THURSDAY: November 19, 2020: HAWKESBURY trainer Peter Green didn’t intend having a runner in today’s opening heat of the Sky Racing Provincial Summer Series on his home track.
But a change of mind provided him with not only with his first starter in a Provincial Series, but even more importantly his first representative in a final.
Green’s Butch’N’Bugs, a $51 roughie, ran third to $3.30 favorite, Newcastle’s Spanish Point, and runner-up, Kembla Grange mare Accoy ($11), in the 1500m Class 5 Plate; all three qualifying for the third running of the $150,000 Final (1600m), this time to be run at Wyong on January 2.
“I wasn’t going to nominate Butch’N’Bugs as he had raced only 12 days ago at Wyong,” Green said this evening.
“But when I saw the entries were a bit light on and extended, I thought we may as well throw our hat in the ring and have a crack.
“It’s a terrific thrill to now have my first runner in a Provincial Final.
“Not bad for a $3000 horse. We’re having a lot of fun with him.”
That’s all experienced horseman Green and his brother Clinton paid for the now Sidestep four-year-old at the 2018 Scone yearling sale.
They race the gelding with their father Peter Snr and close family friend Alan Hagarty, and naming him was easy.
Clinton was called Butch as a kid, and Bugs was the trainer’s nickname.
Green wondered early days whether their cheap buy was going to be any good as he virtually couldn’t get out of his own way in trackwork.
That changed when he was switched from the synthetic track to the grass, and Butch’N’Bugs broke through for his first win in April – at the same track where the final will be staged in early January.
Qualifiers cannot start in another heat before the final, and Green isn’t certain whether he will give the gelding another run.
“I’ll have a look at the programs and make up my mind what we do,” he said. “But he has had a quick turnaround and it wouldn’t be the worst thing if he didn’t start again before January 2.”
Whilst Green is understandably thrilled to have his first runner in a Provincial Final, he isn’t resting on his laurels.
“I’ll probably nominate Auvergne (also a Wyong winner in April) for the second heat over 1350m at Wyong next Thursday,” he said.
“But depending on how the field shapes up, we might wait for another heat at Kembla Grange next month.”
It will be some feat if Green can also qualify her as, like Butch’N’Bugs, she also entered his stable as a $3000 purchase. Clinton Green bought the former Victorian online through Inglis Digital last December.
. Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, who won today’s opening heat with Irish import Spanish Point, also won the Hawkesbury heat last year with another import Occupy, who subsequently won the 2019 Final at Gosford in late December.
. RacingNSW stewards questioned jockey Jay Ford about the disappointing performance of Mo The Great ($4.60 third favorite), who finished eighth in today’s race.
Ford said he had to make some use of the Wyong gelding in the early stages to maintain his position, and added he raced flat and failed to finish off when put under pressure from the 600m.
Well backed second favorite Oakfield Captain ($4.20) raced wide without cover throughout before finishing sixth, and a post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.