Bleed casts doubt over Copy That's campaign
By Adam Hamilton
Kiwi star Copy That's Victoria Cup assault is hanging by a thread.
The reigning NZ Cup hero had a "grade two bleed" when fifth in last night's Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint at Melton.
"It's a minor bleed and he can race on if we think he can and should," trainer Ray Green said.
"We'll treat him however we can during the week and then make a decision on the Victoria Cup when we scope him on Thursday."
So, Green will accept with Copy That for the Cup tomorrow (Monday) and be drawn in the field at tomorrow night's barrier draw.
"The horse seems fine. If the stewards hadn't ordered the scope, we'd probably have been none the wiser and it would've been business as usual," he said.
"It's not a serious bleed, but you've got to take anything like this seriously.
"We don't want to do anything detrimental to the horse long term, so we will see how he is this week and how that scope looks on Thursday."
Beyond the Victoria Cup, Green doesn't see the bleed being an issue.
"I'm sure he's got plenty left in the tank if we manage him well," he said.
So, at least for now, an NZ Cup defence remains on target.
Copy That's bleed continues his issues during Victorian campaigns. He injured a leg last year and had a long stint on the sidelines.
"Yes, he's a great horse, but he certainly makes us earn the success we have him," Green said.
The query over Copy That is the latest in many twists around this Victoria Cup.
One-time buzz pacer Bondi Lockdown had a worse bleed when last in the Smoken Up and stewards "banned" him from racing for three months.
Trainer Andy Gath delivered a shock by declaring he wanted a Victoria Cup run with his star three-year-old Catch A Wave despite the pacer tiring for seventh in his Victoria Derby heat and missing a spot in the final field.
Young gun trainer Jason Grimson has also argued his case for a Cup start with I Cast No Shadow.
Let's start with Catch A Wave.
The two-time Group 1 winner's Victoria Derby hopes were shattered when he tired late for seventh in his heat after doing plenty of midrace work behind Kiwi raider Major Perry.
Catch A Wave is first emergency for the Derby and Gath took the precautionary and surprise step of nominating him for the Victoria Cup last Friday.
"I want him to run," Gath said of the Victoria Cup. "I don't know if he'll get a start or not, but he would certainly add a lot of interest to the race. And I'm sure, especially with a good draw, he would be a winning chance.
"He beat Better Eclipse and Triple Eight easily at the trials recently and both of them will get a run. They ran second and third in the Smoken Up Sprint (last night)."
Gath will know his fate mid-afternoon tomorrow (Monday) when HRV announces the final field.
So will Grimson, who insists former Kiwi pacer I Cast No Shadow has done enough to get a start.
The young gun trainer sent I Cast No Shadow to Menangle to make a statement last night and he did just that, winning by almost 10m in a slick 1min50.5sec mile.
"We let him rip with a view to showing them (Victoria Cup selectors) he was primed and ready," Grimson said.
"It's the best I've had him and I'm sure he'll be right in the race with luck."
And who would doubt Grimson given his record in Group 1 races in NZ and Australia over the past 12 months. He caused upsets winning the Inter Dominion pacing final (Boncel Benjamin at $41), NZ Messenger (Majestic Cruiser at $22) and Blacks A Fake (Majestic Cruiser at $18).
The barrier draw for the Victoria Cup is 9pm (NZ time) tomorrow (Monday) night.