Manawatu treble for Stonewall Stud

By Josh Smith

The Stonewall Stud team had a pleasing night at the office at Manawatu Raceway on Thursday, bagging a treble of wins.

The team, trained by Steve Telfer and driven by Benjamin Butcher, bookended the eight race card courtesy of Sarandon and Quarterback, while Ivana Flybye comfortably took out the night’s feature race, The Cobb Manawatu Cup (2500m).

Butcher was pleased with the night’s results and said he was relatively confident heading into the meeting.

“It’s always handy when you have some nicer horses to drive,” he said.

“I thought I was going to be in for a good night. All of Steve’s horses have been racing well. We had the right horses down there tonight so it worked out well.”

Sarandon opened the stable’s account in the Cartown Mobile Pace (2000m), getting up the passing lane to nab local runner Emmi Rose on the line to win by a head.

“She has been going for a while and has been getting bad draws. She got a good draw (2) tonight and it paid off,” Butcher said.

Butcher’s next drive in the stable’s silks came in the Manawatu Cup where he was charged with steering $1.60 favourite Ivana Flybye.

The pair were victorious at Cambridge last start after taking a front-running role and Butcher elected to take a similar approach into Thursday night.

He sent the five-year-old mare forward to take an early lead where he was able to dictate the pace of the race. Ivana Flybye was too good for her opposition, running away to a comfortable three-quarter length victory over Santanna Mach, with Bugalugs a further 1-1/4 lengths back in third.

“It was a good win tonight,” Butcher said. “She is a classy mare and she has always done a great job.

“She was probably a class above the ones down there tonight, so she was always going to be hard to beat. I thought that leading was my best option and it worked out.”

Butcher then capped the night with another front-running victory behind Quarterback in the Veronica Jayne Hair Mobile Pace (2000m).

“He went pretty good the first day and he sharpened up with the run as well. He went well, so I was quite happy with him,” Butcher said.

Butcher is enjoying a successful first season as an open driver, recording 30 wins to date, just seven shy of his previous best tally.

He said he owes a lot of that success to Telfer, who he has been working for since the start of the season.

“He has really helped me get my career going and I can’t thank him enough,” Butcher said. “It is a big help having Steve there supporting me.

“I have been getting nice horses to drive, so that always makes my job easier. It has been a good season so far.” 

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