Butt to make racing return
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Rugby and racing have been Roddy Butt’s two main passions in life and he is looking forward to returning to the latter at Addington Raceway on Tuesday.
Butt will line-up Judicate in the IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion. Mobile Trot (1980m), but he holds reserved expectations with the mare in her debut outing.
“It is just a starting point for her, she has got a bit to learn. You have got to start somewhere, and I thought I would put her in,” Butt said. She will be driven by Chris Butt.
Bred and owned by Butt, the daughter of Father Patrick is regally bred, having super star trotter Lyell Creek and open class pacer Harnetts Creek close-up in his pedigree.
“It is a great family,” Butt said. “They normally get better with time, so I am hoping that is the case with her.”
The former top junior reinsman also hails from a rich harness racing family, being the brother to top trainers Anthony and Tim Butt, and Chrissie Dalgety; and while his siblings have made it to the top of their profession, Butt said he decided early on that earning a living outside of racing was the best route for him.
“I worked out early on that it was better as a hobby for me and I could do other things to make a living,” he said.
“I was a leading junior driver and represented the South Island for three years in the Australasian Junior Drivers series.
“I won two Australasian Junior Driver series - I am the only Kiwi to go back-to-back, and my brother Anthony and I are the only two New Zealanders to win it twice.
“Once I lost my junior drivers license, I found it pretty hard to get drives.”
Following his stint as a successful reinsman, Butt decided to follow his other passion – rugby, where he still earns his living today.
“I am rugby development officer at Saracens Rugby Club in Rangiora. I have another job where I drive a truck in the morning, which keeps me busy,” he said.
With multiple jobs, Butt said he finds it hard to fit in training, but he makes sure to find the time to work Judicate.
“I am lucky with Mum’s place, she is the head of feeding,” he quipped. “I am lucky to keep her there and I can just call in and work her.”
While Butt is looking forward to getting back to the track on Tuesday, he said he finds a lot of enjoyment in another aspect of the industry – breeding.
“I didn’t breed any this season, but I normally breed one a year. Custodian was the last good one I had, he was pretty handy,” Butt said.
“It is easier to breed trotters. It is less expensive to go to a reasonable sire and having access to Mum’s family, it is a bit more affordable.”
While he only tends to breed from one mare a year, Butt has had plenty of success.
“I bred a horse called Waylade. I sold him to Australia and he won over $470,000. He was a Washington VC,” he said.
“I bred another horse called Dream Machine and he won $170,000 before going to America. He ran second in both Trotting Derbys here.”
“Breeding just one a year, I have had a bit of luck with those ones.”
While Butt has enjoyed breeding, he said he has had the benefit of utilising family land and he would like to see more breeding incentives in New Zealand.
“I think any incentives would be appreciated,” he said.
“I see New South Wales are doing something at the moment and Victoria has got some really good stakes for their first win with their bonus system.
“I think we should be trying to do something similar, otherwise it is just too tough, especially if you don’t have your own property.
“I am lucky that Mum has still got a property and if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t still be breeding.”