Butcher itching to get back in the sulky

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Leading northern reinsman Zachary Butcher is chomping at the bit to get back in the sulky at Alexandra Park on Friday night after more than a month away from the track as a result of Auckland’s COVID-19 enforced lockdown.

While he admitted it was nice to watch the first couple of meetings at Cambridge from the comfort of his couch, that experience has soon worn thin.

“I cannot wait (to get back driving), it has been pretty boring,” Butcher said.

“I enjoyed the first couple of weeks sitting at home having a few beers and watching the races at Cambridge, but I have had enough of that now and I am ready to get back out there.

“You miss the competitiveness of it, being out there going against Dad (David Butcher) and Ben (Butcher, brother), and trying to beat them. You get sick of sitting at home and not being able to do anything.”

While unable to drive over the last month, Butcher was philosophical about the luxury of being able to continue to work during Level 4 restrictions.

“It has been good to get out of the house and being able to jog horses, unlike a lot of people who have had to sit at home all day and haven’t been able to go anywhere. We have been pretty lucky in that sense,” he said.

While Butcher’s name has been absent from the driving column of the racebook, his name has still been in print as a trainer, courtesy of stable runner Call Me Trouble.

The five-year-old gelding has been in the care of Butcher’s Waikato-based father David and has competed at Cambridge Raceway over the last month.

The son of Superfast Stuart recorded his seventh victory at the Waikato track earlier this month before running second to Presidential Jewel at their September 9 meeting after getting keen in the middle stages.

“Lynette (Philpott), the owner, is over in Australia and she gets excited about seeing her horses race. I sent him down to Dad’s and he has been working him down there,” Butcher said.

“Dad said after the race that he got a bit keen. He has done that to me before at Auckland. When he gets a bit keen he can cut his wind off every now and then. He might have done that and just taken that bit of sprint out of him.

“I have made a couple of gear changes and hopefully that helps.”

Call Me Trouble is set to start from behind the 35m tape in the Ike Unsworth Bayleys Handicap Trot (2200m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday and Butcher is hopeful he can return to winning form.

“I was hoping to race him at Auckland this week but they couldn’t get a race off the ground so we are heading back to Cambridge again,” Butcher said.

“Hopefully we can win there and get the bonus.

“He seems pretty ready. I worked him this morning and I was pretty happy with his work. He is up to win again but he has got to do things right.”

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