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Popular Canterbury trainer-driver Bob Butt has the chance to kick start his new season at Rangiora on Sunday.
The Woodend horseman is out to continue the momentum he gained while enjoying his best season as a trainer, last term.
Butt equalled his previous record of eight wins, but did it with his best strike rate, when lining up just 38 runners.
Like his trainer-driver, KD Hawk has a family name to live up to when he debuts in race 1 on Sunday.
Being by Andover Hall from Kazzle Dazzle, the 4yr-old is a half brother to 10 win trotters KD Commando and KD Hall.
KD Hawk has some of his family’s ability, though Butt is not convinced the horse is ready to show all of it.
“He is quite a nice horse,” Butt said.
“He has had three trials and done it right twice and got it wrong once – he just gets a bit worked up,”
The nervy type will start from the unruly in his 2600m maiden contest on Sunday.
“I will keep him out [on the unruly] to try to keep him relaxed.”
“He is a bit of a big baby, so it will be a good learning experience for him.”
Butt will give With Ice just his second start in 16 months when he lines up in race 9.
The 5yr-old impressed his trainer-driver with his effort to stick on for fourth placing, when first up after his long lay off at Addington, last week.
“He stuck on good,” Butt said.
“He hadn’t raced for nearly 18 months, so I was rapt with that run.”
The fitness With Ice would have gained from that race would have suggested to many punters he would be ready to strike in his next outing.
Butt agrees with that, but has two reservations.
Firstly, he feels the horse may need more racing to reach his peak fitness.
Secondly, the With Ice’s outside of the front line draw could be a telling factor for a horse that still has improvement in him.
“He is still a bit big in condition, he will need a few runs,” Butt said.
“On his day I wouldn’t be worried about the draw.”
“But, he is that old now it will take a few runs to come back after being away for so long.”
“Its just the way the race works out, he is probably one of the best horses in the field, I think.”