Butterworths keep racking up the wins
By Michael Guerin
One of racing’s luckiest owners wasn’t feeling all that lucky for much of last Friday before The Race By Grins gave him a shot at one of the more remarkable doubles in New Zealand racing history.
Australian-based owner Merv Butterworth is a regular investor in New Zealand Bloodstock, predominantly in harness racing, having owned 2015 New Zealand Trotting Cup winner Arden Rooney before spreading into thoroughbred ownership around the same time.
As hard as winning one NZ Cup is to beat Butterworth has found a way this season by not only owning a now two-time New Zealand Trotting Cup winner in Copy That but sharing in the ownership of New Zealand Thoroughbred Derby winner Sharp N Smart.
That puts him very much in the conversation for Horse of the Year in both codes.
The two awards are voted on for different periods as the thoroughbred season runs from August 1 to July 31 while the harness racing season is now the same as the calendar year.
“It has been an amazing last 12 months,” smiles Butterworth.
“To win maybe the two biggest races in either code in New Zealand .... and both horses still have a lot in front of them is pretty special.”
The back end of this year could include the possibility of having his superstars line up in the biggest Cup race in both countries, the Melbourne Cup for gallopers and the New Zealand Cup for pacers, on consecutive Tuesdays in November.
An owner winning both of those great races in the same era is not unheard of as Terry Henderson, of OTI Thoroughbreds fame, owned both 1993 NZ Cup winner Chokin and 1995 Melbourne Cup winner Doriemus.
If Sharp N Smart does make it to Flemington or Copy That returns to try and win a record-equalling third NZ Cup, Butterworth is hoping to enjoy the experience from a bit closer to the action that he did when Copy That led all the way in the $1million Race by Grins last Friday.
“I spent Friday is hospital having a hernia surgery,” explains Butterworth, who owns many of his horses with wife Meg.
“I only really woke up from the operation an hour before the race and managed to watch it on my iPad and while it was still exciting, it could have been a lot better.”
Butterworth will be more with it for this Friday when Copy That and many of those he conquered last Friday clash again in the $90,000 Dawson Harford Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park.
Copy That has again drawn perfectly at barrier two and with The Race runner-up Old Town Road being allowed to miss this week and the next home in Self Assured and Better Eclipse both drawn poorly, Copy That will be a red hot favourite.
1: Smiffys Terror
2: Copy That
3: Nicholas Cage
5: Alta Wiseguy
7: Harder Than Diamonds
8: Better Eclipse
9: Self Assured
10: Triple Eight