News & Events

Cheer The Lady caps off dream season for Butcher

By Michael Guerin - in Melton.

 There were two very good reasons Zac Butcher didn’t repeat his standing in the sulky stunt after the biggest win of his career yesterday.

Firstly, because he didn’t realise Cheer The Lady had actually won A$176,000 Australasian Breeders Crown final for three-year-old fillies.

And secondly because he couldn’t stop shaking until 20 minutes after the race.

Two weeks ago Butcher made network news coverage by standing bolt upright in the sulky after winning the final race of his record season at Alexandra Park. And he had plenty of Australian fans shouting out for him to try the same thing during his victory lap after yesterday’s upset win.

“But I didn’t know I had won, I thought Mangos (Brent Mangos, driving stablemate Precious Rose) had got me.

“But that was so exciting. To come here and a win a group one in Australia after the year I have had really caps it all for me.

“And she didn’t go that well last week in her semi so it was a real shock.

“Then for her to work hard and win, I just can’t believe. My hands have been shaking since the race and that is not like me at all.

“Its my biggest buzz in racing by a mile.”

The win was a triumph on so many levels for Butcher as he finished last season, when he was second on the NZ premiership, declaring he wanted to take the next logical step - becoming a force in Australia. He produced the perfect drive under difficult circumstances last night to get Cheer The Lady home over Twist And Twirl and Precious Rose, heading home a Purdon family-trained trifecta.

While Zac is bred to be a driver, being the son of outstanding reinsman David, he attributes a lot of his success to his boss, Barry Purdon. Purdon produced first and third in the final with his only two horses at the carnival and he re-established himself as an Australian-wide player.

One of the all-time greats of New Zealand racing in any code, Purdon could have rested on his financial laurels five years ago but instead chose to invest more, put syndicates together and make his push back to the top. This season, with the deeds of champion juvenile Five Card Draw and Cheer The Lady, he has sent a reminder just how rare a talent he is.

And in Butcher he has the perfect apprentice.