Copy That resumes in standing start
By Garrick Knight
The country’s top three-year-old colt returns at Alexandra Park tonight on a path towards next month’s Northern Derby.
And it’s an unconventional starting point for Copy That, too – a standing start event against the older horses.
The reason? Quite simple. He is too highly assessed and there is a dire horse shortage in Auckland.
Trainer Ray Green is frustrated but understanding.
“I’ve had that conversation with them but I can understand their problem, that being the gross shortage of horses in the north.
“Really, we have no other option; it’s a necessary evil.”
He’s ineligible for next week’s Waikato Guineas due to his high rating – a race he would have been a very short-priced favourite in.
Instead, Green will start him this week, then in the Derby prelude in two weeks’ time before the $200,000 feature on March 6.
Green gave Copy That some standing start practise at the trials last week and it went well.
“We stood him up once and he did well; I think he’ll be very good from the stand because he’s quite a rapid-going little horse.”
The horse is thriving according to Green and he is in a good place heading towards a plethora of feature races over the next six months.
“He’s very good and I’m very happy with him.
“He’s in a good place right now.
“It was good to get him a wee break over Christmas but he was glad to be back; he likes being in work and enjoys the routine.”
Green is noted for taking his horses to the races fit and ready to win every time and this week is no different.
But don’t expect driver David Butcher to launch him if he’s slow away.
“This is just a lead-up race to our main mission.
“He’ll win it if the opportunity presents itself, but we aren’t going to send him on a ‘search and destroy’ mission.”
Bookies have faith – they opened Copy That a prohibitive $1.55 favourite yesterday afternoon.
Green also has four horses in the $15,000 two-year-old race to close out the night.
Of them, Franco Nandor opened second elect with bookies last night after a brave debut second a week ago, where he was nosed out right on the line.
“He sort of exceeded my expectations a little bit first-up.
“He’s certainly lifted his game. All four of them are nice horses, actually.
“Vanquish Stride’s first start was very good considering he did everything wrong against a better class of horse and still finished with them.
“The three colts will all be pointing towards the Young Guns Final in a few weeks’ time.”
Monday will see Green, stable owner John Street, and client Emilio Rosati start their three-day yearling shopping spree at Karaka and Christchurch.
Most of the hard work has been done, but he’s hopeful of avoiding one thorn in his side.
“We’ve eliminated a bunch in the last few weeks, but haven’t looked closely at the ones still on our list.
“It’s the same old story – work to the budget and see what they’re going for.
“And if Jean Feiss is bidding on one that makes it difficult.
“We were the under-bidders on Jesse Duke and Self Assured. She’s tough to beat, especially when she hones in on one she likes.
“She’s a great judge.”