Copy That's second chance at NZ Cup
By Michael Guerin
Trainer Ray Green is hoping it is payback time for the standing start debacle that cost Copy That any chance in the New Zealand Cup last year.
Because at Addington on Tuesday his stable star has the wide front line draw that provided Self Assured with the springboard to victory last year and Green says the four-year-old is ready to use it.
Copy That started favourite in last year’s Cup but was left horrendously flat-footed at the start as the outside horses got a walk up which saw Self Assured lead then trail and win, with Copy That settling near last from barrier one.
This year the barriers appear to have been kinder with Copy That out wider and therefore able to come up to the tapes later while Self Assured has to contend with a second line draw and South Coast Arden the unruly.
“I like the idea of being out there a lot more,” says Green.
“As long as it is a fair start then we will get our chance and he is usually very good from a stand.”
If that is the case on Tuesday, Green would love to see driver Blair Orange head forward and look for the lead, a position Copy That has been almost unbeatable from in his career.
“He is great in front and everybody know that so I don’t think the other drivers would want to park him out.”
The scenario of great beginner like Classie Brigade heading to the front and handing the lead to Copy That puts a lot of equine firepower on the marker pegs and means Self Assured and South Coast Arden are going to have work a lot harder than their key rivals and leaves the race beautifully balanced.
Copy That is of course the only one of the big names in the Cup who hasn’t been involved in the strong southern lead-up races, with only two starts at Alexandra Park for a win and a solid third off a 30m handicap.
Green decided to bypass last Monday’s Kaikoura Cup so he could fly Copy That down on the only pre-carnival plane yesterday and that meant the closest thing he has had to a race was a very searching trial at Pukekohe last weekend.
While there were only two in the trial Copy That quickly turned that into one as he was given his head and paced the sort of times rarely seen at Pukekohe, his last 2400m in sub 2:55, which is low flying on the small track.
“He was really good, we couldn’t have been happier with that,” says Green.
“So he is ready to go as big race and actually think he is a better horse than this time last year when he was favourite for the race.
“He is stronger and has had a lot more open class racing.”
** While the harness racing focus is very clearly on Addington for the next week Alexandra Park race again tonight.
The highlight of the night will be Temporale’s attempt to overcome a 50m handicap in the night’s feature trot while juvenile pacers Mr Chip (R4) and Pauly D (R7) should relish the drop back to grade racing after contesting the same Sires’ Stakes heat last start.