Uncertainty over Butt's drive on Copy That
Ray Green would love to chat tactics with driver Anthony Butt ahead of Copy That’s Queensland debut on Saturday night.
But first he’s got to make sure Butt will be able to take the drive.
Under current COVID-19 travel restrictions, Albion Park falls in a “red zone”, meaning Butt can travel up from Victoria to drive, but would need to quarantine for 14 days when he returns home.
Unless things change, that’s problematic when you train a huge team of horses like Butt.
It’s another potential curve-ball for Green after Copy That drew very awkwardly inside the back row (gate eight) in the 1660m Wondais Mate Open Pace on Saturday night.
“Yes, it’s the visitor's draw, but it’s not his Grand Final,” Green said. “If he wins, he wins, but he needs this run just to top him off for the big one the week after.
“We don’t want him to have a really hard run this week, so we’ll push through on the marker pegs from that draw and hope we get luck when we need it. We’ll definitely need some luck.”
Green plans to call Butt and discuss the driving situation.
“I haven’t thought of any other drivers yet. I hope Anthony can get up and back OK,” he said.
“I’ll have a chat with him and see where he’s at with it all. I’m sure there will be no shortage of good drivers if I do have to find someone else to fill-in this week.”
The Wondais Mate is a ripper race despite the absence of King Of Swing, who is waiting for a 2138m free-for-all next week instead.
Former superstar Kiwi pacer Spankem gets his chance from gate five and should be primed after two “proper” runs for new trainer Darren Weeks. You would think he will either lead or sit parked and control the tempo from his draw.
Three-time Queensland Horse of the Year, Colt Thirty One, backs up quickly after he returned to racing with an encouraging third from a 20m backmark in last week’s Redcliffe Cup. He’s drawn gate six.
Enigmatic Team McCarthy pacer Balraj commands respect from gate three, while another classy former Kiwi, Turn It Up, will need luck from a horror draw (gate 11).
Team McCarthy also cap the preparations of their two Rising Sun contenders – Expensive Ego and Spirit Of St Louis – at Albion Park on Saturday night.
Expensive Ego again looks a graded certainty in restricted class (race two) despite drawing the outside (gate seven) over the short 1660m trip.
It’s more interesting with Spirit Of St Louis, who has to overcome an inside back row draw (gate eight) over 1660m (race seven).
His main danger could be former All Stars’ pacer Italian Lad, who caught the eye when a luckless fourth at his first start for Vicki Rasmussen last week. He will need luck from a wide draw (gate seven).