Butcher forging training path
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
A new name will join the northern training ranks at Alexandra Park on Thursday when Shane Butcher lines-up Aeonian in the Harness Millions Sat Feb 12 2022 At Alex Park Mobile Trot (1609m).
Butcher hails from rich harness racing stock, being the grandson of John Butcher, nephew of David, and cousin of Zachary and Benjamin.
While he initially followed his family members into the industry and had stints driving in both New Zealand and Australia, Butcher has spent the last few years honing his craft as a farrier.
He is enjoying his time at the forge but has been missing working horses, so when he saw Aeonian offered on standardbred.gavelhouse.com he thought she would be the perfect horse to get him back in the game, and he was able to secure her with a final bid of $1,600.
“I am a farrier by trade, but I missed working horses,” Butcher said.
“This one came up on gavelhouse and I have always enjoyed working trotters so I thought I might as well give it a try.”
The lightly raced five-year-old was unplaced in her five starts for previous trainer Derek Balle, and Butcher said he is using Thursday as a gauge for his mare.
“Her work has been good, I just hope she does everything right,” Butcher said.
“I haven’t trialled her, so we will just see how she goes. Hopefully she trots all the way.”
While Aeonian will be Butcher’s first starter in New Zealand, he has had previous success as a trainer in Australia when working for Gary Hall Snr. and Dave Thompson.
“I did train a winner when I lived in Perth a few years ago,” Butcher said. “I only trained for a season or two and had a handful of starters, but she will be my first runner in New Zealand.”
Butcher continued working in stables upon his return to New Zealand a few years ago, but he was then enticed to take up a farrier apprenticeship and is now enjoying running his own business with several top stables as his clients.
“I worked for Brian Hughes for a year or so when I came back to New Zealand and then I decided to do a farrier apprenticeship in Cambridge for a guy called Greg Hockings,” Butcher said.
“It was a four-year apprenticeship and I have been out on my own for a couple of years now.
“I have been pretty lucky to get a few barns to shoe for – Lincoln Farms, Stonewall Stud, Steven Reid and Simon McMullan, and Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett. Between those barns, they keep me pretty busy.”
Running his own business and working his own horse has led to a busy life for Butcher, but he said he is grateful to fellow trainers Steven Reid and Simon McMullan who help him out from time-to-time.
“She stays at Steven Reid and Simon McMullan’s,” Butcher said.
“They are pretty good to me. If I am too busy and can’t get there, they help me out and jog her, or bring her in at night for me. I am pretty lucky in the sense.”