No Easter break for Anthony Butt
By Adam Hamilton
Former Kiwi horseman Anthony Butt will spend more time in planes and cars than on the racetrack as he chases two major wins this weekend.
It starts with his third trip down to Tasmania in as many weeks when he teams with Dean Braun’s exciting ex-Kiwi pacer Willie Go West, the favourite in Saturday night’s $75,000 Group 2 Tasmanian Easter Cup in Launceston.
On Sunday, 1000kms from Launceston, Butt will drive his own budding star Wolf Stride, who is $2.50 favourite for the inaugural $100,000 Group 1 NSW Riverina Championship at Wagga.
Getting from Launceston to Wagga is no easy feat.
“I’m booked on the last flight out (of Launceston) Saturday night, but if I miss that I’ve also booked on the first plane out Sunday morning,” he said.
But getting from Launceston to Melbourne is just the first step.
Then there’s at least a five-hour drive from Melbourne to Wagga – which is in the NSW Riverina and pretty much smack-bang between Sydney and Melbourne.
Butt’s lucky the Wagga meeting is a twilight timeslot.
Back in Launceston and Butt will partner Willie Go West, who’s been backed from $2.80 into $2.50 clear favourite for the Easter Cup.
He also had the choice of mighty Kiwi mare and Dean Braun-trained stablemate Our Princess Tiffany, who he drove to win her heat last week, but she faces a huge task off a 30m backmark in a capacity field. She’s still $4 second elect.
If Willie Go West steps safely, he should work forward and find the lead and be almost impossible to rundown.
Wolf Stride continued his fantastic campaign winning his heat of the Riverina Championship in narrow but strong fashion after sitting parked in quick time on Tuesday night.
Leader Crunch Time blazed a 26.5sec third quarter and still ran home in 28.2sec to really test Wolf Stride and push him to two metres at the finish.
The other class runner to win a heat was Miracle Mile contestant Out To Play, who sat parked outside comeback star Muscle Factory and out-zip and outclass him in a 54.4sec last half.
Former NSW Derby winner Max Delight also posted a scorching last half of 54.5sec to sit parked and win his heat.
In the $100,000 mares’ division, star Victorian mare Maajida is the class factor and strolled to a 22.5m heat win with Kate Gath aboard.
But the preferential draw conditions of the final mean she’ll start from outside the back row and emerging Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin-trained stablemate Techys Angel is the $2.60 for the final from gate seven.
It’ll be interesting whether Gath drives Maajida or Techys Angel, who galloped at the start and recovered for a monstrous second in her heat to Team McCarthy’s classy mare No Win No Feed.