Roddy Butt new Development Co-ordinator

From one of racing's most decorated families, Roddy Butt has landed a new role at Harness Racing New Zealand.

The Group 1 winning trainer has been appointed HRNZ's new Development Co-ordinator. It's a 15-hour a week job designed to help the next generation of drivers and trainers.

"I'm just hoping I can do some good - it comes down to that," says Butt.

"We have been thinking for some time now that we need to invest in the future and it was decided that a development role was the best way to achieve this," says HRNZ's Education and Animal Care Manager Natalie Gameson.

"And Roddy definitely had all the bases covered in terms of developing young talent and of course his and his family's background in the sport."

The new gig continues what Roddy Butt's been doing in recent years in rugby. A long-time rugby development officer he's worked around Canterbury for the Saracens, New Brighton and West Melton clubs as well as spending three years coaching at Nagasaki in Japan. Before that he was a handy fullback for the Canterbury Colts and coached Canterbury B.

But it's racing that's deeply engrained in his DNA, starting way back with his grandfathers and legendary trainers Wes Butt and Derek Jones.

"Seven Butts have driven in the New Zealand Cup which must be unmatched."

Roddy Butt himself drove Hilarity Lobell in the 1998 New Zealand Cup won by Christian Cullen and before that was a very accomplished junior driver, twice winning the Australasian Junior Driving Championships.

It remains a career highlight.

"It's the only time I represented the country, it was a big deal ... to win it twice was a big thrill."

Remarkably, Roddy and all three of his siblings - Anthony, Tim and sister Chrissie (Dalgety) - are also Group 1 winning trainers.

Roddy's success came with Justaboyden in the Western Australian Pacing Cup in 1995. Tim is a multiple Group 1 winner starting with Happy Asset in The Ben Hur in 1998, while as a trainer-driver Anthony had his first with Line Up in the 2020 Victoria Derby. Chrissie's breakthrough success came with Krug in the 2021 Northern Derby.

Roddy's last winner as a trainer was with Custodian at Addington in 2016. He bred and raced the 10-race winner who won the 2YO Ruby at the 2016 Harness Jewels at Cambridge. He also has a 10 per cent share in 2022 New Zealand Trotting Derby champion Nazareth.

While he is not as hands on these days as he used to be he is still connected with the sport.

"You are never out of it," he says, "I watch every race and keep tabs on what's going on."

As for his new role he has plenty of ideas.

"It's as much off track as it is on track ... for example each of the junior drivers should have a mentor so I'll help organise that."

He also wants to offer advice in areas such as sports psychology, mental health, finances and media training.

"I'm also keen to re-connect with those people in the sport who have been there and done that, there's a lot of knowledge out there and it's key to impart that with the young ones."

Roddy Butt takes up his new role from March 1.


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