by Chris Barsby
Leading owners Merv and Meg Butterworth are no strangers to winning big races.
The heroics of Arden Rooney in the 2015 New Zealand Cup with record breaking trainer/driver Kerryn Manning have been well documented, and rightly so.
In fact, there isn’t many national or state borders that haven’t been crossed in search of a feature winner for the Victorian based couple.
Success has come via the All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Ross Olivieri in Perth has also provided plenty of triumphs while Manning herself continues to build on her impressive list.
The state of Queensland isn’t foreign to the Butterworth’s either as they continue to build on their impressive trophy cabinet.
Victories in the Sunshine Sprint (Motu Crusader), Queensland Derby and Premiers Cup (Best Deal Yet) have come their way previously.
And now they return, searching for more glory.
On Saturday night, they will be represented by a pair of quality performers in two of the feature events, the final night of the 2017 Albion Park winter carnival.
Motu Meteor lines up from the ace draw in the $75,000 AQWA Constructions Queensland Derby while four-year-old Mr Mojito starts from the second-line in the $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship.
Both races will be staged over 2680m.
“I think both horses are very classy and have great natural talent so they can’t be taken lightly. We only confirmed plans earlier this week although we hatched this idea a few weeks ago.” Merv Butterworth said.
Motu Meteor resumed with a solid performance at Ballarat last Thursday, rating 1:57.1 for the 1710m.
The Bettors Delight gelding boasts a solid grounding for the blue riband classic after finishing second behind Our Little General in the Victoria Derby and then third behind Vincent and Ultimate Machete in the New South Wales Derby.
In both series, he managed to win his qualifying heats comfortably.
Formerly prepared by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Motu Meteor now looms as the biggest threat to race favourite The More The Better which is prepared by Purdon and Rasmussen.
The two pacers have clashed on two previous occasions, both times The More The Better finished in front of Motu Meteor.
“Both of those races were staged in the North Island of New Zealand and he had excuses in the Auckland feature while he was too good for us in the Cambridge Guineas.
“Barrier draws are a major part of racing and we’ve landed the best draw while The More The Better faces a second-line draw and that will make a difference this week.
“I’m thrilled with the draw and I expect a really good effort this weekend, I’ve watched the Brisbane events over the past couple of weeks and I’m certain we’ll be right in the mix.”
While Butterworth is thrilled with the Derby draw, he wasn’t so excited about the draw of Mr Mojito in the Blacks A Fake.
The Real Desire gelding will start from gate 11, four off the second-line.
In two starts for Manning, Mr Mojito finished a solid third behind My Field Marshal and Mattgregor in the 4 & 5yo Championship at TABCORP Park, Melton before a brave second behind potential superstar Heaven Rocks at Ashburton on Jewels day (June 3).
“He’s a very good horse and he will need to be in this race and from this draw but I’m very confident in his ability. He’s in good order and just requires some luck.
“If we manage to find the right cover, he’ll be thereabouts.”
His biggest success came earlier this season at Gloucester Park when triumphant in the Gr.2 $50,000 4yo Championship.
Approved By Dean Baring www.harnessbred.com
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