News & Events

Butchers locked as season end draws near

By Michael Guerin
 
A comment from his father consoles champion young driver Zac Butcher as he all but concedes their personal premiership battle.

Butcher goes into the weekend locked at 108 wins each with his superstar father David, the pair both desperately wanting to be the best in their family, which also equates to second best on the national premiership.

Zac was on fire in the sulky a month ago and looked certain to earn the skiting rights but David fought back last week, while the younger Butcher’s winning chances have started to dry up. That could continue tonight as Zac is compelled to head to Addington for the national junior driver’s champs, forgoing several winning chances at Alexandra Park.

And to make matters worse, David has picked up two of those drives.

“To be honest I would have had more chance of driving winners, and Dad less chance, if I had stayed in Auckland,” says Zac.

“But the junior driver’s series is a great part of being a young driver and only comes along once a year so I couldn’t miss it.

“No matter how many winners I drive I am lucky to have a series like this to compete in so I want to support it.”

And while David now has the upper-hand in their Father-Son battle (as the TAB has labelled it), Zac takes comfort from David’s quip last month.

“He said he really wants to beat me this year because it might be the last year he gets a chance to do it,” he smiled.

“I am not sure he is right but I’d love to think I’d be able to stay at the top of the premierships and be competitive with or beating Dad every year.

“It was a nice vote of confidence from him. But he is still dead serious about beating me.”

By heading to Addington, Zac has gifted his father the drive on Cheer The Lady in a non-tote ABC heat tonight, a race the Oaks winner really should win. 

At this stage of the season any advantage would be significant but David realistic chances in seven of the eight tote races tonight. The best of those appear to be Mighty Creation (race four), God Blessed (race five), Spirit And Desire (race six) and Meet Me In Mayfair (race eight). God Blessed in particular looks a good chance after a solid third in a high class ABC heat at Cambridge last week, whereas she drops back to maidens tonight. Spirit And Desire has drawn wide but has genuine speed while Mighty Creation has been racing the likes of Lets Elope and Bettors Creek in his last four starts but drops back to a claiming race tonight.

The Butchers will also clash at a rare Alexandra Park Sunday meeting this weekend, with again David having the slightly stronger book on paper. That, and his recent form, has seen him move from an opening price of $2.70 in the TAB’s father-son premiership betting market a few weeks ago to $1.70 favouritism.

Meanwhile, the three-race junior driver’s champs at Addington brings together a very strong crop of driving young guns. As well as Butcher, rivals Matt Williamson, Josh Dickie, Tim Williams, Simon Lawson and Adam Sanderson and Mitchell Kerr have all driven over 20 winners this season and compete regularly against their older rivals.