News

Cox to join Butt in partnership

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Trainer Tim Butt has confirmed he will take Jonny Cox in to a training partnership from the start of December.

Butt is moving to Sydney to train at Menangle next week and will go back and forth between there and his existing West Melton base between then and Cup Week, in early-mid November.

After that he will move permanently to Sydney and Cox will transition from his current job with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen to take over the remainder of Butt’s New Zealand stable.

“He’s a good horseman with a lot of experience and I was thrilled to get him,” said Butt.

“He was brought up in Southland, which is a good grounding for a horseman, and he gets on really well with the existing team here.”

Stable star Field Marshal has been in Sydney all Winter and will be joined next week by Butt, Letsgotothehop and Let It Ride.

“Then, after Cup Week, Daryl Boko, Lanikai and Lady Chatto will head over,” said Butt.

“Jonny, Michael Palermo and Kim (Butt) will still have a team of about 18 to go with here.”

Cox says it will be difficult leaving the All Stars operation, but the move feels like the right one for him.

“I had a wee while to think about it and made sure it was going to be the right thing for me and (partner) Kim.

“It’s a great opportunity and really, too good a one to pass up.

“Leaving Mark and Nat’s was the main thing I had to consider and it was in the back of my mind.

“My time here has worked out well being able to work in the mornings and then do my own team or go to the trials in the afternoon.

“But at the end of the day it was a part-time job against a full-time commitment.

“I’m sad to leave there as they have given me some great opportunities.”

Cox drove Elle Mac to Group 1 glory for Purdon and Rasmussen at Alexandra Park back in April.

He is no stranger to training a sizeable team – he prepared 52 winners in two seasons in partnership with Amber Hoffman when based in Otago between 2013 and 2015.

It was with Hoffman that Cox achieved his crowning glory as a trainer and driver – a win in the 2014 Dominion Handicap with Jaccka Justy.

Cox's current team, which will join him at Butt’s property in November, includes the likes of Gupta’s Cullen, Takitimu Express and Franco Saxon.

“We are hoping to be completely moved and settled by the 1st of December,” said Cox.

“We’ll get through Cup Week with the All Stars and then start organising the shift.”

Cox says that while Butt is taking a number of the stable’s better horses, there will still be plenty of young horses, and those owned by people who want them racing locally, to go on with.

“Syd Brown has got a few nice ones and there are enough young ones to keep us going.

“As well that there are some nice country cups type horses there, so plenty to work with.

“Add in my current race team and we will be very busy.”