Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:  Pacers 2003/2004 Season
Leg 13Hankook Tyres AG Hunter Cup   2003/2004Results   Points
             28/02/2004  Moonee Valley, Melbourne, Vic  3050m  Standing Start  $400,000
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When Mister D G NZ gave Kiwi reinsman Anthony Butt his third win in Australia’s premier staying race, it brought a romantic touch of nostalgia to the trophy presentations in Melbourne. His earlier two wins in the race had been with this pacer’s mother, that wonderful staying mare Blossom Lady NZ off backmarks of 20m and 30m a decade earlier. 

In an eventful and exciting three minutes and 54 seconds, favourite Just An Excuse NZ gave ground after trying to pinch the race in the last lap. With rivals coming home spread across the straight, it was Butt who burst from the pack and then held off the fast-finishing Mont Denver Gold. Miracle Man NZ held on for third. 

It was only five months ago Anthony’s brother Tim took over the training of Mister D G NZ. Its rise through the classes since then has been dramatic and swift, especially in the longer races. Not surprising when one considers the remarkable staying record of his dam. Mister D G NZ, now a six-year-old, is the mare’s first live foal and has now won 14 of its 50 starts. 

Many at Moonee Valley considered New Zealand Cup winner Just An Excuse NZ would make light of its 10m handicap. It was sent out the shortest-priced favourite in a Hunter Cup in years. Its cause was not helped early by minor interference, which probably led to its young driver Todd Mitchell electing to take off more than two laps from home. 

After a hard run, it finally swept to the lead but was left a sitting shot at the top of the home straight. At this point there were challengers a plenty.  Trotsgoers did not know where to look next as the field headed for the post. 

It was a fine staying performance by the winner, though runner-up and last season’s winner, Mont Denver Gold, was something beaten. Reinsman Chris Alford later pointed out how it had run out of room at the 400 metres, losing about 20 metres when the horse briefly galloped.  It rocketed home out wide to go under by 1 ¼ metres. 

Another hard luck story came from Perth’s Justin Warwick when Flashing Red simply refused the urgings of Warwick to move back towards the fence to take advantage of the cut-away near the top of the straight. It actually hit the wheel of the favourite.  


The Butt brothers are no strangers to capturing major Australian races. They have had remarkable success here with their trotters Lyell Creek NZ and Take A Moment NZ, both the No 1 performers in Australasia of their time. Blossom Lady NZ won back-to-back Hunter Cups, and back home in New Zealand on the eve of this latest Hunter Cup, their latest young star Tribute NZ broke the Australasian two-year-old pacing record at its FIRST start in a race with a rate of 1:54.9 when taking out the Kindergarten Stakes. 

Anthony described his win at Moonee Valley as the most magic of his highly successful career. “To win the race twice on ‘Bloss’ was fantastic, but to then come back and win it again on her first foal is unbelievable,” he said. 

Stewards after the race did suspend Butt for two weeks for contributing to an incident during the Hunter Cup. This means he cannot drive Mister D G NZ in the opening round of the Perth Inter Dominion when the series begins at Gloucester Park on March 12. 

The drive is to be offered to champion reinsman Gavin Lang, who the previous week won the Victorian Pacers Derby then followed that up winning the Inter Dominion Trotters Grand Final with Sumthingaboutmaori. He did not have a drive in the Hunter Cup. 

No fewer than eight of the 14 starters were bred in New Zealand. The mile rate was also only marginally quicker than what the trotters had taken over the same distance two races earlier, which enhances the quality of this majestic gait. 



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