John Butler targets outright all-weather record with Southwell-bound Stand Guard

Wed 28 Dec 2016

John Butler expects Stand Guard to put in a bold show in his bid to break the record of all-weather wins at Southwell on Thursday.

The 12-year-old will face eight rivals in the second division of the Betway Handicap as he attempts to register victory number 28 on an artificial surface, having equalled La Estrella's figure of 27 wins at Kempton on December 20.

"We would have been a bit disappointed if he had ran badly at Kempton but we were a little bit surprised he won so easily.He has come out of that race exceptionally well and he should give it another good go again. It is all systems go," said Butler.

"He is much easier to train after getting a run into him. His fitness levels are pretty high now he has had a run.

"We don't have to do a lot with him now except basic everyday exercise.

"I think he has progressed a little bit from his last run. Hopefully he will put on a bold show.

"He likes Southwell and has won a few times there before.

"We would be disappointed if he didn't run a respectable race."

Among those that stand in the way of Stand Guard is Hint Of Grey, who, like La Estrella, is trained by Don Cantillon.

Butler added: "This race is in our bracket, but it is a better race as the ratings are 5lb higher.

"The two horses to beat are the Richard Guest horse (Hydrant) and Don Cantillon's horse.

"When the entries came out I picked out Don Cantillon's horse as the biggest danger in the race and even though it has divided we've still ended taking it on.

"At the end of the day, it is a record and to achieve it would be a massive achievement for the horse and the team.

"The main thing is, though, that the horse comes back safe and sound and runs a respectable race.

"If he gets beat we will go back to Southwell in the near future and give it another go."

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