ANTHONY Butt is striving to add another dimension to his influence on the $120,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing on Saturday night.
The New Zealander, who these days calls Australia home, is a two-time of the group 1 event as a driver.
He steered home Stunin Cullen to victory in 2011 and Mah Sish in 2013.
Each was trained by his brother Tim and came after several attempts by the duo to land the feature race.
Anthony Butt has a big chance to add to this tally with New Zealand visitor Franco Nelson on Saturday night.
This time though not just as the driver. He is also the trainer.
The Melton-based Butt has taken over Franco Nelson’s preparation in Australia, which is also likely to include the $400,000 Victoria Cup and $500,000 AG Hunter Cup over the next two weeks, from his NZ trainer Michael House.
Butt, who is a now regular visitor to Ballarat, would become only the fourth driver to land three or more Ballarat Pacing Cup wins.
Vin Knight holds the all-time record of five, having scored on Kotare Knight in 1981, Popular Alm in 1983, Bag Limit in 1988, Sir Reilly in 1989 and Sinbad Bay in 1991.
Brian Gath and Stephen Dove are three-time winners.
Franco Nelson is part of another powerful NZ assault on the Ballarat Pacing Cup.
Smolda from the mighty stable of Mark Purdon, heads the trio, which also includes Mossdale Conner.
They finished in the top four in the NZ Trotting Cup in November – with Smolda second, Mossdale Conner third and Franco Nelson fourth behind now injured Australian champion Arden Rooney.
Smolda, which is vying for favouritism with Lennytheshark, has an outstanding record on eac side of the Tasman.
Purdon has campaigned his regularly in Australia since he was a three-yea-old, with his biggest sucesses being in the group 1 New South Wales Derby and group 1 Len Smith Mile.
All up he has won nine times in Australia, finished second four times and never finished further back than fourth.
A Smolda win would also make him the sixth New Zealand-trained winner of the Ballarat Cup.
Yulestar broke the ice in 2001 and has been followed by Just An Excuse in 2004, Stunin Cullen in 2011, Highview Tommy for Purdon in 2012 and Mah Sish in 2013.
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