Green pair ready for Sires Stakes
By Jonny Turner
Northern trainer Ray Green thinks the timing is right for his smart three-year olds Line Up and Copy That to step up to harness racing’s elite level in the Sires Stakes Final on New Zealand Cup day.
Line Up and Copy That will face their ultimate tests in the $170,000 group 1 feature after heading the North Island’s ranks with top two finishes in two heats of the series.
The pair, together with the Barry Purdon trained Bad To The Bone, come south to clash with their South Island counterparts, who are headed by a massive six-strong team from the all- conquering All Stars stable.
Green thinks his pair can test the southerners, especially considering the polish they have put on their all-around games in the past month.
‘‘I think they can be very competitive,’’ the trainer said.
‘‘I am pretty happy with them, they have done nothing wrong up north running first and second in the two heats they have been in.”
‘‘Everything has gone according to plan, so we will be ready to rock.’’
Green has gone as far as saying Line Up and Copy That could be as competitive as any of that age group he had taken south for the Sires Stakes Final on New Zealand Cup day.
The Pukekohe trainer won the race 10 years ago with Sir Lincoln and produced King Of Swing to set up the race’s record time when running second to Chase Auckland two years ago.
Line Up and Copy That both head south after refining their manners with their early season starts.
Line Up progressed after three solid starts with a career best 1-54.4 mile (1609m) win to frank the booming reputation that he has with northern harness racing followers.
Copy That produced a good second in that heat, after a regulation win after leading in a prior heat at Cambridge.
The horse’s prior win at Alexandra Park, when he galloped twice in the running including at a vital stage of the run home, that suggests he has the x-factor to challenge the All Stars contingent.
Green believes Copy That has the necessary game for group 1 level and Line Up has it, too.
‘‘I wouldn’t like to split them, they are two very nice horses,’’ he said. ‘‘It is going to come down to the runs they get.”
‘‘One thing is for certain, they are definitely sorted for speed, they are both very fast.’’
Line Up and Copy That could get the chance to show off that speed if they drift off the early pace from barriers 5 and 14, respectively.
The Robert Dunn trained Above N Beyond and All Stars favourite One Change look the likely early leaders after drawing barriers one and two, respectively.
Line Up and Copy That both had quiet hit-outs behind One Change at Wednesday’s New Zealand Cup trials at Addington.
Copy That produced an eye-catching effort, going to the line under a hold, just ahead of Line Up, who was not asked for a serious effort.
‘‘They were just there for a look at the track and they both pulled up very well,’’ Green said.
‘‘They came down last Friday and they have both settled in really well.’’
Line Up has been rated a $21 fixed odds win hope, head of Copy That, who was at $31 in early betting for Tuesday’s feature.