Family man hoping for sting in the tail

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Trainer and part-owner Lou Luciani knows the family of Like A Butterfly (Blackfriars) almost as well as his own.

He enjoyed success with Saturday’s G2 TAB-Touch Perth Cup contender’s third and fourth dams and a three-quarter brother so that inside knowledge has proved invaluable in getting the best out of the current member of the clan.

Even better was the price Luciani paid for Like A Butterfly when she came up for auction at the 2016 Magic Millions Perth Winter Yearling Sale. He took her home for $8000 and the mare’s current bank balance stands at a tidy $302,000.

Connections of Like A Butterfly after her win in the Ascot 1000 Guineas

“She was a good buy and I wish I could find more of them,” he said. “It was nice to get her at that sort of money and whatever happens on Saturday, there’s plenty of racing left in her yet.

“She was a good buy and I wish I could find more of them.” – Lou Luciani.

“The grandmother was a very, very good mare for me in the early 90s and I had her mother as well.”

He was referring to Prime Again (Marooned {GB}), who won seven races including the G2 WATC Champion Fillies’ S., the G3 Auraria S, the G3 Belmont Oaks and another two races at Listed level. She was also runner-up in the G1 South Australian Oaks.

Prime Again produced Young Lionel (Blackfriars) and he won nine times with the Listed Northam Cup and the Listed Bunbury S. on his record.

Strong lead-up showings

Luciani has been pleased with Like A Butterfly’s build-up toward Saturday, the 4-year-old having finished in the money at her last two appearances. She was fourth two runs back and then ran second over 2100 metres on the course at her most recent appearance.

Like A Butterfly

“She’s done everything we could have asked for, except maybe win at her last start,” Luciani said.

“She is on the way up and in a very, very even field it will probably come down to who gets the best run.

“I probably would have liked to get another run into her, but we got a bit jammed up early on and she took longer to get that race fitness.

“I think she’s pretty much where we want her to be.” – Lou Luciani.

“It was a very hot day two weeks ago when she ran so we weren’t going to go again with her. I think she’s pretty much where we want her to be.

Like A Butterfly winning at Ascot

“It’s a very even field. Obviously, the topweight (Gatting) is one of the better horses in the race and I don’t know that the favourite (Action) is that much better than the rest.

“That’s my assessment, but I’m only a horse trainer and not a form analyst.”

Luciani is relying on Like A Butterfly’s female side to see out a strongly-run 2400 metres.

“Blackfriars aren’t really renowned as genuine mile and a-half horses, but on the dam’s side there’s plenty of stoutness,” he said.

“There’s that Marooned blood and they get all sorts of trips.” – Lou Luciani.

“There’s that Marooned blood and they get all sorts of trips. My mare relaxes and she ran two strong mile and a-half races as a 3-year-old, although it’s different against their own age group.


“I’ll just be looking for her to take any chances that come her way in the running.”

Last season, Like A Butterfly finished second over 2400 metres in the G2 Western Australian Derby a fortnight after filling the same spot in the G3 Western Australian Oaks.

Jason Whiting has ridden Like A Butterfly in all but two of her 17 starts and he will again be aboard on Saturday.