Line Up ‘in the zone’, Copy That huge - Green pair throw down the gauntlet to All Stars
Trainer Ray Green was thrilled with the performances of Line Up and Copy That who ran the quinella in tonight’s Sires’ Stakes heat at Alexandra Park, throwing down the gauntlet to the Purdon/Rasmussen army who ran riot at Addington a few minutes earlier.
While Line Up took the laurels at Auckland, ripping off the fastest mile of the night in 1:54.4 and scoring comfortably, the effort of Copy That to close within two and a quarter lengths was also full of merit as he came from last at the bell and was three and four wide for the entire last lap.
“They’re both lovely colts and tonight’s run will top them off nicely,” said Green who is looking forward to the $170,000 Final at Addington on November 12.
Watching a replay of the race, Green marvelled at the huge stride of Line Up who took over 400 metres after the start and glided home in 55 and 27.5 to win untested.
“He’s such a beautifully balanced pacer and he looked to win that relatively comfortably.”
Winning driver David Butcher described Line Up as “a happy horse who’s right in the zone.
“He’s not over-racing now - he got away with a soft early quarter and only did enough to hold them.”
Butcher, who didn’t pull the plugs, believes there’s not much between Line Up, Copy That, Bad To The Bone and Mighty Looee, tonight’s top four home and believes the Final will come down to the barrier draw and luck in the running.
“I don’t think they’re far behind the (Mark) Purdon horses down south.”
Butcher, who inherited the seat behind Line Up when his son Zachary committed to Barry Purdon’s Bad To The Bone says rather than regretting his switch Zachary was predicting he’d beat Line Up in the final. Bad To The Bone was held up early in the run home then recovered from a near decking 150 metres out, losing all momentum avoiding the erratic running Ideal Agent, and flashing home for an unlucky third.
Copy That exceptional
But it was the run of Copy That that really caught the eye.
After starting from the outside of the arm, driver champion reinsman Tony Herlihy found himself at the tail a round from home, latching on to the back of stablemate Double Or Nothing when he started his bid three wide.
And Herlihy was forced to angle four wide turning in when when Double Or Nothing starting paddling, before the colt really unleashed, reeling in many lengths from the winner in the last 200 metres.
“He went really well, he just dropped onto the pole on the last bend,” said Herlihy who had to nurse Copy That for a few strides before asking him for his best.
The run put to bed any doubts Green had about Copy That’s present condition after an average workout last Saturday but an improved training effort on Tuesday.
“It was only the draw that beat him tonight,” said Green. “Imagine him getting a nice, soft trip close to the pace in Christchurch and how he’d finish off. But he’d need a good run, I don’t think he could tough it too much.”
While Green admits its hard to compare the northern three-year-old form with that of their southern counterparts, he agrees with David Butcher that it’s going to come down to the run of the race.
Green suspects the All Stars’ three-year-old team might not be as dominant as in previous years - although they did a pretty good demolition job at Addington tonight, their runners filling first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh placings in the Sires Stakes heat.
Winner Flying Even Bettor held off the Robert Dunn trained Down To The Bone by a neck, clocking a mile rate of 1:56.6 for the 1980 metres, closing in 56.9 and 27.5.
Both One Change (third) and Italian Lad (fourth) did their Final prospects no harm, finishing close up.
Green will now make arrangements for Line Up and Copy That to fly south, hopefully a week before cup day, to prepare at Ken Barron’s West Melton stables.
“They’ll probably only need a trial now before the race. They’re in the zone now and I’ve just got to keep them there.”
- Neither Tommy Lincoln nor Double Or Nothing will be going south, though driver Andre Poutama was well pleased with Tommy Lincoln’s effort for sixth. “He went well but he ran out of puff late. He just needs a couple more runs to get fit.”
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Why Lincoln Farms had to buy lot 68 - his older brother Lincoln Lou is ready to rock
At last, Argyle gets the pole on Saturday night and Mark reckons it’s his big chance to salute
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“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
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“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
“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
“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
“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’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.”