Cups Kings; Tim & Anthony Butt have claimed yet another Grand Circuit feature with Mah Sish winning the Hunter Cup.
Star Kiwi pacer Mah Sish has clearly signalled his arrival at the elite level.
Mah Sish joined Sting Lika Bee and Stunin Cullen as same year winners of the Ballarat/Hunter Cup double after an explosive performance in last night’s Gr.1 Del-Re National Food Group $400,000 feature at TABCORP Park, Melton.
In front of a massive crowd, the lethal combination of Christchurch brothers Tim and Anthony Butt claimed the country’s richest handicap event after Mah Sish ($3Fav) held off the determined late challenge of Jaccka Clive ($42.30) and Caribbean Blaster ($5.10) in track record time.
The victory provided Tim with his fifth victory as a trainer while Anthony has now won the Cup a record seven times as a driver.
But for Mah Sish, it clearly demonstrates that he has come of age on the Grand Circuit scene after careful planning and management over the past twelve months.
Back to back victories in the Ballarat and Hunter Cups now has most fans believing he’s the right horse to complete a unique treble with the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship in Sydney well within his reach in the coming weeks.
The 3280m stand start started well with Mach Alert ($7.60) jumping straight on the lead while Mah Sish steadily worked around them three-wide early to challenge for supremacy.
Anthony Butt drove confidently and aggressively, he eventually took the lead away from Mach Alert with a mile and a half left to run, but the chances of an easy lead were quickly dispelled as Caribbean Blaster worked around them to race outside Mah Sish.
The lead time was covered in 127.4 seconds.
The race quickly took another turn as Terrorway ($11) zoomed around the field three wide and attacked for a position outside of Mah Sish, but Caribbean Blaster became fired up and fought with driver Kate Gath before restraining to land a trail on the back of Terrorway.
The first half was frantic with quarters of 28.5 and 28.9 seconds.
Entering the back straight on the final occasion, Mah Sish led Terrorway while Four Starzzz Flash ($6.60) led up the three wide line.
The third quarter was covered in 28.5 seconds and Mah Sish had fought off the challenge of both Terrorway and Four Starzzz Flash but Caribbean Blaster loomed danger along with Jaccka Clive wider on the track while Mach Alert and Pub Blitz ($51.60) used inside runs.
At the line, Mah Sish fought tenaciously and held Jaccka Clive by a head with Caribbean Blaster a further 1.25m away in third place.
The final split was the slowest at 29.6 seconds.
“I thought we were in big trouble leaving the back straight the final time, we were just flying the whole way and I was waiting for the sweepers but he just wouldn’t give in. There was no quit in him tonight.” Driver Anthony Butt said.
“He’s really come of age in the last six months and he’s adapted very well to the Aussie style of racing. His past two victories have been super and it’s great to win another Hunter Cup because it’s such a great race.” Butt added.
Mah Sish will now head to Sydney to contest a supplementary heat of the Inter Dominion series at TABCORP Park, Menangle on February 16.