Anthony Butt set to shine in Tassie
Champion driver Anthony Butt has answered an SOS to further bolster the powerhouse Kiwi raid on Tasmania’s biggest meeting.
With Chris Alford recovering from emergency surgery on an infected knee, Butt will head across to drive a string of Kiwi stars in feature races at Hobart for Victorian trainer Dean Braun.
Glamour mare Our Princess Tiffany is first out and should win as she likes despite an outside back row draw (11) in the George Johnson, Tasmania’s top mares’ race.
The $1million-plus earner hasn’t raced since a fourth at Terang on February 20, but sharpened-up with a Hobart trial win in slick time last Sunday.
Butt then takes the reins on the lightly-raced and exciting former Kiwi pacer Willie Go West in the state’s biggest race, the $75,000 Group 2 Tasmania Cup.
The Auckland Reactor gelding returned from a spell to brilliantly win his standing-start heat of the Tasmania Cup at Hobart on February 28 to stretch his record to 10 starts for five wins and three placings.
Under the handicap conditions, Willie Go West starts off the front mark (barrier two) and gets a thumping 30m headstart on his key rival, recent classy Kiwi import Triple Eight for trainer Jess Tubbs and driver Greg Sugars.
“We were really pleased with Triple Eight’s heat win last week, but this looks a lot harder,” Sugars said.
“There’s a full field and he’s likely to have more traffic problems than last week. Willie Go West has a big advantage on us if he steps well and I’m not surprised he’s favourite ahead of us.
“But Triple Eight’s runs for us have been excellent and I’m sure he’ll run a great race”
Sugars and Butt clash again with the two key runners in the Tasmanian Oaks.
Sugars drives likely leader and favourite Momentslikethese from gate two.
Butt and Braun combine with lightly-raced Kiwi import Annarie, a daughter of The Gold Ace out of Feyonce, who is having her first run in Australia.
Annarie’s five NZ runs netted a Nelson win on January 8 and a couple of placings. She won a Hobart trial easily but in slow time last Sunday.
“Our filly has the draw and did it easily last week. She’ll take some beating, but Dean’s got a great strike rate with his Kiwi imports so you certainly have to respect his filly.”
Sugars continues a busy weekend when he gets the first flight from Hobart back to Melbourne Sunday morning and jumps straight in the car for the three-hour drive to Charlton.
Sugars takes the reins on classy former Kiwi pacer Im Anothermasterpiece, who is a major player in the $35,000 Group 3 Charlton Cup.
“It’s been a busy time over the past few weekends with the Sydney trips, over here to Tassie a couple of times and our country cups at home in Victoria, but it’s worth it with the results we’ve been getting,” he said.