Flashback - Wellington Cup 2012
When Trent Busuttin won the $200,000 Wellington Cup with Six O’Clock News in 2012, it brought back memories of one of the legends of the time-honoured Trentham race.
Busuttin’s father Paddy trained Castletown, carrying the same brown and yellow colours, who entered Wellington Cup folklore with victories in 1991, 1992 and 1994.
That third Cup win, accompanied by Tony Lee’s race call of “the dream bursts into reality”, was an iconic moment in New Zealand racing history and a big step along the road towards Castletown’s induction into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.
The great warrior lined up in 103 races, winning 16 of them and placing in another 20. In addition to his three Wellington Cups, he also won a New Zealand Derby, an Auckland Cup, a Kelt Capital Stakes and a Caulfield Stakes. He finished third in the 1992 Melbourne Cup, and he earned $2.4 million in prize-money.
Trent Busuttin trained in partnership with his father, then took over in his own right when Paddy relocated to Macau in 2009.
The younger Busuttin was soon joined in partnership by Natalie Young, and these days the couple are based at Cranbourne in Victoria.
They were already proven big-race trainers before the 2012 Wellington Cup, but this was clearly a very special triumph.
“To get this horse up to win this race is just great,” Trent Busuttin said. “Paddy was on the phone almost straight after. He was pretty excited and very proud.”
Six O’Clock News looked good from an early age, with his three-year-old season featuring two wins, a Group Two placing and a fifth in the prestigious New Zealand Derby.
But he ran hot and cold as an older horse, with highs such as a victory in the City of Auckland Cup interspersed with plenty of disappointments. Leading into the 2012 Wellington Cup carnival, he had lined up in 26 races without a win.
It was a drought that had lasted one month shy of three years, but he broke it with a half-head victory in the Gr. 3 Trentham Stakes on the opening day of the meeting.
Seven days later was Cup day, with Six O’Clock News an unfancied $13 outsider for the famous race.
But rider Leith Innes gave the Zabeel gelding an economical run just behind midfield and presented him at the perfect time to make his challenge, and Six O’Clock News took care of the rest.
He surged to the lead down the Trentham straight, getting the better of the defending champion Spiro and winning by a length. The Jungle Boy was another half-length away in third place.
The win came in the seven-year-old’s 50th career start, and it took his prize-money earnings past $500,000.
“He’s had his knockers and has probably deserved them, but we never lost faith in him,” Busuttin said.
“In the last couple of weeks he has just been a lot better and Natalie, who rides all his work, said he’s never felt better.”
Six O’Clock News had only three more starts, including a close third in the Gr. 1 Auckland Cup, and finished with a record of 53 starts for eight wins, 12 placings and $567,142 in stakes.