Kango breaks mould in Kaikoura win
By Jonny Turner
Kango broke the mould and gave his New Zealand Cup hopes a massive boost with his powerful win in the Kaikoura Cup on Monday.
The rule of thumb at the tight-turning South Bay Racecourse is you can’t afford to miss the kick and get back, which is exactly what the Arna Donnelly trained star did at the start of the 2400m feature.
But some David Butcher magic and a powerful staying display put that well and truly behind the pacer as he went on to produce a big win.
The Butcher magic came via a fast mid-race move where he crucially found the lead with Kango and parked Akuta and Mark Purdon, which ultimately proved the winning of the race.
“We got away not too bad and were lucky enough to get off the fence - we tracked Mark up,” Butcher said in his post-race interview.
“[Kango] does his best work in front – he likes it when there’s a lot going on and it’s tough out there.”
“I was really happy with him – he stuck on well.”
The Butcher family’s New Zealand Cup hopes couldn’t be looking much brighter given their results in the traditional cup lead-ups.
Just last week, David’s sons Benjamin and Zachary filled the quinella in the Ashburton Flying Stakes with B D Joe and Old Town Road.
The elder statesman of the Butcher trio joked about his age following his win with Kango.
Though few would argue he has lost any of his brilliance in the sulky after his outstanding Kaikoura Cup steer.
“It’s a special moment that the three of us can be in the [New Zealand Cup],” Butcher said.
“I’m getting a bit old now, but the boys are doing a fantastic job.”
The Kaikoura Cup had a touch of controversy with Kango running away from the markers in the home straight, pushing Akuta wider on the track.
Mark Purdon didn’t proceed with a protest given the margin between Kango and the third-placed Akuta.
The star three-year-old ran a huge race after having to sit parked outside of Kango for much of the Kaikoura Cup.
The effort was enough to convince his trainer-driver and part-owner that Akuta should start in next week’s New Zealand Cup.
Pembrook Playboy dashed up the Kaikoura passing lane to split Kango and Akuta in second.
The Nathan Williamson trained pacer again showed great manners to land handy in a New Zealand Cup lead-up.
Allamericanlover took fourth ahead of Smiffy’s Terror who ran on into fifth from last on the markers at the 400m.
Earlier on Monday, the team behind Smiffy’s Terror produced Sundees Son for an emphatic victory in the South Bay Trotters Cup.
The Robert and Jenna Dunn trained star put two gallops in his last two starts firmly in the rear-view mirror when powering to victory in the 2400m feature in race-record time.
The 2-59.4 effort leaves no doubts about Sundees Son being on track for an epic performance in his quest for three-straight Dominions.
And there were three wins on the day for top driver Sam Ottley. She had an early double for trainer Mark Jones with The Coalman and Artatac and then produced the day's biggest upsetter when Warloch won the NZB NZ Yearling Sales Aged Classic (Listed), for trainer Michael House, paying $68.