By Michael Guerin
There are few things more dangerous for punters than lead-up races to group 1s but trainer Bob Butt can allay those fears around his two winning chances in the $50,000 Garrard Mares’ Champs at Addington tonight.
Tonight’s $50,000 sprint is Addington’s first major race of the new season but is still a lead-up to the group 1 Breeders Stakes in two weeks, a race with significantly more value for a mare’s future breeding career.
While many of tonight’s favourites, like the Butt pair of Manhattan and Callies Delight and last-start Queen Of Hearts winner Allamericanlover would usually be expected to improve for the big event in two weeks, Butt is taking a different attitude.
“My two mares are ready to go this week,” Butt said.
“We knew we would get a better draw than Allamericanlover this week than in the Breeders Stakes because this is preferential draw so she might be too good for us if she draws well in two week’s time.
“So with this week being a good stake I have my pair ready so this is our better chance to beat her.”
Manhattan finished second to Allamericanlover in the Queen Of Hearts, caught late after leading, and while she has drawn barrier eight tonight it is not a quick front line and she could work to the lead with no chance she would hand up to her arch rival.
That would make her the one to beat yet Butt warns the gap between her and Callies Delight has closed in recent weeks.
“Callies Delight had a little issue last season and then had no luck at Auckland so I gave her a small freshen up and she has really improved with it.
“I honestly don’t think there is that much between them and if she can get across at the start and trail Manhattan she could be the upsetter.”
Allamericanlover looks the best horse in the race but with the possibility she may have to race parked or at least come from behind the Butt pair she does look vulnerable.