News

Upset in Te Awamutu Cup

NZ HARNESS NEWS

In the hands of local junior driver Ben Butcher, Red Magic rocketed up the marker pegs to trump hot favourite No Doctor Needed in the final 50 metres.

It was a cool and calm drive from Butcher, who was content to trail early and then sat three-back on the fence for most of the last mile.

He was travelling on a rein of cotton at the top of the straight, just needing a bit of luck.

He got that when the trailer, Hudy Haxwell, didn’t take the passing lane, and the appropriate advantage was taken thereafter.

“It was a good feeling when he hit that gap,” said Butcher.

“It’s the best he’s punched through in quite a while.

“On the bend he was travelling alright and when that gap opened up I thought, we might be a chance here.”

Outpointing his father David (driving No Doctor Needed) was nice for Butcher, but getting the win for local trainer Robbie Hughes was even more significant.

Not that Butcher even knew it was a race with a bit of history about it.

“To be honest I didn’t even realise it was the Te Awamutu Cup, so it was one of my better efforts,” he said with a laugh.

“I was pretty wrapped; it’s always special to beat dad, but to do it for Robbie made it so much better.

“He’s always helped me out with drives, at the workouts and races.

“He’s a great guy and the kind of person we need more of in the game.

“It’s always nice to get wins for him.”

Red Magic is a son of former grand race horse Flashing Red, who famously won the New Zealand Cup in both 2006 and 2007.

“He was a bit of hard work to start off with, but he’s developed in to a really nice horse and is lovely to deal with now,” said Butcher.

“He struggles a little bit on the bends and used to hit a knee a wee bit, but he’s a lot stronger now.”

No Doctor Needed and stablemate Valor Lustre filled the minor placings for trainer Steve Telfer.

It was a night of upsets, with half of the ten-race card being won by horses paying double-figure odds.

The other star turn on the night didn’t disappoint, though.

Exciting three-year-old Aramis overcame a very awkward position in the running to boom past the entire field and win the last race on the card.

He was hemmed up four-back on the markers with a lap to go for Maurice McKendry but he was simply too quick for them over the last furlong.