Mr Hunter Cup; ace reinsman Anthony Butt has now won the Hunter Cup six times.
Champion New Zealand reinsman Anthony Butt officially 'owns' the Hunter Cup.
Butt claimed his record sixth Gr.1 $425,000 Del-Re National Food Group A G Hunter Cup success after a masterful drive behind Choise Achiever ($6.30) who scored a narrow victory from Auckland Reactor ($2.60 fav) and Jaccka Clive ($8.10) at TABCORP Park, Melton tonight.
The A G Hunter Cup is the most sought after staying race on the Australian calendar, a gruelling test run under standing start conditions and run over the marathon distance of 3280m but the Christchurch based 'maestro' has dominated the event since scoring with the mighty mare Blossom Lady back in 1994 for his grandfather and trainer Derek Jones.
Blossom Lady scored again the following year in 1995, Butt then had to wait until 2004 for his third success with Mister DG before scoring with North American import Mr Feelgood in 2009 and again in 2011 with Stunin Cullen.
His brother Tim has trained the Cup winner four times.
“We've had a bit of luck in this race, it's a great race to win.” Butt stated.
Choise Achiever made the most of his good draw and stepped straight to the early lead, Butt then made his winning move by handing the lead over to tough local stayer Jaccka Clive.
The lead time was covered in 2;07.6.
Jaccka Clive continued to set the pace with many moves being made from back in the pack, Butt had Choise Achiever travelling easy behind the leader.
Boom New Zealand 4yo The Gold Ace made a spirited bid for the lead with a lap and half still to run but Jaccka Clive refused to yield, the first half of the final mile covered in 30.4 and 29.7 seconds.
Entering the back straight, Jaccka Clive led from Mach Wiper with race favourite Auckland Reactor poised in the one out, one back position while Butt sat patiently on the inside with Choise Achiever.
The third quarter was posted in a solid 28.3 seconds.
Approaching the home turn, Jaccka Clive was joined by Choise Achiever while Auckland Reactor loomed sharply three wide on the track.
Choise Achiever seemed to lose his chance when inconvenienced by Jaccka Clive but the Courage Under Fire gelding rallied strongly under strong driving from Butt and edged out Auckland Reactor by a head margin with a further half head margin back to Jaccka Clive in third.
The final quarter was timed in 28.4 seconds.
The mile rate was 1;59.9, which shaved over a full second off the track record set by Stunin Cullen when successful last year.
“He's a good horse, he had to fight hard in the straight but he never took a backward step.
“The race worked out really well for us, he stepped perfectly and got the right horse to follow so it couldn't have been scripted any better really.
“It really is a great race to win, we look forward to this event each year and to win it again is just unreal.”
The next leg of the 2011/12 Grand Circuit is the V75 Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final on March 2 at Gloucester Park, Perth.