Confidence in Copy That despite massive handicap
By Michael Guerin
A week after thinking Copy That couldn’t overcome a 55m handicap at Alexandra Park trainer Ray Green is now more confident he can win from a staggering 70m behind at Cambridge tonight.
The defending NZ Cup champion finds himself in the scarcely believable position of being favourite to win the great race at Addington on November 8 again after his massive win last Friday while plenty of the other big names had form or manners issues in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on Monday.
That is just three weeks after Copy That had a minor post-race bleed after a race at Melton and the wheels looked like they might be falling off his Cup defence.
“It can be a fickle game, racing,” laughed Green about the turnaround.
“A few of them didn’t go so good on Monday and our fella was so good last week and now we are flavour of the month again.”
Green says part of the reasons Copy That was so monstrous last Friday was he seems happier back home. He wouldn’t be the first stallion to feel bigger and bolder back ruling his own roost.
“He was great last week and felt really strong in his work this week so I think he is back in the zone.”
A high class pacer winning off 70m handicap sounds like a fairytale from an age long gone but in reality, comparing the quality of the opposition, and the best guide being his handicap relevant to key rival Hot And Treacherous, Copy That is only 5m worse off than last week and tonight’s race is 500m longer.
So he can clearly win but what could be crucial is how Hot And Treacherous steps because last Friday he galloped early and settled behind Copy That, losing crucial tactical advantage.
If Hot And Treacherous can step well and stay in front of Copy That he may have the option of looping their inferior opponents and even getting the lead starting the last lap and that would give him his best chance of turning the tables.
Copy That will have a change of driver tonight with in-form Zachary Butcher taking the reins as a one-off as his New Zealand Cup driver Blair Orange has commitments in Canterbury.
Green also takes talented juvenile Frankie Major to Cambridge tonight and already has him booked on the plane to Christchurch next Tuesday for the Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington the following Tuesday.