Butler in action in 2021. Photo / Peter Rubery
New Plymouth manager Allan Sharrock signed Butler to Te Rapa this weekend as he seeks a silver-serving addition to his Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) line-up for next season.
Winner of four of his nine starts, 4-year-old Showcasing Butler resumes in the Group One Turf Bar Sprint (1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday and with a performance that lives up to Sharrock’s expectations, he should return for the Gr.2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate (1200m) on the track on August 27th.
Sharrock already has Darci La Bella and Tavi Mac up for the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings on September 10, but thinks Butler is a galloper worthy of a place in the weight-for-age feature.
“He’s a pretty smart animal. He did well in his trial at Foxton the other day and I expect him to be quite competitive on Saturday,” said Sharrock, who signed Cambridge apprentice Tayla Mitchell to ride.
“He’s going to get better with this race because he’s a big, rough animal, but I tried to make it as easy as possible by taking four kilos off his back for the first time in full company.
“We think he’s a bit better than just a winter horse. We raced him all winter last year and found bone chips in his knees. Since we took the bone splinters, he is much healthier and a happier horse.”
Butler will only carry 51.5kg on Saturday after Mitchell’s claim, although Sharrock leaves the blinders like an ace in his gear bag for later in the preparation.
“Tayla is riding pretty well. I’ve been watching her for a while. He’s got another leg with blinders on, but I’ll leave them on until we get to a race when we need them,” Sharrock said.
“It’s a pretty tidy pitch on Saturday, but if he wants to reach the levels that I want him to reach then he will have to put his hand up. He has good speed but he doesn’t have to lead.
“He’s powerful from anywhere on the court, so if Tayla can calm him down in the top four or five in the race and get him out on the straight, you should see a nice horse coming home.”
TAB bookmakers slashed Butler from an open price of $3 to $1.90 patronage for Te Rapa’s open sprint, but still have him at $31 in their Tarzino Trophy market, which sees Darci La Bella at $12 and Tavi Mac at $16.
“Tavi Mac came back great. I medicated his back for the first time like I did with Sinarahma and his joints were all injected. He’s probably as good as I got him,” Sharrock said.
“Darci La Bella won well again the other day and she will probably race next time in the Opunake Cup (1400m, quoted at New Plymouth on July 23). You suggest that at weight she could beat Justaskme with 60 kilos but he’s not a bad horse, Justaskme, when the going gets tough.”
Butler will be Sharrock’s lone rider on Saturday but he will saddle Stevie Nix and Cherry Rose at Hawera on Sunday.
“They will both start close to the favourites,” he said. “Cherry Rose’s last starting run at New Plymouth was great and she trained like she would be hard to beat and although Stevie Nix was a bit of a disappointment last time out, she was trying out Otaki first and she was will be tough with that running and Lisa Allpress sticks with it.”
– New Zealand Race Office
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