Copy That likely to miss Queensland trip, Merlin out too

By Michael Guerin

For pacing hero Copy That only one race matters now and that looks certain to see him miss the rich Queensland winter carnival for a well-earned break.

Copy That was among the favourites for the A$400,000 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park in July but trainer Ray Green and owner Merv Butterworth are now lukewarm on another Trans Tasman trip.

“He has had some hard racing and done plenty of travelling since last September and he is only flesh and bone, he needs a break at some stage,” says Green.

“We haven’t made our final decision but I think he is unlikely, we’d like to give him a break and concentrate on the Cup,”

The Cup is the New Zealand Cup at Addington on November 14, the race Copy That has won the last two seasons which gives him a shot at joining just three other pacers who has won the iconic race three times.

The New Zealand Cup has been held every year since 1904 and only Indianapolis (1934-36), False Step (1958-60) and most recently Terror To Love (2011-13) have made three trips to the winner’s circle.

“That has to be the big aim, to become of the few to win the Cup three times so I think he is very likely to stay home and concentrate on that,” says Green.

With Auckland Cup winners Akuta and Self Assured also dodging the Queensland carnival that sets up a wonderful New Zealand Cup build-up in the spring with the big three having a singular target and a strong supporting cast of Old Town Road, Kango, B D Joe, Krug, Alta Wiseguy and possibly the emerging Anything Goes at the top of the markets.

Copy That won’t be the only Group 1 winner who was originally bound for Queensland no longer with a ticket as Northern Derby winner Merlin is ruled out.

“He had a hoof issue with a small crack and we want to give him six weeks to get over it so it doesn’t become an issue in the future,” says co-trainer Barry Purdon.

“We’d love to be going but he has so much racing to look forward to and there is no way we would risk him when he wasn’t spot on.”

Merlin was among the favourites for both The Rising Sun and Queensland Derby but the Queensland carnival now looks set to go ahead without a big-name New Zealand representative.


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