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Er, what happened there? The exact point where hot shot Copy That lost the Spring Cup

Driver Maurice McKendry is adamant being forced four wide before the home turn cost Copy That Friday night’s Spring Cup at Alexandra Park.

Copy That surged forward when McKendry pulled him out of the one-one 400 metres out and looked set to gobble up pacemaker On The Cards. But, instead of having to come only three wide, he was forced four out as the parked runner Check In, driven by Andre Poutama, drifted out.

This saw the trailing Mach Shard and Scott Phelan drive through the gap, instead of waiting for the passing lane, a rare move given the leader was still travelling and ended up only 1.6 lengths from the winner.

The incident saw the red hot favourite Copy That lose three lengths on the leaders as he skirted wide and, even though he powered home late, he came up a head short behind the Barry Purdon-trained outsider Mach Shard.

Trainer Ray Green said McKendry reported he would have won easily had he not been pushed out four wide.

“He reckoned it cost him three lengths and he was a certainty beaten.”

“Even Barry Purdon said to me he could see that in another 20 metres Copy That would have won.

“I know people said he should have won with the trip he got but, given what happened, I thought it was a good run.”

The last 800 metres was cut out in 54.8 from the front, with Copy That clocking 54.4 with his last 400 in 27.5, much of it four wide.

Green said today Copy That had pulled up well from the run but he had a few minor adjustments to make with the horse.

“I wasn’t entirely happy with his gait,” he said.

Copy That will stay in the north for the $22,500 Holmes DG at Auckland on October 9 before travelling south with stablemate American Dealer a week later where he is expected to clash with Self Assured in the $47,500 Ashburton Flying Stakes (2400m) on October 26.

The All Stars’ pin-up horse has regained favouritism for the $540,000 IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup, now a clear top elect with the TAB bookies at $2.60, with Copy That drifting from outright $2.50 favourite to $3.50.

Self Assured won back a few friends last Wednesday at the Rangiora trials when he stepped cleanly, albeit virtually standing by himself in the middle of the track on the 40 metre mark.

Self Assured made ground strongly under his own steam to be only a head behind heat winner, stablemate Spankem, after 2600 metres in 3:12.2, home in 56.2 and 27.1.

American Dealer … will buddy up with Copy That for southern campaign. PHOTO: Megan Liefting/Race Images.American Dealer … will buddy up with Copy That for southern campaign. PHOTO: Megan Liefting/Race Images.Dealer books spot south

American Dealer booked his spot south with Copy That when he turned in a terrific run for fourth in Friday night’s $200,000 Harness Million.

The horse used plenty of petrol in the first 600 metres after driver David Butcher punched through from the second row and was caught three wide round the first bend, only reaching the death after 600 metres.

While he enjoyed a good trip three back on the outer for the last lap, he had simply too much ground to make up on the favourites and was six lengths from winner Krug at the post.

“I thought he finished better than anything,” Green said.

“You just can’t fault the little guy. He’s a classy little horse and never goes a bad race.”

Green will take American Dealer to Cambridge on October 15 for the next Sires’ Stakes heat then he will buddy up with Copy That for the trip south.

“It will be his first trip away but he’ll have time to get over it and acclimatise down there.

“There’s another Sires’ Stakes heat at Ashburton he can go in and the final is at Addington on cup day, November 10.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Cambridge

Race 3: Lincoln Lou
6.39pm

“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”

Race 5: Commander Lincoln
7.31pm

“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”

Race 8: Onyx Shard
8.55pm

“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”

Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
8.55pm

“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”

Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
8.55pm

“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”

Race 9: Frisco Bay
9.22pm

“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”

Mark Dux

Mark Dux’s comments

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time

“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”

Race Images - Harness