By Mark Brassel
A front-running stayer will be flying under the radar when he tackles the $150,000 Country Championships *SERA Qualifier (1400m) at Goulburn on Saturday.
Nowra trainer Richard Butler prepares Just Dylan who will be resuming from a two-month break but has already shown he is a horse with ample ability.
Left: Just Dylan (Blaike McDougall) returns to scale after leading throughout to win at Gosford. Image by - Bradley Photographers
“He has a tremendous will-to-win,” Butler said. “His last run was at Canberra last December and things didn’t go to plan in the race. I thought by freshening him up I can get him ready for the Country Championships and although the 1400-metres is probably a bit short of his best, Goulburn has a long straight and he doesn’t lack stamina so he’ll be strong at the end.
“There are probably three or four solid chances with city form in the Championships race, but take them out and the race opens right up. It would be great if he can win or run second so we get to go to the Final at Royal Randwick.”
Just Dylan led throughout to win at Gosford (2100m) last May beating subsequent city winner Admiral Jello.
“He’s a horse that was trained in the city but I believe he is really starting to thrive down here (Nowra),” Butler explained. “We take him to the beach and the river for swimming and he thoroughly enjoys it.”
Butler, 36, has only been training horses for four seasons, having previously worked as a horse breaker and pre-trainer.
Apprentice Brock Ryan will partner Just Dylan on Saturday: “Brock has ridden for me in barrier trials and jump outs and is a kid on the way up. Even though he doesn’t get to use his claim, I’m quite happy for Brock to be riding my bloke.” TAB fixed odds has Just Dylan at $51 behind ruling favourite Pumpkin Pie at $2.50
*SERA: South East Racing Association