By Adam Hamilton
TIM Butt is using Thursday night’s $75,000 Group 2 Kilmore Cup as the “decider” for a daring NZ Cup raid with his exciting new stable addition Bettermatch.
The former star juvenile, who missed three years of racing with breathing operations and even a stint at stud, looked fantastic beating a moderate bunch in blistering time at Menangle at his first run for Butt last Tuesday.
“The NZ Cup is getting closer and, if we go, we’ll go across early for the Ashburton Flying Stakes,” Buttt said.
“So instead of staying in Sydney, I thought we’d bring this horse straight down and throw him into a good race like this Kilmore Cup to get a better line on him.
“Everything tells me he’s a really good horse, but this is obviously a big step-up.
“I’ve got three options out of Kilmore – go to NZ, look at the Victoria Cup or take him back to Sydney and go through the grades.
“But I’m serious about NZ. If he runs as well as I hope and expect this week, there’s a great chance he’ll head to Ashburton.
“Put it this way, we’ll deciding one way or another about the NZ trip next week.”
Bettermatch won six of his seven starts as a juvenile then didn’t race between May 16, 2015 and when he returned from former trainer Colin Thomas with a third at Wagga on June 5, this year.
He then won four races on end for Thomas before being bought by Butt and storming home to win at Menangle in a 1min50.4sec mile last week.
Bettermatch’s task was made harder with a back row draw (gate 11) at Kilmore.
His major rivals include: Im The Boss (gate six), Burnaholeinmypocket (seven), My Kiwi Mate (nine) and Three Ways (10).
Aussie punters have already pounced with Bettermatch firming from $4.80 to $4. My Kiwi Mate is $3.70 favourite with Im The Boss at $3.80.
The Kilmore Cup is race seven Thursday night at 11pm NZ time.