Copy That has tough Derby draw to overcome
THE OTHER FEATURE RACES ON DERBY NIGHT
R3: Greenlane Cup Trot, 2700m.— Impossible to go past Pretty Majestic (7) as she has been overcoming handicaps like a class mare and the scratching of recent national record setter Key Cee makes her task off 30m so much easier.
R4: Delightful Lady Classic, 1700m.— Passion And Power (10) is unbeaten and should remain so but too short to back. Platinum (3) or Sky Delight (8) top three represent better value.
R6: Breckon Cardigan Bay, 1700m.— The way Krug (3) won the Sapling Stakes he is the one to beat, especially with It’s All About Faith (8) drawn so wide and likely to have to sit parked at best.
By Michael Guerin
Driver David Butcher likes all the numbers about Copy That heading into tonight’s $200,000 Woodlands Northern Derby at Alexandra Park.
Except the one next to his name in the race book.
Butcher likes the fact Copy That has beaten his main rival One Change the last three times they have met.
He loves that Copy That has twice paced a super fast 2:37.4 for 2200m in doing so, breaking 2:40 on the other occasion.
And Butcher is really enjoying that with each win Copy That gets better.
“The good horses do. When they win they get used to winning and they get more confident,” says Butcher.
But what Butcher is not sure about, what makes one of the country’s most astute drivers describe tonight’s classic as “too hard to predict” is Copy That’s barrier draw of four, which is made a lot worse by One Change drawing one.
The pair dominate the market, with no disrespect to last week’s Oaks winner Amazing Dream. She can pace similar times to the boys but from barrier seven being as good as them won’t be good enough. She will need to be better and there is no proof she is.
Copy That and One Change have a funny rivalry.
On paper Copy That beats him in the races that matter less but One Change has been all but unbeatable in everything else, winning two Sires’ Stakes, two Sales Series and the Jewels.
Copy That wasn’t in most of those and when he did finish second to One Change in the Sires’ Stakes at Addington in November his was the better run.
So while you may go broke betting against All Stars-trained runners, or even One Change for that matter, in Group One races, you can make a very good case Copy That is more talented.
“I don’t think there is a lot in it and not many horses go 2:37 for 2200m like he does,” says Butcher of Copy That.
“I know he can win but I am worried about One Change getting the better run. In Derbys, and at most premier meetings, you need to be on the markers because the horses are so good you can’t come wide.
“So much is going to depend on the start. Who gets pressure, who doesn’t and where they all end up.
“There probably isn’t a lot between 5 or 6 of them who can all pace 3:16 (for tonight’s 2700m) so the run will be crucial.
“I know this horse can win but he can’t overcome a hard run and win.” It wouldn’t surprise to see punters gravitate toward One Change because of the Purdon-Rasmussen factor, they have seen him win so many times on the biggest stage and barrier one is a very powerful comfort blanket.
Even when beaten by Copy That he has usually hit the line well and if he leads early and Natalie Rasmussen can control who she hands up to, or even stays in front, he becomes the horse to beat.
In a tactical battle too close to call, the Derby could be won at the start.
Butcher has more reason for confidence with Triple Eight in the $50,000 City Of Auckland F-F-A because he knows he doesn’t need luck to win.
The Auckland Cup placegetter came from last last Friday to beat most of his rivals tonight and unless he has bad luck he looks one of the bets of the night.