Butcher back on the board

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk

Zachary Butcher was pleased to record his first win back in the sulky since racing’s COVID-19 enforced hiatus when reining home Whiskey Neat to win over 2200m at Alexandra Park on Thursday night.

To top it off, Butcher also trains the three-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight, making the win even more special for the South Auckland horseman.

Whiskey Neat finished third on debut at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday and Butcher said she took a lot of benefit from the run and that proved to be the case on Thursday.

She was sent forward by Butcher to take an early lead, with the pair able to dictate terms throughout and run away to a 1-1/4 length victory over Romanee.

“The run probably suited her more tonight, she was out and rolling, which she likes,” Butcher said.

“She got a bit caught up the other day and got stuck in behind them, but hit the line well. It was a good learning experience for her and it has all worked out for tonight.”

Butcher was impressed with the way she won on Thursday and he is looking forward to the future with her.

“She’s a typical Bettor’s Delight. They put a length on them and they shut up shop and just do what they have to,” he said.

“She had a bit left in the tank, which is a positive heading up into the next grade.

“Hopefully we can get a few more wins with her.”

Whiskey Neat will now likely head to Cambridge Raceway later this month and Butcher said it will be interesting to see how she handles the step-up in grade.

“It’s pretty hard with our grading system now,” he said. “When they win a few you are up against five and six win horses.

“From only having two starts it can be hard work. She is not the biggest horse, so we will just take our time with her.

“We will give her three or four days off now and maybe head to Cambridge and see what we can do there.

“She will tell us where she is at and we will just go along quietly.”

Butcher had a good night at the office, placing in his three other drives on the six-race card.

He was particularly impressed with Sertorius’ runner-up effort and he believes the son of Muscles Yankee could have an exciting winter instore.

“I was really happy with Sertorius,” he said. “Over 2200m, and off 20m, he begun really quick.

“He is a horse that you have had to watch early, but he began like a rocket tonight. He did a little bit of work midrace and hit the line strong.

“He probably got done by a bit of speed, but looking at him you think a few more runs under his belt he could have a nice winter campaign.”

Butcher was able to toast Whiskey Neat’s victory earlier than he would have liked to as a result of the small card, but he is hopeful normality will return in the coming months.

“I would rather be going home later and have more races and more horses and owners here, but it is what it is,” he said.

“We are coming out of a tough time and hopefully if everyone keeps putting in and doing a bit extra, we will be back there soon enough.

“For a start I’ll be back home to have a few beers and celebrate the win.” – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

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