Butler’s big Inter Dominion team ready for action

The Jack Butler stable head into the long-awaited Inter Dominion series of 2023 in the Sunshine State in a unique scenario.

The Butler name has been a force in Queensland pacing and trotting in recent campaigns, annually ticking past the 100 win milestone as well as being competitive in Group-level events during the carnivals.

Now with the biggest prize of the code on offer in their own backyard, the team looks towards ‘ID23’ with a loaded arsenal.

Butler has two trotters ranked inside the top 10 for the square gaiters in the latest leader board released on Wednesday while also boasting two pacers within the top 17, headlined by Hot And Treacherous at seven.

While the Logan Village-based yard do not possess the headline horses like a Leap To Fame or Just Believe, they certainly have shots to fire across the heats.

The quartet – Funny Face, Adelle, Deus Ex and Hot And Treacherous – will get their opportunity at Grand Circuit glory and are following a path that their trainer has been instructed to use during a series such as this.

Funny Face in action.

“I am really happy with where they are at,” Jack said.

“They will be going into it pretty fresh – they are fit but fresh.

“That was how I have been taught to have them for the ‘Inters’ from a few people I have worked with. I couldn’t be happier with them to be honest.”

Of the four, Funny Face is the highest in the rankings at five for the trotters after winning a ‘Golden Ticket’ event in the lead-up to the series.

The five-year-old mare won the Group 3 Trotters Spring Sprint to book her position for ID23 earlier in November before backing it up with another strong victory seven days later.

She has racked up half a dozen victories since arriving on Australia’s shores from New Zealand earlier in 2023.

Hot And Treacherous after one of his victories.

As well as Funny Face, Butler also has stable mate Adelle who is ranked 10th overall.

Adelle ran into second behind Funny Face on Saturday evening in their most recent outing.

If the 47-year-old horseman had to select which gait of standardbred he is most excited about from his stable ahead of the series, Butler says he will go with the trotters.

And, he believes that racing on a surface they are well and truly accustomed with will be key across the heats.

“She is a trotter on the way up and she is probably 12 months away to be fair from getting to where we think she can get to,” Jack said of Funny Face.

“This will be a big stepping stone for her and really bring her on.

“She has been brilliant, winning the Golden Ticket two weeks ago and then on Saturday night she proved that I think she is worthy of it.

Driver Chloe Butler.

“She is getting better all the time.”

Jack’s daughter Chloe is making her way as a driver in the Sunshine State and has posted 75 winners so far this season.

Like her old man, the 20-year-old Chloe also likes their trotters more than their pacers ahead of the Inter Dominion’s return to Queensland for the first time since 2009.

“I think Funny Face will be the most competitive and Adelle will be thereabouts as well,” Chloe said.

“It does help that we have a couple for each.”

Like the majority of participants, Chloe cannot wait for the series to commence, with the opening round heats set to take place on Friday of next week at Albion Park.

The second and third rounds of qualifiers will follow on December 5 and December 9 respectively, culminating with both pacing and trotting Finals on Saturday, December 16.

“It is really exciting, everyone is getting excited about this time of year,” Chloe said.

“It is really good that it is up in Queensland this year and close to home.”

The Butlers have tasted Group 1 glory once in their career before when Jeradas Delight famously won The Golden Girl at $151 a couple of years ago.

The Butler clan previously called Bathurst home before moving to Queensland to expand their horizons.

After becoming a leading stable north of the border since the relocation, the Butlers are looking forward to testing themselves against the best from across Australasia.

Trainer Jack Butler.

“It is a big hype and everyone is really excited as it has been a lot of years since it has been up here,” Jack said of the upcoming Inter Dominion series.

“Personally, I cannot wait for it, it is going to be great.”

Earlier this year quality Kiwi pacer Hot And Treacherous arrived in the Sunshine State at Butler’s property with one big goal in mind.

The top New Zealand standardbred came to Queensland with Inter Dominion ambitions for his new trainer and connections.

Hot And Treacherous has added three wins to his NZ tally since arriving in Australia.

And, while he has raced well throughout, more often than not he ran into a champion in Leap To Fame whenever he raced.

Hot And Treacherous was placed in the 2023 Blacks A Fake, the Sunshine Sprint, the Wondais Mate as well as the Patron’s Purse around ‘The Triangle’.

“He has got better and better every time I have put him on the track,” Jack said.

“It is unfortunate – like a lot of horses here in Queensland – that he keeps running into Leap To Fame and he has run a few seconds and thirds to him.

“Leap To Fame is a freak that horse but our one is improving all the time.

“This is what we bought him for and getting over the longer trips and that will help him a lot.”

By Jordan Gerrans