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Copy That (Maurice McKendry) blazes clear to win by four lengths at Alexandra Park tonight. PHOTO: Megan Liefting/Race Images

Maurice big on Lincoln Farms’ star: Copy That sprinted so fast ‘he dug holes in the track’

Top driver Maurice McKendry paid Copy That the ultimate compliment after he demolished his rivals with a front-running win at Alexandra Park tonight.

Asked after the race whether Copy That was as good as Lincoln Farms’ former Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln, McKendry replied: “Up until tonight I thought, no, but he just might be.

“When I pulled the plugs and yelled at him at the 200 he dug holes in the track,” said McKendry of the exceptional speed the horse showed.

Maurice McKendry brings Copy That back after his terrific return to form.Maurice McKendry brings Copy That back after his terrific return to form.“Only those really good ones can go zip like that.”

McKendry is well qualified to assess the relative merits of both pacers - he teamed with Sir Lincoln in 53 of his 57 starts when he won 21 races and $663,000.

Sir Lincoln was one of the fastest horses of his time, just nosed out of the 2012 Golden Mile at Menangle in Sydney by Captain Joy in 1:51.4.

Copy That didn’t have to go anywhere near as fast tonight, allowed to dawdle along in front with an opening half of 64.3, but he ripped home in 55.8 and 26.1 to put an ever increasing late four length space on the All Stars’ Smooth Deal.

“He loved it out there tonight,” said McKendry.

“He was really good out of the gate and that was just perfect for his first run back.”

Trainer Ray Green fields a call from owner Merv Butterworth in the winners’ circle.Trainer Ray Green fields a call from owner Merv Butterworth in the winners’ circle.Trainer Ray Green, who fielded a call from excited Melbourne owner Merv Butterworth almost as soon as the horse crossed the line, said: “Once he led it was good night nurse, he just had too much gas for them. It was a fait accompli.

“He was clearly the best horse out there. We all know what he can do but he won’t even be at his peak for another couple of runs.”

Green will aim Copy That at September’s Spring Cup, which Sir Lincoln won in 2012, by which time he says the Barry Purdon contingent will be “on stream” and provide better competition.

“I’ll put in a nomination for the New Zealand Cup. I think he’ll be a serious contender.

“He came back in tonight and you wouldn’t even have known he’d had a run.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Auckland

Race 1: Franco Nandor
5.24pm

“From a decent draw this time he’ll be one of the hardest to beat because it’s not a strong field. He lost a lot of muscle and strength when we gelded him but he should do better from now on.”

Race 4: Larry Lincoln
6.49pm

“He’ll lead easily and he’s good in front so he’s a chance to run a hole. But he can’t burn at both ends so it depends on how the race is run and in these junior drivers’ races they can be quite aggressive.”

Race 6: Louie The Punter
7.41pm

“He’s a big, dumb sort but he goes well enough. If he could be put on the front end on a nice steady rhythm I think we’d see a different horse. He just gets a bit lost and awkward in the field and the stop-start racing confuses him.”

Race 6: Apieceoflou
7.41pm

“Second row draws can be good and if Gopati goes out he’d be right in it. He’s come from way back in all his runs and he got held up in the run home last time. He’s developing into a tidy horse.”

Race 7: Tommy Lincoln
8.06pm

“The wide draw shouldn’t worry him - he’ll just mooch forward. It’s pointless for him to go back, his MO is to get rolling. I thought he was travelling easily at the finish last time.”

Race 7: American Dealer
8.06pm

“He’s a little tradesman who never goes a bad race. He’ll need a bit of luck from the draw but you can be sure he’ll be running on strongly at the finish. He was good here last time.”

Race 9: Copy That
8.56pm

“This is his most serious test. It usually takes the top age group horses two or three runs to find their feet against the tough older ones but he’s exceptional and I expect Maurice will have a dab for the front.”

Race 11: Man Of Action
9.46pm

“He’ll be at the mercy of the ones he’s following out but he’s trained super this week and I think he’s a definite chance. He’s improving all the time.”

Race 12: Captain Nemo
10.09pm

“He’s a lovely big horse who’s also on the up. I think he’ll improve on last time here when he got pulling just when he was going to get a good trip and had to come out.”

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 3: Northview Hustler
8.14pm NZ time

“He ran some terrific sectionals last week coming from the back. He’s improved through the week and I can’t fault him. After his work his heart rate was down to 91, which is a lot better than it’s been. He’s at his best when it’s in the 80s. He’s a live chance and I think we’ll see a different horse on Saturday night.”

Whales Harness