Butt stars again in Queensland
Anthony Butt capped his stellar Queensland Carnival with a feature double.
It came in a tumultuous week where Butt and his fiancé Sonya Smith mutually agreed to end their role as private trainers for leviathan owner Emilio Rosati.
Butt has been the absolute standout driver of the Carnival and, although a brilliant Copy That drive didn’t get him the Blacks A Fake, he finished with Group 1 wins aboard Tough Monarch (Queensland Trotters’ Cup) and American Dealer (Queensland Derby).
Both were typically bold, confident and aggressive Butt drives.
He made an early move around the field to sit parked on Tough Monarch – putting as much space between himself and main rival Pink Galahs – and the veteran trotter did the rest with a powerhouse win for trainer Rickie Alchin.
“Rickie seems to put me on at the right time,” a modest Butt said. “I think that’s the third Group 1 I’ve won on him and I’ve only driven him five or six times.”
Despite doing the work, Tough Monarch won easily by 2.9m and trotted a slick 1min56.7sec mile rate for the 2138m.
Former Kiwi Humble Ladd ran another terrific race for second, while glamour mare Pink Galahs couldn’t make it four wins from as many Queensland runs, making ground late for third from well back.
Just one race later and Butt dominated the Queensland Derby from start to finish with Ray Green’s American Dealer.
It was the first leg of a magical night for US owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks, who own American Dealer and Amazing Dream.
American Dealer really had to earn it, burning to find the front, again when challenged mid-race by Krug and again at the finish.
The pint-sized son of American Ideal had Krug beaten on the home bend and held-off a late challenge from Captain Crusader – trained by Tough Monarch’s trainer Rickie Alchin – to win by 1.6m in slick 1min55.9sec mile rate for the long 2680m trip.
“That was some sort of win because he had to sprint three times,” Butt said. “When Krug came meaning business I had a decision to make, but I had confidence in my horse and thought ‘we’re here to race.’
“Full credit to Ray (Green). All his horses have thrived here and this guy has just got better and better and better.”
American Dealer will stay in Australia, heading to Kevin Pizzuto’s stables on Monday and eventually down to Nathan Purdon for the Victoria Derby.
Green revealed Tommy Lincoln, who won the opening race last night, would also continue his career in Queensland.
“Yes, he’s staying. He’s just a lot better suited over here,” he said.
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Victorian raider Momentslikethese simply outstayed her rivals to win the Group 1 Queensland Oaks.
“She put the writing on the wall from a bad draw last week and I was keen to take luck out of the equation as much as possible this time,” driver Luke McCarthy said.
“The thanks go to Jess Tubbs and Greg (Sugars) for giving me the drive and entrusting us to look after the filly up here.”
It was an all-Victorian finish with Momentslikethese just holding off Mick Stanley’s filly Soho Broadway by a head in a 1min55.7sec mile rate for 2138m.
It was one of the biggest training wins for Tubbs and celebrated by a big team of owners involved with the Alabar Farms syndicate which races her.
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There is just something seriously exciting about juvenile filly Cat King Cole.
The Darren Weeks-trained filly made it five wins (and a close second) from just seven starts when she easily won the Group 1 Qbred Triad final.
Cat King Cole had already won the Qbred Breeders final and now chases the Australian Gold final where she’ll have to take on the boys at Albion Park next month.
The Qbred Triad colts and geldings final went to trainer Chantal Turpin and driver Pete McMullen for the second successive year.
Big Wheels led throughout for them last year, but this time the emerging Awaywego avoided an early scrimmage, moved around to sit parked and dug deep for a half-neck win.
It capped a special night for Turpin and McMullen, who also won the Group 3 JC McMullen with Uncle Shank.
“It’s very special. The race means so much to the family and we’ve now won both runnings (Willthewizard) won last year,” said McMullen.