55m backmark no obstacle for Copy That
By Michael Guerin
There is life in the defending NZ Cup champion yet.
Copy That proved that in stunning fashion with a historic win at Alexandra Park on Thursday night, coming from a staggering 55m behind in the main pace over 2200m.
It is the first time in decades a pacer has won off a 55m handicap at Alexandra Park, particularly in the main handicap of the night, albeit that the front line wasn’t strong.
There were still 55m and some talented horses between Copy That and the front of the field when the tapes flew but he made light work of it, with a bit of help along the way.
Firstly all three of the 20m markers had a gallop and rattled into each other like equine pinballs while favourite Hot And Treacherous also galloped so settled last, losing valuable field position over Copy That.
But for all that Copy That was still 4 seconds off the leaders at the 1600m mark, a disadvantage he overcame by travelling into the race beautifully on the bit before roaring home.
It was graphic stuff and suggested Copy That was a lot happier to be home than when he was Copy That lite during his recent Victorian campaign.
It was hard to work out what it all meant in the scheme of the New Zealand Cup but a happy, healthy Copy That is of course a factor in the great race because he has been there, done that before.
Trainer Ray Green was relieved more than anything else after the star pacer had a slight bleeding episode in Victoria and admits he went into this race unfazed about whether Copy That won.
“I’m glad he did and he shows he is happy to be home like me,” said Green.
Green won’t change his original plan so there is a real chance Copy That will race at Cambridge next week off a decent handicap as his final Cup lead-up, with Hot And Treacherous to be among his rivals again.
If they both please their connections they will likely be on the Auckland-Christchurch flight on Melbourne Cup day and it is game on for Addington a week later.
Later in the night debutante Beach Flybye suggested he is a horse with a real future when he won the Sires’ Stakes heat at his first start for Team Telfer and while he probably won’t head to the Cup Day final he clearly has a motor.