Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:   Pacers 2006/2007 Season
Leg 3:  Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup   2006/2007 Results   Points
             14/11/2006  Addington, Christchurch, NZ  3200m  Standing Start  $NZ500,000
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Tim Butt sets pace at Cup Carnival

by Mike Grain

This article was first published in New Zealand Harness Racing Weekly, 16 November 2006, and is reproduced here with permission.

Early days, and already Tim Butt has quickly emerged as the David Hayes of the New Zealand Cup Carnival.

He won three races at Addington on Tuesday, the Cup with Flashing Red sandwiched between easy ones by Tuherbs and Moment Of Truth.

Trainer Hayes has been the man of the moment at Caulfield, Moonee Valley and Flemington with Fields of Omagh, Tawfeeq, Miss Finland and many others, and Butt, along with his partner Phil Anderson, is riding close to the same high plane at headquarters.

The win in the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup by a youthful Flashing Red who has forgotten how old he is over his statemate Cobbity Classic was the climax of a smart, calculated arrangement engineered by Anthony Butt during the Inter-Dominions in Hobart, continued by his Queensland trainer Stu Hunter in the winter and capped off to perfection in the Canterbury spring by Tim, Anderson and their staff.

Fast forward to Cup Day and what the plan was all about and the puzzle fell into place from the start, with Flashing Red out well, taking the lead without issue off Cobbity Classic with more than 2400m to run and Anthony Butt more or less dictating it from there.


Flashing Red

"The plan was to get to the front, without it being too hard to get there.

"It was always going to be impossible if it was a sprint home," said Tim.

Meantime, arch rival and favourite Mainland Banner had made a slow start, a slight rattle which cost a length or two, which meant that Ricky May was committed to leave it to others to eventually take him forward.

Up front, Flashing Red was able to back off.

At the 1600m, Anthony glanced back, where he would have seen Sly Flyin on the move, and those coming with him were Imagine That, Baileys Dream, Mainland Banner, and later, Winforu.

Still, Flashing Red was safe, and Butt was able to turn up the revs.

Then, Winforu suddenly and unexpectedly made a lightning attack past Mainland Banner at the 700m and was in front at the 600m.  It was a daring dash but dashless in the end.

From the stand, Tim looked to see if the old dog had a fight left in him.

"It certainly wasn't what we planned.  The other horse just hit us with too much momentum.

"It would have worried me if he didn't come back; it took the sprint out of the others."

But it was the new Flashing Red finally deciding that beatings in big races were a thing of the past.

He gave Anthony the nod when he eased him outside the fast-sinking Winforu, past the slowly retiring Mainland Banner, but it allowed the dangerously placed Cobbity Classic to track into it again.

The sails were out of every banner, including Mainland's as they looked for the finish, and soon everyone knew it was the green light for 'Flash' and red for the rest.

What also became obvious was that Australia had the quinella, and the unfancied It's Ella took all the shortcuts but took them well to finish nicely in third place but four lengths back and a length and a quarter ahead of Mighty Cullen, who cleared the traffic too late.

Butt and Anderson have had a cheerful start to their partnership, and Anderson is a Cup-winning trainer in just his first season.  Butt says it's a record that will probably never be broken.

It may not be quite so long for the next 9-year-old to win the race - the last of that age being Loyal Nurse in 1949.

Cobbity Classic will be that age next year, and his connections will consider it well within his range.

The last mile of the race was a stern 1.54.9, which meant the slower first mile spelt curtains for those in the back half of the field.



All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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