Copy That powers home late in the Spring Cup, a head behind winner Mach Shard, with fourth-placed Star Galleria an eye catcher out wide. PHOTO: Race Images.

Copy That could stay and wait for flight south, ruling out Ashburton lead-up to NZ Cup

Trainer Ray Green today signalled the possibility of Copy That going into the New Zealand Trotting Cup cold, without a lead-up race in the south.

Green says it is looking more and more likely that Copy That will miss the $47,500 Ashburton Flying Stakes on October 26, a key lead-up race that would gave pitted him for the first time against cup favourite Self Assured.

Green is dead keen to avoid a gruelling road trip to Christchurch for both Copy That and Sires’ Stakes contender American Dealer and at this stage the only flight south is on November 4.

That also means Copy That would miss the traditional cup trial which is held at Addington the same day.

“The road trip doesn’t do it for me and at the moment the only flight that is looking likely is on November 4,” Green said. “There could be one sooner but it depends on whether Qantas comes on stream and we won’t know that until next week.”

Green says missing the Ashburton race would give him the chance to give Copy That a little freshen-up.

“I can find something else to give him a final shape-up either before he goes south or down there.

“And it’s not crucial that American Dealer goes down early, he has two Sires’ Stakes heats he can run in up here.”

Those qualifying events are being held at Cambridge next Thursday and at Auckland on October 23.

Green believes Copy That ($1.60) is still the one to beat in Friday night’s $22,500 Holmes DG at Alexandra Park, despite his surprise defeat two weeks ago in the Spring Cup.

Forced four wide round the home turn, Copy That lost three lengths on the leaders and hit the line hard to go under by just a head to Mach Shard.

Green was not 100 percent happy with the way the horse paced on the bends that night but says some maintenance vet work in the interim has rectified the issue.

Driver Maurice McKendry reported Copy That felt much improved at last Friday’s Pukekohe workouts, powering home for fourth behind Bad To The Bone, Tommy Lincoln and American Dealer.

“We’ll know more after the race of course but he seems good this week and I don’t think it will be a problem again.”

Green isn’t worried that Copy That has yet to win at 2700 metres.

In his only two attempts at the longer trip he was “a good thing beaten” when second to Amazing Dream in the Northern Derby, and then was pulled up mid-race when resuming on July 1 after hitting the sulky and over-racing ferociously.

Copy That … ultra consistent pacer in the last 16 months and a good beginner from a stand.Copy That … ultra consistent pacer in the last 16 months and a good beginner from a stand.Green points to Copy That’s record in the last 16 months as all the proof needed of his superior class.

In 19 starts since July, 2019, he has racked up 12 wins, four seconds, and two thirds, his only time out of the money when pulled up.

Copy That might not have been as explosive as we’ve become accustomed to last start but his closing sectionals give a better picture of how well he is still going.

Four wide all the way round the bend, he still clocked 54.4 for his last 800 and 27.5 for his last 400.

The one who went better on the clock, who could be the big improver on Friday night, is Star Galleria ($10).

Steven Reid’s injury plagued seven-year-old rattled off his last 800 metres last time in 53.9 to get within a head, half a head and a neck of the winner.

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Tuesday at Albion Park

Race 8: Man Of Action
7.38pm NZ time

“He’s come through his win last week really well and should run first or second again from another good draw. Soho Tsunami will be a big danger. He’ll get a good trip on our back.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 1: Apieceoflou

“He’s just been incredibly unlucky - he was knocked over at the start last time - but if things go his way we’ll see a better animal.”

Race 1: Captain Nemo

“If he gets the right trip from five, he’ll be right there at the finish. This is little more than a jumped up maiden race.”

Race 4: Tommy Lincoln

“He’s in a grade now where he can’t get away with being driven like a toe rag all the time and from the second row he’s obligated to have a much more conservative trip. He’ll need a bit of luck but, if he’s not put in the race too soon, he shouldn’t be too far away.”

Race 7: Revitalise

“I’ve scratched him. He’s recovering from a foot abscess.”

Anthony Butt

Ants’ comments

Friday night at Melton

Race 1: Make Way
7.33pm NZ time

“He pushed them over the line last week and felt really good - he was only jogging at the finish. The (seven) draw has killed our hopes a bit but you never know …”

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Friday at Albion Park

Race 5: Larry Lincoln
10.18pm NZ time

“We’ll drive him quietly on Friday, just hold our position out of the gate, and give him some confidence. It’s not a strong field - it’s a bit of a drop in class on what he’s been racing - and on the times he’s been running in training this week he should be winning.”

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 3: Northview Hustler
9.48pm NZ time

“His run last week was exceptional. His chances depend on how the race is run. With the one and three horses having gate speed there could be early fireworks, which would suit him, as we’ll probably drive him the same and use his speed late.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Sunday at Cambridge

Race 6: Bondi Shake

“He would have won had he not galloped close to home last time. He just turned his head to one side when he got alongside that other horse and might have touched a knee. We’ll rectify that by putting two poles on him.”

Monday at Ashburton

Race 5: American Dealer

“From the pole, he should get a perfect trip. It’s hard to know what the others will do but we get out well enough to be handy. He’ll go well but he’s already qualified for the final so there’s no urgency. It would be nice to win it but we don’t have to.”

Race 7: Copy That

“He’s never gone away badly from a stand - he’s always reasonable and safe - so he shouldn’t be far off them when they settle. I see him in midfield. I’m not expecting too much from him. So long as he goes well, I’ll be happy.”

Dan Costello Race Photography