Anthony Butt lands drive on Rock N Roll Doo

By Adam Hamilton

Champion former Kiwi driver Anthony Butt has snared the pick-up drive on superstar Aussie pacer Rock N Roll Doo.

Butt will partner the Victoria Cup hero in Saturday week's Group 1 Ballarat Cup and almost certainly the Group 1 Hunter Cup on February 4.

It comes after Rock N Roll Doo's trainer-driver Mick Stanley suffered two broken vertebrae in a freakish mishap at Bendigo on Saturday night.

Stanley remains in hospital and early medical advice says he will be sidelined for up to six weeks.

Everything went wrong with about a lap to run in last night’s Group 2 Bendigo Cup when Rock N Roll Doo, who had been badly over-racing, choked down and Stanley pulled him to the outside of the track to ease him out of the race.

As he did, a rival horse crunched into Stanley’s lower back and he knew he was in strife immediately.

“It was agonising,” he said. “I had to wait around a while until they took me to the hospital.”

Initial fears were kidney damage, but two fractures in the transverse process of the L1-L3 of the vertebrae were later diagnosed.

“They’re saying three to six weeks on the sidelines," Stanley said from his hospital bed.

Owner Brendan James said Rock N Roll Doo had come through the incident fine and will trial at Geelong on Monday night to satisfy stewards’ and get his Ballarat and Hunter Cup tilts back on target.

“Mick’s shattered about everything. The horse grabbed the bit for some reason, causing him to over-race and choke down. Mick pulled him out of the race to avoid an accident,” James said.

“Mick and I spoke this morning and he’s booking Anthony Butt for the drive until he’s back.”

Butt has made the Hunter Cups his own with a record seven driving wins in Victoria’s biggest harness race.

While the drama with Stanley and Rock N Roll Doo grabbed the headlines, the sport’s most amazing trainer Jason Grimson added to his remarkable open-class strike rate by landing the Bendigo Cup quinella with recent stable additions Major Meister and Sicario.

Major Meister’s win – his third from as many starts for Grimson – was massive after losing valuable ground in the incident when Rock N Roll Doo was pulled out of the race.

Driver Cam Hart balanced Major Meister up again and he unleashed an explosive finish to gun-down stablemate Sicario, who ran a terrific race at his first start for Grimson.

“That was some sort of win,” Hart said. “He had no right to get going again and run them down, but he’s got incredible high speed, this horse.”

It continued Grimson’s dominance of Australia’s open-class feature races since his breakthrough Inter Dominion victory with Boncel Benjamin 13 months ago.

Since then, Grimson’s won the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park (with Majestic Cruiser), Len Smith Mile at Menangle (I Cast No Shadow), Inter Dominion final at Melton (I Cast No Shadow) and now the Cranbourne and Bendigo Cups with Major Meister.

He’s also gone to NZ and with Majestic Cruiser to win the Group 1 Messenger and run second in the Race by Grins, NZ Cup and NZ FFA.


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