Update on Benjamin Butcher

By Michael Guerin

Surgery could determine whether leading North Island junior reinsman Ben Butcher drives again this summer.

The talented young horseman was left with a broken clavicle after a dreadful race smash in the Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park last Friday.

Butcher was driving Flying Steps who could not avoid Gibson Girl, driven by his father David, who fell in front of him down the back straight for the last time.

Three-year-old pacing filly Macey Maguire, driven by Jack MacKinnon, was also brought down in the incident and fractured her neck, leaving vets with no choice but to put her down.

Butcher was the other one of the three drivers seriously hurt and was discharged from Auckland hospital that night and able to return home to Cambridge but can not work as he has his arm in a sling.

 And it will not be until he sees a specialist this week he finds out whether he can and will have surgery on the broken bone.

 “It sounds like if I have surgery then I might be able to be back driving in two months,” Butcher says.

 “But initially the nurses at the hospital said three months.

 “It has been a bit painful but I also know it could have been a lot worse. I actually knocked my head when I came down too but the shoulder took most of the impact and obviously my helmet helped. So not hurting my head badly is the most important part.”

 Butcher only recently returned from representing New Zealand in the Australasian Young Drivers Championships after a break-out season last term that saw drive 37 winners and start regularly mixing it with the open drivers at Alexandra Park.

He says he remembers the whole of Friday’s incident and realises it is part of racing so his focus is on finding the shortest path back to the races but will still miss the busy holiday period and the opportunities that come with it.


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