News

Field Marshal back to his best

by Michael Guerin

The lush paddocks of home are often considered, one of the great strengths of New Zealand racing --- but not for pacing star My Field Marshal.

Because trainer Tim Butt says getting away from home, has been a crucial step in managing his Group One star back to his best form, and transforming him into a winning chance in tonight’s A$200,000 Blacks A Fake in Brisbane.

My Field Marshal has always had the speed of a top horse, the turn of foot, the best stock of his sire Art Major are blessed with the crossed ability of his open class dam Foreal.

But two wind operations have left the multiple Group One winner with an unusual problem.

“His wind operation have been a success but they left him with some side effects,” Butt said.

“When he eats too much too quickly, some of it now goes down the wrong passage and ends up in his lungs.

“So back home, where the paddocks have so much grass, he was eating way too much when we put him out, as stallions often do, and it was causing him all sorts of problems with his lungs.

“But over here in Australia that isn’t a problem because you don’t have that much grass in the paddocks.

“We have also changed the way we feed him, in that he gets fed smaller amounts more often and it stops him overeating.”
 The improvement has been dramatic, with feature race wins at Melton and Menangle, the latest in the Group One Len Smith Mile where he beat tonight’s major race rivals Lennytheshark, Tiger Tara and Hectorjayjay.

He faces a second line draw tonight, and Butt is hoping a hot pace will enable his brother Anthony to weave his big-race magic.

“I leave that up to him, nobody researches and sums up these big races better than Ants.

“But now he is back to his best, I think this horse ranks in the top five in Australasia on recent form and he will stay over here for the rest of the year.”

Anthony will need to produce another perfect drive to win tonight’s 2680m Group One, especially as Albion Park tends to favour leaders and rejuvenated former Kiwi pacer Tiger Tara could assume that role and be very hard to catch.

Also playing the chasing game tonight could be NZ three-year-old The More The Better, hot favourite for the A$75,000 Queensland Derby even off the second line.

He meets a moderate bunch of locals, boosted by the surprise inclusion of his former stablemate Motu Meteor, who looks the biggest danger from the ace.

Watching on live at Albion Park will be one of the legends of harness racing, with the patriarch of the Purdon family Roy making a rare trip to Brisbane as he owns a share in The More The Better.