Copy That back to his sizzling best
By Michael Guerin
It has taken less than a minute for Copy That to allay any fears about his fitness heading into the $95,000 Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park’s star-studded meeting this Friday.
Copy That is in the conversation with Self Assured and Amazing Dream for the title of New Zealand’s best pacer but he looked anything but at the Pukekohe workouts 10 days ago when he was beaten by a three-year-old filly in a two-horse trial.
That convinced trainer Ray Green his stable star needed a proper hit out at the corresponding workouts last Saturday to make sure he was physically and mentally up for the challenge of taking on Amazing Dream in the super sprint this Friday.
He did that and more with one of the most impressive workout wins seen at Pukekohe in years, coming from last to put five lengths on decent opponents Dance Time and Need You Now.
That would have been impressive enough but the fact Copy That was able to roar over his last 800m in 55.2 seconds, the last 400m in 26.8 showed he was both fitter and more mentally dialled in than his weak effort the previous workout.
“We thought he was taking it all a bit casual last week so we gave him a bit more of a rev up this time,” said champion driver Maurice McKendry.
“He felt far more awake and really good at the line and that will really help open his lungs up for this week.
“He is definitely ready now.” The sizzling workout wasn’t the only good news for Copy That’s team heading into Friday night’s Mile as he drew barrier five, which while hardly perfect is inside key rival Amazing Dream at barrier six.
He already has superior gate speed to the mare but the draws suggest he is certain to settle in front of her and have more options so he will start favourite.
The Mile has seen many reincarnations over the years, first as a mile for four-year-olds, then a 1700m for four and five-year-olds but back to its original conditions it has drawn an excellent field of pacers who already are open class stars or others heading that way.
One of the more interesting runners is Bad To The Bone, who is back from Australia where he won four of seven starts at Menangle including a group three and paced a 1:50.5 mile. Drawn barrier two he and Christianshavtime add the x-factor challenge for the open class favourites.
He isn’t the only last-start winner returning from Australia for Friday’s huge meeting with Majestic Man back for the Anzac Cup after winning three Group One trots in Australia over summer.
He has an incredibly helpful ace draw in the 2200m Group One trot from where he should lead and be hard for the likes of Sundees Son, Bolt For Brilliance and Oscar Bonavena to catch.
But trainer Phil Williamson does have words of warning for punters who expect the charging version of Majestic Man that was so potent in Australia to turn up at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
“He is well but we haven’t trialed him since he got home (last month),” explains Williamson.
“His coat is just starting to turn, he is still to look a bit woolly compared with the summer which is hardly surprising going from Sydney to Oamaru.
“So he is well and I think he will go good but Sundees Son and even Bolt For Brilliance have been too good for him in the past quite often.” The 10-race meeting also features the Woodlands Stud Caduceus Classic and the Group Two Sires’ Stakes Trot.