Rockhampton Newmarket: Ashley Butler caps off big day with victory in feature race aboard Last Chance

Punters had it pegged as a match race between powerhouse Brisbane trainers Tony Gollan and Chris Munce but North Queensland galloper Last Chance upstaged his high-profile rivals to grab the Rockhampton Newmarket on Friday, delivering premier local jockey Ashley Butler his first win in the race.

Friendless in betting, Last Chance blew to $18 by jump time but it was Butler who put his local knowledge to work to get the best out of the gelding, holding out local hope Master Jamie and Gollan’s duo of Macewen and Really Discreet.

Butler’s salute, high in the irons at the finishing post told the story of his relief at finally landing the $100,000 feature.

“That is my first Rocky Newmarket which is a big thrill but to ride three winners on the day makes it even sweeter,” he said.

“I was born in Mackay and quickly moved to Rocky to start my apprenticeship and have been here pretty much my whole life.

“I have run a close second and third in the race over the years but to win one, there is a tick off the bucket list.”

Butler and Last Chance return to the winner’s stall. Picture: Michael McInallySource:Supplied

It gave Mackay trainer Olivia Cairns her first victory in the race to go alongside a Mackay Newmarket along with two Cleveland Bay Handicap’s in Townsville.

“This is always the hardest one to win,” Cairns said.

“I was a little bit nervous but then I just treated it as another race, he didn’t know any different.

“I could see he was travelling well but I was worried he wasn’t going to get the run he wanted.

“Next week he goes to the Mackay Newmarket and then onto the Cleveland Bay.”

The $150,000 Rockhampton Cup will be run on Saturday where Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have the favourite Real Stage.

Originally published asFirst Newmarket win caps big day for Butler

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