Champion Kiwi trainer Tim Butt will continue his career in Victoria, with plans already in train for him to cross the Tasman on a permanent basis late next month.
Best known to Australian harness fans for his four A G Hunter Cup wins with Mister D G (2004), Mr Feelgood (2009), Stunin Cullen (2011) and Choise Achiever (2012), Butt has long been lauded a legend of the sport.
Now he will bring both his training genius and a selection of star standardbreds to Victoria for what he hopes will be a fruitful future on Australian shores.
“In many ways it’s nothing I haven’t done before, I’ve campaigned many horses in Victoria, but now I’ll be looking for a more permanent base,” Butt said.
“Anthony (Butt, brother) will continue to look after the team back in New Zealand but all the horses will be in my name and I’ll be ferrying back and forth between the two countries.
“The big guys will come with me though. Horses like Choise Achiever, Mah Sish and Vulcan, they’ll all be coming across to Victoria and hopefully we can have some really good success.”
Off the scene for the past six months following Raglan’s positive swab in last year’s Miracle Mile, Butt will reignite his career by crossing the Tasman but is yet to nominate his expected training base.
Faced with the option of switching to either Sydney or Melbourne for his seachange Butt said the greater opportunities provided by the Victoria and the chance to campaign both pacers and trotters at the highest level were catalysts for his decision.
Dullard Cup-winning squaregaiter Vulcan in particular will be suited by the shift to Victoria where he’ll likely be set for all of Australia’s elite trotting features, culminating in a possible crack at March’s inaugural Great Southern Star series.
“I’ve always loved the Aussie racing and we’ve had some of our biggest wins over there so it’s very exciting to be setting sail on this journey,” Butt said.
“It’s a fantastic new challenge and while we did consider heading up to Sydney I just think that Melbourne offers a bit more and caters for trotters a bit better so that was key in making the move.
“In the end, we’re only down the road so we can always head up to Menangle if we find a suitable horse or a suitable race; that is no issue at all.”
Butt’s trailblazing move has also been made with his compatriots in mind as he now expects one-time rivals like Mark Purdon and Cran Dalgety to use his new base when campaigning horses in Victoria.