By Adam Hamilton
CHAMPION driver Anthony Butt has landed the plum drive on star Aussie trotter Tough Monarch through NZ Cup Week and the Auckland Inter Dominion.
Trainer Rickie Alchin, who arrived in NZ with Tough Monarch yesterday (Wednesday), said he was thrilled to have Butt aboard.
“I wanted a top Kiwi driver, one who has the score on the board in big races over here,” he said. “Anthony might be based in Sydney now, but his record in the big NZ races is outstanding. It’s great to have him driving for us.”
Butt now has drives in at least three major races during Cup Week, having already been confirmed for the Aussie-owned Line Up in the 3YO Sires Stake final.
“It was exciting to get the call-up to drive Line Up for Emilio (Rosati, owner) and now for Rickie and owners to give me the drive on Tough Monarch is terrific,” Butt said. “I’d originally planned to take Emilio’s trotter Lily Stride across, but she didn’t go well enough last Sunday at Menangle.
“I’ll stay the week for the Cup, I’ve already picked up another drive during the week as well.
“As far as the Inter Dominion goes, I guess I’ll stay that first week for the heats and take it from there.”
Alchin said Tough Monarch had settled well in NZ
“He handled he trip well and it’s good to get across nice an early,” he said. “As planned, he’ll go the Cup trials next week to top him off for the free-for-all on Cup Day,” he said.