YEAR: 2007


Anthony Butt after the 2007 Easter Cup
Tuherbs isn't likely to be seen in any other colour but yellow for the next eight weeks. They are the specially designed silks worn by the Tour Leaders in this year's inaugural Harness Jewels Series, and Tuherbs made it all-but certain that his will be staying with him when he brilliantly won the Group 1 George Calvert Cleaning Easter Cup at Addington on Saturday night.

It was also a superlative drive from his yellow-jersey wearing pilot Anthony Butt, because after settling three-deep early he made a split-second decision to ease Tuherbs off and into the one-one when the chance presented itself as the field wheeled into the straight for the second-to-last time. Movers were coming around thick and fast at that stage, but instead of getting caught Butt managed to hop onto the back of Sly Flyin as he shot forward 600 metres out and then tracked him all the way to the home bend. Once straightened, Tuherbs powered through the slush and pulled away from a blanket finish behind him involveing Likmesiah, Classic Line, Highview Badlands and Sly Flyin, who all finished within a half a length of each other.

The night belonged to the Live Or Die gelding though, and his 3200m victory was completed in a very quick 4:03.9; once again, another big-race plan came to fruition for master trainers Tim Butt and Phil Anderson. "This race has been a long term aim ever since about Cup time when he was getting through the grades," Anderson said afterwards. "He's a good stand-start horse, so it's always been in the pipeline. And he's kept stepping up, hasn't he."

Tuherbs has always been a pacer that's promised lots, being twice a winner and twice placed from four juvenile starts, but then his career went off the boil at three when he remained winless from five outings, the last two of them across the Tasman. The training partners at Premier Stables never panicked though, and remained unfazed after the fruitless Australian campaign. You can sense that Tuherb's form this season - seven wins from 13 starts - was more or less predicted, even expected. "He's always been more in the mould of a Cup horse than a young star," Anderson continued. "It's just because of the way his mind and body was - he was too big and gangly. And in the early days he was just running on ability, now he's getting there on ability combined with the right frame. The trips away play a big part in that. We like to give all our good horses one...they go away boys and come back men."

Coming up for Tuherbs in the next few weeks is the Noel J Taylor Mile/ NZ Messenger double in Auckland on April 27 and May 4 respectively, both of which will suit a versatile type like Tuherbs, and then it's full steam ahead for the $200,000 Harness Emerald at Ashburton on June 2. Anderson says that the time of year for the latter event doesn't suggest it'll produce produce a super fast mile, but he knows thathis and Butt's representative is capable of one just the same. "He's already gone a quick time there," Anderson said, remembering the three and three-quarter length romp in 1:54.7 that Tuherbs achieved last October. "H rolled along in front that day, which he likes to do. But he has always had that speed, and now he can stay a bit too," he added with a wry grin.

From the Fitch II mare Futurist and bred by Roydon Lodge Stud, Tuherbs was bought out of the Dave Anderson stable by Terry McDonald and his good mate Eddie Griffin before he had even raced. It was a punt that paid off for McDonald - who's not afraid of having one - because Tuherbs won his debut when he contested the NZ Welcome Stakes at Addington and beat home Pay Me Christian that night. The gelding has now won nine of his 22 starts, and netted over $210,000 in stakemoney.

McDonald is a long-time supporter of the industry, having raced many horses from the Graham Court stable and also sponsored events via his company Resource Recycling Ltd. Saturday night finished in style for him when Bad All Over led all the way and won the last eventon the programme in the hands of Court's son Paul. A 3 year old by Badlands Hanover out of the Live Or Die mare Love To Live, the gelding was bred and is raced by McDonald and has now put together four victories in 11 starts.

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 12Apr07

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