Butt makes rare trip to Manawatu
Bob Butt reckons it's been a decade since he last drove at Palmerston North, and today he has three of his own horses at Manawatu Raceway, including A Taste of Honey in the day's feature, the Hawera Cup.
"I used to come here when the old man (David Butt) had a team going around but haven't been back, it's been ages - ten years I'd say."
"But there are some good stakes and suitable races."
Based at Woodend beach in North Canterbury Butt has been travelling a bit in recent times, including a quick mission to Alexandra Park earlier this month when he won the Group Two Caduceus Club Stakes with Cover Girl.
So far this year he's had 17 training and 13 driving successes. All three of his horses tonight were early favourites.
Five-win trotter With Ice will start from 60 metres in race 1 : Fraser Memorial Handicap trot (2500m). He opened at $2.50 on the fixed odds.
"It's going to be hard off the back mark but hopefully he'll be running on.... there's a $15,000 race on the second night (Thursday) so it should top him off nicely for that."
Butt reckons the "best of my three" is last start winner Come Together in Race 3 : C A Penny Mares Series Pick Up and Win Mobile Pace (2000m).
"She's a handy mare," he says of the four-year-old who's won two from 9 and will start in just a five-horse field.
She was $1.85 in the early markets.
In the night's feature the Iplex/Ecolab Hawera Cup (2500m) Butt will drive A Taste of Honey. The winner of six from 34 has drawn well at 3. In the early markets she was a $2.80 favourite.
"She's a nice horse off the front but it is a nice field."
Trainer Arna Donnelly has a three-pronged approach with Taipo (20m), New York Minute (30m) and Bad Medicine (7).
Rival trainer Michael House also has three in the race, with Franco Hoffman (30m), Mogul (30m) and Sir Brigadoon (10m).
He thinks Taipo is the one to beat. He opened at $11.
"A few starts ago he was just three lengths off Self Assured."
Race 5 - the Hawera Cup - is set to go at 5.11pm.