"Podgy" Copy That makes race day return

By Michael Guerin

For a horse staring down his shot at greatness “podgy” will seem an unflattering description of Copy That ahead of his return to racing at Alexandra Park tonight.

But trainer Ray Green says not only is it accurate but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Copy That resumes against just four rivals in the last race (9.17pm), one he would win effortlessly at his best even over the sometimes tricky mobile mile.

Copy That has never been able to shake arch-rival Self Assured in their personal battle to be clearly our best pacer and they have now been joined in that argument by Akuta, who won a Taylor Mile and Auckland Cup this year.

But Copy That not only won the Race by Grins in April but defended his New Zealand Cup title last November meaning he is chasing a NZ Cup three-peat at Addington on November 14.

The New Zealand Cup has been run since 1904 and only three horses have won it three times, Indianapolis (1934-36), False Step (1958-60) and Terror To Love (2011-13) so Copy That is pacing toward harness racing’s hallowed ground.

So much so his entire campaign is geared toward his shot at history which is why he is big and round for his return tonight.

“He has a lot of racing ahead of him with the big one being the Cup so you want them coming back in with plenty of condition on,” says Green.

“He is fit and healthy but he is also podgy. I don’t think it will stop him performing well but he is clearly going to get fitter.”

Copy That will be many punter’s Pick6 and multi bet anchor tonight and they will undoubtedly feel more comfortable if driver Maurice McKendry can get to the front and control the race, which the make-up of this field should allow if McKendry chooses that option.

Safely through tonight Green says his $2million earner will hopefully get the opportunity to stay home for the Spring Cup and Holmes D G lead up races but at the first sign of the northern open class races not getting off the ground he will head south.

Other highlights are tonight’s meeting include a Nevele R Fillies heat in which Kahlua Flybye drops a long way back in class after taking on strong intermediate grade, older horses, albeit she is still up against some talented fillies tonight.

The juvenile trotters get a rare Alexandra Park feature event and again while the field is small it provides an interesting clash as The Moonstone has looked very smart but Dream’s Pat was quite stunning beating older horses on debut last start so will provide the favourite with a real test.

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