Riley Butt’s first Redcliffe winner – first of a hatrick

By Duane Ranger (courtesy of Redcliffe Paceway)

Toorbul horseman, Riley Butt, has made a powerful start to his training career.

The New Zealand born-and-educated 21-year-old has only been training for four months, and in that time has trained five winners – three of them coming at Redcliffe Paceway last Thursday afternoon (January 25).

His first Redcliffe training victory came via The Narcissist and Angus Garrard in race one by 16.6 metres. It was Garrad’s 700th career win. Butt completed his hatrick in races two and five thanks to Leonard Cain who drove Mac OReilly and Millie Francis (Cain) to half-a-head and 2.4 metre wins respectively.

That was some training feat by Butt considering there were only six races carded on Thursday and he trained half of them. He also quinella-ed race one when Pretty Little Liar and Cain ran second.

Mac O’Reilly and Cain also provided Butt with his first training triumph at Albion Park on November 17, 2023. His other win was also at ‘The Creek’ when Cain got Parama home by 1.2 metres as the favourite in race seven on Tuesday (January 23).

“I like to use Leonard and Angus, as well as Adam Sanderson. They are the three drivers Dad used a lot, and I also like the way they drive our horses,” said Butt who works a team of 20 at Toorbul, which is a settlement of 930 people, situated 49 kilometres north of Brisbane.

Father-like-son. Riley Butt (right) says he is more like his father Tim (left) than his, Uncle Anthony. “I prefer to train than drive,” he said.

His multiple Group winning Hall-of-Fame father, and Australasian powerhouse trainer Tim, still helps out, and provides guidance and support, but he has also been concentrating on his small team of gallopers, leaving his son to train the standardbreds. Butt Junior has been training for just over three months now.

“I’m not really new to this, but it is a bit of an honour to carry on with Mum (Andrea) and Dad’s team. . I’ve learnt off the best since I was old enough to walk. But you could say I’m more like Dad (Tim) than Uncle Anthony. I prefer to train them than drive them. I see training as my future, and like a lot of my family members hope to be doing it for a long time,” Butt said.

That’s ironic considering Butt is an accomplished driver, having reined 61 winners from 499 drives since the 2019-2020 season.. He’s also placed 103 times and netted $417,407 in purses.

In fact, two years after driving his first winner behind his Dad’s horse, Tact Tama, at Tabcorp Park Menangle, on April 2, 2020, Butt then drove his first Queensland winner (also in his father’s silks) at Redcliffe Paceway on Mach 29, 2022 behind Captaintreacherous gelding, Eternal Gold.

“I really enjoy working with horses, right from the day they are born until they retire. I like to do what suits the horse. I enjoy the breeding side of the industry and there’s nothing like producing a foal and then turning him or her into an equine athlete.

“One of the reasons we came here, apart from the weather, was because of the Qbred breeding scheme they have got here. The bonuses are well worth competing for, and in many ways strengthens the entire industry. I also enjoy going to the Sales.

“We are definitely here to stay. Mum and Dad love it here and so do I. This is home now, and New Zealand will be just for holidays, a time to visit relatives, and who knows maybe race a horse there one day if its good enough,” Butt said.

The Butt family arrived from Melbourne at the start of February 2022 after stints in Sydney and West Melton in Christchurch.

Born in Christchurch and educated at Christchurch Boys High School, Butt is the youngest of four children. His siblings are Leah, Kate, and Rhys.

“Leah and Rhys are both in New Zealand and they opted for University over the horses. Kate is here in Brisbane too.”

The Butt family from back left (clockwise) Riley, Tim (Dad), Rhys, Leah, ‘Andie’ (Mum), and Kate.

Butt, a handy cricketer, never really considered a harness racing career, until one horse changed his whole viewpoint on life.

“I knew what Dad, Mum, Uncle Anthony, my grandparents, and other close relations had achieved in the sport – but it wasn’t until I was 13 and we campaigned Field Marshall in Auckland and he won the Messenger and the Taylor Mile in one week.

“That horse changed my whole attitude to racing. I learnt so much from him back home. He made me fall in love with the sport. He taught me what winning was all about. It was just so heartening to have done a lot of work with him and then see what he did here,” Butt said.

The first of Riley Butt’s three winners at Redcliffe Paceway – The Narcissist – also provided brilliant Queensland reinsman, Angus Garrard, with his 700th driving success in race one. DAN COSTELLO PHOTO.
The second of the Riley Butt hatrick – Mac OReilly – returns to the Redcliffe Winner’s enclosure with Leonard Cain following race two. DAN COSTELLO PHOTO.

And there’s the hatrick! Leonard Cain gets the Riley Butt trained Millie Francis home in race five.

“Seeing him win the Miracle Mile (2019) was also a highlight. What a horse!”

Re-named My Field Marshall, that son of Art Major won numerous Group races on both sides of the Tasman, and ended his career in Sydney in September 2020 with 17 wins & $1.2 million in purses.

Asked to comment on his current crop, Butt, said The Narcissist, is probably our best racehorse at the moment.

“Mum owns him and he’s a 4-year-old son of Always B Miki. That was his first start on Thursday. He used to be called Smooth Miki. But I think our unraced 3-year-old Art Major colt, Botticelli, could be better. He’s out of the (2011) Elsu mare, Arms Of An Angel, who placed in the Miracle Mile and Chariots of Fire (both in 2016),” Butt said.

“Botticelli will trial in about six weeks,” he added.

This could be a rare sight in future. Riley Butt prefers training to driving.

He said his parents were his biggest inspirations and mentors.

“Queensland feels like home already. We love it here and think it will be fantastic opportunity for Riley,” Mum (Andrea) said.

Butt’s next five starters (all pacers) will be at the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club’s on Thursday (February 1). They are Pretty Little Liar (5) in race one at 12.27pm; The Narcissist (2) in race two at 1.12pm; Born To Write (3) in race five 3.02pm; Millie Francis (5) in race seven at 4.22pm; and Mac O’Reilly (2) in race eight at 5.02pm. Cain and Garrard will share the driving duties again.

Photo Finish
Photo Finish
Photo Finish
Riley Butt’s first training hatrick came at Redcliffe Paceway last Thursday afternoon (January 25). They are (from top to bottom): The Narcissist and Angus Garrard in race one. Mac Oreilly and Leonard Cain in race two; and Millie Francis (Cain) in race five.

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