Copy That finally back home - tubby but healthy
By Michael Guerin
One fact helped trainer Ray Green get through having to watch millions of dollars worth of races that his stable pacing star Copy That should have been in.
“I know all going well we can have a go at those same races next season,” says Green as he welcomes the injured hero back to his Pukekohe stables.
It feels like an age since Copy That ruled Australasian pacing beating Self Assured and South Coast Arden in the New Zealand Cup at Addington but it has only been six months.
Copy That fractured a splint bone in a hind leg the following month when he kicked a fence railing while being campaigned in Australia and has only just made it back to New Zealand.
“His prognosis is perfect. It was a break, it has healed and he can now go back to work,” says Green.
That means a rather tubbier Copy That is already back jogging with the long-term goal of defending his title in the New Zealand Cup on the second Tuesday in November.
Since his injury Green has had to endure the double frustration of not being able to come back into New Zealand from Australia because of the Covid restrictions imposed not long after he got to Victoria but also watching races like the Hunter Cup, Miracle Mile and The Race at Cambridge knowing that a healthy Copy That would have been in all of them.
“It wasn’t much fun but then again neither was being stuck in Australia when I wanted to be back here,” says Green.
“But the one thing about missing those races are at least they are all open ages races and that means they will all be on again next season.
“Whereas had they been age group races like the Derbys he was missing then you know they are gone forever.
“So all going well he can tackle them next season because the break has healed really well and with it being an injury he did to himself in a freak accident there is no reason to expect it to be an issue again.”
Copy That has won 24 races and just under $1million and Green has the luxury of not having to rush him as he won’t be ready to race until the spring.
“We can take our time and we will need to because he spent quite a bit of time in a box after he got injured so he really let down and is very round.”
His return in the spring will add elite level depth to the open class ranks and another contender for the title of Australasia’s best pacer, a throne abdicated by King Of Swing when he retired to stud in March.
The next stop on autumn’s busy open class road tour has attracted surprisingly good support at Cambridge on Thursday night after initial concerns about the races.
The $50,000 McMillan Equine Flying Mile has drawn eight starters and basically most of the pacers who contested the recent Taylor Mile and Messenger double at Alexandra Park with the exception of Self Assured and Australian pacer Majestic Cruiser, who has returned home to New South Wales.
With Spankem, South Coast Arden and Mach Dan in the field is stronger than looked likely a week ago and the preferential barrier draw makes for a great punting puzzle.
The $50,000 Group 1 Turf Bar Trotters Mile looked in even bigger danger of being called off as Sundees Son and Five Wise Men both bypassed it but it will go ahead with only five starters including sprint stars Muscle Mountain and Bolt For Brilliance.
Harness racing’s biggest names next move to Alexandra Park on May 20 for two consecutive Fridays culminating in the Auckland and Rowe Cups on May 27, the last race of their campaigns for both Self Assured and Sundees Son.