By Matt Markham
The little part of Zac Butcher that was still gutted by what happened in the Nevele R Fillies Final last week couldn’t help but reflect on what could have been when Ideal Belle dashed away with the Group One New Zealand Oaks last night at Addington.
That’s because as great as winning last night was, and Ideal Belle was fantastic in doing so, Butcher still harbours an inkling that she should be heading back to Auckland with both of two major Group One races for the three-year-old fillies.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think she should be going home with both of them.
“I know she would have won last week, and that probably just proved it.’’
Ideal Belle was wiped out on the final bend last week and checked into a gallop for five or six strides before she picked herself up to run a gallant second to Venus Serena.
In the trail again last night, Butcher was again concerned that luck my play a part in their fortunes when Ideal Belle latched onto the bit rounding the home turn.
“Things got a little noisy and there was a bit of bashing and crashing going on and she got a little bit keen.
“That’s why I didn’t wait for the passing lane, I didn’t want her to hit a wheel or anything after what happened last week.’’
Once in the clear, Ideal Belle surged to the line and proved much too strong for a gallant Raksdeal who set a strong tempo in the race with Te Amo Bromac emerging from the pack late to run third.
Ideal Belle became the second winner for Butcher in the race after Cheer The Lady won back in 2012.
For her masterful trainer Barry Purdon it was the fourth success with previous victories coming in 1993 with Pacific Flight and Julie Vance in 1988 – both of which he trained in partnership with his father, Roy – and then Cheer The Lady.
She is owned by the Auckland Trotting Club 2012 Syndicate, most of whom were on course last night to witness the victory.
Favourite Venus Serena raced unlike her normal self from a wide barrier draw and battled slightly up the straight to finish in fifth position.
Trainer Geoff Dunn could only shrug his shoulders and turn his focus toward the Harness Jewels.
There she and Ideal Belle will clash again – and Butcher know thinks he has the upper hand.
“I think this filly has improved out of sight in recent weeks whereas some of the others might be just starting to level out a bit.
“We just need a good draw.’’
By Matt Markham