Telfer promises aggressive tactics in the $1m The Race by Grins
By Michael Guerin
Premiership-winning trainer Steve Telfer is promising the $1million Race by Grins won’t be a simple stroll around Cambridge Raceway for favourite Copy That on Friday night.
Two-time New Zealand Cup winner Copy That has opened the $2.20 favourite for the harness slot race and has rarely been beaten in front, especially in New Zealand where his open class form has been incredibly consistent for over two years.
But while Copy That seems to have drawn ideally at barrier three in the 2200m mobile pace, trainer Telfer says his stable star B D Joe has to at least try and cross the favourite from barrier five in the 200m dash to the first bend.
“We are a stable who like our horses to lead if possible and this horse has really high gate speed so he will be having a shot,” Telfer says.
“We will be telling Tim (Williams, driver) to get him off the gate as hard as he can and if he thinks he is getting across them early to keep going.
“If that happens and he gets the front then we would probably he happy for him to stay there.”
Telfer says the first 100m should indicate whether B D Joe has the speed to cross both Copy That and natural speedster Old Town Road (barrier 2).
“We all know races don’t always pan out the way you plan them to but we have to have at least have a go early.
“Tim is a good enough driver to pull out of it after 80-100m if he thinks he can’t get across and if that happens he can slot in or wait for cover.
“But we don’t see the point of going back at the start because that will give the race away.”
B D Joe has led and won a Harness Jewels at Cambridge two years ago and has already beaten almost the major players in Friday’s race including Self Assured and Old Town Road, although he has never bested Copy That.
Telfer was initially disappointed with B D Joe’s sixth in the Cambridge Flying Mile last Thursday, the frenetic final lead-up to The Race by Grins, but says the five-year-old will strip a fitter horse on Friday.
But while he is keen to see the speedster try his luck early, Telfer also wants to give driver Williams some wriggle room.
"At the end of the day what we want and what we get might be two different things.
“If he does have to burn hard early and then a Copy That attacks him it is not a case of lead-at-all costs, the final call on that will have to be up to Tim.”
For a horse who was good enough to win the Ashburton Flying Stakes in October when he was one of the stars of the spring, as well as registering big Addington and Menangle (Sydney) wins since, B D Joe looks surprisingly long in the market at $26.
But with Copy That at $2.20, Old Town Road at $3 and defending champion Self Assured kept safe at $4.50, there was little market percentage left for the others, with Akuta the wildest post-draw drifter from $4.20 to $10 after drawing the outside of the second line.