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YEAR: 2010

DAVID BUTT

It was a race full of mixed emotions for harness racing horseman David Butt at Addington Raceway tonight (Friday) when he drove Ohoka Arizona to win race one at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club's meeting.

The North Canterbury trainer/driver completed a chapter in his life securing 1000 driving wins, but it was a solemn David Butt afterwards who's only thoughts were with the owners of Ohoka Arizona, Katie and the late Dave Carville. "It's really nice for Katie tonight and I wasn't really thinking about the 1000 wins at all," Butt said.

At a time when all the connections were clearly reflecting on the loss of Dave Carville, Butt was still able to display the lighter jovial side to his personality when questioned on his achievement, a smile through the pain perhaps. Does semi-retirement beckon? "Im not semi-retired or thinking about it, but Bobs (Butt) sending me that way," he said.


Credit: Steve Dolan writing on harnesslink.com

 

YEAR: 2009

2009 UNITED FISHERIES TROTTING FFA

Stig achieved something he'd never done before when he won at Addington on Saturday. He set a NZ Record.

The undisputed star of trotting in Australasia has now blessed us with 13 victories to date, but he seemed to lift the bar even higher again in the $75,000 United Fisheries Free-For-All because he literally gave his rivals a start and a beating.

Nearly four lengths out of position on the outside of the second line when the mobile pulled away, Stig was dangerously giving some talented types even more of an advantage than he needed to. And over the sprint trip of 1950 metres, the task ahead could've very easily turned into 'mission impossible' after such a tardy beginning.

But this is Stig we're talking about - and like he's done numerous times before, the great horse just got down to business and produced an unbelievable performance. Narrowly avoiding two breakers early, the son of Armbro Invasion was never closer in than three-wide all the way around the bend into the straight the first time. Soon afterwards he had cover behind Sovereignty, and by the time the 800m pole came and went he had crossed over to be up outside the new leader King Charlie.

Rounding the home bend it was obvious that he was travelling sweeter than anything else, and down the straight driver David Butt did little more than flick Stig with the whip as he checked inside and out for dangers. There were none really, and at the line he had the fast-finishing Springbank Richard covered by a neck. Then gasps emanated from the small on-course crowd as Stig's time was announced...2:22.7, a scintillating mile rate of 1:57.7, and more importantly it meant that he had smashed a full 2.2 seconds off the existing national make held by Castleton's Mission.

Afterwards, trainer Paul Nairn admitted that Stig even surprises him sometimes. "It's just his will to win - he overcomes things," Nairn said. "I knew myself that he was no cert today, drawn where he was over the sprint trip, and it wasn't a great start he got. I don't know what happened there; Davey just said he got too far back and couldn't make up the ground. It's not the first time he has done that though (surprised me), he's just such a great stayer."

Nairn always had last Saturday's Listed event in the back of his mind for Stig, but only if he pleased him in training. "He had a three-week break after the Dominion, and has been in work about six weeks since, and if he wasn't up to this today I wouldn't have been worried. But when I worked him last Friday he seemed fit, and I thought he was ready to compete."

"There is a chance I will go north to Auckland now for the Cup Meeting, and will have to make a decision on that in the next week or so. The main problem with that is the young ones I've got at home, but I suppose I could also take up the likes of Red and Brite N Up to make the trip worthwhile."

Nairn says a couple of the youngsters he has in work "could make 2-year-olds," including a sister to De Gaulle named Mamselle who's "a nice wee trotter" and Landora's Pearl (Earl- Landora's Image) who "trots along a bit too".

Credit: John Robinson writin in HRWeekly 4Feb09

 

YEAR: 2008

2008 HELLER TASTY DOMINION

Once upon a time, Paul Nairn took a horse to the Coast and couldn't win a maiden with him. The trotter raced with aplomb on both days at Westport and then again at Reefton, but still it was three months before he cleared the ranks of beginners; hardly anything to get excited about. Today, he's square-gaiting's latest superstar - the new benchmark that all other top trotters have to aspire to.

Such has been the meteoric rise of a 6-year-old that is known simply as Stig. "I wasn't even sure he would make a horse to begin with," Nairn recalled. "And when I first got him I didn't think much at all about what sort of potential he had - I was just trying to see what he could do. He only qualified a couple of weeks before he went to the Coast, and he was always a bit awkward in his gait so you couldn't let him go or he would break. And because of that I started to worry I was teaching him not to try. But he was always a willing horse that would do what you wanted him to."

Stig continued his dominance with another emphatic victory at Addington last Friday night, his fourth from five outings this term, and as far as trotting events go it was as big as they come - the $300,000 Heller Tasty Dominion. Things didn't pan out for the Armbro Invasion gelding during the running though, and driver David Butt even admitted afterwards that he thought they were in trouble with a lap to run.

At that stage he and Stig were last on the outside and stuck in a three-wide train that was going nowhere, a situation that Butt counteracted by launching the gelding four-wide down the back straight. Horse and pilot were still fair coasting around the home bend though, despite the exertion, and they sailed down the home straight to win comfortably in the end by nearly a length in close to record time.

"This is a big thrill," Nairn said. "Because it is a special event, with a lot of history attached." The Leeston trainer has been to the top of the Dominion tree before, having also won the event back in 1995 with Call Me Now, but he stops short of drawing any similarities between the two great trotters. "It's hard to compare horses from different eras," he said. "But Call Me Now was a real good stayer, and so is this bloke."

Nairn wasn't entirely happy with the way Stig was trotting leading up to last week's Dominion, which gives the horse's performance even more notoriety. "He has never been a perfect-gaited trotter, but compared to what he was like as a 4-year-old he is a lot better this season. It's hard to have them dead right all the time."

-o0o-

The winner of 12 races and over $406,000 will now have a month out, and Nairn says Stig's next main target is the Rowe Cup in May. During his spell, Stig will have a nagging area near his off-hind fetlock attended to. Some stitches haven't dissolved like they should have following the operation Stig had to remove a piece of sesamoid bone, and Nairn says it's little more than a "pimple-like" superficial wound that weeps from time to time and hasn't affected his ability to perform whatsoever.

He does thank his lucky stars when thinking about the last time Stig had to have an enforced latoff though. "He fractured his sesamoid, and could have very easily been history," he said. "But sometimes things go right, and sometimes they don't. Take Inspire for example, she was working as good a Stig but then broke a pastern in training a couple of months ago. She is in foal to Sundon, but I would like to have another go with her. That's the plan anyway."

Nairn is one of harness racing's greatest trainers, and his effort in producing Stig to win the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup first-up this season - the horse's first appearance for nearly a year - was a truly remarkable feat. yet he is almost 'embarrassed' by any moment in the spotlight, preferring instead to extol the virtues of either the horse or whoever's sitting behind them on racenight rather than take any credit himself.

With a horse of Stig's quality in the stable though, speeches on the victory dias are something that he might just have to get used to. "He has got all the right ingredients," Nairn said, answering the question about whether Stig could be one of the sport's all-time greats. "He's pretty relaxed and doesn't pull in his races, and he can make his own luck. Plus he can stay, and he has got enough speed. So he has got a bit going for him, for sure."

Strangely enough, Nairn has never trained a pacing winner. "The first horse I ever took to the races was a pacer, one that belonged to my grandfather called Spanish Lace. But I've got one at home at the moment that I reckon could win a couple. "She is four and named Carlo's Call, and is actually by Call Me Now - out of a mare that could pace and trot."


Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 26Nov08

 

YEAR: 2005

The connections of Pay Me Christian
Pay Me Christian stamped himself as the best 3-year-old in commission with a brilliant win in the $150,000 NRM Race13 Sires' Stakes Final at Addington on Cup Day.

Pay Me Christian drew nicely at four in the Sires' Stakes Final, and most of those that sent him out hot favourite would have expected him to use his gate speed and go straight to the front, but it was well into the event before driver David Butt got serious about it; it was a pre-race plan that fell into place.

"David and I did talk about it," Kerr said. "We knew there was going to be a lot of speed early, because there were about three horses which were going to try and get the trail behind him. So we just decided to stay out of that early rush and then push forward, and David drove him beautifully. He had to be a real good horse to win it today. And I was just so pleased for him, because he had one or two knockers."

He's not getting all stirred up or being silly when he goes out on the track anymore," Kerr continued. "He's settled down now, and he is starting to develop into his body too. Pay Me Christian's identical to his old man, in that he's got such natural high speed. And he possesses all the same characteristics as his grand-dam Pay Me Back, who was a super,super mare...beautiful gait, high speed, great in the wind, and can stay all day."

Bred by Mark Paget, Paul Mahoney, Gerald Dwyer and Barrie Rose, who own his dam Pay Me Tu, Pay Me Christian was bought back through the sale ring and then Martin Boyce and Terry McCormick joined the quartet in the ownership.

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 10Nov05

 

YEAR: 2005

MURRAY BUTT - Horseman

Canterbury's close-knit harness racing industry farewelled one of its favourite sons on Saturday. Murray Butt's public funeral was held at the Templeton Community Centre, near Christchurch, at 12noon. Butt, aged 59, died suddenly and unexpectedly at his Templeton property, Oriole Lodge, on Tuesday 6 December.

The Canterbury harness racing community was rocked by the sad and unscheduled circumstances of his passing. Many are struggling to come to grips with his untimely death. Acclaimed as a modest and unassuming personality, he invariably created the impression he wanted to get along well with as many people as possible. He was very good at it.

A warm humoured and agreeable individual, he shunned conflict and criticism and invariably demonstrated acceptable gentlemanly ways that endeared him to all he knew. He was once described by a respected contemporary as "unflappable and always the same.''

His marriage to Jennifer Jones, a daughter of industry legend Derek Jones MNZM, in April 1965 was to forge an alliance of two of Canterbury's famous sporting and harness racing families that has exerted profound influences on the growth and recognition of the industry in New Zealand.

All three of their sons, Tim, Anthony and Roddy have enjoyed huge success and their only daughter Chrissie is married to prominent trainer Cran Dalgety. It would be superfluous to list the prolific feats with horses of their three sons who are industry household names.

But a special spot, of course, will always be reserved for the likes of champion trotters Lyell Creek and Take A Moment and pacers Mister D G, Happy Asset and Blossom Lady (trained by Derek Jones) and Justaboyden and Judicial who were major Perth winners for Roddy. Anthony was regular driver of Blossom Lady (two A G Hunter Cups and a NZ Cup).Anthony and Roddy were the first drivers to win dual Australasian Junior Driving Championships.

Murray Butt was a son of the late Wes Butt, New Zealand's leading trainer on seven occasions between 1945 and 1962. Wes also topped the national drivers' premiership in 1945-46 and 1952-53. Murray's father-in-law Derek Jones twice won the trainers' premiership in 1965 and 1969 in partnership with Jack Grant (late) and is one of only three New Zealand trainers to top 1000 wins (1011), the others being Cecil Donald (late) and Roy Purdon. Murray's brother Robin of Preston Farm, West Melton, was also a household name in harness racing as the trainer and/or driver of Locarno (Miracle Mile), Camelot (NZ Cup) and classic winner City Rogue. Murray's nephew David Butt (son of Robin) topped the 2003-2004 trainers' premiership in partnership with his wife Catherine.

Murray first met his wife Jennifer at Templeton Primary School before Murray spent the 1960-62 period as a boarder at St Andrews College in Christchurch. "And, when I came out of St Andrews, there was Jenny waiting for me," Murray recently quipped to the writer. The young couple got away to a flying start in life with the winnings of champion filly Golden Oriole who was raced by Murray and trained by his father. After she won her first race, Murray exercised a right of purchase (450 pounds) on the filly he leased from Jim Dalgety. Golden Oriole won about 9000 at a time when a pound was a pound and was later sold to clients of USA horseman Eddie Cobb for the equivalent of about $40,000 as a 5-Year-Old. Golden Oriole won 10 races in New Zealand and was champion 2-Year-Old of her year when she won the NZ Sapling Stakes, one of four straight wins in that campaign.The daughter of Local Light won the Great Northern Derby at three. Murray's father Wes was not only the trainer but also the "Responsible Person'' in terms of ownership legalities as Murray was technically too young to assume any ownership role. Golden Oriole was no slug in open ranks before her sale overseas. She beat the mighty Lordship in a feature Addington sprint.

Funds from Golden Oriole's sale to USA assisted Murray and his wife to set up the Oriole Stud that they operated during the years 1968-1983. Sires they stood at the property included Good Time Eden, Tartan Hanover, Gentry, Scrappy Wave, Crockett, Pacific Hanover, Leading Light and Valerian. Dual gaited Crockett, sire of standouts Bronze Trail and Sprockett, was probably the pick of the sires they stood.

Murray gained his first success as a trainer with Countaway on January 10, 1973. He actually prepared a small team of six horses while mixing stud duties with that pursuit. Game Nian (eight wins) was a capable trotter for him. As a driver, he posted two notable wins with talented pacer Golden Moose in the Kaikoura Cup and the 1985 NZ Firestone FFA, the second leg of the TAB double on Cup Day. His brother in law Peter Jones won the first leg, the NZ Cup, with outsider Borana.

Murray was a former president of the NZ Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers' Association that he represented for three years at HRNZ Executive level before standing down three years ago. He was also the president of the Canterbury branch for five years (1990-1995). Murray Butt enjoyed helping his son Tim at his showplace training establishment where he also took a close interest in horses part owned by his wife Jennifer in trotters Genius and Lotsa Speed this season and another grand trotter in Noam in 2001 and 2002. Noam later raced with distinction when sold overseas. Viewfinder, Keep Up, Night Hawk, Peeping Tom, Success, Marmoose and Roimata Lad were only some winners Murray trained earlier in his career. The Sniper, Red Tip Governor, Cracker Nova, All Talk, Bizness, Bolaz and Bestoranum were a handful of useful outside drives he was associated with. Murray Butt and his wife enjoyed several overseas trips to follow the success of their sons.

The couple eventually subdivided half of their original 100 acre block of land and they bought the late Wes Butt's 16-acre Mankind Lodge complex at Templeton where the couple built a 20-bay all weather golf driving range in 1995. They operated the venture themselves for a year before leasing it out.

Murray and Jenny Butt were seemingly inseparable companions at Canterbury harness racing fixtures and also at Auckland and overseas raceways. They derived much genuine pride in the success of their children in harness racing and invariably accepted it modestly and graciously. The couple's numerous grandchildren were also a source of much warmth and enjoyment. Murray and Jenny Butt's combined act will be difficult to follow.

Credit: Don Wright

 

YEAR: 2003

2003 NEVELE R FILLIES' SERIES FINAL

When Alta Serena was first broken in, it was thought that she would never even grace a racetrack. The filly had a real cantankerous nature, and co-trainer Brian Hughes says that is putting it mildly. "She was a real bitch, actually," he said. Alta Serena put on quite an act the first time she went to the races too, in March last year, pig rooting and playing up behind the mobile before running home late for fifth; oddly enough, that is the worst placing of the filly's career.

Nearly 14 months and 21 starts later, Alta Serena has now won 10 times, netted nearly $185,000 in stakemoney, and last Friday night she scored her biggest victory when taking out the Nevele R Fillies' Series Final brilliantly. The win was some recompense for her enormous effort in the NZ Oaks a week earlier, in which Alta Serena was relegated from third after her driver Frank Cooney was found guilty of causing interference on the home turn and copped a suspension.

David Butt was chosen as a replacement. Alta Serena's luck with the draw stayed bad when she drew 12, but of all the second-line draws she had the best of them because she was following out hot favourite Champagne Princess who was expected to punch out and lead from three over the 1950 metre trip. "Davey and I talked about that, but there was a chance she could have been caught wide early and get shuffled back so we decided to stay out of that," Hughes said.

Butt did his bit, getting Alta Serena into the three-wide line with cover, and when he asked the filly to stretch out at the top of the home straight she pounced like a tiger to win by half a length, shaving nearly a second and a half off the national fillies' record in the process. "She has got real explosive speed," said her co-trainer afterwards. "But she can sprint and stay, her run in the Oaks proved that. Alta Serena has been plagued by bad draws throughout her career, and she has done a lot of work in a lot of races where they have gone great times. She is very, very good, and very under-rated," Hughes added.

By Fake Left out of the Smooth Fella mare Heard A Whisper, Alta Serena was bred by Tony Dickinson's Alta Breeding Company Ltd and sold cheaply through the sale ring for $4000. Moira Green bought the filly on impulse, and races the 3-year-old in partnership with her son John and his wife Trish, John being Hughes' training partner as well. Moira was on-course at Addington for the Oaks, but last week she offered to look after her grandchildren back in Auckland while John tended to other members of the racing team at Alexandra Park, and Alta Serena provided her with the perfect birthday present.

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 21May03

 

YEAR: 2003

2003 GIANNIS PITA BREAD CANTERBURY PARK TROTTING CUP

What a fine trainer of a trotter Paul Nairn is. And what better way to show it than run first and second in the Giannis Pita Bread Canterbury Park Trotting Cup, and judge the finish with such precision. Only a dead-heat between Call You Later and Bristle could have been closer.

Less than a week earlier, Nairn had won fresh-up at Motukarara on the grass with both of them. He was a little worried with the jump in class facing Bristle, but the stallion gave Nairn cause to forget them with his work during the week. "If anything, he has been working better than Call You Later," he said.

Nairn trained Call Me Now, the sire of Call You Later, to win the Cup. David Butt drove the horse when Nairn went through a stage when he wasn't driving much at all. "I started off driving Stan Boy and Wave Goodbye, but then I stopped for a while. If you train them, I think you should drive them when you can, but there is also a time when maybe you should step down," he said.

Like many stables, Nairn is well served by enthusiasts, in his case by his father Graham who makes the morning tea and Peter Willman who does everthing else. "Pete's been coming out for almost ten years. He is a wharfie and arrives at 6:45am every day; he drives the galloping pacemaker, does the yards, and fixes the gear. If it wasn't for people like that, who love horses and racing, it just wouldn't be so good," he said.



Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 8Oct03

 

YEAR: 2002

T K Victor
2002 NRM SIRES' STAKES 2YO TROTTERS CHAMPIONSHIP

Good manners, the best trip of all, and a determined stayer's finish brought T K Victor a Group 2 win in the NRM Sires' Stakes Trotters Championship for 2-year-olds at Addington last week.

The son of Simon Roydon is trained by Dale Cameron, but he has been in the care of Brent Lilley while he has been in the south. "He is only a pony, but you have to sit behind to fall in love with him," said Lilley, who met Cameron and drove a few horses for him while he was employed by Barry Purdon a few years ago. "He had never been to the beach before he got here," he said. T K Victor was driven to perfection by David Butt, who also won the race in 1998 with Special Branch and the year after that with Shine.

T K Victor was bred by Robert Tapp and Patricia Johnson, who bought his dam Bonnie Quine empty at a broodmare and weanling sale three years ago for $500. "We had seen her race at Cambridge," recalled Tapp, "so we knew she had ability. The first consort that came to mind over Sundon and all others was Simon Roydon, simply because it was a similar cross to Continentalvictory, who won the Hambletonian in the States, but it also crossed one of the best trotting families in Arndon's family with a doubling up of Star's Pride."

Tapp has bred numerous winners, including Cee Eye Bee, T K Swift, T K Dancer, Steel Dawn and El Sirocco, and preparing to race later this season are T K Blackjack and T K Stellar. Bonny Quine is also the dam of a yearling colt by Straphanger and was served this season by Above The Stars.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 08May02

 

YEAR: 2000

2000 INTERNATIONAL CARGO EXPRESS RISING STARS 3YO CHAMPIONSHIP

Age has dimmed Robin Butt's athletic prowess somewhat. The West Melton trainer took to the Queen's Drive fence near the birdcage at Addington Raceway with the intent of an Olympic high jumper, but the execution of the leap suggested he was not quite medal material. Butt watched a clinical performance by City Rogue to beat Niobium in the $30,000 International Cargo Express Rising Stars 3-Year-Old Championship from the public stand, and took the short cut to the winner's circle.

City Rogue trailed Niobium and said goodbye with a sharp burst of speed at the 200m that quickly put the result beyond doubt. Within 10 minutes, Butt was more concerned with the run on Niobium who is not in the class of Niobium but certainly more competitive than he showed in this race. "He should have been a bit sharper," Butt told driver Anthony Butt. "By the look of it, I have been a bit light on him this week. He has had four races in four weeks, so perhaps I was too kind on him," he said.

The winner of two races, more than $25,000 and still a maiden, Niobium will race at Kaikoura before the Sires' Stakes Final at the NZ Cup meeting next month. City Rogue, the winner of five of his eight starts, will stick to the trials. As far as type goes, City Rogue looks as good as he is. He has height and a good deep brown colour, strength and conformation, and presence without making an issue of it. Butt says he is an easy horse to work with. "The two of them are great mates. They have always been together," he said.

Over the years, Butt has trained some great horses and many good ones. Two of the best were Miracle Mile winner Locarno and NZ Cup winner Camelot, and they were followed by Anzus, Finest Hour, Wood Chip and others in the middle grades. "City Rogue is up with the best I have trained, and potentially as good as Locarno and Camelot," he said. In recent times, Butt has cut his team down to a size that he can pretty much manage on his own.

David Butt, Robin's son and driver of City Rogue, says he has never driven a 3-year-old as good. "No, nothing in his class," he said. So, now we await with interest...the clash of City Rogue with crack northerner Matai Mackenzie...and the hurdling form of one of the great horsemen.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 18Oct00

 

YEAR: 2000

2000 CHRISTCHURCH CASINO NZ TROTTING STAKES

Freak filly Enthusiast is on a mission to put together the most lucrative 3-year-old trotting campaign ever and it seems only a train can stop her after she again demoralised her opponents in the $25,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Stakes.

The Chiola Hanover chestnut, also last season's 2yo Trotting Stakes winner, has cleaned up this year's Hambletonian Classic by five lengths in 1:59.5, Sires' Stakes Championship, Rosso Antica by five lengths and the 3yo Trotting Stakes by five and a half lengths and now embarks on an Australian campaign where probably another five feature trots are at her mercy. She could conceivably win nine 3-year-old features this season and 10 in total by the end of age group racing. And the record of sorts she will be chasing is one shared by former stablemate Above The Stars, who five seasons ago won every feature available to him in Australasia - six.

In 1996/97, Galleon's Paradise won six feature 3-year-old trots, but neither the Trotting Stakes or Rosso Antico. Enthusiast gets the opportunity to set new standards because she is a filly and has a race like the Victoria Oaks at her disposal, but that fact makes the feat all the more remarkable. Fillies are not supposed to be better than colts, but Enthusiast can already lay claim to being as good if not better than any young trotter seen in this part of the world.

Trainer Paul Nairn and driver David Butt are of course in the perfect position to compare and both agree that while Above The Stars and Enthusiast are "as good as it gets," the filly is the better racehorse. "Above The Stars could be difficult to drive, but Enthusiast is perfectly mannered," said Butt. "She does everthing right and relaxes off the bit, and the further they go, the more she loves it," he added.

So when did Nairn begin to think he might have something special - another one that is after the likes of Above The Stars, Call Me Now, Last Game, Marvin, Shine, Special Branch and potentially Shaq Attaq? "I guess when she won the Trotting Stakes last year and ran her last mile in 2:02. Being by Chiola Hanover, I figured she should improve with age. But it is always in the back of your mind whether they will take that next step up. Even now when you work her at home you wouldn't think she was anything special, but she is such a terrific wee stayer."

That Enthusiast has taken each step would be an understatement and it has been little breaks in between little assignments where she has taken giant leaps. After winning a maiden first up for the season nicely at Motukarara, failing at Addington and winning a C1 at Forbury Park, Enthusiast had three weeks off and six weeks to get ready for a trip to the Coast over Christmas in what was her first real trip away from home. After winning at Westport and Reefton, she had 10 days off before winning at Washdyke and Ashburton and launching her Auckland assault. Five days R&R followed that trip before Saturday's success, where like the Rosso Antico she again made her move to the death in mid-race, applied the pressure from the half and with a shake of the reins at the furlong, said goodbye. Her 3:20.4, last 800m in 60, bettered Sunny Action's filly record by .5 of a second and was her third national record despite being merely in cruise control.

Enthusiast is now having another week off before heading to Australia for the Victoria Oaks on May 20, followed by the Holmfield, Victoria Derby and probably the NSW and SA Derbys. "We will sit down and work things out now, but that is a two month trip and we might look at leaving her with another trainer like Graeme Lang, Robert Cameron or Ted Demmler." However, Nairn notes that Demmler is presently raving about a 3-year-old trotter of his own in Truscott Steel and that would seem the least likely of the options.

So how does Nairn do it - so many good trotters in such a short space of time and at such a good strike rate - one might ask. The right breeding and owners play a large part, but so does an education from a past master in Jack Litten and simple hard work. Nairn does all the early work himself, including the driving until he is satisfied they are "properly organised" for the big time - at which point he hands over the reins to Butt. He drove Enthusiast until three starts ago. Once they are ready, Nairn says driving is one less thing he has to worry about.

Enthusiast, the first foal fron Enthuse, a Gee Whiz II mare who won once from just three starts, is raced by her breeders - Nairn and his father Graeme, Gywnn Thomson and the Red And White Syndicate, each party having quarter share. The latter comprises five members - Auckland's Don Stewart, Christchurch's Michael Chin and Leeston's Paul Johnstone and Colin and Noel Lowery. Enthuse, a half sister to Sundowner Bay and good sorts in Marvin and Rainbow Bay, and whose third dam is the fine trotting mare Dianthus Girl, has since produced a 3-year-old colt by Call Me Now in Call Me Later, a yearling colt by the same sire in Crunch and a filly by Sundon. She is back in foal to Chiola Hanover and will be returning to that veteran sire this year.

Credit: Frank Marrion writing in HRWeekly 27Apr00

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