CAMERON Butcher celebrated the biggest victory of his training career on Saturday night, with his ultra-consistent chaser Worm Burner taking out the Group 1 National Sprint Championship at Angle Park.
Jumping brilliantly from box six, the son of Oaks Road and Little Looper headed a classy field including dual group 1 winner Zambora Brockie (box one), Dundee Osprey (box two) and Outside Pass (box four) in the early stages and never looked in doubt, cruising to the line to score by five and three quarter lengths in 29.17.
Zambora Brockie battled on gamely to finish second, while WA representative Times Square filled the trifecta back in third.
Heading into the $75,000-to-the-winner final, Butcher rated Victorian superstar Zambora Brockie the dog to beat, but said he was still optimistic his greyhound would run a good race.
“Zambora Brockie is a very good dog, but we were hoping he’d (Wormer Burner) have a chance if everything went right for him,” Butcher told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Normally he isn’t a brilliant jumper, so he definitely picked the best night to begin like that – you couldn’t have asked him to come out any better.
“When he hit the front at the first bend I thought he would be hard to beat because he is a very strong dog, but it was hard to get confident because the other dogs in the race were just that good.
“The moment he crossed the line was euphoric – it is something you always dream of to have a dog which can win a group 1 like the Nationals.”
Worm Burner has now won 28 of his 43 starts, including his last 11 in a row, all of which have been at Angle Park and in sub-30 time, while he now boasts $164,005 in prize money earnings.
Butcher said he is elated with his greyhound’s consistent form, putting it down to a short freshen-up a few months back which invigorated his will to win.
“He started off his career really well but then he went off a little bit.
“We had him checked out by the vets and they couldn’t find anything wrong, so we gave him a month off and started on him again – he has come back very well.
“Other than that we just try to keep him fit and healthy – there is nothing else special to it.”
Butcher, who is based at Meningie, has only been back involved in greyhound racing for around six years.
Having trained in his younger days, he hung up the collar and lead for two decades to focus on running an 8000-acre dairy farm with his wife, Yvonne.
The duo have since scaled back their farming duties, focusing on their greyhounds while running a 4000-acre property.
Since being back training, the Butchers have enjoyed a great deal of success, with Worm Burner’s older half-sister, Hope’s Up, being crowned 2012 SA Greyhound of the Year for her victory in the Group 3 SA Oaks, while she was also a finalist in the 2013 National Sprint, taken out by Xylia Allen at The Meadows.
Despite their previous success, Butcher said Saturday’s victory was the biggest of their time in the sport, with the next target for their kennel star set to be the Group 1 Adelaide Cup, the final of which will be run on October 7.
“We will hang around here for the Adelaide Cup; he has a big advantage because it is his home track,” Butcher said, when asked if he would be heading interstate.
“He would be hard to beat in that if he can reproduce what he did last night, not too many dogs can run those times.”