Me Stables Inter Dominion Trotting Championship.

Anthony gives Elusive Chick a good chance, despite a second row barrier, in the $100,000 Gotta Go Cullen Young Guns Delightful Lady Classic for the two-year-old pacing fillies.

"We're really happy with her. She has a bit of toughness and a bit of bottom. She can do a bit of work mid-race and should be hard," he said.

The McArdle filly ran on strongly first-up for the stable when narrowly beaten by Veste in a Young Gun Series Heat at Auckland on February 25.

Hawthorden, who will again by driven by Jimmy Curtin, should go his usual honest race in the $125,000 Breckon Bloodstock Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes for the two-year-old boys.

"He'll need an ounce of luck from two on the back row in a tough race. There are three or four in there that go very good. He seems good enough and if he ends up with a good run he'll be battling away," Anthony said.

Anthony will again drive the Ken Barron-trained Chancellor Cullen, who he was engaged for at the outset of the Young Gun Series, before Hawthorden was purchased by brother Tim for the stable.

Exposed, from gate six in the $20,000 2-3 wins Crombie Lockwood Mobile Pace, has an outside chance of filling a place if he ends up with a good trip.

He was unable to get into the action from the back row last week when free-going front-runner Fernleigh Renegade ran his rivals ragged in a smart 1:57.2 mile rate for the mobile 2200m.

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CHRISTCHURCH CASINO INTER DOMINIONS - TRANSFERRED TO AUCKLAND

.....read the press release of 2/3/11 here (PDF required)

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HAWTHORNDEN TRIALS WELL FOR AUCKLAND
by: Jeff Scott 15/2/11

Hawthornden leading up in the trials, Feb 15, 2011
Hawthornden leading up in the trials, Feb 15, 2011

Hawthornden, freshened following three strong runs in the Young Guns Series heats at Auckland in December, shaped well for a return trip north at the Addington trials on Tuesday, February 15.

The Grinfromeartoear colt is booked to return north again on Wednesday, February 16 as he builds to the $125,000 Young Guns Final at Auckland on March 11.

He was purchased out of the Graham and Paul Court stable after a gritty first-up fourth behind Chancellor Cullen, End Of The Matter and Deacon Brodie, in the first Young Gun Heat at Auckland on December 3.

Hawthornden showed good gate speed and led throughout his 2YO colts and geldings mobile 2000m trial at Addington.

He held fellow Young Guns contender Franco Hemmingway, who mixed his gait early, by 1 1/2 lengths in a 2:33.6 (2:03.5 mile rate), running his last 800m in 58.2s and his closing 400m in 29s.

"He's a nice wee horse. There is probably not much between them (the better two-year-olds)," Anthony said.

Hawthornden recorded two fourths, and a third, in the first three Young Guns series heats at Auckland in December, and has recorded a fastest placed mile rate of 1:58.4 over 1700m.

Anthony, the regular early season driver of Chancellor Cullen, a stablemate of Franco Hemmingway in the Ken Barron stable, also guided that juvenile to a front-running win in the second 2YO colts and geldings pace.

Chancellor Cullen paced the mobile 2000m in his heat in 2:35.6, running his last 800m in 59.3s and closing 400m in 29.3s.

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  Feature Article  

Tim Butt with Hunter Cup
Tim Butt holds aloft the 2011 Hunter Cup trophy after Stunin Cullen's victory.

TIM CELEBRATES 50TH AND 51ST GROUP ONE VICTORIES
By: Jeff Scott 11/2/11

Premier Stables trainer Tim Butt celebrated his 50th, and 51st, Group One training wins with Stunin Cullen in the Ballarat and Hunter Cups on January 29, and February 5, 2011.

Tim enhanced his rating as one of NZ's most successful Group One trainers of all time with the back-to-back premier double.

"I think Barry Purdon has 65 Group One wins, so I've still got a bit to go to catch up with him," Tim said.

"Stunin Cullen's Hunter Cup was special for it being the first one to be run at Melton," he said.

After over-racing and finishing seventh at his first try over the extreme distance of 3200m, or longer, in last November's New Zealand Cup, Stunin Cullen showed his class with a three-wide trail over the final lap.

Tim had a point to prove with some doubters about him getting the trip, but he had faith his latest star could come out on top with the right racing luck.

"He mightn't be an out and out champion, but he's a pretty good five-year-old," he said.

"He only had a few starts at four until we sorted out his wind problem. The Great Northern Derby was a good win for him ($600,000 stake beating Sleepy Tripp), and the Sires Stakes as a 3YO as well (beating Tintin In America, NZ age group record 1:54.1 mile rate, 1950m)."

Stunin Cullen's Hunter Cup victory was Tim's third as a trainer, joining Mister DG and Mr Feelgood,Stunin Cullen and brother Anthony's fifth (Blossom Lady twice, Mister DG, Mr Feelgood and Stunin Cullen).

Tim, and Anthony, the No.1 stable driver who has now racked up over 80 Group One driving victories, have been one of the most feared trainer-driver combinations in Australasian harness racing for the last decade.

The Group One charge for the Butt brothers began when Happy Asset won the 1998 $A150,000 Ben Hur at Harold Park, Sydney.

"They called me Tim Hur for a while around the stables," Tim recalls with a grin.

A few months earlier Tim had sent Happy Asset over for the Hunter Cup, and that was the beginning of the his fruitful Australian campaigns.

"That was the start of it really. We sent over Happy Asset, Novander Whiz and Lord Lester."

"Novander Whiz won the Geelong Trotters Cup, "Happy" didn't win (running fourth in the Hunter Cup), but Lord Lester won a heat of the Victoria Derby and ran third in the final."

Tim says he'll Never forget Happy Asset racing in the 1998 Cranbourne Cup at the outset of their Aussie campaign.

"Prop (Anderson) rang up so I could get a bit of a commentary. He said he's four back on the outer, he's going good, he's going good. he's out, he's going to win, he's going to win, he's got it won, he's got it won (excited)."

"Then, Prop said (calmly). . . oh, he's run fourth (eventually third)."

Tim was back in Melbourne with Happy Asset for the 1999 Hunter Cup, also finishing fourth, and looks back fondly on the 2000 Interdominion series when Lyell Creek won the first ever $A500,000 Inter Trotting Grand Final.

He says it was a great Melbourne Inter Dominion Pacing series in 2000.

"We ran third in the final (with Happy Asset)."

"Shakamaker, Courage Under Fire, Christian Cullen, Holmes D G and Yulestar, were all in it but "Happy" was the first Kiwi home. Courage hit the gate, and Christian Cullen and Holmes D G, didn't make the final."

Tim says he remembers when they were getting on the plane he was thinking we haven't got much of a show here with Happy Asset, but we'll have a good time.

Happy Asset picked up $A100,000 for third in the first $1 million Inter Pacing Final.

"Some of the Group wins have been real good ones like Flashing Red's NZ Cup (second time), and when Lyell won the Rowe Cup after he came back from North America. They were special Group Ones."

"The first cup with Flashing Red was good too. It was special but not as much as a buzz as the second one. That second cup was unreal."

There have been numerous other incredibly special victories.

Tim remembers being under some pressure with Lyell Creek after he returned from North America.

He recalled after his first trial he didn't go so good, then had to deal with the media, but appreciates its all part of having a top horse.

"It was a bit like now with Auckland Reactor with everyone wanting a bit of you."
"They wanted to know if he was going to be retired and all that. Expectations were high and we were doing our best. Then he came out and won the Rowe Cup by seven lengths that year."

"He came back at the NZ Cup meeting and the rumour was that he wouldn't go any good. He came out and won the FFA on Show Day and won the Dominion. He was never the same horse, but it was great to win those three late in his career."

Tim also looks back with a good deal of satisfaction on winning a Hunter Cup and Inter Dominion with Mr Feelgood.

"Bringing an American horse over to win the Hunter Cup (3280m) was great," he said.

Tim holds the distinction of winning every Group One trot run in New Zealand in 2003.

"There wasn't many that year, the two Derbys, the Dominion, Rowe and the Inter, when we had Lyell and Take A Moment.

"It'll be a while before that gets done again," he says proudly.

Tim says Foreal was a good mare, who he feels was a bit underrated.

"She won the big races like the NSW Oaks and the Ladyship Mile, and should have won the Chariots."

Former Grand Circuit pacer Tribute also provided good highlights for Tim and his staff.

"We took him to Tasmania and that had never been done before. He bolted clear in the Tasmanian Pacing Champs."

Tim recalls it was the cheapest after-party.

"Joan Cocks (Tribute's co-owner) kept pulling out $100 notes and putting them on the bar. There was about $500 in change up on the bar !"

"Tribute had to fly to Auckland, then to Melbourne, take the boat to Launceston then float to Hobart, which is another three hours, then race. Cran (Dalgety) did it too with Bettor's Strike last season."

"We've had 51 parties and two parties sometimes. Time goes quick. It doesn't seem that long since we started," he said.

After a short time to reflect on their great ride this week, Tim and Anthony are already looking ahead with their latest stable star.

Stunin Cullen has flown to Auckland and will chase down some more Group One glory in the $400,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup on March 11.

"If you don't race him, he's just going to get away on you. He'll race in the prelude ($50,000, March 4)."

Stablemate Raglan will go north for both races as well.

"If the run had knocked Stunin Cullen I wouldn't be racing him at Auckland, but it hasnt. He'd only come home and its pretty dry."

"He'd just go to Ashburton and have to run 3:00 in a trial, and up there at the moment, there is beautiful grass and he's in that zone."
Tim says there's no point in waiting, in case the unforseen happens with health issues, or getting checked in the opening round of the Inter series.

"There's no guarantee Stunin Cullen's going to win the Inter Dominion anyway. In those big ones if you get the run you win," he said.

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February 5, 2011

Stunin success makes it five Cups for Butt
By Jason Bonnington

Stunnin CullenChampion Kiwi horseman Anthony Butt further fortified his position in BIG6 Hunter Cup folklore tonight, steering five-year-old Stunin Cullen to a brilliant victory and kicking off a brand new era of the iconic Group 1 race at Tabcorp Park in style.

Already the most successful reinsman in the history of the 3280-metre stand start feature with four wins, Butt made it five with a copybook drive aboard brother Tim’s versatile son of Christian Cullen.

But rather than focus on his own incredible achievement – recorded in front of arguably the biggest crowd ever hosted at Victoria’s new harness headquarters – the champion horseman preferred to pay tribute to his stunning steed.

“Look I’ve had a lot of luck with some fantastic horses and fantastic trainers,” Butt said. “I just feel lucky to have won one (Hunter Cup) - a lot of great drivers never even get to do that.

“But tonight is all about the horse. He’s really stepped up this season and it’s not easy up here with the boys, so tonight was a really great effort.”

Laden with the task of carrying the unluckiest saddlecloth in racing – 13 – Butt’s former top juvenile settled well back in the field through a moderate lead time of 130.1 as last week’s The Pure Steel winner Our Chain Of Command led them around.

Sitting pretty, just as he did when winning last week’s Group 1 Ballarat Cup aboard the same horse, Butt soon seized the opportunity for three wide cover behind compatriot Smiling Shard through a 29.7-second opening split off the last mile.

Creeping forward behind his great sparring partner back home, Stunin Cullen quickly surged into the contest through a second split of 31.1, and with race favourite Im Themightyquinn hamstrung at the tail of the field, he quickly loomed as the horse to beat.

With Our Chain Of Command quickly collared by Power Of Tara in the breeze, who in turn felt the looming presence of Smiling Shard three-wide through a 28.3-second penultimate section, Butt could hardly have scripted the race better himself.

And when the Ashburton Flying Stakes winner unleashed his signature sprint at the top of the lane, he left a 14-strong field of top line pacers lamenting.

Piercing through a final fraction of 27.6 to close out a 2:01.1 mile rate, team Butt’s newest stable star proved too good by 3.1 metres from an incredibly game Smiling Shard.

For the second successive year dynamic West Australian pacer Im Themightyquinn had the greatest tale of woe from the race, held up behind tiring horses late, but still good enough to sizzle home for third.

But the race, and the night, was all about the brilliant Butt’s and their millionaire five-year-old pacer.

“I’ve driven some great horses in this race, but this guy’s got a special place for us and it’s obviously a real buzz to win again,” the champion horseman revealed.

“He’s really bounced back and deserves everything that he gets from here on in.”

Click here to view the results from Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park BIG6 Hunter Cup meeting.

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February 5, 2011

BIG6 Hunter Cup – ‘As they saw it’

1st - Stunin Cullen: “He got a beautiful run in transit and he’s a lovely horse when he gets that sort of sit. He’s really stepped up this season. It’s not easy up here with the big boys so tonight was a really great effort.” - Anthony Butt, Driver

2nd - Smiling Shard: “He’s only a four-year-old, so he’s still another year away from being a real open-class horse, but we were actually rapt with the run.” Dexter Dunn, Driver

3rd - Im Themightyquinn: “He just got too far back, but got home terrific. It was a hard race to win when they went so slow, but it was a great run in defeat. I would hate to know what he ran (his last 800m in). Three-wide and three-back I win, three-wide and four-back I don’t - that’s just the difference.” Nathan Jack, Driver

4th - Village Of Dreams: “He had a good run in transit and couldn’t be happier really.” Gavin Lang, Driver

5th - Karloo Mick: “He went really good. He had a really good trip, but just got held up momentarily round the corner and he finished off well. I thought his run was terrific.” Greg Bennett, Driver

6th - Villagem: “He went well I thought. We had the right run into the race, just got swashed over the line, but he went all right.” Lisa Miles, Trainer/Driver.

7th - Power Of Tara: “He missed away, went sideways a bit instead of forward. John thought the front was there, but we never got the front, so he’s gone massive. It was a gallant run, very happy with the horse.” Brendon Hill, Trainer.

8th - Our Chain Of Command: “Very happy with him, he was only probably a length and a half from the winner, so he did a super job.” Chris Alford, Driver.

9th - Make Mine Cullen: “She had a good run, but couldn’t finish. (She’ll) go back to mares’ grade and kick their bum.” Daryl Douglas, Driver

10th - Christian Melody: “It was an honour for the mare just to be in the race and she acquitted herself quite OK.” Jodi Quinlan, Driver

11th - Mister Swinger: “He was up against it to start with but once he missed away it made the job near impossible. He probably battled on all right from where he was.” Greg Sugars, Driver

12th - Georgetown: “He missed away and raced really good afterwards. I had a ton of horse at the top of the lane, but the race was gone after he missed away.” Michael Langdon, Trainer/Driver

13th - Karlsruhe: “When they sprinted at the 600m they were just a bit fast for him.” Luke McCarthy, Driver

14th - The Sleepy Tripp: “Very disappointing really. He was following Im Themightyquinn, but he was had it at about the quarter.” Mark Purdon, Trainer/Driver

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DONEGAL'S GUEST WINS 2YO WORKOUT
By: Jeff Scott 4/2/11

Donegal's Guest furthered his preparation for the $25,000 NZ Sapling Stakes with a smart front-running win at the Rangiora workouts on Friday, February 4.

The Christian Cullen colt was always travelling well for driver David Earnshaw, holding Orl Black, who trailed, and Lord Jowers, parked over the last 800m, by two lengths.

He paced the mobile 2000m in 2:31.8, quickening over his last 800m in 58.1s and his final 400m in 28.4s.

Donegal's Guest, a half-brother to the ill-fated Fiery Falcon (p3, 1:54.6, 10 wins & $588,106) and intermediate grade pacer Donegal Under Fire (five wins), led up and was outfinished late by Lord Jowers and Monaghan in his 2YO debut at Invercargill on January 13.

Bred by Murray Boyd, Donegal's Guest is raced in the same ownership as top pacer Stunin Cullen, by Terry McDonald and Eddie Griffin.

Jumeirah, the second Tim Butt-trained juvenile in Friday's workout, was restrained back to last from a wide draw and made ground wide out in the straight in the hands of Mark Jones.

David Earnshaw was also pleased with the efforts of 3YO trot stablemates, Thanesan (Mark Jones) and King Kenny (driven by himself), when up against tight class trotter Makarewa Sun in the open mobile trot.

"They were here for a bit of practice off the gate as they'll be in the Hambletonian at Ashburton (Saturday, February 12)," he said.

"I was especially pleased with King Kenny. He wasn't trotting right at Blenheim but went good today."

Makarewa Sun was clear by at least five lengths from the outside from Thanesan and King Kenny, who were not hurried and were travelling comfortably at the finish.

The stablemates did everything right, although six lengths behind Makarewa Sun at the finish.

The winner trotted the mobile 2000m in 2:35.1, quickening over his last 800m in 59.9s and final 400m in 30.1s.

Donegal's Guest
Donegal's Guest winning his workout (green colours) for David Earnshaw
from Orl Black and Lord Jowers
.
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STUNIN SET FOR MORE AUSSIE SPOILS
By Jason Bonnington 4/2/11

After an ambitious but ultimately fruitless Aussie foray a tick over 12 months ago, Tim and Anthony Butt must have thought Stunin Cullen's Trans-Tasman luck had turned ahead of this Saturday night's Group 1 BIG6 Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park.

A record-breaking win at Bray Raceway in last week's Ballarat Cup, followed by a favourable protest result which allowed them to keep the race reason enough to believe that this Victorian visit may end in glory.

And despite their latest Aussie sojourn facing its first roadblock when drawing gate 13 for the 3280-metre stand start feature they first targeted with their flying five-year-old last November, Anthony is adamant it hasn't ruled them out of the race.

"I'm not overly concerned about where we've landed," he revealed. "Of course it would have been better to draw the front but sometimes that can play against you too.

"He'll take his chances from there and he's always been a good horse off the pace so I'm not too worried at all."

If anyone should understand what's required for success in Australia's greatest handicap race, it's Anthony Butt.

The most successful pilot in the $425,000 race's 55-year history with four wins; two aboard brilliant mare Blossom Lady and one each steering super stayer Mister DG and glamour American import Mr Feelgood, Butt has been there and done that.

So when he declares Stunin Cullen a live chance on Saturday night, even in the presence of one of the strongest Kiwi raids on the race in recent years with regard to depth, people understandably sit up and take notice.

"We're in this up to our eyeballs," the gun reinsman said. "It is a strong contingent and we've all taken turns a bit I suppose, back home, but we're still bullish.

"Stunin Cullen was favourite for the New Zealand Cup, Smiling Shard is the new kid on the block who's measured up every time he's stepped up, (The) Sleepy Tripp is a bit of an enigma who can be awesome one week and a bit flat the next and Power Of Tara's just an old professional who shapes up week in, week out and keeps getting the job done.

"But we couldn't be happier with our horse since his win last weekend. Everything's gone exactly to plan and he's as bright as a button - everything's spot on.

"So we know it's going to be a big challenge, but that's what you go in this big races for and I wouldn't be swapping him for anything else in it, definitely not."

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February 2, 2011

BIG6 Hunter Cup draw – from the horse’s mouth

  1. Village Of Dreams: “I think if you did a straw poll of most drivers they’d be happy to draw one and in a race like this where we’ll need to take as many short cuts as possible to earn, one’s ideal really. His best chance of being a major player was always going to be if he got a cheap run and as long as we step safely now, there’s every chance that’s what we’ll get.” – Gavin Lang, Driver

  2. Power Of Tara: “He’s got very good stand start manners so we’re very happy with the draw as you’d expect. It was a huge run last week to take Stunin Cullen into the race and only get caught by him in the last stride, given the fact that horse is one of the fastest in Australasia so we’re really happy with the draw, really happy with the horse and just looking forward to a great race.” – Brendan Hill, Trainer

  3. Make Mine Cullen: “We’re quite happy with where she’s lobbed. She’s really improved at each of her stand start runs and she stepped very fast at Shepparton last time, so we expect to be in a close proximity to the lead here and if she can hold that position then it probably does give her the chance to win one a big race like this.” – Glenn Douglas, Trainer

  4. Mister Swinger: “We’re very happy with the draw, now we’ve just got to hope that last week’s disappointing run was a blip on the radar and try to make use of it. We’re a bit at a loss what went on at Ballarat but the standing start should help him here and from that good gate if he can find his best he’ll be right around the money again for sure.” – Geoff Webster, Trainer

  5. Our Chain Of Command: “He’s come a long way in a short time. His Tassie run was great, then he hadn’t raced for probably another six weeks before the other night and I’m pretty sure Dean will have him spot on for Saturday. He keeps answering every challenge and this is a big one, but I’m sure that he’s up to it.” – Chris Alford, Driver

  6. Smiling Shard: “Anywhere from three to six was always going to be good for us, so we’re thrilled with the draw. He’s only had four starts from the stand and the last two he’s flown away so we think he’ll get every chance. It’s a big ask for a four-year-olds to come and take on these big boys in a Hunter Cup, but I’ve got a lot of faith in him and I’m as bullish as you can be that he’ll run a very forward race.” – Cran Dalgety, Trainer

  7. Karloo Mick: “He’s going pretty good, I mean he won at Bathurst the other day and it was only the Oberon Cup, but he went two minutes for the 2500 metres after doing some work. He is a horse that can do some work in his races, so the draw won’t worry him. I know he’s 10, but I think he’s going as good as he’s ever gone.” – Barry Lew, Trainer

  8. Karlsruhe: “I’ve only just got the call up for this drive with Chris (Alford) committed to Our Chain Of Command, but it’s always nice to get a drive in the big races, for sure. It’s a bit of an awkward draw but he’s a lovely old horse and he’s good off the stand so I’ll just be driving him for a bit of luck and hoping for the best.” – Luke McCarthy, Driver

  9. Villagem: “The draw works out alright. We’re right behind Power Of Tara and if he can lead and we avoid any carnage at the start, it’s not too bad at all. I’ve always said this is the race that we set him for and he won’t be pulling this week. He’ll be right at his top, so if they’re good enough to beat him, well done, but it won’t be because he isn’t at his best.” – David Miles, Co-Trainer

  10. Georgetown: “If you analyse his recent form, he really hasn’t been going badly at all. He’s always been good at the stand back home in New Zealand and when we’ve given him practice at it here, so we’re pretty positive. Of course it would have been nice to draw for a cheaper run, but he was very good at Ballarat and if the breaks go our way he’s in with a chance.” – Michael Langdon, Trainer

  11. Christian Melody: “We’ve got to be realistic. We’re just rapt to be in the race and from where we’ve drawn Jodi (Quinlan) will just have to drive her for a bit of luck. She’s been great in all the Country Cups, but this is a step up again and I’ll just be thrilled to see her running home late.” – Craig Demmler, Trainer

  12. Bold Cruiser: (1st Emergency)

  13. Stunin Cullen: “The draw’s disappointing in the respect that he’s such a good beginner from the stand, but he’s a very versatile horse and it shouldn’t worry him too much. He’s always been one of the fastest horses over 200 metres and as he’s gotten older he’s gotten tougher too, so he’s just getting better and this is the race he’s been set for all along.” – Anthony Butt, Driver

  14. The Sleepy Tripp: “After making a break at Shepparton we always knew he was outside the draw so there’s no surprise there, but we’re going to need a bit of luck in running based on his last couple of performances. We’ve had his blood taken but there’s nothing there to suggest why he’s been a bit down on his best, so all we can hope is he’s feeling good again and ready to put his best foot forward.” – Mark Purdon, Trainer/Driver

  15. Im Themightyquinn: “They (the Hall camp) couldn’t be happier with him at the moment. He trialled on Sunday and ‘Senior’ said he just felt unbelievable. They compared him to the Victoria Cup and they reckon he’s going better, so they’ll definitely know he’s in the race. It’s going to be hard, we’ve got 13 others to get around at some stage, but he’s a great horse and this is a good horse’s race.” – Nathan Jack, Driver

  16. Click here to view the fields for Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park meeting.
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MEDIA RELEASE: BIG6 Hunter Cup among three Group 1 draws

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February 1, 2011

BIG6 Hunter Cup among three Group 1 draws

MELBOURNE: Im The Mightyquinn (15) has opened $2.50 favourite in Saturday night’s $425,000 BIG6 Hunter Cup despite being the only handicapped runner.

The Cranbourne Cup winner begins his A.G. Hunter Cup quest off 10 metres and will look to run down the likes of Ballarat Cup winner Stunin Cullen (13) and Smiling Shard (6) who have been installed as joint $5.50 second-favourites in TAB Sportsbet’s early fixed odds market. The Hall-trained Perth pacer’s task was made easier with the scratching of Smoken Up earlier today.

Saturday night marks the first time the BIG6 Hunter Cup will be staged at Tabcorp Park, Melton and is part of the SKY Racing Nights Of Glory carnival worth more than $1.3 million that also includes the Alabar Victoria Derby and SEW-Eurodrive Australasian Trotting Championship, rounding out a trio of Group 1 highlights.

Connections of Royal Verdict (2) will be pleased with its front row draw for the $200,000 Victoria Derby but will no doubt be challenged from the gates by Devilish Smile (4). Gun Kiwi conditioner Steve Reid was luckless when drawing for The Gold Ace (7), but should still be well fancied approaching the Group 1 feature having taken all before him back home.

Despite the absence of Sundons Gift, the $150,000 SEW-Eurodrive Australasian Trotting Championship field is one of the most exciting in recent times.

Likely favourites in Down Under Muscles (3), I Can Doosit (4) and Let Me Thru (5) have been grouped together in a front row dream draw that should offer plenty of fireworks as the tapes drop.

Click here to view the fields for Saturday night’s SKY Racing Nights Of Glory meeting

BIG6 Hunter Cup draw
Saturday February 5, 9:30pm (Race 8) at Tabcorp Park, Melton

1 - Village Of Dreams
2 - Power Of Tara
3 - Make Mine Cullen
4 - Mister Swinger
5 - Our Chain Of Command
6 - Smiling Shard
7 - Karloo Mick 
8 - Karlsruhe
9 - Villagem
10 - Georgetown
11 - Christian Melody
12 - Bold Cruiser (1st Emergency)
13 - Stunin Cullen
14 - The Sleepy Tripp (ODS)
15 - Im The Mightyquinn

Alabar Victoria Derby draw
Saturday February 5, 8:30pm (Race 6) at Tabcorp Park, Melton

1 - Hez Matt Maguire
2 - Royal Verdict
3 - Jadahson (1st Emergency)
4 - Devilish Smile
5 - Im The Liberator
6 - The Muskeg Express
7 - The Gold Ace
8 - Glengowan
9 - Excel Stride
10 - The Phantom
11 - Sushi Sushi
12 - Abettorpunt
13 - Our Major Mark

SEW-Eurodrive Australasian Trotting Championship draw
Saturday February 5, 8:00pm (Race 5) at Tabcorp Park, Melton

1 - Afriti
2 - Lord Of The Gym
3 - Down Under Muscles
4 - I Can Doosit
5 - Let Me Thru
6 - Kyvalley Mac
7 - Armed Guard
8 - Gentle Image
9 - Salute To Wagon (1st Emergency)
10 - Acacia Ridge
11 - No Early Spark
12 - La Mosca
13 - Son Of Iris
14 - Danny Cash
15 - Miss Warbucks

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For Further Information:          Alistair Hogg – Media & Communications Manager
                                                M: 0439 857 519, E: ahogg@hrv.org.au
                                                Twitter: @HRVnews & @Tabcorp_Park
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CULLEN STUNS BALLARAT CUP FIELD WITH RECORD RUN
By Jason Bonnington 30/1/11

Stunnin CullenElectric Kiwi pacer Stunin Cullen completed a red-letter night for our trans-Tasman cousins at Bray Raceway, surviving both a courageous compatriot and a lengthy protest hearing to claim the fastest Group 1 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup ever run on Saturday, January 29, 2011.

Easy in betting as a result of his second line draw and the overwhelming consensus that the $A125,000 race belonged to Victorian cult hero Smoken Up, Tim Butt's striking son was eventually sent out an $8.50 third elect.

But it became all too clear after the 10-strong field had completed the first lap of the 2710-metre mobile feature that the superstar sit-sprinter from Christchurch was going to be the horse to beat.

The major beneficiary of the breakneck speed set up by second favourite Villagem, who careered through a sizzling 79.6-second lead time after becoming fired up when resisting a crack by Justice and Smoken Up to take up the running, Stunin Cullen was sitting pretty toward the rear of the field.

It was from that vantage point that leading Kiwi reinsman Anthony Butt watched and waited while Lisa Miles tried valiantly to hold her Chariots Of Fire champion as he sped through a 29.6-second first fraction before momentarily slackening the pace.

Racing tractably for the first time in the race, Villagem traipsed through a second split of 31.1, but with Smoken Up ready to roll from the chair, the breather would be only a short one.

Flying down Bray Raceway's back straight the final time, the two leaders were soon joined by Power Of Tara three-wide, with Stunin Cullen beautifully steered onto that horse's back through a 28.9-second third section and ready to pounce.

Finishing in a final fraction of 28.4 to complete the breathtaking 1:57.3 mile rate, which slashed an entire second off Safari's previous Ballarat benchmark, Stunin Cullen and Power Of Tara engaged in an enthralling two horse war all the way down the lane, with the former only prevailing in the shadows of the post.

At the finish, the margin was just a head, with Village Of Dreams overcoming a chequered passage in the straight to grab third; and despite enduring a 15-minute protest following the race, team Butt and their gun young pacer retained the prize, much to driver Anthony's relief.

"It was all my fault, it was down to me, I just forgot about the local whip rules, so I'm glad it didn't cost us the race," he said.

"But I'm super pleased for the horse, he really deserved this win. He's been flying of late and when the speed went on from the start and we were able to find Power Of Tara's back, I knew he'd come home strong.

"It'll be a different race next week in the Hunter Cup./ Power Of Tara will be tough to get past again and Im Themightyquinn is going great guns, but this horse is very capable on his day as he showed tonight and now we're just crossing our fingers for a good draw."

The barrier draw for the Group 1 $425,000 BIG6 Hunter Cup, in which Stunin Cullen looms as a major player, will be held at the Docklands on Tuesday afternoon in conjunction with draws for the Alabar Victoria Derby and SEW-Eurodrive Australasian Trotting Grand Prix.

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SECOND ROW DRAW IN BALLARAT CUP
By: Jeff Scott 25/1/11

Top big-race driver Anthony Butt is warming to the second row barrier draw for Stunin Cullen in the Group One $A125,000 Ballarat Pacing Cup on Saturday, January 29.

Stunin Cullen will start from two on the back row, following out ex-Kiwi Georgetown in the mobile 2710m cup.

"The front row would have been better, but at least he can follow them through and he won't pull early," Anthony said.

"With that marble you're not tempted to go out too hard early. Hopefully we'll get a bit of luck later in the race and it could work out alright for us," he said.

Stunin Cullen has settled in well after flying to Sydney, then floating to Melbourne last week.

"The trainer's happy with him," Anthony reported.

Anthony will be in action at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night, driving the Cran Dalgety-trained stablemates, Emprean (racing as Empirific in Aussie as their is already an Australian horse racing under the same name) and Matt Maguire (racing as Hez Matt Maguire across the Tasman).

Empirific will start fom the inside of the back row behind Jadahson in the first Victoria Derby Heat, with Hez Matt Maguire drawing the ace in the second heat.

Premier Stables will be represented by Raglan and Hostile Grins in the $40,000 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup on Saturday.

"With me away, Mark Jones is going to drive Raglan, and David Earnshaw will drive Hostile Grins," Anthony said.

"Raglan went good again at the Rangiora trials last week. Getting away will be the biggest thing with him," he said.

David Earnshaw will drive two other stablemates at Invercargill _ The Big Mach, in a 4-5 win mobile 2200m pace, and Noddy, who contests an up to 1 win 3YO mobile 2200m pace.

ROSE IN TWILIGHT OF RACE CAREER

Touch Of Rose
Touch Of Rose is clear of Named After Mee near the finish at Addington on January 25.

Touch Of Rose justified her hot favouritism at the NZ Metropolitan Tuesday meeting on January 25, recording the 4th win of her 42nd start career.

"She may only have just one more start at the Rangiora meeting next Tuesday," Anthony said.

The 4YO Mach Three-Rose Sands mare is safely in foal to former top North American pacer Mister Big (1:47.8 & $US1.4 million).

Australian-based sire Mister Big (by Grinfromeartoear) is a former two-time USA Harness Horse of the Year.

Touch Of Rose, who has two penalty-free wins to her credit, moved to a 2-win handicapping assessment. She has also picked up 13 minor placings and won $69,681 in stakes for Balfour owner Kelvin Reed.

"She wasn't too far behind the better 3YO fillies last season. She should make a good broodmare," Anthony said.

After settling in midfield on the outer in Tuesday's United Fisheries Ltd Summer Cup Day-5 February Mobile Pace, Anthony had her up to challenge turning for home.

She came clear to win comfortably by 1 1/4 lengths, rating 2:00.1 for the mobile 1950m, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.5s.

Touch Of Rose credited trainer Tim with his 35th training win for the season, and driver Anthony with his 39th driving win for the term.

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Stunnin Cullen Show day, 2010STUNIN CULLEN FOR AUSTRALIA ON WEDNESDAY
By: Jeff Scott 16/1/11

Top pacer Stunin Cullen is returning to the Grand Circuit with a two-start Victorian campaign confirmed _ taking in the $A125,000 Ballarat Pacing Cup on January 29, and the the $A425,000 BIG6 Hunter cup on February 5.

Trainer Tim Butt has this month's Central Otago and Northern Southland Cups winner booked to fly from Christchurch to Sydney on Wednesday, January 19, with the Christian Cullen entire to float to Melbourne the following night.

"Its six hours door to door in the plane to Sydney, then he can go out in a paddock and head down over night in the cooler temperatures to Melbourne," Tim said.

"He'll stay with Brent Lilley at Gavin Lang's place," he said.

Stunin Cullen then has just over a week in Melbourne to prepare for the first leg of his double in the Ballarat Pacing Cup.

"He's improving all the time," Tim said after Stunin Cullen's easy win after moving up parked off a 20m handicap to beat Vi Et Animo and Beaudiene Bad Babe in the $55,000 Kina Craig Stud Northern Southland Cup at Invercargill on Thursday, January 13.

Stunin Cullen cruised to the line a length clear in 3:27.6 for the 2700m stand (2:03.7 mile rate), with the leaders running their last 800m in 56.7s and final 400m in 27.9s.

The stand start Hunter Cup should suit Stunin Cullen as Tim searches for his third training win in the Victorian staying feature.

"That track at Melton will suit him. The way he begins is an advantage as the Aussies are not as good from stand starts. He's capable of leading up."

"I don't think the Perth horse I'm Themightyquinn is coming for it and Smoken Up is beatable. The toughest might be the other Kiwis like Smiling Shard and Sleepy Tripp."

Stunin Cullen will return to New Zealand flying from Melbourne to Auckland, and from Auckland to Christchurch.

"The flights are good so its not going to interfere with his Inter Dominion plans," he said.

While Stunin Cullen is confirmed for Melbourne, trot stablemate Vulcan is staying in Canterbury.

"It was a 50-50 call but Vulcan still has to come up a notch to those good ones," Tim said.

"He can go in the 4YO trot at Addington on February 5. Its $20,000 and small fish are sweet.

"We were humming and hawing about Melboune but he's not that quick a beginner. He does begin and is always safe but just gets out of ground, so he can stay here."

Vulcan advanced to a 5-win handicapping assessment when he justified his favouritism with an easy 1 1/2 lengths win in the $20,000 Carpentry South Southern Lights Special Handicap Trot at the Northern Southland meeting at Invercargill on Thursday, January 13.

The Earl gelding took his record to seven wins from only 21 starts, for $117,712 in stakes.

Meanwhile promising 3YO stablemate Thanesan took his record to three wins and a second from four starts with a runaway win against the older horses in the interislander Discretionary Handicap Trot at Marlborough on Sunday, January 16.

Thanesan, after striding to the top in the middle stages for driver Anthony Butt, ran clear by four lengths to win in a smart 3:31.2, only 0.6 of a second outside The Fiery Ginga's NZ 3YO trot mark.

"He went bloody good. Its always that harder stepping up to the c1 grade against pretty seasoned horses," Tim said.

Thanesan made a good recovery for second to front-running Medora on the first day.

The Sundon gelding was moving back when the tapes were released on Friday, but closed strongly over the shorter 2300m trip.

Premier Stables maiden 3YO trotter King Kenny should be better for the experience after racing on both days at Marlborough.

He broke in the run home on the first day when looking a danger, then wasn't trotting comfortably in behind in the run home on the second day, but held his gait for a sound second to Ugly Betty.

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INTER DOMINION TARGET FOR CHOISE ACHIEVER ?
by: Jeff Scott 16/1/11

Choise Achiever Show day, 2010

Choise Achiever will be a better horse in 12 months but trainer Tim Butt says a $1 million Interdominion series on his back door is too good an opportunity to miss.

The lightly-raced 4YO entered serious Inter consideration when he beat two of the best of his age group _ Smiling Shard and Franco Emirate _ in the $40,000 Pelorus 4YO Classic at Waterlea, Blenheim, on Sunday, January 16.

The Courage Under Fire gelding made the most of an economical drive from Anthony Butt, finishing strongly from the trail for a half length win in a smart 1:59 mile rate for the 2300m, the leaders sprinting their last 800m in 55.7s.

Smiling Shard, after improving in the open a lap out, then trailing Franco Emirate on the outer, finished well wide but couldn't outgun Choise Achiever.

Choise Achiever's record now stands at 13 starts for 10 wins and two seconds, for $118,989 in stakes.

"We thought we'd probably have to drive him a bit conservatively as he's probably a fair bit behind some of the others," Tim said.

"But its a pretty good guide when you're able to beat Smiling Shard. He's been footing it with Monkey King and Stunin Cullen and there's no better horses around than them."

"Smiling Shard and Franco Emirate are real horses. Choise Achiever is still immature and there will be a bit of improvement in him next year."

Tim said he'll have a talk to the owners, and brother Anthony, before making a final decision on the Inters, but he'll be suggesting Choise Achiever be given his chance.

"First, we'll probably look at the Hororata Cup (February 25). Its a $20,000 race in about five weeks.

"I'll be keen myself to set him for the Inters and take it in. We wouldn't travel him this year but its different when its here."

Tim says the early entries look strong but he believes the actual starting line-up will fall away.

"The fields will be split into three heats. Sure if he draws the outside of the second row he'll find it tough but if he draws good he'll be a chance."

"We took Foreal to the Tasmanian Inters because it was worth $1.6 million when she was only four."

Foreal won a $A60,000 heat and ran fifth in the 2006 $A1.5 million final behind Blacks A Fake, Karloo Mick, Slipnslide and Flashing Red.

However if Choise Achiever contests the Inter Dominions, Tim says that could be his season, missing remaining age group features such as the Taylor Mile, the Messenger and the Jewels.

He says if Choise Achiever is to be a NZ Cup contender next season he'll need time off to properly prepare for next term.

"The Inter Dominions will be finished in April. He could have six-eight weeks out then and come in when its cold."

Raglan - Addington trials 12 Jan 11

Raglan making ground wide out behind Kotare Mach at the Addington trials on Wednesday, January 12

The Premier stables team will trial fellow Inter Dominion nominee Raglan again this week as he nears racing fitness.

Raglan resumed with a strong-finishing second behind
Kotare Mach at the Addington trials on Wednesday,
January 12, the winner cutting out the mobile 1950m in a 1:58.5 mile rate, with the last 800m in 57.8s and final 400m in 27.4s.

"We might look at the Invercargill Cup (January 29), then there's a free-for-all at Addington on February 5 and the Ashburton mile. He's way down the list for the Inters so he'll need to get going."

"He had a virus all through the spring so we backed off after the NZ Cup and have started again. He's a good stayer and only five."

Hostile Grins, winner of the cup prelude at Marlborough, had to settle for third behind Wee Brother and Four Starzzz Flash in Sunday's $20,000 Jocelyn O'Brien Memorial Marlborough Cup.

"Ants said he was a little bit flatter on Sunday and they didn't go hard enough early. He's a real stayer and when he Won the Wairio Cup they went hard all way, which suited him," Tim said.

Hostile Grins will be freshened and is a promising intermediate grade stayer who will advance further.

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PREMIER STABLES SURPASS $400,000 FOR SEASON
By Jeff Scott 4/1/11

West Melton trainer Tim Butt is enjoying another successful term with the Premier Stables team having won just over $400,000 for just over the first five months of the 2010-11 season.

After Choise Achiever and Thanesan scored a stable double at the Amberley Trotting Club's annual meeting on Monday, January 3, 2011, stake-earnings for the team had risen to $401,519 from 29 wins.

Tim is again featuring prominently on this season's trainers premiership in 4th place, while brother Anthony is also in the top half-dozen among NZ's leading drivers, currently sharing 6th with Tony Herlihy.

Tim Butt has now trained the winners of $10,362,656 in NZ alone, while Anthony has reined the winners of over $17 million.

Choise Achiever again showed his class coming off a 20m handicap with a slick 3:14.7 run (2600m stand) to defeat Alchemy, Pay Me Cullen and Four Starzzz Flash, in the $18,000 Rangiora Equine Services (Becky Sutorius) Amberley Cup.

click on images below to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Choise Achiever holds out Alchemy near the finish of the Amberley Cup. Choise Achiever's owners are joined by driver Anthony Butt, and sponsor Becky Sutorius, for the victory celebration. Choise Achiever, after his Amberley Cup win.

The Courage Under Fire gelding will now head to Blenheim to take on the likes of Smiling Shard, Kotare Mach and possibly De Lovely in the $40,000 Pelorus 4YO Classic (mobile 2300m) at Waterlea on January 16.

Driver Anthony Butt confirmed Choise Achiever won comfortably in the finish, scoring by 1 3/4 lengths in a 2:00.4 mile rate, the leaders running their last 800m in 56.4s and final 400m in 28.7s.

"He lost a couple of spots early with ones coming out in front of him, but he got a lovely run over the last lap. We were able to get in the one-one coming round the bend behind His Honour, rather than doing it four wide, which was good," he said.

Premier Stables were recording back-to-back Amberley Cup successes, having produced Raglan to win the country cup 12 months earlier in a similarly quick 3:14.

Choise Achiever will head to the Pelorus race after winning his last six on end.

Monday's Amberley Cup win extended his career record to nine wins from only 12 starts for $93,989 in stakes, for owners John Hall, Windrush Trust, Jenkscraft Pty Ltd, and Merv Rodgers.

Thanesan is also likely to be Blenheim-bound after being unbeaten in two Rangiora appearances for the Butt stable.

The promising Sundon gelding, bred and raced by Jenny Butt with Don McKenzie, overcame a 20m handicap to win well by a neck from Glendaloch in the Cavalier Trotting Products _ North Canterbury Trotting Handicap Trot at the Amberley meeting.

Thanesan outfinishing Glendaloch at Amberley
Thanesan outfinishes Glendaloch in the opening race at the Amberley meeting.

Thanesan trotted the 2600m in a handy 3:26.5, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.9s. He ran just over 3 seconds quicker than Dragons Den recorded in the 2-win and faster trot later on the programme.

"It was a good run for him in a field like that," said Anthony.

"He's learning all the time. Its the first time he's been amongst them all during the running. He had to sprint down the back and dashed up pretty good," he said.

"The trip away to Blenheim will do him good and he can go into the big 3YO racing after that."

Stunnin Cullen - Cup DaySTUNIN CULLEN COULD EARN HUNTER CUP SPOT

Stunin Cullen remains an outside chance to chase the big Aussie dollars in the $A425,000 A G Hunter Cup at Melton on February 5.

However, the top pacer will have to be almost as equally impressive in the $55,000 Northern Southland Cup at Invercargill on Thursday, January 13, as he was in the $30,000 Marshall Industries Ltd Central Otago Cup at Omakau on January 2, to make the dash to Melbourne.

Big-winning reinsman Anthony Butt declared Stunin Cullen back to his best after clearing out to win the Central Otago Cup by 5 1/4 lengths in a strong 1:59 mile rate for the 2600m, blazing over his final 800m in 55.4s and his final 400m in 27.1s.

"He went good, but he got it easy though," Anthony said.

After settling in the one-one sit behind Beaudiene Bad Babe early, Stunin Cullen strode to the front with 1600m after Beaudiene Bad Babe had pressed to the front.

Vi Et Animo, Beaudiene Bad Babe and Premier stables stablemate The Big Mach came in at intervals behind the top pacer.

"He'll go to the Northern Southland Cup and if he goes good there we might look at the Hunter Cup, but he'll have to go good down there," Anthony said.

"He's come through the run really good at Omakau," he said.

Anthony knows what it takes to win the Grand Circuit event, having won the famous Victorian staying handicap feature four times.

He scored back-to-back Hunter Cup victories with former champion mare Blossom Lady (trained by his late grand-father Derek Jones) in 1994-95, then combined with brother Tim to win the race with Mister D G in 2004, and again with Mr Feelgood in 2009.

Stunin Cullen took his career earnings to $952,347 with his Central Otago Cup victory _ his 14th win from just 31 lifetime starts.

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ADAM'S POCKET WINS
By Jeff Scott 24/12/10

Adam's Pocket, a 3YO brother to former top pacer Pic Me Pockets, has put his first win on the board a month ahead of his illustrious relation at a comparable stage.

Pic Me Pockets, like Adam's Pocket, a big son of the In The Pocket and Little Miss Me, didn't race until January of his 3YO year, winning first-up at Cambridge for Auckland owner Ray Bosher.

Prepared by Barry Purdon, Pic Me Pockets went on to win 11 of 64 Australasian starts for $290,265, and paced a 1:52.8 winning mile in North America.

Ray Bosher secured Adam's Pocket at the yearling sales, and races him with West Melton trainer Tim Butt. Ray has shares in others at Premier stables including 3-win pacer Exposed and Dark Moment, the maiden trotting half-brother to Take A Moment.

Both Pic Me Pockets and Adam's Pocket are from Little Miss Me, an unraced Nero's BB mare from Charsi Me, a racewinning El Patron half-sister to former 1983 NZ and Great Northern Derby winner Mighty Me, and former speedy filly Vee Mee (p3, 1:56.9 & $173,750).

Nanoose, another half-sister to Mighty Me, Vee Mee and Charsi Me, left former big-winning Premier Stables pacer Pocket Me (1:53.7, 64 starts for 13 wins and $271,739).

Adam's Pocket
Adam's Pocket for the Premier Stables website, after his win on Thurs

Tim's brother Anthony predicts Adam's Pocket will be better as a 4YO after reining him to a half neck win over Talk To Me Falcon and Arden's Southee in the Welcome To KB's Race Night Mobile Pace at Addington on Thursday, December 23.

"He's got a bit to learn. He'll be better next year," Anthony said.

"He's such a big boy he's needed a little bit of time and he's coming good now. His gait's good, whereas he used to be a bit rough when he was a bit younger."

Adam's Pocket was good enough to race at two, contesting the Yearling Sales series race consolation.

He was strongly supported when resuming after a seven month layoff at the Timaru meeting at Addington on December 16, but didn't race as tractibly as hoped.

"He drew the second row and just latched on but today I could just go with him and he was fine," Anthony said.

Adam's Pocket was three wide from the outside of the front row on Thursday but rolled to the front with a lap to run.

He kept up a useful run to score in a 1:59.4 mile rate for the 1950m, running his last 800m in 58.8s.

"He might go to Nelson next. That big track will suit him up there," Anthony said.

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King Kenny
King Kenny stretches out for Anthony Butt at the end of his Addington workout.

KING KENNY CLEARS OUT IN WORKOUT
by Jeff Scott 21/12/10

Premier Stables trainer Tim Butt has former top priced trotting yearling colt King Kenny shaping nicely for a possible debut at the Marlborough Harness Racing club's meeting in mid-January.

King Kenny showed a slight lapse of concentration after 400m at the Addington workouts on Monday, going for a brief gallop, but he was all business over the closing stages, clearing out by eight lengths.

He trotted the 2600m in 3:33.3, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.1s and final 400m in 28.9s.

King Kenny qualified at Ashburton in August, trotting the 2400m from a stand in 3:15.2.

Tim unleashed his other smart 3YO squaregaiter Thanesan to score at Rangiora on Sunday, but said they're quite different horses.

"Its good to have two nice potential Derby types," he said.

"Because King Kenny is yearlng sales series eligible we can take a different tack with him compared to Thanesan."

The PGG Wrightson Yearing Sales 3YO Trot will be run at Rangiora on March 3.

"Its worth $100,000 this year," Tim said.

King Kenny, a former $75,000 yearling, is a now gelded son of Pegasus Spur and the second foal from former smart trot mare One Under Kenny (11 wins and $87,919), whose recently retired champion trot sister One Over Kenny won nearly $1.1 million on the track.

The youngster's sire Pegasus Spur left last season's top 2YO squaregaiter Paramount Geegee (nine wins from 11 starts for $215,487).

"He was a beautiful colt. Phil Williamson had him and put him through the ring," Tim said.

"I bought both him and The Muskeg Express, the top-priced pacing colt at the sales ($155,000), that year . . . I'm coming right," he quipped.

Donegal's Guest
Donegal's Guest, in action for David Earnshaw at the workouts

Donegal's Guest was another promising Premier Stables youngster to score at the Addington workouts.

The 2YO Christian Cullen half-brother to former top young pacer Fiery Falcon was a $60,000 yearling sales buy for Stunin Cullen's owners, Terry McDonald and Eddie Griffin.

"We'll look to qualify him on January 5," Tim said.

Donegal's Guest showed good gate speed against only two others in the 2YO mobile pace for driver David Earnshaw and was much too good, clearing out by eight lengths.

He rated a comfortable 2:05.5 for the mobile 1950m, running his last 800m in 59.9s and final 400m in 28.8s.

I Have A Dream, who has drawn the ace in the Rural Web Design Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace for 1-2 win fillies and mares over 1609m at Ashburton on Sunday, led and held stablemate Touch Of Rose at the Addington workouts.

The Bettor's Delight filly rated 2:03 for the 1950m, with Touch Rose, who heads to Gore next Monday, closing along the inner to get within half a head.

Dark Moment, who overcame a slow but safe start for David Earnshaw to win a non-win trot workout by a neck from Brite N Lucky in 3:32.3 (2600m), is also to try his luck at Gore on Monday.

The 4YO half-brother by Malabar Maple to former stable champion Take A Moment (39 wins and $1,164,356) was unplaced in two previous starts last term.

Smart intermediate grade trotter Vulcan furthered his preparation for Monday's Ashburton meeting by moving up outside Speculate over the final lap of their 1 win and faster trot at the Addington workouts.

However good mare Speculate held by a neck with both trotters going well at the finish of the 2600m in 3:24.3, the last 800m in 58.8s.

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Choise Achiever running clear at Rangiora

 

 


Choise Achiever running clear at Rangiora



CHOISE ACHIEVER CHASING RANGIORA DOUBLE
by Jeff Scott 20/12/10

Easy Rangiora winner Choise Achiever will return to Rangiora for the $18,000 Amberley Cup on Monday January 3, as he builds towards the $40,000 Pelorus Trust 4YO Classic at Blenheim on January 16.

Choise Achiever was the most impressive of three winners for the Premier Stables team at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club's Christmas meeting on Sunday, December 18.

After beginning well off the 10m line in the $14,000 Rangiora New World Nat Hall Memorial Handicap Pace, driver Anthony Butt made his move when he heard others improving from the back at the 1700m, sending the Courage Under Fire gelding to the front with 1500m to run.

"I could have gone to the lead at any stage after he'd made such a good beginning," Anthony said.

Choise Achiever won as he liked by 4 1/2 lengths, pacing the 2600m (stand) in 3:16.8 (2:01.7 mile rate), giving nothing else a chance to run him down over his last 800m in 56s and final 400m in 27.7s.

He has now strung four impressive victories together since making Franco Emirate work to beat him by a neck first-up in the Group Two Paul Renwick Kitchen & Joinery Superstars 4YO Championship at Addington on October 1.

Choise Achiever was resuming in the Superstar, after undergoing a wind operation in the autumn.

Trainer Tim Butt discovered the problem with the leggy pacer after taking him to Auckland in March and the surgery was completed successfully by Choise Achiever's co-owner, Canterbury Equine Clinic veterinarian Bill Bishop.

Choise Achiever first impressed Bill when he vetted the gelding for sale to the Tim Butt stable, after the horse was firstly developed by Charing Cross trainer, Don Feast.

"I liked the cut of the horse so Helen and I took a share in him," he said.

Others already signed up in Choise Achiever's ownership were Aucklander John Hall, Christchurch owner Merv Rodgers and Jenkscraft Pty Ltd, which consists of Norm Jenkins, who co-owned Flashing Red to win back-to-back New Zealand Cups for Premier Stables in 2006-07.Choise Achiever with owners in the birdcage
Choise Achiever with owners in the birdcage

Choise Achiever, who showed his class with a 54.4s final 800m to win at Addington on New Zealnd Cup day, has now raced only 11 times for eight wins, two seconds, and one unplaced run at Auckland, for $83,204 in stakes.

Premier stables were also successful with promising 3YO trotter Thanesan, and improving 3YO pacer Charger at Rangiora.

Thanesan confirmed his big reputation despite some added difficulty by losing a front shoe in the early stages, tangling after 220m.

The Sundon gelding recovered to trot up in the open and did enough to wear down front-running Heza Boy Star by a neck in the Laffeys Tyre Service Trot, trotting the 2600m in 3:27.5 and final 800m in 59.1s.

"Its a pretty important thing to have with a trotter, so I had to hold him together," Anthony Butt said.

"He won a bit easier than it looked."

Thanesan was bred and is raced by Tim and Anthony's mother Jenny, in partnership with Don McKenzie.

"He's pretty special," Jenny said.

"He's probably the most promising horse I've had. He's so good gaited and the boys have spent hours getting his head right."

Thanesan is a three-quarter brother to Jenny's former big winner Genius (24 wins and $214,523), being the first foal from Farisa, an unraced daughter of Chiola Hanover and Abundant.

"We went to Chiola Hanover so we could cross with Sundon. The cross has left plenty of top trotters including Martina H," Jenny said.

Charger, closely-related to Tribute (p2, 1:54.9), the former winner of $610,993 for owners Peter and Joan Cocks, opened his winning account at his 7th start in the Kaikanui Tavern Mobile Pace.

The Christian Cullen colt, from Birchbrook, a racewinnning Soky's Atom half-sister to Tribute, is raced by Mr and Mrs Cocks with their daughter Sheryl.

After being caught wide early, settling in midfield, Anthony improved three wide with Charger to be parked at the 1100m then led with 850m to run. He kept up a strong run to hold Forever Arma by 1 1/4 lengths in 2:29.6 for the mobile 2000m (2:00.3 mile rate), running his last 800m in 58.2s.

The Rangiora hat-trick, coming on top of a Wairio Cup win by Hostile Grins on Saturday, December 18, took Tim Butt to 25 training wins for the season, and brother Anthony to 29 driving wins for term.Charger winning at RangioraCharger winning at Rangiora

HOSTILE GRINS STAGES BIG RECOVERY

Hostile Grins showed plenty of heart to win the $18,000 Otautau Four Square Supermarket Handicap Pace Wairio Cup (2400m stand) at Winton on Saturday, December 18.

The 5YO Go For Grins gelding had to overcome an early break, settling some 60m from the leaders, He improved to race three wide in the open over the last 800m. He fought gamely for Anthony to come clear at the finish by 1 1/2 lengths from Art Beat and Move Over in a fast 2:59.7 (2:00.4 mile rate), the leaders last 800m in 57.4s.

"When I got him as a 4YO he couldn't pace properly and cross-fired all the time," Tim said.

"But he's from the same family as some good older horses like Frangelico and Kara Kara, so he should keep improving with a bit of age."

"We might try and have a go at the Marlborough Cup with him (on January 16). Its a good stake ($20,000) and we'll just try and get him to begin a bit better from a stand. He can begin. Hopefully can get a bit better," he said.

Hostile Grins has now only raced 12 times for five wins and four placings, earning $41,574 in stakes.

Tim, after racing Hostile Grins himself to win three of his first six starts last term, sold him a few months ago to Gold Coast construction company owner Paul Montgomery, who has raced him this term for two wins and two placings from six starts for $23,566 in stakes.

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STUNIN CULLEN FOR ASHBURTON CUP
by: Jeff Scott 16/12/10

Stunnin Cullen Show day, 2010Big-winning Premier Stables pacer Stunin Cullen is building nicely towards a three-race cups spree over Christmas New Year for West Melton trainer Tim Butt.

First-up, this season's Ashburton Flying Stakes winner will return to Ashburton for the $25,000 Ashburton Cup (2400m stand) on Boxing Day, December 26.

Stunin Cullen is scheduled to then head south for the $30,000 Marshall Industries Ltd Central Otago Cup (mobile 2600m) at Oamakau on January 2 and the $55,000 Northern Southland Cup (2700m stand) at Invercargill on January 13.

"There's three races worth $110,000 in stakes so thats where we're going," says trainer Tim.

Driver Anthony Butt said Stunin Cullen just pulled too hard when the beaten favourite, after leading early, then trailing, in November's Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup over 3200m on November 9.

Stunin Cullen couldn't produce a killer punch but wasn't disgraced finishing seventh, 4.3 lengths from winner Monkey King.

The brilliant Christian Cullen entire didn't have things go his way in the Woodlands NZ Free-For-All, three days later.

"In the Free-For-All we needed Lance Justice (driving Smoken Up in the open) to spark things up but there wasn't enough pressure put on," he said.

Stunin Cullen, after settling in midfield on the outer from a back row draw, finished on wide out for seventh, only 1.7 lengths from winner Monkey King, but virtually the entire field finished as well as each over the leaders final 400m in 26.7s.

The 5YO resumed after a brief let-up with a five length win over stablemates Choise Achiever and Hostile Grins at the Rangiora trials on December 7, pacing the 2600m (stand) in 3:17.4 and quickening over his last 800m in 56.5s.
  
Stunin Cullen was again untroubled to win at the Ashburton workouts on Wednesday December 15, clearing out by 11 lengths in 3:05 (2400m stand), pacing his last 800m in 55s and final 400m in 26.5s.

The top pacer ran a slick 2:58.6 for the stand start 2400m, quickening over his last 800m in 54.9s with a 1 3/4 lengths win over Highview Tommy and Kiwi Ingenuity in October's Group Two $70,000 Ashburton Flying Stakes.

The Addington Inter Dominions (March 25-April 9) remain the next major target for Stunin Cullen.

Although both Tim and Anthony would love to try and win another $A425,000 A G Hunter Cup in Victoria on February 5, they probably won't get their chance with Stunin Cullen until next season.

"He's 80/20 to stay at home," says his trainer.

"Next season he'll race through the NZ Cup meeting, then that will be it for him here. He'll head to Australia and race pretty much right through there until after the Inters in Perth."

Stunin Cullen will be making his second trip to Perth next year.

He made the big trek there last year for the WA 4YO features and although he raced below his best, the trip did had a silver lining.

On his return home through Victoria, Stunin Cullen went through a special test for a wind affliction _ the only one of its type _ at a Werribee vet clinic.

"They were able to have a camera down his throat while he was at full speed and monitor how all the muscles were functioning," said Tim.

"You can scope a horse when it’s at rest, but most of the time that might not locate the problem exactly because everything’s returned to normal. 

Dr Alister McLean analysed the extent of the problem and performed the operation in Feburary 2010.

Stunin Cullen, a former Northern Derby and 3YO NZ Sires Stakes winner in record time (1:54.1 mile rate, 1950m), bounced back this term with a brilliant run of spring form, winning four of his first five starts as a 5YO.

Already the winner of $929,012 in stakes for owners Terry McDonald and Eddie Griffin, more big race wins look just around the corner for their exciting pacer.

VULCAN WINS MOTUKARARA TRIALVulcan Motu trials Dec 14

Vulcan, freshened after racing well at last month's NZ Cup meeting, could resume in the 4-win and faster trot at Ashburton on Boxing Day, December 26, after winning at the Motukarara trials on Tuesday, December 14.

Last season's Harness Jewels 3YO Ruby Trot winner settled fifth in single file in the 1-win and faster trot at the trials, then improved in the open with 1100m to run for regular driver Anthony Butt.

After being cicled by Trotupastorm, Vulcan rallied strongly late to win by half a head in 3:31.2 for the 2600m, the leaders running their last 400m in 29.4s.

Vulcan kicked off NZ Cup day at Addington (Nov 9) when he delivered as a hot favourite in the 3-6 wins $20,000 Searells Chartered Accountants trot, coming clear to beat Geena's Star, Jarvsofaks and Goldstar Invasion, in a strong 4:09.7 for the 3200m.

The Earl gelding backed up with a third to upset winner Musgrove and Biddy Bid in a fast 3:17.7 (2600m stand) on Show day.

He has the good career record of 18 starts for six wins and seven placings for $102,717 in stakes for owners, Jenny Butt and Don McKenzie
.Vulcan running down Trotupastorm at Motu trials Dec 14

JUMEIRAH SHOWING PROMISE

Jumeirah, a 2YO colt brother to former top Premier Stables mare Foreal (18 wins and $664,800), furthered his useful trial form when winning in 2:52.6 (mobile 2200m) at the Motukarara trials on December 14.

The Washington VC colt settled handy on the outer and was untroubled to hold the late finish of Kristoff by 1 1/4 lengths, the leaders running their last 400m in 29.3s.

He qualified when third in a 2:04.9 mile rate over the mobile 2000m at Addington on December 1, then ran a close-up fourth at the Rangiora trials on December 7.

TOUCH OF ROSE IN FOAL

Touch Of Rose, who finished on for second to runaway winner Yankee Dream in the 1-7 wins mobile pace at the Motukarara trials on December 14, is safely in foal to former top North American pacer Mister Big (1:47.8 & $US1.4 million).

The Australian-based Mister Big (by Grinfromeartoear) is a former two time US Harness Horse of the Year.

He won 34 races in North America including such major races as the Canadian Pacing Derby, a William Haughton Memorial, the Breedrees Crown, a Ben Franklin, a Dan Patch Invitational, the American National and US Pacing Championship twice.

"Touch Of Rose may only have a few more starts," says Tim.

The Mach Three-Rose Sands mare has won three races and been 12 times placed for $66,225 in stakes for owner, Southland dairy farmer Kelvin Reed.

Touch Of Rose was competitive against the better 3YO fillies last term, but just a few lengths off the best ones.
 
She ran fourth behind Lancome, Indulge and Meredith Maguire, in the $175,500 PGG Wrightson NZ Yealing Sales Fillies Final at Addington in February.

In her debut season at two, Touch Of Rose was the runnerup to Lancome in a $30,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Graduette for 2YO fillies at Addington.

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