Day At The Track

Butt in vintage display

10:22 AM 27 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Anthony Butt,Harness racing
HRNZ

ANTHONY Butt wound back the clock at Melton last night.

The man who boasts a record seven Hunter Cup wins, dominated the stellar meeting by winning the big Victoria Derby and Oaks double.

It was the Derby win with Line Up, who he now trains and drives, which meant so much.

That win came just an hour after he teamed with Kiwi training duo Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon to win the Oaks with the improving Dr Susan.

Remarkably, Line Up was Butt’s first Victoria Derby win.

“Lavros Star (1997) was my chance. I won the heat on him but missed the final because of suspension,” he said.

Line Up not only gave Butt his biggest training triumph, but also cemented the support leviathan owners Emilio and Mary Rosati have put in Butt and his fiance, Sonya Smith.

“To win this for Emilio and Mary is extra special,” Butt said. “He went so well in the heat, when he drew to lead in the final he was always going to be hard to beat.”

Line Up worked to the front comfortably, but was kept honest in front by Youaremy Sunshine on his outside through a 58.9sec middle half then 26.8sec third quarter.

Young Queensland star Governor Jujon loomed strongly from the one-one trail, but couldn’t run down Line Up, who won by 1.6m in a 1min55.2sec mile rate for the long 2760m.

Just as he did on Line Up, Butt worked to the front and led throughout on Dr Susan in the Oaks for co-trainers Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon.

It was Butt’s second Victoria Oaks winning, following Pullover Brown back in 2003.

But Dr Susan’s win didn’t come before a huge scare.

Dr Susan galloped in the score-up at the first attempt and, thankfully for the her camp, caused a false start.

“She wanted to kick me out of the cart, but she did everything right the second time,” Butt said.

“She’s one of those fillies who has thrived on the trip. She’s got better and better.

“I knew when Mark was still back in the field with a lap to go I had to get going, so I slowly kept upping the pace.”

Dr Susan, who ran a blistering 26.3sec split down the back straight, held-off a very gallant Stylish Memphis to win by 4.4m in a 1min56.6sec mile rate for 2760m.

Dalgety was quick to dedicated the win to his friend and champion driver Gavin Lang, who is battling cancer.

“I just saw my good friend Gavin Lang today. He’s having a wee bit of an off time, if I can dedicate a race I’m going to dedicate it to that good man Gavin Lang.

“It seems a bit hollow tonight not having him one of these big races.”

by Adam Hamilton 

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