Zachary Butcher's big inter-island plans
By Michael Guerin
Outstanding harness driver Zachary Butcher is going to try what no other New Zealand horseman has been able to successfully pull off before - becoming a true inter-island reinsman.
Butcher has revealed his plans to start travelling every weekend between his base in the North and Canterbury to drive at predominantly Addington Friday night meetings.
His move has been spurred by two things, one personal, the other professional.
Butcher’s partner is Canterbury-based Laura Dalgety, the daughter of top trainers Cran and Chrissie.
The second is a desire to try his hand in the South Island and give himself more Friday nights at work as Alexandra Park will have a lot more Thursday meetings in the second half of the year.
“I looked at the calendar up here through August and September and almost all the northern meetings are on a Thursday.
“I will still 100 per cent be driving at those meetings and will of course look after the trainers I drive for up here and be working at Lincoln Farms.
“But I can pretty much drive at Addington a lot of Fridays. Some weeks that will mean returning home on Saturday morning to work at Lincoln Farms but every second weekend when I am off from there I intend also staying for the Sunday meeting, which is often in Canterbury.
“It is something I have always wanted to do and the timing is right, with so many Friday meetings down there and giving me the chance to spend time with Laura.”
Butcher says he is committed to driving in Canterbury almost every week until at least Cup week in November, giving him time to build contacts and some trainer loyalty.
The latter shouldn’t be hard to grow as Butcher is one of Australasia’s best drivers, well on his way to 1000 career wins here (sitting on 861 domestically) as well as proven at Group 1 level in Australia.
He is also one of the younger drivers who can be uber aggressive but mixes that with the tactical genius so resembling his father David, one of the shrewdest reinsman in the country.
Tonight though Butcher will be in the more familiar surroundings of Alexandra Park not only as a driver but the trainer of two winning chances in Call Me Trouble (R5, No.8) and Zarias (R6, No.3).
“Call Me Trouble needed the run last start but was really good in second and I think he will go even better this week because he is working well,” says Butcher.
“I am not quite as confident with Zarias because while he can win he might be a run short because he missed a trial.
“I think he will cross to the lead early and have a real chance but I couldn’t tip him strongly.”
Butcher is very keen on Midfrew Lucre (R4, No.5) after a strong last start win over key rival Mr Chip while he rates Next To Me (R2, No.9) the second best of trainer Ray Green’s five reps in that race, with Neptune seen as the stable’s best chance.