The Kaik and Kimberly Butt combined for an easy win in the Jennian Homes ‘Team Teal’ Lady Drivers Challenge at the Westport meeting on Friday and they could easily repeat the dose at Reefton tomorrow.
The five-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding copped eight points at Westport but stayed within the up to 55 Rating for the events and lines up against pretty much the exact same field at Reefton, where he has drawn perfectly in barrier two.
The Kaik has won three races this season for trainer John Bartlett and co-owner Butt and has been in particularly good form during the past month, with two wins and two placings in four races.
“I think that’s mostly just a reflection of Kimberly figuring out how best to drive him,” said Bartlett.
“You have to just flop out of the gate and do absolutely nothing with him early on.
“I guess it was probably an advantage that Kimberly knew him so well when a lot of the other horses had new drivers.”
The Kaik drew post four at Westport and drifted to the rear, but with plenty of action up front as the lady drivers looked to get handy on the turning circuit, the race set up for the swoopers.
The Kaik had some lengths to make up on the turn as Ford Rule and Sam Ottley mastered Fortune Tiller, but they finished quickly and, in the end, won going away by a length-and-a-half.
The lightly-raced Bettor’s Delight four-year-old Ford Rule was probably a certainty beaten after an early gallop cost him position and several lengths and it would be no surprise if he and The Kaik quinellaed the race at Reefton again.
Bartlett has been training The Kaik since last winter after taking him over from Tim Butt and Jonny Cox, for whom he won at Westport at Christmas last season when driven by another co-owner in David White.
Cran Dalgety had The Kaik at the start of his career and won with him as a three-year-old at Kaikoura before he was sold to his current large group of owners, which also includes Addington Raceway’s Richard Bromley, Auckland’s Graham Snookes and even some Australians.
“It’s taken me a little while to figure out how best to train him as well,” said Bartlett.
“He’s got very thin soles to his feet which bruise easily and that’s been his biggest problem over the years.
“That’s why he came to me to work at the beach and why we keep him to the grass tracks as much as possible.
“I’ve figured out the less work you do with him the better – he has more days off than me.
“He goes to the beach every second or third day and my partner Virginia (Mackle) often rides him down there.”
Bartlett and Butt also lined up Nui Ban Den in the Kawatiri Cup and he got home strongly for fourth after racing four-fence.
The Gotta Go Cullect gelding also came from Tim Butt and Cox at the same stage last year and he won a double at the Westport and Reefton meetings over Christmas.
He is owned by Bartlett and Steve King and was bought as a replacement for King Size, a winner at Reefton two years ago but lost when he broke a leg in a race at Westport at Christmas last season.
Ironically, that race was won by The Kaik when he won for Butt and Cox.
The Kaik and Nui Ban Den have won five races this season and Bartlett’s other winner this term, Articulight, has just recently been transferred to Matt Purvis, for whom he won first-up at the Amberley meeting a month ago.
“He needed a change of scenery and Matt is going to start swimming him.
“He’s got sore hocks and stifles and is an exceedingly funny horse – you never know what to expect from him from one day to another.
“He doesn’t need a trainer – he needs a psychiatrist.”