Kiwi has plenty of X Factor in Westport Cup
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Bob Butt headed to Westport on Boxing Day with just the one runner and he came home with the perfect result when Kiwi X Factor took out the meeting’s feature, the Pulse Energy Westport Cup (3200m).
The Mach Three gelding stepped away well from his ace draw to take an early lead before driver and part-owner Gavin Smith elected to hand up to second favourite Passion And Power.
They soon found themselves three back on the fence when Jimmy Arma assumed control of the race.
When Jimmy Arma began to tire at the 400m, Smith found the one-one and turning for home he was able to navigate his charge into clear running room where Kiwi X Factor was able to wrestle the lead off his opposition and run away to a three-quarter of a length victory over Homebush Lad, with a further half-length back to Passion And Power in third.
“He is a sit-kicker, so it worked out perfectly,” Butt said.
Kiwi X Factor finished tenth last start in the Akaroa Cup (2810m) earlier this month so Butt was pleased to see his charge turn his form around.
“He went average his last start. I just put it down to having an off day, I couldn’t find anything wrong with him,” Butt said.
“It was good to see him come out and win like that today.”
Previously trained by Smith, Kiwi X Factor was sent to Butt to take advantage of the beach and he has thrived on the more forgiving surface, winning four races since his first outing for Butt in August.
“He has got a few niggles so Gav sent him out to us and he is doing a good job for us,” Butt said.
“He likes the pool and the beach work, the main thing with him is trying to keep him sound.”
Kiwi X Factor is set to back-up at Westport on Tuesday before heading to Reefton two days later to tackle the Reefton Cup (3200m).
“It will depend how he goes on the second day, but all going well he will start on all three days,” Butt said.
Despite the inclement weather on Sunday, Butt is enjoying the West Coast circuit, something he looks forward to every year.
“It is great,” he said. “It’s one of the best circuits around and we have had a bit of luck over here over the years.”