Ballarat Pacing Cup: New Zealand may claim the cup

When the tough gets going, so does Mah Sish.

His reinsman Anthony Butt could not agree more.

Butt is confident Mah Sish can use this attribute to put himself in the finish in tonight’s group 1 $150,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, 2710m, 

Butt told The Courier from his home in New Zealand yesterday that luck in the running was always a factor in races at this level and this was something Mah Sish would need from his second row draw.

Butt believes favourite Sushi Sushi will lead from the pole.

He also expects Lance Justice to be on the move with Smoken Up.

Butt said in a ideal world he would press forward with Mah Sish (from barrier nine), settle outside Sushi Sushi and then have Smoken Up move into the death and give him a trail.

“Who knows how it will turn out.”

Butt is concerned though that Smudge Bromac will be eased at the start in a bid to find a trail perhaps three on the pegs, forcing Mah Sish back.

Whatever happens, Butt is not concerned about having to put the six-year-old into the race.

“I won’t be scared to send him three wide.”

Butt and his brother Tim, who trains Mah Sish, are pleased with the progress the grand circuit campaigner has made this season.

He put in a super effort to run fourth to Terror To Love in the group 1 $600,000 NZ Trotting Cup (Sushi Sushi was third), and since arriving in Australia has finished second to Caribbean Blaster in the Victoria Cup, won a minor race at Melton and run second to Sushi Sushi in the Bendigo Pacing Cup.

The Butts know all about winning the Ballarat Pacing Cup.

After a decade of trying an some near misses, Stunin Cullen triumphed in 2013 and went to win the AG Hunter Cup next start.

The Belinda McCarthy-trained and Luke McCarthy-driven Mach Alert appears to be another major chance, along with the sometimes unpredictable Auckland Reactor, Queenslander Devil Dodger, hardy Melpark Major and sentimental hometown hope Decorated Jasper.

Tonight’s Cup meeting launches Harness Racing Victoria’s “Hunter Cup Carnival”, which continued with Victoria Derby heats at Melton tomorrow night.

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