Copy That favoured to beat Australia's best
By Adam Hamilton
Kiwi star Copy That gets his chance to upstage Australia’s champion pacer King Of Swing at Albion Park on Saturday night.
A stark contrast of barrier draws has given Copy That and driver Anthony Butt a huge advantage over King Of Swing in the $100,000 Group 1 Sunshine Sprint (1660m).
Copy That has gate five, while King Of Swing will have to come from outside the back row (gate 11) to post his seventh Group 1 win in the 19 months he’s been in Team McCarthy.
As great as King Of Swing is, he’s been able to lead – either by using his early speed or intimidation power – in so many of his races.
Interestingly, his last feature race defeat and his only loss in his past 11 starts came when he couldn’t lead and ran third to Lochinvar Art in the Hunter Cup back on February 6.
It looks impossible for him to find the front this week.
In his favour, King Of Swing does love sprint racing. He’s been in nine sprints for Team McCarthy and won them all, four of them at Group 1 level.
While Copy That’s draw is certainly an advantage, just how much it helps will depend on how the first 200-300m plays out with three fast beginners inside him – Bright Energy (one), Crunch Time (two) and Alta Orlando (three) – as well as the explosive beginner Turn It Up outside him (gate seven).
Turn It Up is so fast out, especially from wide draws, he looks the most likely leader and he may take a trail based on his recent racing style. Butt will have that in mind.
Copy That is a slight $2 favourite from King Of Swing at $2.20 in early markets.
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Nathan Purdon is poised to continue his fantastic Queensland Constellations raid on Saturday night.
Purdon’s two stable stars, Amazing Dream and Spellbound, look the two key runners in the new $100,000 Group 1 Golden Girl (1660m).
Anthony Butt replaces Mark Purdon aboard Amazing Dream, who will be a clear favourite off the back of her win in The Rising Sun last weekend.
Amazing Dream has gate four and that surprisingly good gate speed she showed last week will be a key again.
Spellbound, who looked slightly disappointing when third in the Fleur De Lil last week, has the pole and will be better this week, according to Purdon.
“Amazing Dream has come through last week really and Spellbound wasn’t quite herself, so I’m sure she’ll improve, too,” he said.
“The trip from Sydney to Brisbane wasn’t ideal for Spellbound and by the time I could give her a good hitout before last week’s race, it took the edge off her a bit. She was so well in Sydney and I think she can get back to that this week.”
Former Kiwi and WA driver Stewie McDonald, now Purdon’s Victorian stable foreman, will fly to Brisbane for the drive. He’s driven her four times at Melton for three wins and a close second.
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Cran Dalgety has given Krug the week off to freshen-up for next week’s $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby.
That means we get to see his major rivals for the race lock horns in the $30,000 Group 3 South East Derby (2138m) this Saturday night.
Mick Stanley’s Victorian raider Bar Room Banta gets his chance from gate two, but other key runners include Big Wheels (three), Bondi Lockdown (five), American Dealer (seven, outside the front) and Captain Crusader 11.
The only other big Queensland Derby name missing is Kashed Up, who, like Krug, has been given this week off by trainer Gemma Hewitt after an eye-catching and unlucky fifth in The Rising Sun.
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The clash of talented former Kiwi trotter Humble Ladd and glamour Victorian mare Pink Galahs will be another Albion Park highlight this week.
The pair won both their qualifying heats of the Darrell Alexander series and are the standouts for the $50,000 Group 2 final.
They both have 20m handicaps to overcome.
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Exciting former Kiwi pacer Spirit Of Louis will appreciate the drop in class and a better draw when he tackles the $30,000 Group 3 4YO Championship (2138m) at Albion Park.
After winning his first three runs for Team McCarthy, the speedy pacer lost few admirers with a terrific sixth after having to cover plenty of ground late in The Rising Sun last week.
He moves to gate five this week and it’ll be interesting whether driver Luke McCarthy pushes the button in search of the lead.
It’s a strong race with talented locals Blacksadance (two) and Will The Wizard (three) drawn well, while classy NSW pacers Bundoran (eight, inside back row) and Send It (12) are there as well.
Ray Green’s Tommy Lincoln faces a big challenge from the back row (gate 10).