Two firsts from the weekend's racing
By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
Hailing from one of harness racing's best known and most successful families, Chris and Kimberly Butt produced a notable first at Motukarara yesterday.
The two siblings quinellaed race 2, the Bernie Hutton Memorial Pace, both driving five-year-old sons of Sweet Lou in Lord Mudrick and Spirited Lou.
"We don't drive against each other that often," Kimberly told Harness Unhinged's Nigel Armstrong post race.
"And that is the first time," she said of their quinella.
Their father is three-time New Zealand Cup winning driver and now Australian-based Anthony Butt and Chris' maroon colours were made famous by his great-grandfather, the late Derek Jones and then their uncle Tim Butt.
Both horses were unfancied by punters, with Lord Mudrick the outsider in the 14-strong field and paying $69.10 and $14.10 while Spirited Lou was 9/9 in the bettting and paid $5.80 for the place. The Butt-Butt quinella paid $478.70!
Lord Mudrick, who was bred and is raced by Chris Butt and his mother Karen Prendergast, went to the lead early before Kimberly and the Warren Stapleton-trained Spirited Lou took over.
Chris Butt then capitalised on a passing lane run to win by nearly two lengths.
"He was good two starts ago and terrible last time but he seemed pretty sharp," Chris Butt told Armstrong.
It was Lord Mudrick's first win in five starts, with his best performance prior being a third behind Lewey Maguire at Rangiora in December.
It was Chris Butt's first winning drive since Kahress at Addington in June 2022, and his first training success since American Viking at Oamaru in September 2020.
And it's been a big weekend for junior driver Seth Hill, who had his first winning drive with Falcon's Watch in the Woodlands Motors/Cromwell Motel Junior Drivers Mobile Pace at Wyndham on Saturday.
The Robert Wilson-trained five-year-old led from start to finish with Hooroo looming over the final stages, only to gallop and be disqualified.
"I thought the other one had me in the straight," Hill told racing journalist Jonny Turner, "and I appreciate Robert putting me on the horse - it's pretty cool."
Seth works at his father Brendon "Benny" Hill's stables at Swannanoa and his debut success came with his 12th race day drive.