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Flashing Red

The Iron Horse

When Flashing Red arrived at Premier Stables as a 9yo, in September 2006, no one ever envisaged he would dominate the NZ Staying features over the next 2 seasons.

Flashing Red had been a grand campaigner on the Grand Circuit for several seasons without winning out of turn. In fact his only major win at the highest level had been in the Ballarat Cup in 2005.

It was during the Interdom Series in Tasmania in March 2006, where Flashing Red won 2 heats and finished 4th in the final, that a plan was hatched by part owner and trainer Stu Hunter and Tim and Anthony Butt, to send the horse to NZ and have a crack at the NZ Cup. Stu Hunter was sure the longer races and bigger tracks in NZ would suit Flash ideally.

After racing in the Queensland Winter Carnival, Flash was sent to NZ in the company of his faithful strapper Nikki Johnson.

After 2 moderate runs, Flashing Red hit from, winning the Methven Cup for Anthony Butt, in his 1st ever run on a grass track. With Anthony Butt electing to drive his wife's horse The Flyin Doctor in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, top NZ reinsman John Hay was engaged to drive Flash and he duly delivered with a stirring victory in Track Record time over the wonder mare Mainland Banner.

With the NZ Cup looming and trainer Tim Butt having 3 likely runners, driving engagements were confirmed after Ashburton, with number 1 stable driver Anthony Butt selecting Flashing Red as his drive. John Hay was engaged for The Flyin Doctor and stable stalwart David Earnshaw earning his 1st NZ Cup drive on Tribute.

Flashing Red had his last hit out before the NZ Cup at Addington 11 days out and won in brilliant style after racing in the 1/1 all the way and sprinting home too well for Howard Bromac.

On to the NZ Cup which is the highlight of the NZ Harness Racing Year. Flashing Red began well and was sent to the lead after 600 metres. Everything went to plan for Anthony Butt until the 700m when David Butcher sent Winforu alight and headed Flash down the back straight. Not wanting to be caught in a pocket, Flashing Red was back out and running around the last bend and then had too many guns in the home straight for follow Aussie Cobbity Classic.

In winning the NZ Cup, Flashing Red provided trainers Tim Butt and Phil Anderson with their 1st win the Great Race and Driver Anthony Butt his 2nd, after driving the Champion mare Blossom Lady to victory for his Grandfather Derek Jones in 1992.

3 days later in the NZ FFA, John Hay was back in the cart with Anthony Butt committed to a Group 1 race in Australia with stablemate Foreal, Flashing Red went down by a nose to Sly Flyin after racing 3 wide for the entire race.

Flashing Red was then flown back to Australia where Stu Hunter trained him over the summer months in the big races in Victoria. Stu then sent Flash back to Tim Butt for the Auckland Cup, NZ's 2nd biggest race.

Champion NZ driver Mark Jones took the reins in Flashing Red's 1st start back with Anthony Butt out suspended, and drove him into 3rd place. Anthony was back in the sulky the following week in the final lead up to the Auckland Cup, and they just went under by a nose to Classic Cullen in a nail biting finish.

When the barrier draw came out for the Auckland Cup and Flashing Red came up with number 1, many believed he would be crossed out of the gate and may end up buried back on the fence. It was one place the Butt Boys didn't want to be.

Sure enough when the mobile gate folded, Flashing Red was headed, but in a brilliant piece of driving, Anthony Butt had him off the fence before the 1st bend and quickly around to the front. From there the race was as good as over, with Flashing Red coming home in a NZ Record time to defeat Classic Cullen by a neck.

Flashing Red became one of a select group of horses to win the NZ and Auckland Cups in the same season.

Again Flashing Red travelled back to Australia after his Auckland triumph, and after racing in Perth's and Queensland's big Carnivals, Stu Hunter sent him back to Premier Stables in the hope they could repeat their win from the year before.

4 starts brought mixed results and Tim Butt realised things were different this year for Flashing Red. He was after all 10 years old. Some soundness and health issues were discovered and a stint of beach training was ordered to try and turn around his form. In a masterly bit of training, Flashing Red was kept right away from a training track and in the 22 days between his last run and the NZ Cup, never set foot on a track. All his work was done at Spencer Park Beach, and on Tim's straight line track at home.

Connections went into the 2007 NZ Cup more hopeful than confident of winning. Once again Flashing Red showed why he will go down in history as one of the toughest pacers ever to grace our tracks with a victory that had to be seen to be believed. Slow away from his 15m handicap, Flashing Red raced at the back of the field while a frantic pace was set up front. Passing the mile peg, and with no real letup of pace, Anthony Butt made his move. He inched forward 3 wide around the field so that going past the 800m, Flashing Red had joined the leaders.

With neither the leader or parked out horse relenting, Flash was forced to stay 3 wide for the rest of the race. Rounding the home turn, stablemate Tribute and Monkey King, both, who had enjoyed sweet trips on the outer, swept past Flashing Red and looked set to fight the race out. After putting at least a length on Flashing Red, they both began to feel the effects of a record pace and began to tire. Meanwhile Anthony Butt was still hard at work on his mount and inch by inch they clawed back the deficit, until in the shadows of the post, to the amazement of the crowd, Flash had his head back in front.

It was one of the great victories in New Zealand's greatest race.

Sadly Flashing Red ran his last race 3 days later in the NZ FFA. He ran a great race for 4th in a race that developed into a sprint home.

Shortly after the NZ FFA, Flashing Red again departed from Premier Stables, this time for the last time. A couple of weeks later, a serious infection to a front joint spelt the end of a truly magnificent career.

In all Flashing Red raced 171 times for 38 wins and 57 placings for $2,105,857NZ in Stakemoney.

While trained by Tim Butt and Phil Anderson he raced 19 times for 6 wins, 6 placings and $1,114,305NZ.
Take A Moment

INTER DOMINION TROTTING GRAND CHAMPION 2001, 2003 (TR1:57.2)

Burgeoning in the shadow of the mighty Lyell Creek NZ, Take A Moment, despite displaying a gait conservatively described as “awkward looking” that belied his strong trotting bloodlines, rose to become his stable star’s worthy successor.

In a career involving 67 starts from age five to 10, earning NZ$1,164,356 in the process, the tough gelding included Inter Dominion Grand Final victories in 2001 in Brisbane and 2003 in Christchurch among his 39 wins.

Bred in New Zealand by Central Districts enthusiast Andrew Corkran, and first raced with his nephew Paul Corkran, who trained him in Canterbury, Take A Moment won them four races from his first six starts as a late 4-year-old and early 5-year-old. At this point - following an easy victory at Addingon in September, 2000 - his impending sale to America for a reported $120,000 was announced.

How fortunate for the Tim Butt stable and nine of his clients - not to mention the harness racing fans of New Zealand and Australia - that the transaction fell through.

Butt then secured him for a syndicate comprising Bruce Greenhalgh, Barry Cotton, Jack O’Donnell, Merv Rodgers, Peter Barber, Neven Botica, Julie King-Turner, Tom Malcolm and Trevor Woolley. The group outlaid $120,000 to get the gelded son of Armbro Invasion USA and Jet d’Emeraude EU mare Nakura (NZ). He was quick to give them reason to believe that he would turn out to be a bargain. In his first appearances for his new connections, in the hands of Tim’s brother Anthony, he won all three of his starts at the 2000 NZ Cup carnival - the third of those wins in a New Zealand record.

Taken to Auckland the following month, Take A Moment, despite racing in the “death seat”, won his Alexandra Park debut, thereby graduating to open class. Taking a few starts to measure up to the highest grade, he nevertheless showed enough to earn his first trip to Australia - with the 2001 Brisbane Inter Dominion title in his sights.

Things didn’t go all that well on opening night at Albion Park, where Take A Moment battled into sixth. But three nights later he showed his true colours, comfortably taking out his heat in track-record time. It was an effort that prompted Anthony, on coming in, to assure brother Tim: “Only bad luck will beat him in the final.”

Safely away from the 20m mark in the Grand Final, Anthony bided his time in the 3157m grind before giving Take A Moment his head a mile from home. Working steadily around the opposition, they were in front 1000m out; after which there were no worries. At the end he drew away for an easy win and his 2:03.3 mile rate represented another track record.

The following season, Take A Moment showed his readiness to tackle the Dominion Handicap with an effortless win in the 3200m Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington in October.

Queried on Take A Moment’s awkward-looking action when extended, the trainer explained the gelding suffered from soreness in his feet, due to white soles, conducive to concussion. And, while he won nicely off 20m on Cup day at Addington, he had to have a corn removed from a near-side foot the day after. Three days later - Show Day - he finished a lack-lustre sixth in the NZ Trotting Free-for-all, won in record time by Last Sunset NZ.

With only a week until the Dominion Handicap, Take A Moment once again underlined Tim’s great training skills. Spotting all of his 12 rivals 10 metres at the start, Take A Moment was blessed when race favourite Last Sunset NZ broke in front 1200m from home and knocked out second favourite Mountain Gold NZ, who had been enjoying the trail. Away from all this trouble, Anthony was able then to forge around to the front and win comfortably.

The victory, the third on end in the race for the Butt brothers, moved Tim to shake his head and quip: “I think God had ten each way on Take A Moment tonight!”

Taken then for the first time to Moonee Valley (December 2001), Take A Moment disgraced himself by galloping and finishing out the back in the Bill Collins Mile, won comprehensively by sensational La Coocaracha. And in the $100,000 Australian Trotting Grand Prix there a week later, though driven to perfection in the 1-1 by Anthony, he was no match for that champion Victorian mare but was a good second.

Soon after, back at Auckland, Take A Moment was beaten a half-length by Major Decision (NZ) in national record time in the NZ National Trot. Two nights later, at Cambridge Raceway, he turned the tables on that rival, edging him out in a swift 1:57.2.

Another three weeks on, Take A Moment was back at Moonee Valley, where, with a second and a win going into the $100,000 Australasian Trotting Championship on February 9, he again played second-fiddle to La Coocaracha. Sharing the 30m back mark with her, he chased her in, some 20 metres in arrears. Coming in Anthony remarked: “I thought my drive was one of my best in a big race, and that Take A Moment was at least as good as when he won the Inter Final, but she made him look second-rate.”

His 2002 Inter Dominion campaign was unsuccessful, but after a well-earned respite, Take A Moment waltzed away with the Ordeal Cup at Addington in September. A memorable occasion, it gave Anthony career win number 1000.

Excellent form followed, leading up to the 2002 NZ Cup carnival, where after an easy win in NZ Trotting Free-for-all on Show Day, they gave everybody a 10m start in the Dominion Handicap and in an epic finish hit the wire in a dead-heat with crack Auckland mare Martina H NZ.

Take A Moment then won the Bill Collins Mile at Moonee Valley, unextended in a track-record 1:57.7. A week later there, annexing the Australian Trotting Grand Prix in a 1:59.8 rate over the 2750 metres, he became the first trotter in the Southern Hemisphere to break the 2min barrier for a race longer than 2400m.

Back to Kiwiland, Take A Moment won features at Auckland at Christmas and Cambridge at New Year 2003, then freshened for his third Inter Dominion attempt in Christchurch. Invincible form through the three heats saw him start at prohibitive odds for the Grand Final. This he justified, but only by a nose, after he and his runner-up Castletons Mission NZ, stormed home from the rear in the final section to provide a grandstand finish.

In Auckland’s Rowe Cup, giving the others 15m start, he had to work wide and hard without cover to lead the last lap. He then got lucky as his challenging runner-up Martina H NZ was distracted, shied and lost momentum, losing to her arch rival by a neck.

Only twice beaten in his 16 starts as a 7-year-old, Take A Moment resumed at 8 in the same devastating form. Again he won the NZ Free-for-all (streeting his opposition), and he then capped a spectacular career by winning his third successive Dominion Handicap. His 17th successive win, it gave him millionaire status and Tim and Anthony Butt a remarkable sixth straight win in NZ’s premier trotting event. Plans were tabled at this stage for him to head to Europe the following April with a crack at the Elitlopp in view.

In the interim, Take A Moment won his second Bill Collins Mile (December 2003) – his 18th consecutive win in a 14 month period! Then, in his final Australian race appearance, he was a battling third after racing in ”the death” in the Australian Trotting Grand Prix as star Victorian trotting mare Sumthingaboutmaori scored handsomely.

A 4-length win in the National Trot in Auckland a week later saw Take A Moment accept an invitation to Geelong on January 24. Time-trialing against Scotch Notch’s Australian time-trial record of 1:55.6, he managed only 1:57.2. It transpired that he had strained a branch of his off-hind suspensory, and plans to race in the upcoming 2004 Melbourne Inter Dominions and then go to Europe were abandoned.

Take A Moment was not seen in action again until the 2005 Auckland Inter Dominions. Failing to pay a dividend, it seemed age and the rigours of racing had finally caught up with him.

Back in Canterbury, however, Take A Moment notched the 39th win of his career under preferential-draw conditions at Addington that May. Fifth, given every chance, in the Ordeal Cup at Addington the following September was the final race appearance of his wonderful career. In October, 2005, his retirement was announced.

Known as “Flash”, Take a Moment raced in Tim Butt’s colours of maroon and cream diagonal stripes with cream sleeves. He still has on the Inter Dominion record books his 2:01.8 mile rate for 2600m and 2:03.2 for 3100m, both achieved at Albion Park in 2001. He now shares a paddock with Lyell Creek NZ on Anthony’s farm at Templeton, a mere half-mile from where they trained at Tim’s stables. Anthony and Karen’s 12-year-old daughter Kimberley has broken the pair to saddle; so they get ridden around the farm occasionally – and love it.

This article on Take A Moment has been reproduced from the Inter Dominion Hall Of Fame website with the permission of Harness Racing Australia Inc.
Copyright of this text is to Harness Racing Australia Inc (as per the IDHOF website).
For further articles of interest you can view them by clicking on the name Inter Dominion Hall of Fame
''Lyell Creek''

Creek The Freak.

As famous NZ punter Graham "Steel Balls" Bruton was watching a maiden trot at the Nelson Harness Racing Club's meeting in January 1999, he saw the winner cross the line well ahead of the field and win with a "leg in the air" so to speak. He was so impressed with what he had just witnessed, and having backed the horse as well, he immediately made a call to the winning driver Anthony Butt and asked him to find out if the horse "Lyell Creek'' was for sale, as he wouldn't mind racing a horse again after being out of the game for some years.

So set in motion a turn of events that would take the Trotting World by storm. By the time Lyell Creek retired 6 Years later, in May 2005, he has raced in 7 Countries around the world, won 56 races, 16 Group Ones, and over 3 Million NZ Dollars.

Lyell Creek was bred and raised by the Smith Brothers, Mark and Peter in Kaikoura NZ. They had him up and running as a 4yo and started him at their local meeting in November 1997. After a reasonable run for 5th, Lyell was affected by the scours for many months and at one stage it was even thought that he would have to be put down.

Many remedies were tried before nature took it course and Lyell was able to return to the racetrack in January 1999. As mentioned above, he won at the Nelson meeting in a maiden trot. Shortly after this, the horse was sold to Graham Bruton and sent down to Tim Butt's stable at Templeton, as Graham wished for Anthony to keep driving him.

Lyell and the Butts hit it off immediately, with Lyell winning 3 of his first 4 starts for his new connections. He galloped away in a Junior race at his second start for Tim, but that was the last time he was beaten for 19 months.

He was spelled and again got sick, so it was 6 months later before he appeared on the track again. Junior Driver Andrew McPherson was in the bike in a race for Junior Drivers when Lyell reappeared in August 1999, winning comfortably. It would be the start of a remarkable season. Lyell won 14 out of 14, and became the first horse to win the Trotting Triple Crown in the same season.

Lyell Creek won the time honoured "Dominion Handicap" in November 1999 at only his 12th start. Tim then sent him to Auckland for 2 Group Wins before heading to Melbourne where that seasons Interdominions were being held. The Victoria Harness Racing Club had put a $500 000 Final on for the Trotters in which would be the richest Trotting Race ever held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Lyell went through the carnival unbeaten, winning 4 Group One Races out of 4. His Interdom win coming at his 17th Start, giving both Tim and Anthony Butt their first Interdominion Title.

His win on the last night of the carnival in the Millennium Mile was outstanding. Caught 3 wide the entire race, Lyell was headed by Sundons Way in the straight but fought back to win by a neck. It was one of greatest performances ever seen on a racetrack in Australasia.

After a brief spell Lyell stepped out in Auckland for the Rowe Cup meeting, winning the lead up race as well as taking the Rowe Cup, to complete the treble of the Big 3 Trots.

Lyell continued to take all before him the next season in NZ. He set a NZ record for a mile in winning at Ashburton of 1-55.6. He was sensationally beaten at Addington on Show Day when he galloped when hitting the front in the NZ Trotters FFA, but bounced back the following week to bolt in, in the Dominion Handicap. Before his defeat on Show Day, Lyell had won 20 races in a row. He would win his next 13 in a row as well, so that costly gallop cost him a winning streak of 34. Amazing when most of these races were at the highest level. The streak was only ended when Lyell took on the best Trotters in the World in the Northern Hemisphere.

After another campaign successful in Australia and winning his 2nd Rowe Cup, Lyell was invited to Sweden to compete in the Worlds most famous Trotting Race, "The Elitloppet" at Solvalla in Stockholm.

Lyell began the trip in great style, winning 1st up in a FFA at Solvalla in the hands of leading Swedish Reinsman Torbjorn Jansson as Anthony Butt was committed at the Interdoms in Brisbane. Lyell then ran 5th in Norway's biggest race the Oslo Grand Prix after getting left parked outside Victory Tilly.

When Lyell drew 8 in his heat of the Elitloppet it was always going to be a hard task to make the final. After being held up by a tiring runner down the back straight, Lyell stormed home to run 5th and just miss making the Final. He was clocked to run the fastest last 400m of all the runners in the heats.

On to Denmark for their biggest race of the year, The "Copenhagan Cup'', where Lyell ran a great race for 3rd to Champion Victory Tilly.

Lyell and Anthony Butt then headed to the USA to continue his career, as it was felt the long handicaps in NZ and Australia were starting to take their toll on Lyell.

Lyell had 6 starts for Anthony for several placings before it was decided to give him a well earned break. With Anthony heading back to NZ, Lyell was entrusted to former Kiwi's Brett Pelling and Richard {Nifty} Norman to train for the remainder of his USA career.

With Legend John Campbell, or Ron Pierce driving most of the time, Lyell raced in the USA and Canada some 58 times for 18 wins, 15 placings and about $1 585 000nz in prizemoney. His biggest win came in the Sue Mac Lad Final at the Meadowlands in 2003.

When the call came through from Nifty Norman that the time had come to end his USA stint in July 2003, it was decided to give him one last start before going into quarantine. Champion NZ reinsman Mark Jones, who is Anthony and Tim Butt's cousin, was in Canada staying with Nifty Nirman and had just won the World Drivers Championship. It was decided to give Mark the drive in Lyell's farewell race in North America. Mark duly spurred the old boy on, and they recorded a famous victory in the FFA Trot at Woodbine Racetrack in Totonto.

Lyell was spelled and brought back into work at his old stables in Templeton NZ, nearly 3 years after he had left. To show there was fight in the old warrior yet, he won his 3rd Rowe Cup in April 2004 and then added 2 more Group Ones at Addington at the NZ Cup Meeting in November 2004, including the NZ Trotting FFA, that infamous race where he had galloped 4 years previous. He won his 3rd Dominion Handicap on the last night of the meeting, which ended up being his last ever win.

Lyell was retired after racing in the Interdoms and Rowe Cup at Auckland in May 2004. In all he had raced 113 times, for 56 wins, 26 placings and over $3 million NZ dollars, once all his winnings were converted back to NZ Currency.

He will go down in history as one of the best horses ever to grace our tracks. He competed on the world stage with distinction, and held his own with the best trotters all around the world. With the exception of the Breeders Crown in the USA, which he wasn't eligible for, Lyell Creek raced in 7 different country's "Biggest" Trotting Race.

Truly a remarkable horse.
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