Ray Green to miss Copy That's return tonight

By Michael Guerin

Trainer Ray Green has two goals for today: a winning return for NZ Cup hero Copy That and a couple of good meals.

Green won’t be at Alexandra Park to see Copy That start a red-hot favourite ($1.55) in the Connell Contractors Mile as he is back in hospital after losing 12kgs in the last two weeks since being kicked by a horse.

His injuries from that incident meant Green needed an operation on his stomach region but he was soon home and back at work, as it turned out too early.

“I think I over did things a bit,” says Green.

“I didn’t eat or barely drink for eight days and was trying to keep an eye on the horses and I just got too weak.

“I lost 12kgs and they have brought me back in here (Middlemore) to pump some fluids into me. I can eat a bit now so I am trying to get some good food into me so I can get my strength back.

“I am sure I will be fine once I do that.”

Green has plenty of staff at Lincoln Farms to ensure two-time New Zealand Cup winner Copy That is fit for his return tonight even with the tricky outside of the front line draw in the small field.

“He went to the workouts last week and came his last 400m in 26 seconds so he is ready to go,” says Green.

Even from barrier 6 with the short run to the first bend it would surprise if driver Blair Orange didn’t dominate the race with Copy That, who will contest two more features at Alexandra Park this month before heading back to Australia next month.

Tonight’s other major pacing race sees high-class mares Darling Me and Stylish Memphis headline the Northern Breeders Stakes as they prepare for next week’s Group 1 Queen Of Hearts.

Darling Me has gone from strength to strength this season and has a draw advantage over Stylish Memphis, whose last-start second suggested she is finally approaching her best form again.

Darling Me will start a short priced favourite and just how comfortable the race is for punters could depend on whether she can slide across the front of the field early to lead or whether rival drivers are prepared to make her work a week out from a far richer prize.


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