My Field Marshal was brilliant when finishing second in last Friday night's Smoken Up Sprint. Photo: Race Images
Kiwi trainer Tim Butt believes almost every box has been ticked that needs to be for his star pacer My Field Marshal to win Saturday night’s A$200,000 Victoria Cup in Melbourne.
The only sticking point is that champion local pacer Lennytheshark has drawn the one barrier over the 2240-metre trip.
At Melton, where the straight is quite short, being in front is a big asset.
So all Butt and his brother Anthony, who will drive My Field Marshal, want is a true tempo and Lennytheshark to not be gifted the race.
“The key is probably going to be the Kevin Pizzuto-trained pair, Code Black and Tiger Tara,” he said.
“They are drawn near enough to have a crack for the lead and you would think one or both will try and cross Lennytheshark.
“Either way, it’s going to be interesting as I’m sure ‘Lenny’ isn’t going to get it as easy as he did last week.”
In last Friday night’s Smoken Up Sprint, Lennytheshark found the lead and sprinted home in 26.5secs to record an easy win.
My Field Marshal, who had gotten back in the field, flashed home late for second out wide, and pulled a punctured tyre in doing so.
“It happened at about the 700-metre mark and it makes a big difference with those carts when you get a flat,” said Butt.
“I think he’s run his last half in 54.7secs, off the track, and he has tightened up from it.
“It’s definitely improved him and I’m pretty happy with where he is at.”
My Field Marshal has drawn to most likely start from two on the second line, meaning he will follow out star mare Ameretto.
Butt is happy with the draw and thinks it will ultimately work to the horse’s advantage.
“It’s worked out great for old ‘Lenny’, but we are pretty happy with our draw, too.
“If they go break-neck up front, we will be very hard to beat.
“And if they don’t, I’m not too worried about Anthony taking him round to sit parked for the last lap.
“You’ve got to be handy at this level, especially at a track like Melton.”
Butt moved to Australia to train permanently a fortnight ago and will ultimately be basing himself at Menangle, south of Sydney.
But in the meantime he is campaigning three horses – My Field Marshal, Let It Ride and Letsgotothehop – in Victoria.
His New Zealand stable will continue to operate with Jonny Cox soon to take over the day-to-day running of the West Melton barn in Christchurch.