Nobody is in a better position to judge the merits of the big guns heading into tomorrow's $25,000 Hannon Memorial at Oamaru than Anthony Butt.

And armed with that knowledge he is adamant Mah Sish can win the next step on the path to the New Zealand Cup.

Butt is not only a five-time winning driver of the Hannon but has seen plenty of the key runners in this year's edition.

Just last week he partnered Stunin Cullen behind Franco Ledger and Franco Emirate in the first open class race of the season at Addington and on Monday he drove Mah Sish when he split tomorrow's race-rivals Sleepy Tripp and Major Mark in a Motukarara workout.


And while he respects that quartet he says Mah Sish is a pacer on the up.

"It won't be an easy race to win but he will go very close," said Butt.

"He has been trialling well and is very forward, so while like all of these horses fresh-up he will improve, he has a big chance."

Yet Butt knows this is a strong renewal of the Hannon, something a bit more like a decade ago when the race was a genuine New Zealand Cup guide.

"There are four or five real Cup chances in here so it might come down to who gets the right run."

If Mah Sish is good enough to win tomorrow he could leapfrog Stunin Cullen as Butt's New Zealand Cup drive in November.

But that won't be easy judging by how Sleepy Tripp and Major Mark trialled on Monday.

They both pleased trainer Mark Purdon.

But he opts for Sleepy Tripp as his better chance tomorrow, with the fact he is on the unruly negated somewhat by there only being one line of runners at the start.

As good as the Purdon pair are there was plenty to like about the Addington performance of Franco Ledger, who downed Franco Emirate in a fast-run race.

Franco Ledger is a fast beginner from a stand who will almost certainly settle the handier of the Franco pair and could be decent each-way value again.

While the Hannon will dominate the Oamaru meeting there will be plenty of interest in the following race where former northern four-year-old trotter Murcielargo makes his stable debut for new trainer Phil Williamson.

He looked all class but erratic when in the north.

But if he behaves himself tomorrow he should start his new career with a win.