Zachary's back and in winning form

By Michael Guerin

Zachary Butcher didn’t waste time reminding punters and trainers of his rare ability at Alexandra Park on Thursday night.

Butcher is recently back from an overseas holiday and out of sight, out of mind, he only had three drives at headquarters but made the most of them with two wins.

For good measure he even trained one of them when Mantra Blue won like a good filly on her debut before Kiss came out and, like Butcher, gave us all a reminder of her class in a strong juvenile fillies race.

“It is good to be back and I have a few really good drives to look forward to,” says Butcher.

“I think Old Town Road could be in for a good campaign while Merlin will be back soon and I can’t wait to get on him.

“And Barry and Scotty (Purdon and Phelan) have some really sharp juveniles both boys and girls.”

One of those was Kiss who came from near last to win her Dunstan Horsefeeds Sires’ Stakes Heat, overpowering a brave Seaside Rose in what will be a strong form race.

“She is a good filly and has come on since her last campaign,” explains Butcher.

“She can still throw in the odd funny step when you chase her but she really has some class and she will keep getting better.”

Butcher hasn’t had Mantra Blue long, the filly having being bought into the stable after trialing well for Wayne Fausett.

“Leanne Philpott bought her. She had Call Me Trouble with me who has gone to Queensland and we were on the lookout for a nice horse and we lucky enough to get this one.

“I haven’t had her long and she only won a maiden tonight but she did it well and of course she will keep getting better too.

“So we will give her her chance in a Nevele R heat and see whether she ends up getting a trip away for the good fillies races at the end of the season.”

Thursday night’s feature was taken out by Simply Sam who finally made it back to the winner’s circle via a perfect trip and the passing lane in a race where Brookies Jaffa led and ran the last 800m in 56.5 so the backmarkers weren’t a factor until late.

In the trotting ranks Dave and Clare McGowan got a double when Liaison and Love On Line both won, their double just denying rival trainer Ival Brownlee one as Bangkok Betty ran second, with Brownlee having won the first trot of the night with Brienne.

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