Copy That is at the airport today for a flight to Melbourne.

Ballarat is a long way to go for a scan but no expense being spared with Copy That

Given Copy That has earned $2 million, trainer Ray Green says it’s understandable owners Merv and Meg Butterworth are sparing no expense flying the horse to Australia to further investigate his injury.

Green says it’s become more apparent from the latest X-rays of Copy That’s knee that he will need surgery before returning to the track. But because there is a limit to what can be seen on X-rays, the horse is off the Victoria so he can be checked out with an MRI scanner.

The dual New Zealand Cup winner is flying to Melbourne today and will be at the Ballarat Veterinary Clinic by tonight.

“There’s a little bit of wear and tear on that knee which needs to be cleaned up. It’s yet to be determined how serious it is but it’s actually quite common in racing horses.

“But we want to do an MRI to determine if there’s anything else sinister going on that we don’t know about - if there’s something in the joint that’s not visible on X-ray.”

While Copy That has been under the expert care of Barbara Hunter at Matamata Veterinary Services, the Ballarat clinic has the only MRI scanner in this part of the world that allows horses to be examined while standing.

When horses come out of a general anaesthetic they can do catastrophic injuries to themselves trying to regain their feet, something which the Butterworths are not prepared to risk.

“It’s an expensive exercise going to Australia but the horse has earned a lot of money so he’s paying his own flight and doctor’s bills.

“He deserves the best possible treatment and Merv trusts the people at Ballarat.”

It was the clinic’s Dr Brian Anderson who was in charge of Copy That’s treatment and recovery when he fractured his stifle on a previous campaign to Australia.

“The MRI will allay any fears and hopefully by early next week we can speak with more authority about his future.

“I don’t profess to be an expert on these things but knowing the horse, and how he’s been in recent weeks, my gut feeling is he’s got a very good chance of racing again. Put it this way, I’m a lot more optimistic than I was when he first went lame.”

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park


Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 2: Frisco Bay

“He obviously needed the run last week. He pulled his way round the field and sat outside the leader but he couldn’t cop a run like that first-up and got tired. The ability is there, whether he’s fit enough or not we’ll find out. But I expect him to go well, the three draw is much better than last week.”

Race 2: Lenny Lincoln

“He’ll probably need a race but he’s capable of running a slot. He’s unlucky not to have won a race, all three of his seconds were good. He’s got a bit better with each of his trials this time in and he got home well last Saturday, after coming widest on the turn.”

Race 3: Obadiah Dragon

“The way the race was run at Cambridge last week, his effort wasn’t bad at all. Moni (Monika Ranger) said he felt strong and, if he’d been a few slots closer, he would have been right in it. He’ll be improved for the run.”

Race 3: Leo Lincoln

“He’s very consistent - he’s only missed a couple of cheques. But he’s another just coming back and should improve with the run.”

Whales Harness