Harness - News

Smart pacer changes hands

  • Thu, 05 Apr 2018
  • Garrick Knight
Governor's Bay, seen here winning at Addington recently. Photo: Race Images.

Governor's Bay, seen here winning at Addington recently. Photo: Race Images.

Promising Canterbury pacer Governor’s Bay has been sold and is destined to do his future racing in Australia.

For now, the son of Rocknroll Hanover is heading to Southland where he will join Brett Gray’s stable.

Victorian couple Merv and Meg Butterworth acquired Governor’s Bay from trainer Tom Bagrie and connections after a superb second placing at Addington just under a fortnight ago.

But rather than line him up in a $20,000 event tomorrow night (Friday), as Bagrie had planned, the Butterworths have set their sights a bit lower.

“I wasn’t interested in the $20,000 race at ‘the Met’ this week as, if he had won, he would have been rated in Australia as a C2 M1.

“Being an M1 horse, this would have precluded him from going through the grades in an orderly Australian way.

“My view is that we can win six or more C-class races at an average of $7,000 per race before we head to city and contest an MO for $20,000.”

Butterworth has forged a close relationship with Gray in recent seasons and this transfer is an extension of that.

“The plan is to race him with Brett at Winton in a $9,000 race on April 14 and then view our options from there.

“He may or may not have a further run at the bigger Winton track and then spell at Diane Cournane’s before heading across to Melbourne or Sydney.”

Butterworth says he became increasingly impressed with Governor’s Bay after a spate of outstanding performances in recent times.

“He showed tremendous strength for a seven-start horse and I thought, with careful management, would turn out to be quite a successful five-year-old and reach his peak at six.

“My only concern is that he is a big horse which I consider will be a disadvantage in the short term when racing him on the smaller tracks in Australia.

“With experience and maturity, he should cope well with those smaller tracks and I would love to race him at Gloucester Park in Perth, but I don’t think that will suit him early on.

“I have a lot of success at Gloucester Park and they race for the best stake money, which is a conundrum for me.”

Butterworth said he expected to have a bigger fight on his hands when trying to acquire the horse after its last run.

“I thought that he would go for a much higher price once the lookers became serious.

“I decided to act quickly and completed the transaction within hours and the result is that I purchased him at very fair value, I thought.”