By Duane Ranger
David Butcher was 22 when he won the New Zealand Junior Driving Premiership in the 1985-86 season.
His youngest son Benjamin is also 22 and wants to emulate his Dad’s feat - and can go a long way to doing that at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night.
The season, which ends on July 31, is about to heat up for Butcher, he currently has 35 wins – two less than pace-maker, Matt Anderson of Christchurch.
"If I don't win the premiership this year I may never win it because it’s my second to last season as a junior and I'm going on my OE in September starting with a family function in Poland for a week. Then I will be travelling throughout Europe with (brother) Zac and his girlfriend. I’ll probably be away a month depending on how long the money lasts.
"Zac also won the junior premiership and I'd love to be the third driver in the family to win it. It means a lot to me, and reinforces my resolve to drive more winners," Butcher said.
In 2011-2012 Zac nailed his junior driving premiership with a whopping 114 wins - 27 more than second-placed Matty Williamson.
Ironically if things do get tight in mid-July, Williamson might be the man to assist Butcher in his quest to follow in the footsteps of his father and brother.
“Matt said he could possibly help down south if things got a bit tight. I doubt it will come to that though because all of my best drives are up here. Steve Telfer and Dad have been so good to me. Dad’s given up a few drives for me this week. They have both believed in me and I can’t thank them enough," Cambridge-based Butcher said.
Butcher has 10 North island meetings left this season to achieve his goal. Three of them are at Cambridge Raceway.
Waikato Bay of Plenty Harness has carded seven races for it's June 7 meeting - and Butcher has drives in all but two of them.
Butcher rates the Steve Telfer trained Some Change as his best chance of the night.
“He’s my best drive of the night and must go pretty close in this – even from the widest draw. I think I will stay out of the early speed and then perhaps go around them at some time. He’s the most tightly assessed horse in the field and went well for Dad last start. Each-way,” he said.
He also takes the reins for Telfer with Kiwi Tintin in Race 7.
"It’s a small field and if I can get him away from the stand he can at least place. He has the nice draw to work with and I know him pretty well because I've driven him in his last six starts.”
Butcher will drive two for his father in Lynton Creek in Race 4 and Need Luck in Race 6, rating the former over his stablemate.
“Dad's given me the drive on this fella (Lynton Creek) and I think he's a very good place chance in an even field. He has plenty of speed and if the race is run to suit then he can get some of this," Butcher said.