OAKS STILL NOT OUT OF BETTY’S RANGE
There’s some bigger things to think of at Albion Park on Saturday night, but for Canterbury trainers Tim Butt and Mark Jones there’s been no shortage of quality entertainment on their trip to the banana state.
Butt, who has Field Marshal in rare form and seeking more glory in the Sunshine Sprint this weekend, and Jones, with classy Queensland Oaks chance Delightful Memphis, have both been well looked after, and they concede the chance to attend the Jeff Horn-Manny Pacquiao fight at Suncorp Stadium last Sunday afternoon was a lifetime experience.
“It was just amazing the atmosphere, and a really great fight, too,” said Butt this week.
“To be there was an absolute privilige – a great day.”
And Jones echoed those words.
“Just a once in a lifetime opportunity to be there and take that all in,” said Jones, who has spent some time in the ring himself.
“It was a great, great fight, and what impressed me was how the Aussies treated Pacquiao like the champion he is. Sometimes, in New Zealand we tend to boo those people – not over here.”
A trip to Suncorp a couple of nights earlier to watch the Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm stars go to war was another highlight for the pair.
The $50,000 Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint is well within range believes Butt, saying Field Marshal has thrived since arriving in Queensland following superb Len Smith Mile win at Menangle a fortnight ago.
“He is in a newer environment and it really suits him,” he said.
“He has his problems with breathing and he doesn’t get all sniffly and open to the viral infections that he can get in the cold weather back home. He seems really bright and well and we’re looking forward to the races up here quite confidently.”
Dexter Dunn will head across to drive Field Marshal this week with successful Len Smith Mile driver Anthony Butt to stay in Melbourne for some big drives in the Vicbred Finals on Saturday night, though he may well head to Albion Park next week to drive him in the $200,000 Blacks A Fake Free-For-All.
“He will spell after the races up here and stay in Australia,” said Tim.
“I’m 99 per cent certain he won’t be heading home. We are looking at the Victoria Cup (now run in October) and the Interdoms in Perth, which are just so attractive, a couple of million to be won up there.
“At this stage the New Zealand Cup is not on the radar.”
Mark Jones admits to being a bit disappointed in the run of Delightful Memphis in last week’s Provincial Oaks after fading to fourth, and has plenty of ground to make up on winner Partyon and co this week in the $75,000 Queensland Oaks.
“I won’t use it as an excuse but she just pulled too hard, even in the warm up she got very keen, and down the back the last time she got really racy. I’ll change the bit and a bit of gear this week and see if we can change things.
“We’re still here and in with a chance. The longer trip will suit her.”
Partyon will go out a short favourite to win her second Oaks race in the space of a week. Her return to best form last week after a disappointing three-year-old season signals trouble for her opposition again on Saturday night. Stu Bailey